Monday evening, Dec. 16, the City Council met with all in attendance, with the exception of council member Aaron Heaton, who was excused. It was the meeting for the second reading of the cell phone ban ordinance and there was a lot of discussion on the topic.

“I did an informal canvas on Main Street, just asking people if they would be for or against it,” said City Attorney Bill Hunt. “I talked to over 40 people and the majority were in favor. The ones who were not were mainly concerned with being able to enforce it, and all were curious if it would apply to the cops as well.”

Discussing the pros and cons of the ordinance it was agreed that it probably would help detour some cell phone use, but many would just try and be sneakier about it. It was agreed that no exceptions for cell use could be listed or it would be a constant battle of contesting tickets in court. It was decided to tweak the ordinance a bit, with no exceptions for cell phone use, but the use of two-way radios such as in busses, construction equipment, police cars, etc., would be allowed as pertaining to business or emergency. 

“I’d like to see us table this and give it to the voters,” said Mayor McDermott. “We would have to draft an ordinance to have on the ballot that the Safety Committee has approved and the Council, then give it to the voters.”

The Council unanimously agreed to table the ordinance and work on the intent at this point, then let the voters decide.

Logan Tweet of KLJ was in attendance and updated the Council on the projects around town.

“The storm water project will be wrapping up this week,” said Tweet. “They will be wrapping up and moving the equipment out for winter. They will be back when the frost is out of the ground in early spring. There is a completion date of Aug. 31, but I think it will be done earlier.”

He explained the need for the storm water change order in the amount of $78,394. This amount is needed to cover the flowable fill already used underneath the asphalt and what will be needed to complete the project. 

“We had thought it would be about $60,000,” said Tweet. “This amount includes what we have done and what will be done.”

Tweet also touched on the waste water project, sharing that it is also close to wrapping up with the flow meter being installed soon. The well field project is also coming along with the wells currently being tested.

“We should have all the pump tests done early next week,” said Tweet.

The Council then reviewed Resolution No. 2009 in regards to approving the application of the Montana State Parks Recreational Trails Program. Community Development director, Lorette Carter, explained that this is just the go-ahead to apply for grant funding by submitting the formal application to the Urban Trails Program.

“We are still waiting on a quote for how much we need to be applying for,” she explained. 

The Council unanimously agreed to pass the resolution. They also approved the prior meeting’s minutes, all reports and expenditures, as well as a 45-day extension on the Williamson Building agreement with Silver Key.

“The commercial financing process sometimes takes a bit longer,” said Hunt. “That’s why they are asking for an extension.”

Before adjourning the Council also unanimously approved appointing Norman Seymour to another term on the Public Safety Commission and applying for funding through the Revitalizing Montana’s Rural Heritage Project to repaint the Visitor Center/Chamber Office. 

The next City Council meeting will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in City Hall, starting at 6:30 p.m.

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