The Shelby City Council opened their regularly scheduled meeting with an open public hearing in regards to the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) work plan for 2020-2021 and the shipping container variance requested by Hi-Line Redi Mix.

Community Development Director Lorette Carter advised that the project expenses for the TBID work plan are in the amount of $72,500.

“The TBID does a tremendous amount for the Chamber, Visitor Center and sponsor a number of events throughout the year,” said Carter. “They are very generous with their money. They know what’s best for them is what’s good in the community.”

Carter also shared that the TBID has increased their nightly fee of $1 to $2 to raise more money, as they are aware there are more community needs now.

No one else spoke in regards to the TBID Work Plan and after a brief discussion a motion was made to approve the 2020-2021 TBID Work Plan with the Council unanimously accepting it.

No one was in attendance to speak on behalf of Hi-Line Redi Mix in regards to the variance being requested. The company requested the variance in order to be able to keep one-time use shipping containers on their property as storage facilities. City ordinance currently only allows shipping containers to be used in the industrial zone. 

“They are in a commercial zone, but not an industrial zone,” said City Attorney Bill Hunt.

“My concern is storage,” said Councilman Joe Flesch. “To me it seems like they are trying to avoid paying taxes on a new building or something.”

“My concern is, you give zoning to one then, well, we did that on the fence variance and you know how that turned out,” said Council member Aaron Heaton. “I don’t mind if they have the shipping containers, not them or the others that already do. But the ordinance says no and I just don’t think we should skirt the law.”

Heaton went on to explain that he wasn’t trying to be “hard nosed” but to him the ordinance says “no” and the Council should follow the ordinance.

“We can change the ordinance and then do that, but we should be following the laws,” said Heaton. “We can change the ordinance first so then it is okay.”

After discussing the topic further the Councilman Bill Moritz motioned to let Hi-Line Redi Mix have the variance with a conditional use permit and annual review. The Council voted in favor, with the exception of Flesch.

The Public Hearing was closed and the Council went on to the first reading of Ordinance No. 842, an ordinance amending Title 8, Chapter 1, Volunteer Fire Department, of the Shelby Municipal Code.  

“The first change is a 30-minute response time,” said Hunt. “It currently says any volunteer has to reside within the city and that bothers me as some could live just outside the limits. There’s a couple of issues with how this is drafted. I have some questions on this and would like to talk to them.”

The Council agreed that discussing the changes with a representative from the fire department would be beneficial and decided to table the ordinance until that could be arranged. 

In regards to Resolution No. 2016, Adoption of State Procurement Provisions for UV Reactor Purchase, the Council approved going with Calgon, based out of Pennsylvania. This resolution was needed as DNRC and DEQ have both signed off on the project but TSEP has not as they require a letter from the city attorney explaining why this is necessary. 

“It’s just this one item,” said City Finance Officer Jade Goroski. “It’s a paper trail for the auditors. This is the only company that can provide this service, so even if we put out to bid it would be the same company. We did look into others, like Trojan, whose wouldn’t work the same and would cost more.”

Goroski went into more detail, stating that, “For two, four-log reactors Calgon’s price is $265,000 and the equivalent virus kill with Trojan is $920,000.  If Trojan was selected we would have to run two, two-log reactors in series for four-log virus kill and an additional two reactors for redundancy that DEQ is requesting in case a bulb is fowled or we need to perform maintenance.”

The Council then approved selecting Great West and Triple Tree, both based in Helena, for five-year engineering contracts. Great West and Triple Tree scored highest on the committee’s scoring scale, with Great West scoring the highest. 

In other matters discussion in regards to the yield sign currently at the corner of 12th Street and First Avenue North was brought to the table as a resident in the area would like it to be changed back to the stop sign that had been there up until a few years ago. The Council ultimately decided to leave the yield sign, with Flesch being the only one in favor of changing it back to a stop sign.

As of Monday night’s meeting no letters of interest from residents in Ward 2 interested in serving on the Council had been received. Tustian resigned from the seat as of June 1 and the Council now has 30 days to fill it. 

“We need to have appointed someone by July 6,” said Mayor McDermott.

Anyone from Ward 2 interested in filling the vacated chair can contact City Hall, (406) 434-5222, for more information or attend the next City Council meeting taking place on Monday, July 6, starting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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