TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
July 7, 2020 7:00 p.m.
PURSUANT TO RESOLUTION 2020-10R, adopted April 2nd, 2020 the Town Council of the Town of Hot Springs is limiting in person participation to its meetings in accordance with the Governor’s Directive and Opinion of the Attorney General.
The Town Council Meeting was held using Zoom.
CALL TO ORDER by Mayor Woods at 7:02 pm
ROLL CALL- Woods, Stelter, Smith, Graham, Weatherly
Also present: Amy Gray, Steven Sheffield, Starla Rice, Mary Whitsett
MINUTES FROM MAY MEETING- Stelter/Weatherly 4-0 pass
PRESENTATION OF CLAIMS- Weatherly/Stelter 4-0 pass discussion about rodeo event that took place in June. Woods stated it was very well attended with a very high number of participants. No covid-19 cases reported due to the event.
FINANCIAL REPORTS-Smith/Stelter 4-0 pass Woods explained that he sewer cash account has been operating a little tight.
MAYOR Woods reported he met with the engineers in Kalispell about what is going on with the water project. They are still unable to answer questions as to why the concrete came up the well and are still debating about what should be done as far as any financial responsibility towards Morrison Maierle or O’keefe Drilling. Woods also explained that everything has been moved back to the Kalispell office because we were not happy with Alan Erickson. Ben and CR will be more involved in our project. Woods has asked about the water results because we still do not have them. Morrison Maierle will be contacting the lab. Woods spoke with Ryan Jones at Morrison Maierle and told him we were unhappy with how the project has been proceeding and handled and that we would like some changes. At this point, we are now waiting for test results so we can move forward with the well portion of the project. Until we know what will happen with the well, we are unable to move forward with any other portions of the project.
PUBLIC WORKS- we had a tree fall over in the right of way due to high winds. It landed near a house, and damaged a fence and vehicle. This has been turned into insurance for investigation. PW has been busy preparing for the homesteaders rodeo, keeping up with the mowing, and doing cleanup around town. They continue to work on storm drains and poured concrete for drains and for a new lid they found to be damaged. Problems have come up at the lagoons. The flow went way down and we found there was a plug between pond #1 and pond #2. It is moving now but we may need to drain pond #1 to fix it.
FIRE DEPT- there has been a few grass fires, and an RV fire on Camas Rd that also caught the vacant house next to it on fire. Woods explained this is another example as to why people can’t be living in RVs in town because it is too dangerous. Mark spotted the fire just as it started so the fire department was able to get to it very quickly and get it under control. We have resumed training with our new fire guys.
Leslee Smith asked about the town clean up and mentioned some areas in town that had furniture and garbage in the yards. Woods explained the dump charges for the furniture so the owner has to pay before it moved. Gray questioned whether the homeowner can be cited and charged for clean up and then have it applied to their taxes, Woods stated it may be possible under the decay ordinance and we will have the attorney weigh in on it. Town cleanup is the last Thursday of each month in the summer.
POLICE Police report was read aloud by Mayor Woods. He explained that there has been some recovery of stolen property and advised that if you have property that has been stolen contact Eric Pfleger of HSPD or Officer Martin Spring at the SCSO to identify your items.
CLERK- there will be a preliminary budget hearing at the next meeting
LIBRARY -Library report read by Mayor Woods
ZONING COMPLIANCE- Woods reported a zc permit received for South Spring St /400 block looking to build a small house, He has had a discussion about extending city water main up the hill by Wigton property with a potential buyer, Gray reported that Stillwater has been in asking about adding more RV sites where they already have water hookups, the possible new owners are also asking about the possibility of allowing people to keep horses in town if they are camping over night.
COMMUNICATIONS/PUBLIC COMMENT FOR EACH AGENDA ITEM WILL BE ALLOWED
HIRE WATER/WASTEWATER OPERATOR- Woods reported that there were several applications handed out for this job, One applicant was under 18, a second one spoke with Woods about the job duties and decided he did not want to commit to long term employment. There was only one application returned. Mike Gray, born and raised here and wants to stay in the area. He comes with an engineering degree and a mathematics degree. This job is changing to more paperwork and computer work. All reporting is done through the computers, we are required to do extra testing and the EPA has started requesting tests. He would be in the office a lot more doing paperwork and operations and maintenance plans. Paul and Ed met with him to interview. Paul stated he seems very sharp and would be a good asset to the town. Stelter made a motion to Hire Mike Gray, seconded by Weatherly 4-0 pass
PURCHASE DURAPATCH MACHINE- Woods explained that the Town has rented the durapatch machine for $1850 per week for the past couple of years. This machine is now for sale for $20,000. If we purchase the machine it will be here for us to use at any time. Last year we spent approx. $5000 on rental. If it is taken care of, it should last the town a very long time. We have the money in reserves that we can budget to spend on this. Motion to purchase durapatcher for $20,000 made by Smith seconded by Graham 4-0 pass
Woods also reported that the Fire Department has been awarded a skidsteer from the federal excess property program. We are in the process of trying to acquire a lift, a chipper, and a side by side.
TREES IN TOWN RIGHT OF WAYS – Discussion only about the issues with trees in the town right of way. Woods explained that High winds knocked a tree over on 1st Ave. We have removed the down tree but need to take out the remained of this tree. There are also some other trees in the town right of way that are cause for concern. Smith stated we need to do maintenance on the trees in right of ways. Woods stated we will need to rent a lift to trim the trees around town.
DISCUSSION FOR RAISING WATER AND SEWER RATES-Discussion only -Woods explained the water and sewer funds are separate enterprise funds which are required to be self-supportive. Increases in testing costs and operation and maintenance expenses are causing the budget to be really tight and we need to look at rate increases for both water and sewer. Dan Kremer from Montana rural water will be here Monday to go over rate structure with Amy and Mike to get an idea of where our rates need to be to meet our needs. There is a possibility of having a percent per year increase written into the rate increase.
ACCEPT RESIGNATION OF ACHESON- Jason Acheson has submitted a letter of resignation. He was hired in May to work at part time. He has been offered a full time position with another department and has chosen to accept that position and leave Hot Springs. Motion to accept resignation made by Stelter seconded by Smith 4-0 pass
APPOINT ACHESON AS RESERVE OFFICER- The police commission met and has given approval of hiring Jason Acheson as a reserve officer. Jason Acheson would like to continue working with the Hot Springs police department as a reserve officer. Motion to appoint as a reserve officer made by Smith, seconded by Graham 4-0 pass
HIRE STANBERRY AS PART TIME OFFICER The police commission met and has given approval of hiring Gary Stanberry as a part time officer. Stanberry was hired in May to work as a Reserve officer and will be replacing Acheson. Motion to approve hiring Stanberry made by Smith, seconded by Stelter 4-0 pass
DRAW REQUEST #3 FOR WATER PROJECT- Motion to approve Draw request #3 for Water project made by Smith, seconded by Weatherly 4-0 pass
PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
ADJOURN Weatherly/Graham 4-0 pass