December Minutes

December 1, 2015

At 7 pm Mayor Woods opened the public hearing to discuss pending and potential applications to USDA Rural Development for loans and grants to make improvements to the Town’s wastewater facilities. An attendance sheet was passed.  Ryan Jones from Morrison-Maierle Engineering explained to those present that the purpose of this public hearing was to outline needs and costs of repairs to the wastewater system:  rehabilitate mainlines; install flow meters; install screens to catch debris; and repair broken motors, pipes, and valves.  $103,000 has already been committed by TSEP; $450,000 can be requested from CDBG once the water project reaches substantial completion; and $33,000 is sought from USDA RD in a 45%/55% grant/loan combination.  USDA RD requires this public hearing prior to funding the project.  Jones then opened the hearing to questions and comments.  There were no questions from the public at large, but councilors Adams and Stelter questioned timeline and current problems.  Jones stated that design would begin fall 2016 and construction probably late spring/summer 2017.

At 7:07, Woods closed that public hearing and opened the public hearing for Resolutions 2016-006R- transition to the new form of government, and 2016-007R- certifying the new form of government. Woods turned to Kathryn McEnery to explain the resolutions.  McEnery presented a transition plan regarding the issue of dissolution of wards which had been approved by voters.  Setting an effective date of July 1, 2016 for the vote to become reality, should a replacement councilor be required prior to that date, the transition plan allows the change to be acted upon January 1, 2016.  Bob Neary repeatedly questioned that since the vote was so close, why the resolution and immediacy of the effective date in the transition plan.  McEnery explained that the transition plan was required to address the potential need, since the effective date was so far in the future.

At 7:17 the town ordinances that were approved earlier in the year were displayed along with changes. Titles 1 and 2 were reviewed.

At 7:25, Mayor Woods called the regular meeting to order. Present were Woods, councilors Smith, Stelter, Adams, and Dobrovolny, attorney McEnery, and clerk Lazaro.  Also present were Ryan Jones and Aaron McConkey of Morrison-Maierle Engineering, Inc., Rube Wrightsman and Linda Landrum from the library board, and citizens Crystal and Josh Graham, Dave Campbell, Bob Neary, and Jessie Harris.  Stephen Sheffield was also filming.

Smith moved; Adams seconded to approve the minutes. 4-0 Passd.  Adams moved; Stelter seconded to approve the October financial reports. 4-0 Passed.  Smith moved; Adams seconded to pay the claims. Questions were answered regarding claims by Montana Tire and the water tests.  4-0 Passed.


Woods reported that he had had meetings with the engineers and contractors during the water projects. Aaron McConkey then gave the December update on the water project. The contractor has been flushing and testing water released through the newly installed lines.  The system will not be put into service until all aspects are flushed and Bac-T tests are good.

Woods then reported that public works had been working with the tank crew and the SCADA (telemetry system) had been installed. Public works was also cleaning ditches and trimming tree branches.

The fire department has been performing maintenance on the trucks.

The police report was submitted in writing and read by Woods.

The clerk informed the council that a work session was scheduled for 6 pm Tuesday December 15 with Dan Kramer of Montana Rural Water to conduct a rate study.

The library report was submitted in writing. Linda Landrum and Rube Wrightsman thanked the council for their input into the inter-local agreement and hoped it would be approved.  There is a new computer program in place to record the book inventory and use.  The board will meet next week.  They plan an every other month fund raising.

There was no report from the planning board or zoning compliance officer, but the FEMA officer had been in town conducting floodplain analysis. Structures that are built in the floodplain will be required to obtain a permit from the Town.

The park project has been halted due to snow.

Leslee Smith gave the Chamber of Commerce and Artist Society reports. The Chamber will meet at noon at Fergie’s Pub.  The Chamber Christmas Bucks will be awarded at  the Symes on Dec. 13, at the Tribal Nutrition Center, the Senior Center, and the School Christmas Concert.  Solstice and carols will be sung at the Wall Street Place yard on December 19.  The Great Scots will also be performing.

The Artist Society meets tomorrow at Wall Street Place. The Gala Event raised around $4,000.

The museum committee plans to put a new roof on the jail with money from the foundation.

There was no public comment on agenda items.

There was no public comment on growth policy items.


The first item of old business was the community decay/right of way cleanup at addresses 707 Central and 319 Second Ave South. Jessie Harris, Josh and Crystal Campbell, and Dave Campbell were present to question why they were being singled out on this charge.  Councilor Adams said that this was being done at his request.  He brought it to the council and was requesting that the numerous vehicles on the right-of-way be removed.  Attorney McEnery then stated that it was her suggestion to put it on the agenda as a “first step” towards legal action.  The council can then investigate charges and see if complaint should be made to the police department.  If the property owner refuses to comply at that point a ticket could be issued to the property owner.  Campbell then asked if letters had been sent to others, since he was sure there were other offending properties in town.  Adams stated that “in (his) opinion” that was the one he had to look at.  Campbell then asked that “decay” be defined.  .  McEnery then read from the decay ordinance definitions.

Mayor Woods agreed that everyone needs to be treated equal in this matter and that they were trying to figure out the “process” and give the property owner a chance to clean up the property before it becomes a problem. Adams admitted that the two got singled out and that was bad on his part, he apologized and said he would like to come to a mutual agreement and systematic plan to clean up all the properties in town. Since no solution to the problem was forthcoming, Adams moved; Smith seconded to table the issue for the time being. 4-0 Passed.

At this time all visitors except Jones, McConkey, and Whitsett left the meeting.

The next item of old business was the local emergency plan. Stelter met with Weatherly Electric and got an estimate of $1500 to wire the generator as a backup power source for the town.  Although this was Stelter’s last meeting as a councilman, he will continue to work on the emergency plan.

The final item of old business was the library inter-local agreement. The library board recommended its passage. Smith moved; Stelter seconded to approve the inter-local agreement for the library.  4-0 Passed.


Adams moved; Stelter seconded to approve Resolution 2016-006R A Resolution of the Hot Springs Town Council Regarding the Transition to a New Form of Government. 4-0 Passed.

Stelter moved; Smith seconded to approve Resolution 2016-007R A Resolution of the Hot Springs Town Council Certifying the Form of Government.  4-0 Passed.

Next was the selection of an engineering firm. The solicitation for RFQ’s has been published and while several firms responded with questions, only Morrison-Maierle, Inc. submitted the requested Statement of Qualifications for Engineering Services.  On reviewing their documents and their past performance for the Town, the council felt they were quite qualified to perform engineering services for the Town of Hot Springs.  Adams moved; Stelter seconded to hire the engineering firm of Morrison-Maierle,Inc. 4-0 Passed.

The final item of new business was the approval of the new employee policy manual. All employees and councilors were provided with the new document in November.  Stelter moved; Adams seconded to accept the employee manual.  4-0 Passed.

There was no communication or public comment on non-agenda items.

At 8:29, the mayor called executive session. All left, with the exception of the clerk, who stayed to take notes during executive session.  The minutes of the executive session will be sealed.  No action was taken during executive session.  Following executive session, the mayor reopened the meeting.

At 8:35 there being no further business, Stelter moved; Dobrovolny seconded to adjourn.




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