October Minutes

October 6, 2015

At 7 pm, Mayor Woods opened the public hearing for Resolution 2016-004R Authorization to Submit TSEP Planning Grant Application. Clerk Lazaro read the resolution.  Woods explained that the grant would be used to update the existing water PER.  All 3 wells and pumps need maintenance.  Woods asked for public comment. There was none, but councilors Smith and Stelter had questions regarding the PER.  Woods explained that PERs need to be updated regularly to be considered for funding for needed projects.  The funding cycle for this grant would be mid-2016.

There being no other comment, Woods closed the public hearing and opened the regular meeting at 7:06. Present were Woods, councilors Smith, Dobrovolny, Adams, and Stelter, attorney McEnery, and clerk Lazaro.  Also present were: Police Chief Radabah, Rube Wrightsman, Linda Landrum, and Kim Brooks for the library, and Tara Stafford and Raven Bloodsaw.  Steven Sheffield was filming for Hot Springs Cable TV.

Adams moved; Smith seconded to approve the minutes. 4-0 Passed. Smith moved; Adams seconded to approve the financial report.  Councilor Smith asked about fund balances in both the library and general funds.  The clerk answered that the grant revenue had been received for the library and the general fund was awaiting tax revenue.  4-0 Passed.  Smith moved; Stelter seconded to pay the claims.  The claim and invoices for Spring Street Autocare was passed among the council for their review.  All claims were approved for payment 4-0.


Mayor Woods used the television to present the water project update. Both the September and October summaries, along with photos, were prepared by the project engineering firm.  (See printed copy inserted in minutes.)

In other reports, Woods reported that public works had assisted with some water project details. They also painted the fire department and the ambulance barn.  They will complete the front of the town hall later this week, weather allowing.  Public works remedied some drainage and runoff problems.  Besides clearing plugged culverts and storm drains, and repairing manholes, they put fabric and gravel on A Street to fill low areas.  The Town extends thanks to Jake Wallis who donated the gravel to repair the area in front of his residence.

Chief Radabah gave the police report. It was also submitted in writing.  Officer Smith has gone to part-time.  The number of calls is down and the number of tickets written has decreased.

The clerk reported that Proof of Insurance for the September 12 event has still not been received by the office. The budget was submitted to the Montana Department of Administration, Local Government Services Bureau and she is working on the AFR, which is due December 31.

Linda Landrum gave the library report, which was also submitted in writing. There will be a fundraising event on Saturday October 10-a “yard” sale and breakfast at the Tribal Nutrition Center.  The library board is also hoping to finalize the updated inter-local agreement with the town.  Attorney McEnery responded that she still needs more input from MMIA, so a finished document is not ready yet.

Board positions openings will be posted by the clerk for the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustments. Letters of interest will be accepted until December 21.  Appointments will be made at the January 2016 council meeting.

Swings were ordered for the park. Local certified welder, Bob Magera, is building the framework for the swings.

Leslee Smith reported that an emergency fair concession meeting had been called for tonight. Revenue for the fair concessions has been declining for the past few years.  At this time, the Chamber does not know how much money they will receive.  The money is used to fund the events that the Chamber sponsors.  The billboard in Elmo still needs a fresh look.  Dave Campbell has volunteered to take over painting and placing the red highway signs.  Halloween festivities on the 31st, will include the Ghost Walk, the Haunted House, and the costume contest for kids – 8pm at the Senior Center.  There is a possibility that the Haunted House will be in the old TJ’s building on Main Street.

The Artist Society is planning for the November Gala on the 14th.  Donations of art and other items are being accepted.  The Artist Society will host a craft show in January.

The Museum committee met yesterday. They are planning to winterize the building, although Gwen Nelson is still opening the doors for interested visitors. The Fay Haynes Rodeo collection is on display.  The Community Awareness group is interested in working with the museum folks.  They have access to multimedia and can help the museum with projects.

Local Government Review Public Forum will be Tuesday, October 13 at 6:30 at the Hot Springs Senior Center. The final report will be available and there will be discussion of the findings and upcoming election ballot.

Next was Public Comment on the Growth Policy Review. Tonight’s topic was services.  Kathryn McEnery listed some of the services (schools, emergency services, etc.)  found in the town, and encouraged comments.   McEnery reported there was concern regarding the small number of emergency responders, and other comments regarding zoning and government decision making.

There was no Public Comment or Communication on agenda items.


Councilor Smith requested to reopen the previously tabled item of business regarding the encroachment permit of Jim Beyer. Stelter moved; Adams seconded to approve the encroachment permit of Jim Beyer to include his front porch which extends approximately 3 feet into the town right-of-way. Discussion included that Beyer had removed the fence on the right-of-way, which the council had previously directed him to remove.  4-0 Passed.

McEnery stated that she was still working on the employee handbook, so there was no council action needed at this time.

The library board asked that the council make the appointment to fill the vacancy. All letters received had been forwarded to the council.  Smith moved; Adams seconded to appoint Lola McDougle to the library board.  4-0 Passed.

Stelter reported on his progress of a local emergency plan. He found that emergency oxygen might be a problem to have on hand and he is looking into incorporating a generator for basic necessities at a central location.

There was no business for the Local Government Review — Just another reminder of the October 13 Public Forum.


Adams moved; Stelter seconded to approve Resolution 2016-004R Authorization to Submit a TSEP Planning Grant Application to Update the 2012 Water PER. 4-0 passed.

The next item was a request by Councilor Adams to address businesses operating in Residential A. Smith moved; Stelter seconded to open discussion to find a solution to the problem.  Adams asked why a business was allowed to operate in Residential A and block the Town right-of-way?  Chief Radabah responded that a zoning violation was not necessarily a law enforcement issue.  It should first go to the zoning compliance officer. If vehicles are legally licensed and operable they can be parked on the streets.  Radabah requested that each councilman should bring citizen complaints to him; he would visit with owner, and try to resolve the issue.  A final option would be to tag the vehicle and allow 2 hours for removal prior to towing.  A vehicle must be there 5 days before tagging.

Adams then read from the decay ordinance and asked if there needs to be a better definition of decay or garbage. Attorney McEnery responded that the Town already has a waste ordinance which could be enforced.  The community decay ordinance is more complicated to enforce.

The consensus was that it needs to be a group decision, rather than one individual’s standards. The planning board or town council could be the determining board.  Also it needs to apply to all, not just a few singled out.  Councilor Smith pointed out that there is a difference between a wrecking yard operation and a dog turning over a garbage can.  Then the discussion moved to unsecured properties and the potential for fire danger or becoming a place for drug manufacture or use.  The council would need to respond to citizen complaints regarding property use and decay issues. The council then directed zoning compliance officer Jerry Kontos to send a letter to the properties in violation and instruct them to remove the vehicles on the rights-of-way. 4-0.

The inter-local agreement with the library is still not ready. Smith moved; Stelter seconded to table the issue. 4-0 Passed.


Questions came up about the walking trail that did not get paved in Hot Springs because the funding was used elsewhere on the reservation.

Also Tara Stafford and Raven Bloodsaw commented on the Community Awareness group and what the group is doing to move forward and involve the youth.

At 8:40 the council went into closed session to discuss litigation. The clerk was not present during executive session.  No action was taken.

At 9 pm the council resumed regular session. Adams moved; Stelter seconded to adjourn.

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