City revisits dispute with County

Kids learning to fish have nothing to do with this story


At their May 1 meeting, the Dillon City Council worked through some issues related to the fundamental elements of managing a city—water, fire, dirt, roads, personnel and finding ways to cooperate with the county.

During his report as chair of the city’s Water and Sewer Committee, Ward 1 Councilperson Bob Cottom revisited a longstanding controversy between the City of Dillon and Beaverhead County when he revealed that three leaks had recently been discovered along a water pipe buried on the Beaverhead County Fairgrounds, which is serviced by city water lines along Rife and Railroad Streets.

Cottom said he would be calling a Water and Sewer Committee meeting to address the leaks and a longstanding dispute between the city and county related to them.

Because the water service to the Fairgrounds is delivered at a flat rate and not metered, the underground leaks were not discovered until a special contractor performed a leak detection test.

The Fairgrounds remains unmetered due to a dispute between the city and county over funding the installation of the water meter at the site, a dispute that Cottom estimated has been going on for at least a decade.

According to Cottom, the meter cannot be buried underground at the site due to EPA regulations and concerns about tainted backflow from the Fairgrounds, which is often strewn with manure from horses and livestock. He said a heated building will have to be constructed to house the water meter, but a disagreement between the city and county over who pays for the construction has kept it from moving forward.

In the meantime, leaks continue to go undetected for long periods of time and cost the city money because the site is serviced under a flat rate.

Dillon Mayor Marty Malesich insisted that the Fairgrounds water service should be metered as soon as possible so that the city could save money by detecting leaks on the site just by reading the water meter, instead of having to wait for a contractor with special leak detection equipment to run an expensive test and tell the city it’s been losing money to leaks at the Fairgrounds.

“We need to get together with the Fairgrounds management and county commissioners,” asserted Malesich. “If you want to set up a meeting, Bob, we’ll sit down and work this out.”

Dillon Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike McGinley reported on the recent malfunction of a county fire vehicle and its implications for the City of Dillon (see story on page A-3).

In personnel matters, the City Council unanimously consented to Malesich’s appointment of Joe Horrocks as Dillon’s newest police officer (.see story on page A-2). And City Attorney W.G. Gilbert III reported that an arbitration hearing had been scheduled for May 21 and 22 on the grievance filed by former Dillon police officer Ed Jones, who was fired last year.

During his report, City Director of Operations J.S. Turner informed the Council that millings would be spread May 8–9 onto dirt sections of some city streets, including Noble, Railroad, Barnett, Oliver and Christiansen.

Turner also noted that water would begin flowing through the Dillon Canal as of last Friday morning, and that water was flowing again to Mountain View Cemetery with the help of a rebuilt pump.

“It was so dry up there, those trees really needed a drink,” commented Turner, who also presented the report for the Dillon Tree Board, during which he noted that Dillon had gained a Tree City U.S.A. designation from the Arbor Day Foundation for the third time and that the city’s Tree Board had helped plant 14 trees outside Dillon Middle School in an Arbor Day event on Friday, April 26.

“It was nice for me to read the proclamation and not get my hands dirty,” joked Malesich, who attended the tree plantings.