City Council to consider budget, tax hike tonight


Big money will be on the table tonight at the second regular monthly meeting of the Dillon City Council.

The Council will consider a resolution to adopt the preliminary budget for the City of Dillon for Fiscal Year 2014–15, which will include budgets for lighting, street maintenance and sprinkling districts, as well as Special Improvement Districts #33–37.

If the preliminary budget resolution passes, a public hearing date will be set in the near future, with a vote on the final budget likely to come at a regular Council meeting next month.

The Council will tonight again take up the bumpy issue of the street maintenance tax, when it looks to establish the costs and assessments for the city’s street maintenance district. City property owners may have required a shock absorber to take in the proposed changes in assessment per lineal foot of street frontage as it bounced up and down, from $1.60 to $2.75 to $1.85, in recent weeks during Street & Alley Committee meetings.

The Street & Alley Committee had advanced a rate of 2.75 per lineal foot for a vote at the City Council’s last meeting, only to have two of its members, David Spehar and Dick Achter, urge the Council to send the matter back to their committee for reconsideration.

After more discussion, the Street & Alley Committee settled on a figure of $1.85 per lineal foot assessment, but needed to couple it with a plan to take enough money leftover in the Glendale Street project bond to cover half of the coming year’s $188,000 payment due on that bond.

The doubling of the street maintenance tax from 80 cents to $1.60 per lineal foot three years ago caused an uproar among city property owners, as did subsequent revelations that the most all of the extra revenue went to the 2012 renovation of four blocks of Glendale Street, a project that the city is still making large payments on.

Funds raised from the street maintenance tax in the coming year will go to cover the approximately $175,000 in projected city street maintenance costs for repair and snow removal, plus half of the next payment of $188,000 due for the Glendale Street project, which went well over budget and ended up costing the city about a million dollars.

A street closure request for Montana Street to Center Street to Bannack Street (as needed) for Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the coming Labor Day Weekend is up for vote, as is the annual Labor Day Weekend waiver of the city’s open container law in sections of downtown Dillon.

The Council tonight will also consider the appointments of Mitch Staley as county representative to the City Planning Board and Tyler R. Landis as a probationary firefighter in the Dillon Volunteer Fire Department.

The appointments of City Director of Operations J.S. Turner as the environmental preparer and environmental review recorder for the NeighborWorks Montana Home Grant Application for Homebuyers Assistance will also be up for vote.

Tonight’s meeting agenda includes its usual range of reports from city officers, boards and committees, as well as the often informative public comment finale.

The Dillon City Council meets tonight at 7 o’clock in City Council Chambers, 125 N. Idaho St. in downtown Dillon.