City council meets tonight

By 
M.P. Regan
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Before the flood

Crews perform dredging work as part of flood mitigation efforts along Blacktail Deer Creek in Dillon in 2013. The impacts of those efforts will be reflected in the area floodplain mapping update project the Dillon City Council got updated on at its last meeting. M.P. Regan photo

At its first meeting following Halloween, the Dillon City Council tonight will go through an annual exercise designed to exorcise fiscal demons and gremlins from the city’s finances.

“We have audited the financial statements of the governmental activities, the businesstype activities, each major fund, and the aggregate remaining fund information of the City of Dillon, Montana, for the year ending June 30, 2020,” reads the opening of the audit report for the city’s most recently completed fiscal year prepared by Amatics, the Bozeman-based Certified Public Accountants firm that has overseen the last several years of audits of the city’s finances.

That report will be formally presented to, and discussed by, the city council tonight, likely with help from a representative of Amatics present to answer questions.

Beyond the audit presentation, the agenda for tonight’s city council meeting includes only the reports the council receives every meeting—updates from Police Chief Don Guiberson, Fire Chief BJ Klose, City Treasurer Karen Kipp, City Attorney Jim Dolan, Director of Operations Todd Hazelbaker and City Judge Kaylan Minor, as well as reports from representatives of the city’s Planning Board, Library Board, Board of Adjustments and Zoning Commission.

Reports will also be offered tonight by representatives of the city council’s nine committees—Street & Alley, Finance, Water & Sewer, Parks, City Hall, Health & Welfare, Cemetery, Fire & Order and Judiciary. Though none of those committees is asking the full council to discuss and vote upon any recommendations coming out of their most recent meetings.

The usual period of public comment “on items of significant public interest not on the agenda and within the jurisdiction of the city” will be conducted shortly before the adjournment of tonight’s city council 7 p.m. meeting in Dillon City Council Chambers, 125 N. Idaho St. in downtown Dillon.

The city is asking that those attending tonight’s council meeting In person wear a face covering and observe social distancing guidelines in light of the coronavirus pandemic that featured a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Beaverhead County.

People can also attend tonight’s Dillon City Council meeting remotely via Zoom with the meeting ID of 770-316-6528 or through a computer via the Net at https//zoom.us/j/7703166528. For more information on remote attendance, call City Hall at 683-4245.

To get a copy of the meeting agenda and packet for tonight’s meeting, stop by Dillon City Hall at 125 N. Idaho St. in downtown Dillon or go to www.dillonmt.org

Tonight’s city council meeting looks likely to extend a string of relatively uneventful council get-togethers that followed a summer full of melodrama and contention at city meetings.

The council did vote unanimously to approve of Mayor Mike Klakken’s promotion of Codie Plotner to permanent, full-time police officer at its last meeting of last month.

Though with an enthusiastic letter of recommendation from his boss, Police Chief Don Guiberson, and a solid performance review of his year of probationary service on the local police force, Plotner seemed all but assured of the council’s endorsement.

“He seems like he’s been around a long time because he’s so proficient at his job,” said Chief Guiberson of Plotner, who came to the department with extensive law enforcement experience.

“He’s a great guy, and I look forward to many years working with him,” added Guiberson of Plotner, who echoed the hope, telling the city council that the local police department already “felt like a family” to him.

At its last meeting, on Oct. 21, the city council also heard about a recent surge in fires and emergency call outs from Dillon Volunteer Fire Chief BJ Klose (see story on page 1)

During that meeting, the council also got a presentation from the team updating the area floodplain maps.

Begun in 2015, the floodplain remapping project was originally scheduled to wrap up this year but is not set to be completed now until 2022 the council was advised at its last meeting, due to delays caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Another round of public meetings in Dillon and Lima designed to give people the chance to offer input on the latest stage of the mapping project are being planned, though the pandemic is also complicating that effort.

The Dillon Tribune will alert people of when those meetings will take place shortly after they get officially scheduled.

A joint effort by state and federal officials, the floodplain mapping project is using state-of-the-art technology to generate a new, more accurate series of area floodplain maps for land adjacent to 41 miles of the Beaverhead River, 11 miles of Blacktail Deer Creek and five miles of Junction Creek by Lima, as well as by Selway Slough and other flow splits from the Beaverhead River and Blacktail Creek.

Finalized in 1982, the current area floodplain maps do not reflect data from the Beavehead River’s flooding of parts of Dillon two years later, or impacts of the million-dollar flood mitigation project along Blacktail Deer Creek completed last decade.

The maps can impact home insurance rates, development regulations, property values, emergency management plans, mortgage applications, community growth plans and policies, and more.

To view the latest draft version of the maps and get more information about the project, go to http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/ water/operations/floodplainmanagement/beaverhead.

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