Dillon City Council meets tonight

By 
M.P. Regan
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Major street work and its millions of dollars in costs dominated much of city spending and discussion over the past year—and still does due to the ongoing waterline replacement project still working its way through Dillon.

But next year’s bill for basic street maintenance looks set to go down, according to a street maintenance plan headed before the Dillon City Council at its meeting tonight.

Under the plan, the city’s basic street maintenance in Fiscal Year 2022–23 would be budgeted at $280,900—a decrease from the $353,00 sought from ratepayers in the citywide street maintenance district the prior fiscal year.

The savings will come basically from the city only having to make one final payment of $94,000—instead of two installments totaling $189,000—on the over-one-million-dollar bond it took out about a decade ago to fund the revamping of several blocks of Glendale Street.

The $280,900 would cover: $43,000 for general operations; $24,000 for repairing potholes; $14,500 for snow removal; $4,500 for dura-patcher rental; $80,500 to continue the practice established under former Mayor Mike Klakken of repairing a block and a half of city streets each summer; and $20,000 for excavator rental, as well as $94,400 for the final bond payment.

The street maintenance fee often represents one of the most difficult and controversial aspects of the city’s annual budgeting process that eats up dozens of hours of city council and committee time each summer.

Continuing dismay, distrust and disgust over the disturbed state of many city streets due to the waterline replacement project still working its way through Dillon may again feature at tonight’s 7 p.m. city council meeting, as it has at most recent meetings of the council.

Though a request by Councilperson Dan Nye to have the waterline project’s main engineer and/or the general manager of the company implementing the project appear before the council tonight to answer questions did not make it onto the meeting’s agenda released Monday.

That agenda does include a discussion and vote on the first reading of an amendment to Title 12 of city ordinances covering streets. sidewalks and public places.

Though that amendment includes precious few changes to Title 12.

“I don’t think there was any major changes, just some minor adjustments on spellings and things,” said City Councilperson Raymond Graham, a member of the council’s Judiciary Committee that recommended those changes to the council after reviewing Title 12 at its last meeting.

Tonight’s council meeting will also include a review and vote on approving of Standard Operation Procedure for posting notices of city meetings, a policy first approved in 2007.

University of Montana Western Chancellor Michael Reid will provide an update on the college’s activities, set for shortly after the start of tonight’s council meeting.

The council tonight will also get reports from Fire Chief BJ Klose, Police Chief Jeremy Alvarez, City Treasurer Karen Kipp, and City Director of Operations Todd Hazelbaker, as well as from representatives of the city’s Planning Board, Zoning Commission, Library Board and Tree Board.

Additional reports will be offered by representatives of the city council’s 10 committees— Health & Welfare, Cemetery, Water & Sewer, Finance, Fire & Order, Parks, Street & Alley, ARPA, City Hall and Judiciary.

The meeting will conclude with a period of public comment during which members of the public or city government can offer comments on “items of significant public interest not on the agenda and within the jurisdiction of the city.”

Input can also be given by members of the public during the rest of the meeting within the discussion periods on agenda items.

The meeting will be preceded by a 6:45 p.m. public hearing on annexing and zoning the Hinjosa Moa-Estrada, and Salazar property. People may submit oral or written comments for the hearing.

The Dillon City Council will meet at 7 p.m. today, Wednesday, Aug. 3, in City Council Chambers, 125 N. Idaho St. in downtown Dillon.

For a copy of the agenda for tonight’s city council meeting or the meeting packet, go online to www.dillonmt.org.

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