By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
A proposal to grant Patrick Construction a waiver of water and sewer impact fees for a building it is constructing west of Havre died in a City Council committee meeting Monday.
The proposal, made in a letter to Mayor Bob Rice on May 10, asked for a waiver on fees charged to connect water and sewer lines to the structure on Second Street West. Fastenal, an industrial and construction supply company based in Minnesota, will be renting the building.
The proposal was referred to the Water and Sewer Committee after two local contractors said it would be unfair to grant the waiver.
Carol Bachini-Wood, president of C&C Excavation Inc., last month noted that the city has waived the fees to create an incentive for business to move here. But, she told the council, that wouldn't happen in this case because the company using the building will only be renting.
After a short discussion Monday, the committee declined to take any action on the question.
Committee member Allen "Woody" Woodwick said that in times of tight budgets, it's difficult to justify giving fee waivers.
"It's tough to turn down any money," he said.
Tom Patrick, owner of Patrick Construction, said this morning he wasn't aware that the request had died in committee. It didn't really matter to him, he said.
"It just means more money," Patrick said, adding the company renting the building will have to pay higher rent to make up the difference.
Patrick said he hopes to have the building completed in a few weeks.
Deputy director of public works Gary Schaub said this morning the impact fee to connect the water is about $675 and the fee to connect the sewer is about $975.
City Clerk Lowell Swenson said the city has been charging the impact fees since August 1996. The fees have brought the city about $10,000 a year for the last few years, he said.
Committee member Jack Brandon said during the committee meeting he is concerned about setting a precedent. The fee has only been waived twice before, once for Northern Montana Hospital and once for the Schwann Food Co., he said.
Committee member Emily Mayer Lossing said it's pointless to have the fees if the council keeps waiving to them.
"If we're going to keep giving them away, we might as well do away with them altogether," she said.
Also on Monday:
The City Council approved a new subdivision at the end of 10th Avenue near Havre High School. Property owner Rocky Preeshl said he will pave 500 feet of private road with access to the four lots. The city is requiring the creation of a homeowners group that will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the paved road and the water and sewer lines, as well as for any further subdivisions or improvements.
The council rehired Havre attorney Jim Spangelo as the city's public defender. Spangelo, who has been public defender for about 20 years, made a bid with a salary proposal of $19,278.
Mayor Bob Rice announced that the city is investigating switching to Western Insurance of Helena for its health insurance coverage. He said he and Swenson attended a presentation by the company Monday, and he will continue to look into the matter. The city is now self-insured.