Havre Daily News
The Havre City Council has decided to pay a bill for $16,800 from Bill Baltrusch Construction for the paving of Third Avenue West.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice had originally hoped that property owners would contribute $13,000 to the project, leaving the city to pick up $3,800. The city will receive at least $7,750 from the adjoining landowners. The city will pay the balance with state-allocated fuel tax money.
The bill was set aside at the July 5 City Council meeting when council member Pam Hillery questioned whether agreements Havre Mayor Bob Rice had made with property owners along the one-block street were written or verbal.
Rice later said he had made verbal agreements with the property owners.
Council member Emily Mayer Lossing cast the lone dissenting vote at Monday's council meeting.
Hillery, who is the Democratic candidate for mayor, was not at the meeting and could not be reached for comment.
The city originally billed Pizza Hut for $4,500. But a regional manager told Rice in a letter that because the business had not been involved in the planning process, it wasn't able to plan for a $4,500 expenditure. Instead, the business sent the city a check for $2,250.
After receiving the letter, Rice said he would only expect Gold Spike owner Tammy Farmer to pay the same amount. Rice said Monday night that Farmer will pay the $4,500 she had originally agreed to pay.
Farmer could not be reached for comment.
The city has also received $1,000 from one of the four other property owners on Third Avenue West.
Mayer Lossing said Tuesday that she voted against the measure because she wants to see the city return to a practice of using special improvement districts for such improvements.
"I voted no on sheer principle," Mayer Lossing said. "We need to make sure we go back to doing the SID process and make it fair and equitable to everybody ... rather than stiffing the taxpayers with the bill. We need to start going back to the way things have been traditionally done in Havre, rather than circumventing the legal avenues that have been established for us to follow."
There are plenty of established streets in Havre that deserve to be worked on, Mayer Lossing said, including Tenth Street and Third Avenue.