Krista Corner Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The public will get a chance next week to learn more about a proposed port authority that would serve Havre and Hill County. One main question is whether the organization would be given bonding authority. The meeting is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall. “We’re going to give general information about what a port authority should be, ... provide examples and give finance options,” insurance salesman Andrew Brekke said. He’s one of three members of a special committee appointed by Havre Mayor Bob Rice to study whether a port authority would be feasible here. He said the committee wants public comment before it makes its full written recommendation to the City Council in a July meeting. Brekke added that Shelby Mayor Larry Bonderud will be at the meeting to answer technical questions the public may have. “(Bonderud) is there in an informational capacity only and to answer technical questions,” he said. The committee presented an initial report to City Council members last month. The report said the port authority isn’t related to serving a port, isn’t an entity to run “rough-shod” over the citizens, and isn’t meant to act as a competitor with other local development entities. The report said a port authority can develop segments of the city and county that may otherwise go neglected. It also said the port authority may bring increased revenue to the region, reduce property taxes and increase employment opportunities. Rice said today the committee met with several communities and received a lot of positive feedback. He said the bonding capability is a big reason he’s asked people to consider creating a port authority. “I am primarily looking at the bonding authority of a port authority,” he said. “I think they can work in conjunction with Bear Paw Development, and Bear Paw can utilize their bonding authority.” Bear Paw Development Corp. executive director Paul Tuss has said there are several questions he wants answered before he can decide whether such an organization would be a positive addition to Havre and Hill County. He also said he’s interested to learn what a port authority can do for Havre that Bear Paw Development cannot. Tuss could not be reached for comment. Hill County Commission chair Kathy Bessette has said there are many questions she’d like answered. She also could not be reached for comment.