Havre Daily News
Havre Mayor Bob Rice this week said he's satisfied with information he's received regarding the cost of past engineering work done for the Rocky Boy's/North Central Montana Regional Water System.
He also said he's received some flak from a tribal official, who questioned why Rice was airing his concerns in the media.
Rice had said in an interview last week that he wanted to know the reasons behind the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars on engineering studies and plans for the proposed water system, which will eventually bring treated water from Lake Elwell to thousands of residents on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation and across northcentral Montana.
Rice attended a meeting last week in Great Falls with members of the system's water authority, which represents the nontribal communities involved in the system. Water authority coordinating committee member Dave Jones today said the board agreed to hire Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, a large engineering firm with offices in Billings, Helena and in four other states.
The firm will assist the authority with upcoming public meetings and design the nontribal portion of the system. The entire system has been authorized by Congress with a price tag of $229 million.
“The meeting went well,” Rice said this week. “I got all of the answers I need.”
Rice said he received a stack of documents an inch thick, detailing the work that has been done by Billings-based HKM Engineering.
“I haven't had the chance to review all of them, but for the most part they look pretty good,” he said.
Rice said he later received a call from Rocky Boy water resources director Jim Morsette regarding a story in the Havre Daily News about the mayor's concerns over the costs.
“It wasn't a very nice conversation,” Rice said. “He addressed me talking to the paper.”
Rice said Morsette accused him of conducting city business in the newspaper.
Morsette did not respond to several phone calls seeking comment this week.