Havre City Council will take on a new look tonight, as three new council members will take their seats.
Andrew Brekke will be sworn in for his second term as Ward 4 councilman.
The council members have each set some issues they would like to concentrate on during the first year in office.
Brekke, who is also Hill County Republican chair, said he could see few policy changes result from the increasing Republican presence on council.
There will be four Republicans and four Democrats on the council, with Democratic Mayor Tim Solomon at the helm. This is the strongest GOP presence in years.
Party enrollment usually means little when council gets down to tackling issues, Brekke said.
He said most issues are brought to council from interested residents — such as the dog control issues and the cellphone ban. Other times, issues are brought to council's attention by the mayor.
Brekke said some annexation issues will be brought before council, but they will be less controversial than the massive annexation of more than 80 properties that resulted in a lawsuit. He said he didn't see council taking any action on that annexation — which included major stores on U. S. Highway 2 — until after the court case is settled.
Brekke also predicted the controversial cellphone ordinance would be revisited.
Last year council banned driving in the city while using cellphones.
"There will be some discussion because there has been so much backlash," he said
The law could be amended, he said. There has been concern that the law exempts police and firefighters, he said.
Or, there may be an effort to repeal the ordinance, he said
Incoming Councilman Rick Dow, a Republican from Ward 3, said his emphasis will be on working with other municipalities to share services.
For instance, he said the county and the city could jointly purchase some street equipment that could be used by both municipalities. He suggested joint purchases could also be made with the cities of Chinook and Harlem.
"For instance, if something cost $100,000, the three communities could share the cost based on population," he said.
He said that while campaigning, he heard more comments about the condition of streets than any other issue, and he would like to concentrate on that issue.
Democrat Bonnie Parenteau, Ward 1, said she would like to see better use of technology in the city.
More technology in water department billing would make it easier in the long run for customers and city employees, she said.
The city has been behind the curve on adopting new forms of technology, she said. She would also like to see discussion of an improved city website.
Brian Barrows, who will be sworn in as Ward 2 councilman, said he would like to se Havre promoted more.
"What I want to do is promote Havre more, and see a more positive attitude," he said.
He would like to see more business located in town, he said.
Council members to be sworn in tonight:
Ward 1: Democrat Bonnie Parenteau will replace Democrat Pam Hillery, who did not run for re-election. Parenteau ran unopposed.
Ward 2: Republican Brian Barrows will replace Democrat Cal Long, who did not run for re-election. Barrows ran unopposed.
Ward 3: Republican Rick Dow will replace Democrat Bob Kaul. Dow defeated Kaul for re-election.
Ward 4: Republican Andrew Brekke will be sworn in for a second term. Brekke ran unopposed.
Holdover members on council:
Democratic Mayor Tim Solomon.
Ward 1: Democrat Gerry Veis.
Ward 2: Democrat Janet Trethewey.
Ward 3: Republican Robert Kaftan.
Ward 4: Democrat Allen "Woody" Woodwick.