By Martin J. Kidston
The Havre city council council dealt with its busiest session of the year Monday night as members discussed long-term issues effecting the city and answered several requests from the public sector.
Havre Fire Chief Michael Badgley applied to the city for his retirement after 30 years of service. The council voted unanimously to permit Chief Badgleys retirement, effective Aug. 31, and said that he will be greatly missed. Mayor Leonard will begin seeking a new chief in due time. Chief Badgley said he was ready to start fishing.
Jon Swan, a representative of Kitty Keepers, informed the council that the organization which shelters homeless cats, is seeking grant money to expand its shelter, possibly in a new building outside the city limits. In order to receive the grant money, Swan said, Kitty Keepers must operate in a no kill society, meaning the shelters animals would not be euthanized but, rather, held until adoption. The Havre Police Department raised several issues needing to be addressed before the approval.
The council elected to pass the request to the Ordinance Committee for review.
Bob Evans of Master Sports submitted a written request to the council, asking permission to block off Seventh Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets on Aug. 14 and 15 for a three-on-three basketball tournament for kids. The request was approved.
Western Security Bank submitted a written request to the council, asking the city for permission to design a handicap parking spot outside its building. The letter stated that the bank would do so with the understanding that paint and other project items would be their own responsibility. As the issue of parking was raised, discussion turned to downtown parking problems. The council pondered the idea of enforcing the two-hour parking limit, but no decisions were made and the issue was turned over to the Street and Sidewalks Committee for further review.
Dick King of Bear Paw Development presented the council with the final draft of the citys long-range plans.
This is the final draft we started working on back in January, King said. There are some changes, mainly from comments submitted to the city through the planning board.
The long-range plans are available for checkout at city hall, or can be viewed on the Internet at the Bear Paw Development web site.
King requested that the city hold one final public hearing on the plans. The council approved the public hearing for Monday, Aug. 16, at 7:30 p.m. It will be the last meeting before the plans are bound and placed into effect.
The whole point of this is to make our community a better place to live, King said. The mayor thanked King for his hard work and dedication in compiling the plans.
The city announced that it has selected Gaston Engineering out of Bozeman for the citys water main replacement project slated to begin next spring. Gaston Engineering was selected from a field of seven possible choices for the project.
We were looking for a firm that wasnt a large firm, but was a full-service firm, City Engineer Ronald Bastin told the council. So we decided to go with Gaston Engineering.
Regarding other projects, the council elected to allocate $5,000 from its Urban Street Fund to replace the citys 10 or so school pedestrian crossing signs. The new signs are said to offer higher visibility to traveling motorists.
The city also elected to approve the bid from Shulund Construction for the Highland Park sidewalk replacement. The Shulund bid was the only bid received, and was set at $49,000. The project is slated for 11th Street West in Highland Park.
The next city council meeting will be held at 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 16.