By Tim Leeds
The Havre City Council accepted a letter of resignation from Director of Public Works Ron Bastin Monday night.
The resignation is effective Friday, June 9. Helen Hill, president of the council, said in an interview that they will probably wait until Mayor Phyllis Leonard returns next week to decide what action to take to fill the position. She said David Peterson, the assistant public works director, and Gary Schaub, the work crew superintendent, can run the department efficiently until a decision is made about Bastin's replacement.
"They're the ones in charge of everyday operations anyway," she said.
Bastin, who is 64, said he had another opportunity which is closer to his training as an engineer. He will work in Sitka, Alaska, as a senior inspector on a project for the National Park Service for 15-17 months. He said he will be supervising historical restoration and remodeling at Sitka.
Bastin said at his age he wants to work somewhere with a little less responsibility than the publicly focused, neverending aspects of public works.
"Director of public works is such a broad field, dealing with so many things, so many people," he said.
Bastin said the job at Sitka will also fit more closely with his background in construction. He said he is pleased with how some projects turned out during his tenure as director of public works, such as the water plant upgrade. He said the people involved in designing the plant are the tops in their field, and the city should have the latest technology once it's done.
"Hopefully, when it's all over," he said, "we'll end up with a facility that's way above average."
Hill said when Bastin took over the director position, she didn't expect him to stay long. She said since he was so close to retirement age, his resignation didn't surprise her.
She said it's been very helpful to have someone with his experience in the position. She said having an engineer in the position while planning the construction on the waste water treatment plant and the water plant has been helpful.
In a Finance Committee meeting before the council meeting, Havre Parks and Recreation Director Dave Wilson told the committee that he has been told the Havre Public School system will provide $25,000 to resurface the city tennis courts if they can be be assured the project will be financed by June 30. He said with improvement funds already set aside, this would require the city to provide about $33,750 more to fund the project.
Hill, the chair of the committee, told Wilson they would meet again to discuss the issue and present their findings to the council before the end of the month.
In other action, the council
n Approved the annexation and zoning of four tracts of land to the city. Councilmen Rick Pierson and Gary Schubert opposed the annexation.
Before the vote, Jim Kaze, city attorney, told the council that attorney Bruce Swenson had pointed out that land which has not been platted into subdivisions or doesn't have a certificate of survey cannot be annexed. Since a portion of the Centurion Subdivision on tract C of the annexation is not platted and does not have a certificate of survey, Kaze told the council that that portion of the tract had to be excluded from the annexation. The council included that provision in the annexation.
Kaze also told the council that city code already allows existing usage which doesn't conform to zoning to continue until such usage is stopped by the owner. He said the owner of land annexed and subsequent users can continue the non-conforming usage until such a time as the usage is stopped. After that, the land must conform to zoning requirements.
Approved blocking off Second Street between Second and Third avenues on Saturdays from July 15 to Oct. 7 for the farmers market;
Approved blocking off Second Street between Second and Third Avenue and Third Street between Third and Fourth Avenue for a three-on-three hoopfest on Saturday, July 22.