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Council approves Festival Days Street closure


August 21, 2018

Havre City Council Monday approved a new street closure request from the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce for this year’s Festival Days.

“They are kind of changing things up for our Festival Days … which I think is very positive,” Mayor Tim Solomon said.

The closure will be in effect Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Second Street and Fourth Street.

The proposal submitted by Chamber Executive Director Jody Olson said the street closure is to include the downtown area for Festival Days and the street will be lined with vendor booths.

The council also approved the first readings of several resolutions during the meeting, including levying and assessing the cost of maintaining street lights for the city of Havre; assessing the tax on property within the city limits of Bullhook maintenance; assessing the tax on property within city limits for maintaining streets, and levying and assessing a tax to the cost of solid waste services for the city of Havre.

Council member Denise Brewer said that some people may think that these are new taxes but they are not.

Solomon added that passing the resolutions to fund the operations is a yearly process that has to be approved annually.

Council member Terry Lilletvdt asked if the council could increase the levy amounts for street maintenance and put the money toward large repairs or possible rebuilds.

Finance Director Doug Kaercher said the money collected cannot be used for any rebuilding projects and is strictly designated for maintenance and repair, adding that at a point in the future some of the roads will no longer be able to just be repaired and will require a rebuild.

Havre Director of Public Works Dave Peterson said it would take a large amount of additional labor and laborers to repair every road; the public works department is currently looking for future long-term solutions to these problems rather than just patching a recurring problem.

Kaercher said the amounts in the resolutions show little differences in the numbers from last year, with most of the resolutions increasing or decreasing the taxes less than .5 percent. The resolution for solid waste water services has increased 1.46 percent, he said that this a result of mitigation for last years snow storm.

Kaercher said he and Peterson reviewed the costs of the district from previous years and estimated the possible increases, then estimated a dollar amount for the work needed.

An individual who lives on a corner lot property of 50-by-140 square feet will see a $2.12 increase in property taxes compared to last year, Kaercher said, adding that many property owners will see a smaller increase.

The council will have the final reading for the resolutions Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.

The council also passed a motion approving the city budget on first reading and set the budget hearing for Sept. 5 as well.

Kaercher said that the preliminary budget this year should cause a slight tax decrease for property owners.

The council also approved a Federal Aviation Administration grant agreement for the Havre City-County Airport. The grant will pay for updating the aprons and taxiways for the airport.

Peterson said Sept. 10 will be the start date set for the Public Works water maintenance plan to recoat the inside of the east water tank, and it will drain the tank a week earlier, on Thursday and Friday. He said he has already alerted the parks department, school district and the university.

He said that at 5:30 p.m., on Sept. 4, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will give an update in Havre City Hall on the Rocky Boy’s/North Central Montana Regional Water System and the rehabilitation of the St. Mary’s Diversion that provides much of the water that runs through the Milk River each year.

During the council meeting David Brewer told the council he wanted to thank the Havre Police Department for its officers’ professionalism during an incident at his home, and provided a thank you letter to Police Chief Gabe Matosich.

He said that during an incident at his home Aug. 14, which he and his wife both felt could have become an “explosive” situation, the two officers who arrived on the scene kept it under control and kept calm during the incident.

“In this time of tension in our country and all the comments that are always going around about police officers,” Brewer said, “when officers go overboard to keep a situation, that could have easily gotten out of hand, under control and calmly handle it, I just felt that it’s important that they be acknowledged, for doing their job and doing it very, very well.”


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