Paving is expected to start Aug. 8 on College Avenue in the city of St. Maries. City engineer Jesse Herndon gave a brief update on the project at the St. Maries City Council meeting Monday, July 25. He said he was unsure if sidewalks would be finished ahead of the paving or after, but noted it does not matter as long as the curbing was in. “They should be finishing the curbing this week,” Herndon said. Herndon also told the council they had received another grant from DEQ for $400,000. He said the budget was short to do water along 10th Street. “We got bids for phase two, we were still finishing phase one and I did a presentation that if we did 10th Street, we would be overrunning the project budget for the water by a little less than $400,000,” Herndon said. Herndon said the grant money was available to those who already had a loan with DEQ. “Our application was successful,” Herndon said. Several pay requests were approved in connection with water and sewer work throughout the city. Four were for HMH Engineering services: $17,371.82 for phase two construction inspection; $4,099.48 for phase three sewer, as the preliminary design is underway; $945 for phase two sewer; and $4,433.75 for the lead water line replacement project. Four pay requests from DG&S were also approved: $12,608.42 and $2,389.25 for water; sewer in the amount of $10,887; sidewalks, $27,581.52; and $59,819.66 for roads. • • • St. Maries resident Christian Kerodin spoke to the council during public comment. He reiterated he is unhappy with how the city has handed the enforcement of the nuisance ordinance in town related to weeds and grass. He said he does not know the status of citations as no one will answer his questions. He said some of the biggest offenders in the city are the city, Potlatch, the railroad and Jack Buell’s trucking spot. “I don’t know if they have been cited. If they are going to be cited. I doubt that anyone has gone to Jack and told him to cut his weeds. I don’t approve of the way that this has been handled,” Kerodin said. Kerodin said he does not think it is right how the city has been sending the police chief, “an armed man”, out to residents and telling them they need to “come up to the standard” or be fined or face jail time. “That is not the way a polite society works,” Kerodin said. He added one of the problems with city police departments is they “end up being used, or abused, or misused by the mayor’s office.” “I think that’s the problem here, but I haven’t been able to get answers,” Kerodin said. Kerodin again criticized the city for the lack of transparency. “I don’t believe the mayor is for transparency, and that is evidenced by the fact the St. Maries Police Department page went down the very night a few people started to push back,” Kerodin said. He also mentioned the fact the city’s own Facebook page and website are not updated. Kerodin encouraged to the council to read his letter, which he handed out during the public comment period addressing it to Ed Spooner, council president. In his letter, Kerodin suggests a civilian oversight board be brought into existence to serve as a third-party entity to observe, report and participate in all matters related to the city’s police department. “My take on all of this, the only thing you’re wanting to do is stir the pot and cause trouble,” Councilman Steve Dorendorf said. “We’re trying to do some good around this city and you’re going around behind our back, videotaping this and posting it on Facebook, which it is open to the public, but if you’re going to record us you should be man enough to stand up there and say, ‘Hey, I’m recording you.’” “You know I’m recording you right?” Kerodin said. “We do now,” Dorendorf said. “But you don’t have our permission to record,” Councilwoman Laci Hanson said. Kerodin said he didn’t need his permission to record as it was a public forum. “Talk to your city attorney,” Kerodin said. Kerodin then asked if he could respond to Dorendorf’s comments, but Mayor Tom Carver said his time was up. • • • A lot merger was approved for Margie and Larry Bentcik. • • • A special exemption was approved for the beer at the Blue Ox for Paul Bunyan Days. • • • The council briefly discussed the ambulance building. Councilmen indicated they did not want to charge a high lease fee, if anything, but would like the county to be responsible for insurance and the upkeep of the building and property. Carver added the city still has the titles of the ambulances but would hang onto those as the city was still paying insurance. He said he wanted to see the county take over paying insurance before handing them over. • • • Police Chief Scott Castles said there has been vandalism down at the skate park/ BMX track area. He suggested revamping the area so it was more visible or doing away with the BMX track itself. Carver said a resident made a similar suggestion about tearing out the track. • • • Public Works Director Skyler Harrison reminded the council they need to look at planning the fifth edition for the cemetery. • • • Carver said the county commissioners received the solid waste transfer cost analysis from their engineer. He said the conclusion of the report was that the cost per ton to haul from St. Maries to Missoula was $76 to $79. Carver said his calculations were not far off. He estimated the city produces 100 ton, which is roughly $7,500 a month. With the figures from the report, it comes out to $7,679. “So that’s only about $179 more than what I came up with several months ago,” Carver said. He said the county was charging $31,000 a quarter and the study shows it should be $22,000. Carver said he hoped the new data would help the county realize the figures were closer to what the city came up. Carver said the county has plans to put scales in, which will give them an actual number of the tonnage.
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