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Greetings Everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! I would like to recognize and give thanks and appreciation to all the men and women that have answered the call to serve our county as we have just recently celebrated Veterans Day. This is one day we should all stand united as we honor our Veterans.
The recent city election results are in for the two open positions on the City Council. Congratulations to Rose Hanser as a new Council Member. Rose has experience in city government as our city’s Mayor. Greg Koczur was successful on his reelection as a City Council Member. Congratulations Greg. I very much appreciate Dan Becker for his service as a city council member. Dan has been filling in on the City Council after Pat Campbell resigned to become the city’s Assistant Public Works Director. Dan always came prepared for the council meetings and provided valuable insight with his experience in our Public Works Department. Thank you Dan!
I would like to share with everyone some major successes recently achieved. Phase III of the Wastewater Treatment Improvement Project was completed. This project included construction improvements to the wastewater oxidation ditch and UV disinfection system. This was a $1,002,825 project that was partially funded with a Delivering Local Assistance Program grant in the amount of $415,000. Thank you SEMDC for your assistance in obtaining this grant.
We were recently notified by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality of the successful permit renewal of the discharge permit for our wastewater treatment plant. This allows the city to continue to discharge our effluent to the Ponderosa Butte Golf Course during the summer months, which is extremely important for the continued operation of the golf course. We were also recently notified of pending approval of our discharge permit into Castlerock Lake from our water treatment plant. We discharge water into the lake after it goes through our filtering system that is cleaner or has less sediment than the water we receive from the Yellowstone River.
The City is aware of several recent issues regarding deer and personal or pet safety. The Police Chief and I met with Game Warden Captain Todd Anderson for advice and support regarding deer issues. The City does have a Deer Management Plan in effect regarding the harvesting of deer, primarily through archery hunting with cooperation of land owners within city limits and the surrounding area. We will be setting up a meeting and involving the public for their input. This meeting and discussion will be scheduled after the close of the hunting season and will be publicly noticed. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to contact the Colstrip Police Department if a situation occurs threatening either personal safety or threat of the safety of your pet. The police department will respond to these calls accordingly and deal with the situation, which may require the removal of the deer.
The City is currently in discussion with the Department of Environmental Quality and power plant owners regarding a Water Feasibility Study for Colstrip. This study was legislated through Senate Bill 87. This is Senator Duane Ankney’s bill for a continuing water supply for the City of Colstrip. This bill was heavily lobbied against by the Pacific Northwest owners of units 3 and 4. Other legal matters involve our continued support of Senate Bills 265 and 266 regarding the operation of units 3 and 4.
The Pacific Northwest power plant owners are all united in their opposition. The City also continues to support the Area F expansion of Westmoreland’s mine to supply coal. This continues to be opposed by the Sierra Club, Montana Environmental Information Center and others.
The City has successfully completed it’s budgeting process and also the completion of a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan. This information is available for anyone’s interest at City Hall. Some of the major capital components within the budget include:
1) Replacement of our Solid Waste Collection Truck - This is a $381,000 purchase. The City has made application for partial funding of this truck and the grant application will be presented at the December 9th Coal Board meeting in Billings.
2) Fire Truck Replacement - This is a very large expenditure. We have $750,000 budgeted for a newly used unit. We will be pursuing funding assistance for this expenditure.
3) Olive Drive/Plum Court Sewer Line Replacement - We are estimating the cost for this line replacement to be $300,000. We are currently preparing to go out for bids on this project for construction next year.
4) Water & Wastewater Controls System - This $690,000 project is the supervisory control and data system for our water and sewer operations. We have obtained a partial grant of $345,000 for this project through the Economic Development Administration thanks to SEMDC. We are currently in the design phase and preparing to go out for bids.
5) Street Sweeper Replacement - This is a $280,000 capital item that we are currently in the bidding process for. We will also be pursuing a partial grant request for this piece of equipment.
These are some of the major budget items and, as you can see, with all of the projects before us I am anticipating a very busy year. I continue to solicit advice and support from our employees, city council and all the members of our great city as we approach a new year.
In this newsletter there is an article written by Becky Miller about a Colstrip Beautification Program. A small group of residents are getting together to develop a beautification program for our community. If you would like to become involved in this program, please contact Becky or myself. We would be glad to have your ideas and involvement. We should all be looking at ways to spruce up our town and develop neighborhood pride.
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Happy Spring! We welcome this change of seasons - it is my favorite. I would like to express the City’s appreciation to Officer Jacob West as he leaves our employment in the Police Department. He will be a welcome addition to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as a Game Warden stationed in Colstrip. Thank you Jacob for your service to the City of Colstrip and its residents. The City of Colstrip will begin to interview candidates for this officer position with the assistance of our Police Commission: Jack Rosander, Cheryl Fulkerson and Duane Cole. I would like to express my appreciation to Councilmember Pat Campbell for his service on our City Council. Pat will be resigning from the City Council to take on the position of the city’s Assistant Public Works Director. Thank you Pat for your great work as a City Council member and I look forward to your continuing service to our residents and the City as an employee. Pat’s vacancy as a City Council member, pending the next election, will be filled within 30 days of the vacancy by a majority vote of the City Council members. This office vacancy will be noticed and I encourage interested residents to make an application by sending a letter of interest to City Clerk/Treasurer Michelle Richards.
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NOTICE OF CITY COUNCIL VACANCY
A vacancy has occurred on the Colstrip City Council. The term for which the appointment will be made is from the date of the appointment through the remainder of the term ending December 31, 2021. To be eligible, a person must be a resident of the City at least one year prior to appointment. Persons interested in being appointed to fill the vacant term should submit a letter indicating the reasons for their interest and describing their relevant background. Letters of interest should include the following information:
Reason(s) you want to be on the City Council
Skills, knowledge or experiences you have that would contribute to your service on the council
Letters of interest can be delivered to the City Clerk’s Office at 12 Cherry Street, emailed to email@example.com or mailed to Michelle Richards, City Clerk/Treasurer, PO Box 1902, Colstrip, MT 59323.
Letters of interest will be accepted until noon on April 23, 2021.
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Merry Christmas! Wow, what a year it has been for your city dealing with a new experience - COVID. It has been a challenge for everyone. I appreciate all the support from the residents as we have done our best to maintain quality service for all of you. Thank you to the City Employees as they have continued to provide great service to our residents. This year has seen significant improvement and completion of many projects.
We finally completed the Zone 3 Water Storage Tank. This was a 2.3 million dollar project. After many delays and weather challenges it has been completed. A very worthy landmark in our community with the city’s logo.
In my last newsletter article I provided some information on the Colstrip Cemetery. Thanks to some additional information from Dan Negethon I would like to update. After the property was donated by Rosebud County, a local survey company comprised of two Colstrip residents, Jim Rogers and Dan Negethon, actually surveyed, designed and developed the cemetery site plan. For a period of time Dan Negethon managed the cemetery as its first manager. Dan also designed the original sign for the high school kids to fabricate. Thank you Dan for adding this information.