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New Stevi airport manager appointed


At its September 13 meeting, the Stevensville Town Council confirmed the mayor’s appointment of Steve Knopp as the new manager of the Stevensville Airport. Knopp will not take over the reins from long time manager Don Misevic until January 1, 2013. In the meantime Misevic will continue to work on the current taxiway improvement project and help prepare Knopp for taking the helm next year.

During public comment, town resident and former council member Clayton Floyd expressed dissatisfaction, not at the appointment but at the procedure, which he claimed left the present manager out of the loop.

Mayor Gene Mim Mack, who was out of town for the council meeting, later told the Star that he believed Misevic has been in the loop throughout the process and was well aware of the impending action.

Phase I of Stevi Wastewater Treatment plant improvements completed

The final bill for engineering costs on Phase I of the Stevensville Waste Water Improvement project has come in under budget. Contracted for $266,615 the final costs for Phase I came in at $265, 543, a little more than $1,000 under budget.

The engineering services contract contained eight individual tasks including Preliminary Engineering, Final Design, Bidding Phase, Construction Administration, Resident Project Representative, Post Construction Phase, Groundwater Study/Lagoon Decommissioning, and Grants and Load Administration.

Encroachment regulations

The Stevensville Town Council approved on Second Reading an ordinance amending the regulation of encroachments. The regulation prohibits encroachment on the public right of way making it unlawful to obstruct the right of way with debris, encumbrances or encroachments of any kind “which hamper or interfere with the free and safe use or passage by the public.

The ordinance specifically addresses overhanging encroachments such as signs, eves, marques, or similar devices, stating that they “shall not conflict with, or interfere with, traffic control signs, signals, street lights, trees, or with highway construction or maintenance operations. All such devices must be permitted by the Town Building Inspector and may be revoked by the Town Council.

The ordinance requires the outermost portion of an overhanging device to be at least 2 feet behind the curb or curb line in horizontal distance, and at least seven and one half feet above the top of the curb, sidewalk, or roadway shoulder elevation in vertical distance.

Downtown business owners shall be allowed to encroach upon the sidewalk area directly adjacent to their respective businesses provided that the encroachment shall not extend beyond five feet horizontal from the building line of the business. A minimum of three and a half feet of clear distance for pedestrians shall be maintained at all times between the business’s encroachment and other sidewalk obstructions such as traffic control signs, signals, street lights, trees, garbage cans, and bike racks. All portable signs, displays, kiosks and vending carts shall be placed within the same 5-foot encroachment area.

No encroachment other than approved bike racks, trash receptacles, and benches shall be allowed to exist upon the “bulb outs”, except when specifically authorized by the Town Council or as part of an approved Special Event Permit. All “bulb out” encroachments shall leave a minimum of six feet of sidewalk aisle clear to the crosswalks, shall be set back from the curb a minimum of two feet and shall not interfere with the vehicular sight triangle as defined by state and local traffic regulations.

No more one way streets and alleys

The Council, approved on second reading the repeal of the town ordinance creating a one-way street and two one-way alleys. The one way street, a short section of Ravalli Street off of Main, had drawn many complaints, one from the local theater and one from St. Mary’s Mission, all arguing that the current designations were confusing to customers and tourists.

Some speed limits lowered

The Town Council passed on first reading an ordinance that would lower the speed limits on six stretches of road from 25 mph to 15 mph. The affected streets include Chilcott and Smith Streets from Barbara to Valley View; Barbara and Valley View Streets from Main to Smith; and Turner and Heritage Streets from Chilcott to Smith.

The Council received a citizens’ petition to lower the speed limits. Councilor Ron Klaphake disagreed with the lowering of the speed limits on Chilcott and Smith, but Councilor Desera Towle, who lives in the area, argued that 15 mph was appropriate on all the streets petitioned for consistency in the area.

Mill levy set by resolution

The council officially set the town’s mill levy at 100.04 mills which is valued at $252,375 for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. This is a slight reduction from last year’s levy of 100.51 mills, which was valued at $247,427. The reduced number of mills can raise more money because of a higher mill value. This year one mill is valued at $2,473 due to higher assessed values of property.

In other business, the Council leased a new copier on a 5-year lease/purchase contract for $4,000. Payments amount to $108 per month. The Town’s old copier was sold to the Fire Department for $4,000.

In the public comment portion of the meeting the Council heard some complaints about vandalism and foul language being used by juveniles that frequent the park. Soccer coach Cathy Cook said that the netted soccer goals had been vandalized and that teenagers hanging out in the park were using indecent language around the younger kids.

“If you have a park you should be able to take your kids there and feel safe,” said Cook. “Right now I don’t feel safe.” Town Clerk Stacy Bartlett, speaking as an individual with two children, echoed Cook’s concerns, stating that it was juvenile delinquents hanging out in the park after school and in the evenings that were creating the problem.

Roger O’Hare urged the town and the town police not to take a negative or confrontational attitude towards juveniles using the park. He said it was important for the police to be seen as a friend to youth and not simply train them to flee when they see the cops coming.

“I believe law enforcement should maybe take some more initiative and talk to some of those kids and be friends with them, not just hand out tickets. They need to use a little psychology,” he said.

The matter was placed on the agenda for the next council meeting.

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