The Stevensville Town Council approved an appropriation of $50,000 from the Jean Thomas Beautification Fund with $25,000 to go towards improvements at Father Ravalli Park and $25,000 to be donated to the Stevensville splash pad project to help defray the cost of a recirculating water system that the council had requested be part of the project. The splash pad project is being facilitated by the Stevensville Civic Club, with support from Project 59870 in raising the $145,000 needed for the project. The appropriation was at the recommendation of the Park Board.
The council also approved a claim for $23,000 for the MySidewalk software after some discussion about the cost. Council member Dempsey Vick said he thought the software was too expensive. In public comment on the claim, some members of the public thought that the mayor was overstepping his authority in entering into this agreement for this amount of money. Council member Jaime Devlin pointed out that the mayor has authority to make purchases up to $25,000 without getting council approval. They both said, “The town doesn’t want it.”
Former council member Bob Michalson said he was “shocked and appalled when I heard the news of the service agreement… You just don’t care about the policies of procedures of the Town… The $69,000 contract for MySidewalk is something the whole town is very upset about.” Michalson said the money would be better spent in helping to pay off the sewer bond.
The mayor did, however, present the proposal to the council at a previous meeting and the council had no objections. Town attorney Scott Owens, who attended the meeting by phone, clarified that approval of the claim constituted council approval and that another claim would have to be presented for each annual fee. The claim was approved on a 3 to 1 vote with council member Dempsey Vick voting no.
The council voted to table an ordinance to rezone a property on Pine Street between Pine and North Avenue from R-1 to R-2 to allow multi-family housing
until they heard from the developer. In the public hearing on the project, there was concern over high ground and surface water in the area.
An ordinance to rezone a portion of Twin Creeks subdivision from R-1 to R-2 to allow multi-family housing was considered by the council. Ron Ewert with PCI, consultant for the developer, told the council that the new proposal was an improvement over the original due to lower impacts on the environment. He said 1300 feet of road and related infrastructure would not have to be built and two bridges over the creek would not be necessary. But Debra Buckley, a resident of Twin Creeks, said that 46 homeowners at 27 of the residences in Twin Creeks had been contacted and 100% of them were opposed to this zoning change. The council ended up voting 3-1 to deny the rezoning ordinance, preferring to leave the original plan in place, with council member Paul Ludington casting the lone vote in favor.
Due to the fact that the rezoning request was voted down, the council also voted unanimously to deny a rephasing request for Twin Creeks subdivision.
In other business the council:
• approved an increase to 14¢ per square foot for airport leases;
• approved a lease agreement for hangar space at the airport that contains a bathroom, lounge and office space for use by staff and airport users at a cost of $3600 per year;
• approved a Strategic Plan.
A community clean-up day is being planned for May 1st.