Bob Michalson is running for a Stevensville Town Council seat to represent Ward 2. This is an unexpired position with two years remaining that was created by the resignation of Patrick Shourd. He will face Sydney Allen who was appointed to fill Shourd’s seat.
“I put my name back in the hat for a number of reasons,” Michalson told the Bitterroot Star. “Number one, infrastructure – lots of money is coming down the pike through CARES Act. The current council is thinking of putting it toward the water storage tank. It’s a great idea. Also for sidewalks – I’d like to see if there’s funding for that.”
Michalson said he’s been walking door to door, and the high water rates are a main concern for most people, as well as lack of good sidewalks.
Michalson said he’s also concerned about the two proposed developments around Creekside Meadows subdivision on the east side of Stevensville. “I’m concerned about the traffic, the access in and out and the pressure on Logan and Middle Burnt Fork.” He said he doesn’t think these issues have been addressed properly.
He also said, “The Town has to make sure we have enough water – George Thomas (former public works supervisor) said we didn’t. That needs be addressed before anything happens. Also, water leaks have always been bad. It will take a lot of money to fix that.”
Michalson has served as a council member and council president before. He resigned in 2019, was re-elected and resigned again in 2020. He said the reason for his resignation was that “there was so much infighting going on. Something had to give.” He said his leaving helped the council overall because it caused a change in the council. “Anytine there’s a changeover, it brings new ideas.”
Michalson said that he could always work with Mayor Brandon Dewey. “But for whatever reason, he couldn’t’ work with me.”
Michalson also mentioned that a planning and growth study is coming up next year and he would like to be a part of that, addressing infrastructure, growth and business.
“I wish we could do more for our parks,” said Michalson. “General upkeep. Father Ravalli Park could use a new fence. Lewis & Clark Park will take more upkeep with the new splash pad. We could use a new pool, too. Why this town keeps putting this on the back burner for the last 70 years, I don’t understand.”
Michalson said that the current council doesn’t know the policies and procedures they have been following this past year. He said the council “delegates authority to the mayor, and the mayor delegates the authority in other places… I always tried to follow the rules and regulations to the letter,” said Michalson. “I probably paid for that.”
When asked whether he wanted to comment on the settlement agreement between himself and former town clerk Audree Tribbensee in which the Town’s insurance carrier had to pay $50,000 on his behalf (see story in this week’s Star), Michalson said, “I feel like Audree got in the middle of a pissing match between the mayor and I. I was too forceful. Even though it was helping her do her job, I was hurting her.”
Michalson moved to Stevensville in 2005 after working for BNSF Railroad for 27 years. “I started going to council meetings in 2011. I’ve been involved in local politics for 10 years now.”
“I’m pretty disappointed with this raising of the fees and the land sale (story in last week’s Star). We’re being told we have this great budget, then why do we need this money?”
“The public has been left out of public participation, many times and many meetings, especially Burnt Fork Estates. It felt in that case, the council was pretty pro-developer. I’m all for development, but it has to be responsible.”
Michalson wants another chance on the council. “I would like to be part of the council that tells the mayor – we can’t always get you what you want but we can get you what you need,” he said.