At the May 12 meeting of the Stevensville Town Council, the council unanimously approved a $4000 reduction to the mayor’s salary. The reduction, which was requested by Mayor Steve Gibson, will drop the salary to $24,000 annually. According to Gibson, the $333.33 per month savings will go to offset the payroll of other town employees.
During discussion of the claims, council member Marilyn Wolff questioned a $6150 charge for attorney fees, wondering about the nature of the charges. Mayor Gibson said the charges were for prosecution costs, development challenges, and requests from council. “It takes a lot of time to go through all the statutes,” said the mayor. He said that currently four major developments are in process. He said to keep in mind that the former administration doubled current town attorney Greg Overstreet’s pay over that of the former town attorney. He said, however, that the costs were still within the amount that had been budgeted.
The council unanimously confirmed the hiring of Police Chief Mac Sosa as he had completed his probation period. “Stevensvilel has been very fortunate to have Mac Sosa,” said Gibson. “Everyday I receive good comments about Chief Sosa.”
The council also unanimously approved Loey Knapp’s appointment to the Park Board.
A resolution to change the meeting time from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. failed to pass. Wolff supported the measure, saying that not that many people were attending in person, with many more watching the meetings online. She said winter weather and early darkness makes it more difficult to attend the later meeting. “I think it’s good to have an earlier meeting. I’m comfortable with the 6 pm meeting.”
But council member Stacey Barker said, “I work until 5 but they are short-staffed and so I sometimes have to stay later. Changing the time for me will make it a little bit harder.” The vote was 2-2, with Wolff and Bob Michalson voting in favor and Barker and Cindy Brown voting against. The mayor declined to break the tie.
Mayor Gibson told the council that he had heard that the town has been approved for an ARPA grant for fixing water leaks and improving water storage. He said the official notification was still to come. He also said that the council meetings will be moved back to town hall as soon as possible.
Under council comments, Cindy Brown complimented Michalson for picking up yard waste around town. She also said that after receiving emails from citizens, she would like the council “to step up our game plan” by inviting the Local Government Center, MMIA and the League of Cities and Towns to present a workshop for council members. The mayor said he thought it was a good idea, and that a similar workshop is being held in Missoula in July.
Council member Michalson said that Leanna Rodabaugh was appointed chair of the Planning and Zoning Board. He said the board has nearly completed the revisions to the subdivision regulations. Public hearings will be required and then the proposed regulations will have to come before the council for final approval.
Citizen Pat Groninger said the recent spring cleanup had “worked very well” and he wondered if it would be possible to have another one soon. The mayor said he would talk to Public Works Director Steve Kruse to see if it could be done. Groninger thanked the town staff and the council “for all the great work they’ve been doing” with a special thank you to Jenelle Berthoud, town clerk, for keeping the town going. “It’s nice to have Stevensville back,” he said.