Council discusses property handling
Management of ball field, library reviewed
July 14, 2022
Thompson Falls Superintendent Bud Scully voiced needs for the school’s baseball field to City Council Monday night. The school has a lease agreement with the city, as the field resides on city property. The current agreement is coming up for renewal as is the softball field agreement.
Scully presented a list of baseball field prep issues that need to be looked at and fixed in order to safely play baseball on the field. The Montana High School Association this year approved baseball as a sanctioned sport.
A proper mound needs to be built alongside needing the right cover gravel infield. “You need the right mix to cover the gravel otherwise the maintenance is ongoing,” Scully said. Sod is needed for the infield territory and Scully recommended seeding the foul area as it is a lot of field to cover.
The rest of the needs included a sprinkler system for the infield grass area, a quick connect behind the mound for watering the infield dirt, adding foul poles in the field and the need to fill in the squirrel holes.
In the school’s maintenance agreement, Scully noted the school is responsible for mowing and maintaining the area during summer and wanted to know why the school and not the city is responsible for that. “I’m passionate about the facilities and making them better and any way we can make things better for our kids and community in general,” Scully said.
The city has no funding to pay for the changes but Mayor Mark Sheets says they will work with the school on an interlocal agreement for the fields and referred the proposed changes to committee.
Council approved the Great West Engineering contract for phases three and four for the wastewater project and they also approved wastewater request reimbursements for Razz construction company, Great West Engineering and the Department of Revenue.
Last week, Sheets and members of the Thompson Falls Public Library board met with county commissioners to discuss the possibility of the county taking over the library. Board member Pat Ingraham said the interlocal agreement between the city and county needs to be updated, and if the county is interested, they would like the county to take over the library. She said if the city keeps the library, the board would like to be reimbursed for expenses and also would like to discuss entitlement funds from the city. Ingraham said the library has not received entitlement funds from the city in two years. Sheets responded that the money was needed in other areas of the city budget, and that it was his understanding that the entitlement funds were discretionary.
The city provided information to the county showing that the library costs the city about $4,600 annually. If the county elected to take over financial operations, Sheets said the city would continue to pay the property insurance.
“Originally my heart was with the city, but with some of the costs, I am ready to go to the county, who has always treated every district fairly,” Ingraham told the commissioners. “With the city taking our entitlement dollars, I feel that it’s more obvious that we are not welcome there for whatever reason.” Ingraham said that the library district has covered most of the costs to operate the library, and the wish from the board was to go to the county at this point.
“So they’re taking all your money and not covering your expenses,” Commissioner Claude Burlingame told the library board members after hearing they weren’t receiving entitlement funds. “Shame on them.” Burlingame said he would review the matter with the Montana Association of Counties.
Also Monday, the city council approved Resolution 815, establishing a service plan for future annexations. At last week’s meeting with the commissioners, Mayor Sheets said the city is looking at annexing all properties that receive city services. This includes Elk Street and part of Hill Street on the east end of the hill, as well as a couple properties on the west end of town. The properties on Elk and Hill streets currently receive city water, and the city would want to annex those properties in order to connect them to the city sewer system in phases three and four. “Or those folks could drill wells or form their own water district and we could pass them by,” Sheets told the commissioners.
The next city council meeting will be Monday, August 8, at 6 p.m.