Wolf Point Herald

City To Negotiate With Roosevelt County About Attorney Duties

The Wolf Point City Council held their regular meeting, Oct. 21, in the city council chambers.

During public comment, attorney Terry Toavs introduced himself and said he was here to present a couple of options for the city attorney position.

After the retirement of former Wolf Point city attorney Jerry Schuster, Toavs, who is also the Poplar City attorney, had been helping the city with civil matters until the city could recruit a new city attorney.

The Roosevelt County Attorney’s Office has served to prosecute city criminal cases through an inter-local agreement between the city and the county where the city contributes some of money to the county and the county commissioners would task the county attorneys with the criminal prosecutions for the city.

Toavs said he would be interested in continuing to work for the city in civil matters, but he said he would like to be more engaged with the city council and come to the council meetings. He would like to be hired on an hourly wage.

Roosevelt County deputy attorney Jordan Knudsen, representing the county attorney’s office, said the office would like to continue helping the city in criminal matters. He also said the county attorney’s office would be willing to assume the civil duties, through a similar inter-local agreement between the city and the county, if the city was interested.

Councilman Chris Dschaak asked Knudsen if the county attorney’s office had any idea of what it would cost for both criminal and civil matters.

Knudsen said he and county attorney Ralph Patch had discussed some options. He said because there was an increase in prosecuting criminals, there would need to be an increase in the compensation the city pays the county. In regards to civil work, Knudsen said Patch was in favor of an hourly fee; however, the office would also be willing to work for a flat fee. He also said both options would be negotiable.

Toavs suggested to the council they go with the county attorney’s office as it would be a cheaper option for the city. Knudsen said there would be similar rates with Toavs, but the county attorney’s office would be cheaper.

Mayor Dewayne Jager asked if they had a hardline number. Knudsen said they would have to double the current cost for $1,000 for criminal. He said Patch wanted to do a $200 per hour for civil, but the flat rate would be $1,000 for a total of $3,000. 

Knudsen said there would be representation from the county attorney’s office at the city council meetings.

Dschaak asked if they could get some numbers brought to the council so they can start negotiations. Wolf Point Police Department Chief Jeff Harada urged the council to go to the Roosevelt County Courthouse and seek advice there. Knudsen invited the council to come to his office at any time. 

Dschaak motioned to negotiate with the Roosevelt County Attorney’s Office for criminal and civil issues. Toavs said the city was doing the right thing and thanked them for being allowed to serve them in a limited capacity.

Jager asked the council members if any of them would like to sit on a special committee with him to negotiate with the attorney’s office. City clerk/treasurer Marlene Mahlum, Dschaak and Laurie Evans volunteered to go with Jager to the county attorney’s office. 

Committee Reports

Public works director Rick Isle said that Silver Airlines will end Dec. 9 and Cape Air will start service Dec. 10, meaning there will be no interruption of service.

Jed Kirkland said the Assiniboine Sioux Rural Water Supply combined four easements into one document. Kirkland also said once the company has finished adjusting the easements and it is acceptable, he will bring it to the board to be approved.

Isle said he will meet with the FAA to see what kind of grants are available to help with drainage issue at the airport.

Mahlum said the planning board had met to discuss the future land use map. She also said the mayor will solicit requests from citizento join the planning board. The board must be comprised of seven members: one city council representative, one city employee, one county representative, two city residents and two residents from outside the city limits.

Dschaak said they reviewed the cooperation agreement with the Fort Peck Housing Authority about fire protection for the housing area. He also said the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department celebrated their 100th Firemen’s Ball Oct. 12. He said they served dinner for between 175 to 190 people.

Although the total numbers have not come in, Dschaak said the fire department raised more money “than we could have ever imagined.” He said the depart ment was thankful for the generosity of the donors for making the event a success.

Judy Page read the Wolf Point Police Department’s report for September. She said the department issued 93 citations, which is 29 more than last September. Page also mentioned that officer Joey Olsen received excellent performance evaluations and high written test scores from the training staff at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena. Olsen will graduate Dec. 6.

In regards to the street dance during Stampede weekend, councilman Craig Rodenberg said the streets and alleys committee met and they are proposing setting aside an area to clean up. They also said they were looking to draft a letter to go out to the tavern association, letting them know the requirements of the policy. Mahlum said that is in the development stage.

Dschaak said he talked to the tavern owners and, while they were accepting fault, they were not limiting the fault to themselves and that there are other vendors who sell food during the dance. He suggested they include all vendors in the policy. 

Mahlum said some vendors go on private property to avoid paying a permit to sell food on public property. Dschaak said they may need to talk to the property owners. He suggested having a broad expectation of all vendors and said it’s better to charge everyone as a whole. Harada said the majority of the trash is not coming from the taverns, but instead coming from people bringing their own food and bottles.

Dschaak said if they put a broad expectation on the whole event, it’s better than targeting one group. Mahlum suggested charging all vendors and bars a fee for Stampede cleanup and then hire a crew to clean up the trash.

Other Matters

Mahlum presented monthly and quarterly activity reports. The council approved the treasurer’s cash report for September 2013 and the quarterly securities report. 

Isle presented his monthly activity report. He said the city maintenance has cleaned up of a lot of patches in the city before the weather turns bad. 

Mahlum reminded everyone it was flu and shot season.

The council approved the minutes for the special meeting Aug. 12 and the minutes for the regular meeting Sept. 16. They also approved the claims and payroll.

The next regular city council meeting will take place Nov. 18.