Written by Devon Boen
At the Wolf Point City Council meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24, the council filled a vacancy and officially opened another vacancy.
Councilwoman Arden DeWitt submitted her resignation in late 2012, but since it was not a formal item on the agenda at the last meeting the board could not officially approve a motion to accept it.
On Jan. 24, the council unanimously accepted DeWitt’s resignation. The vacancy will need to be filled by a Wolf Point resident who lives on the east side of Third Avenue South since that is the area DeWitt was from and represented. The council did not have any candidates for the position at the meeting, but said it would be looking for a replacement in the near future.
DeWitt’s successor will be up for re-election in November. If the replacement is re-elected, they will have a two-year term until 2015.
Councilman Sonny Douglas officially resigned Nov. 30 and his seat has remained unfilled since that time.
On Jan. 24, Mayor Dewayne Jager announced that three people, Milton Berglee, Dan Sietsema and Paul Huber, were interested in the position.
Jager made a motion to approve Paul Huber to the council, and the council passed the motion unanimously.
Douglas’ term would have been up in November, so Huber will be up for re-election. Huber told The Herald- News he does not plan to run for re-election in November.
The council then unanimously approved the final drawdown request for the Community Development Block Grant program housing revitalization project. Great Northern Development Corporation has been using the grant for the last four years to complete 25 demolitions of dilapidated housing in the area and to complete 10 rehabilitations.
GNDC representative Martin DeWitt said the final draw was being submitted for $52,071.69. He said, of that amount, the city already had $4,999 cash on hand in the account so the GNDC’s request to the state was for a release of $47,072.69. DeWitt said GNDC needed to draw the final funds down now because the housing grant needed to be closed out by Feb. 15.
The council then moved on to committee reports. Councilman Chris Dschaak said the fire department may have new people joining in the near future which would help bring the number of volunteers up to the desired level.
Wolf Point Chief of Police Jeff Harada presented the monthly police report. During December, there were 346 complaints and 62 citations issued. There were 36 criminal, 22 traffic and four civil citations issued. During the month, the department patrolled 7,343 miles. Harada also shared details of the department’s community involvement in December in the report.
“The officers in the department came out in full force during the annual Christmas Parade of Lights. The parade participants proved an illuminating show, exceptionally pleasing to all those involved in the parade and in attendance,” Harada said in his report.
Harada also stated he and Officer Alisha Corpron attended a Northeast Montana Health Services and Roosevelt County Disaster Emergency Services planning meeting for a critical incident response scenario drill.
The report said the meeting focused on coordinating the first responder and the emergency services to respond to a natural disaster in Wolf Point. Another meeting is planned for the spring.
At a previous meeting, the city faced a dilemma. The City of Wolf Point previously paid Roosevelt County $500 per month to have county attorney Jim Patch perform city attorney duties as well. The contract ended and the county requested $1,000 a month instead of $500 a month because of the workload. Jager thought the price sounded too steep, so he tabled the item until the council could look further into the issue. At the Jan. 24 meeting, the council approved the increase to $1,000 per month, stating it didn’t have other options.
The agreement will be re-evaluated after the six-month extension is over.
The council then discussed the open utility billing clerk position. The city clerk stated she had not found the right candidate yet and is considering re-opening the position.
On a final note, city employee Joe Hogan completed his probationary period as a solid waste maintenance worker and the council unanimously approved a $1/hour raise.