City Council Awards Landfill Cover Bid, Loses Councilperson

A years-long line item will soon finally be erased from the agendas of the Wolf Point city council. At the regular meeting, Aug. 20, the council awarded a bid to cover the old landfill after years of approval processes from both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environmental Quality.

Additionally, this meeting saw the council handle lots of other business ahead of a special budget meeting and it saw the council say goodbye to ward 3 councilperson Tori Matejovsky.
A cover for the old landfill has been a topic of discussion at nearly every city council meeting for the past five or more years. Barry Damschen, of Barry Damschen Consulting of Helena, has worked with the city as environmental consultant for years on this project.

Recently, the project secured final EPA approval and Damschen put the project out for bids. Damschen’s firm estimated a cost of about $180,000. The city received two bids: Wolf Creek Construction of Vida bid approximately $150,000 and Millennium Construction of Billings bid approximately $190,000.

Damschen recommended the council award the bid to Wolf Creek Construction due to their significantly lower cost and history of working with the city. Damschen said that the two bids received were great because the estimate was directly in between the two costs. He said that he suspects that the city didn’t receive more bids because it’s a busy time for construction companies and nobody needs the work.

The council voted unanimously to award the bid to Wolf Creek Construction.

As per the EPA, the plan involves covering approximately four acres of old landfill with three feet of dirt. The land will then be covered with one foot of topsoil and grass will be seeded in that soil. After the actual cover steps have been completed, there will be a few more EPA and DEQ tests to ensure that the cover was done properly.

Funding for the project is actually completely covered already. The EPA passed a law in 1993 requiring landfills to put aside money to cover themselves when they were full. The old Wolf Point landfill began saving in 1993 and accumulated more money than was needed to cover the landfill. According to Damschen, the city will enjoy an excess of around $600,000 that was saved for this project. This is largely due to the fact that the landfill saved for one type of cover, and then determined that this inexpensive alternate cover was actually better for the size and type of landfill.

Damschen reported that as per the contract signed by Wolf Point Mayor Chris Dschaak,
Wolf Creek Construction will have 60 days to complete the project. Damschen expects the project to begin in October and be finished in November. Damschen said the project should only take a couple of weeks to complete and should be finished well under the time-frame allotted.
Damschen reported that the final EPA checks should be completed by the end of December pending weather. The city will finally then be able to remove this long awaited project from their to-do list.

This meeting was the last for ward 3 councilperson Tori Matejovsky. Matejovsky and her family will be moving to a home outside city limits and thus she will no longer be eligible to serve on the Wolf Point city council. The council enjoyed several months of a full council and the loss of Matejovsky will make the council short one member.

Dschaak thanked Matejovsky for her time served even though it was short. She will continue to work with the council as a representative for Great Northern Development Corporation, for which she is employed as executive director.

A final pay estimate, in the amount of $67,184.35, was paid to Pace Construction for the sewer mains and manhole inventory project. An additional, $688 was paid for extra work done by Pace. The city council had approved up to $1,500 for this additional work. The council also authorized the mayor to sign a certification of substantial completion signaling the end of the project.

John Bach of Interstate Engineering reported that they were still assessing the video taken by Pace and that they should be finished with their assessment in time for the council’s September meeting. Bach said he has seen some strange anomalies while viewing the videos, but that this would be made more clear in the full report next month.

Other items of note:

•A final pay estimate of $10,000 was approved for the completed hangar project at L.M. Clayton Airport. It was stated that the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to pay 90 percent of this amount.

•The crack/seal/restriping project was set to start Tuesday, Aug. 21, and Bach reported that they expected to be finished with the crack sealing portion before the weekend.

•JJ Szymanski was approved for promotion to the maintenance worker three position at the Wolf Point city landfill. This is pending that he passes certification to remove freon from appliances.

•Patrick Szymanski was approved for promotion to the maintenance worker two position. He was summer help that worked out well and expressed interest in becoming a full-time employee.

•City clerk Marlene Mahlum reported that the 2019 taxable valuation for the city was completed and that the city unfortunately lost approximately $26 per mill in value. More on this will be discussed at the budget public hearing Wednesday, Aug. 22.

•The city renewed their annual clerical agreement with the Roosevelt County Justice of the Peace. The agreement went up $700 from last year and cost $14,345.64 for fiscal year 2018-19.

•A preliminary budget public hearing is set for Wednesday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m.

•The next meeting of the Wolf Point city council is set for Monday, Sept. 17.