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Sunday, February 18, 2018

City advances major changes to city code, wards

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The Glendive City Council made a bevy of decisions at their meeting Tuesday night, making new hires for the police and fire departments and advancing several measures which will ultimately lead to a major overhaul of city code.

The council unanimously agreed to move forward with amending city ordinance to change the boundaries between the city’s wards. The vote Tuesday night was the first of three steps before the changes gain final approval. The council voted to set a “first reading” of the new ward boundary ordinance at their next meeting on Feb. 21. If the proposed ordinance passes at that meeting, there will then be a “second reading” at the council’s March 7 meeting, at which time they would vote on its final passage.

The proposal would change the boundary between Wards 1 and 3 from its current line at Allard Street, moving the boundary to the north to Clay Street, drawing most of the Prospect Heights neighborhood into Ward 1. 

The boundary between Ward 4 and Ward 3 would also be moved north from Allard to Allen Street, though Mayor Jerry Jimison noted that change does not bring any actual voters into Ward 4, at least not living ones.

“It encompasses no residential structures, it’ll just look nicer on the map,” Jimison said of the boundary adjustment between Wards 3 and 4.

Jimison couldn’t help making a joke aimed towards Ward 4 Councilman Rhett Coon, who is up for re-election this November.

“And it puts the cemetery in Ward 4, in case Rhett needs any additional votes,” Jimison said.

Besides advancing the ward boundary change, the council unanimously approved moving forward with both the new subdivision regulations and the new design and development standards “as drafted by planner Forrest Sanderson.” Sanderson, the city’s contracted planner, pushed the Ordinance Committee last week to move forward with adoption of those new regulations to bring the city in line with current state codes. The work to develop the new regulations was fully paid for through a grant by the Montana Department of Commerce.

The council also unanimously approved accepting the bid proposal from Sanderson/Stewart Engineering of Billings to create a Downtown Master Plan for the city. City officials will now enter into negotiations with the company for a contract for the work. The master plan for downtown is being mostly funded by a $25,000 Community Development Block Grant and a $6,000 grant from the Montana Main Street Program, though the city does have to kick in some matching funds, Jimison noted.

In other business, the council made two new full-time hires for the police and fire departments.

The council unanimously approved hiring Daniel Cagle as a full-time patrol officer for the Glendive Police Department. According to Police Chief Brad Mitchell, Cagle comes to Glendive from Boulder, Mont., where he has spent the past year-and-a-half working as a part-time patrol officer for the Boulder Police Department, as well as filling in as a part-paid deputy with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

The council also unanimously approved hiring Noah Schulz as the Glendive Fire Department’s newest full-time firefighter. According to Fire Chief George Lane, Schulz comes to Glendive from Spirit Lake, N.D., where he has worked as a full-time firefighter for that city’s fire department, though Lane could not say for how long.

Finally, with more snow falling last weekend, Councilman Gerald Reichert reiterated a plea for city residents not to engage in what he has dubbed “vigilante snow removal. Reichert said that while people who use their own equipment to push snow around on city streets may have “good intentions,” the end result may just as likely cause issues and aggravations for their neighbors and city Public Works crews.

“At least in my ward, we have had a couple of examples of people being out in city streets moving snow around, and though it wasn’t enough (snow) to cause any problems, it could have been if there had been enough, so I would caution folks against doing that,” Reichert said. “There’s a cost to the city to follow that up and clean that up, when the intention was to help clean the neighborhood up.”

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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