City, county planning board future uncertain
By Jason Stuart
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The joint city/county planning board has apparently been operating without official agreement or sanction between the City of Glendive and Dawson County.
County Commissioner Adam Gartner told the city Finance, Utilities, Property and Recreation Committee Monday that the county clerk has been unable to uncover any official agreement between the city and county for the planning board’s creation and operation.
“It’s been labeled a city/county planning board, yet we don’t have any interlocal agreement,” Gartner said. “We’ve been searching for that in the files over there, and we can’t find anything. We never really had any agreement.”
The finding comes amidst ongoing discussions between the city and county about funding for the county planner position and the city’s use of her services.
The city has argued that city residents already pay their share for the planner through county taxes and therefore the city shouldn’t have to pay the county any fees to use the planner. County commissioners disagree with that position.
“I went to the treasurer’s office, and they told me the total the city pays into the planning fund is $5,000,” Gartner said. “You guys told me that city residents are already paying into it. You guys keep telling me you’re paying into this.”
Councilman Gerald Reichert told Gartner “those are valid points,” but said discussion about what the city should pay should be left for negotiations between the city and county on the interlocal agreement for the planning board.
“The way it’s structured right now is the way it says in (the Montana Code Annotated) as far as members. It is structured according to the rules,” Gartner said. “Whether that’s going to be acceptable once we do the interlocal agreement, I don’t know. That’s a question for the lawyers.”
Gartner said in his opinion, an agreement for a joint city/county planning board is what “we oughta do.”
The FUPR Committee made no recommendation on the matter, asking for more time to study the issue thoroughly.
Reach Jason Stuart at email@example.com.