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City may sell liquor license, rehires grant writer

POLSON — Commissioners discussed the golf course’s liquor license and a possible sale of that license at their Dec. 15 meeting.  

If the commission decides to sell, commissioner Stephen Turner said he would like to see a starting price, a base price. 

“My big concern is that the City did pay $55,000 for it, and I would like to see most of that get back to it,” said Turner.

Mayor Heather Knudsen said she has been one who has tried to find a way for the license to work for the city.

After researching municipally owned golf courses in Montana, Knudsen said of the 18 she found, only three of those had municipal liquor licenses. Not one of the three was structured the way Polson’s is; they have board authorities who oversee the liquor license. 

“I’m one who appreciates customer service,” Knudsen said, “It’s hard for me to take that away.” 

Keeping in mind what’s best for the city, Knudsen said holding onto the liquor license exposes Polson to great risk. 

“As much as it pains me to say, (selling) is what I see as the best for our city,” she said.

In other business, the commissioners voted to rehire Nittany Grantworks in Livingston, the same firm that prepared Polson’s Treasure State Endowment Program grant and Renewable Resource grant for the sewage treatment facility. 

Shrives said the TSEP grant ranked second out of 40 and the RRG ranked fourth.

“What that means,” Shrives said, “is we have been put in the budget for TSEP and RRS.”       

The commissioners heard from Penny Jarecki, who presented an annual report on the Greater Polson Community Foundation. 

Created in 2008, the GPCF awarded its first grants in 2009. 

“This is a five-year anniversary for us,” Jarecki said. We look upon that as a symbol of permanence for the foundation.”

The GPCF’s endowment has increased from $50,000 at the end of the first year to $452,000, “within shooting distance of a half a million,” said Jarecki. 

The GPCF also has a permanent office in the Salish building.

This is the first year the GPCF has had a directed gift, that of $7,200 to upgrade the flower garden island near Ducharme Park. 

The Polson Chamber of Commerce and the GPCF partnered in the gateway signs project, which will place signs welcoming visitors to Polson. The chamber gave $10,000 and the GPCF will pick up the rest of the $35,000 to $40,000 cost. 

The foundation also donated $15,000 to the City of Polson to help pay for the interpretative signs along the trail in Sacajawea Park. 

Following Jarecki’s presentation was the final report on Polson Heart and Soul project. 

Daniel and Darlis Smith, directors of the project, said they wanted conversations among area residents about what they love about Polson and why they live here. 

The David W. King video summarized the project, according to Daniel. 

King showed the video, which captured many Polson residents, businesses and places unique to Polson. 

On the film, local resident and teacher Tamara Fisher said, “What I wish for Polson is continued balance.” 

The Smiths said the Heart and Soul project serves as a launching pad, and the baton is being passed to Envision Polson. They hope the community will use the Heart and Soul information to help determine where it wants to go in the future.

One other decision looming in the near future is the water compact. Local realtor Ric Smith approached the commissioners with the idea of a workshop with a member of the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission.

Several commissioners expressed interest in learning more about the compact. 

Mayor Knudsen said she would to wait until the compact bill is introduced to Montana legislature, and then have a presentation.

During public comment time, local resident Andrew Speer spoke regarding the water compact. 

“If you do step into that area,” Speer said, “You should also be obligated to hear the opposition to many of the things regarding the water compact.’

Speer said he would be happy to introduce commissioners to people who are knowledgeable on the subject.

During Polson City Manager Mark Shrive’s comments, he told commissioners the city can take credit card payments for utility bills, and web payments are coming soon.

The next city commission meeting will be Jan. 19, 2015, at Polson City Hall.


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