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Fairchild, Olson honored by city commission

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POLSON — Polson Mayor Heather Knutson presented retiring Polson City Judge Doug Olson and retiring Polson Fire Chief John Fairchild with plaques honoring them for their years of service to the city at the July 20 city commission meeting.

Olson began his tenure as judge in 2003.

“It’s really been an honor to work with and for the city of Polson,” Olson said. “My clerk Joan Hart has helped me and kept me on track. I just can’t thank her enough.”

Fairchild has spent 23 years serving the city as an officer of the Polson Police Department and as Polson Fire Chief. 

Mayor Knutson thanked him for his loyalty to the city.

“It’s been an honor to serve,” Fairchild said.

In other business, the commission moved to award the headworks equipment contract for the wastewater treatment plant project to Huber Technology. The total contract would be for $328,501 with 10 percent due upon execution of the contract and 20 percent due upon approval of Huber’s shop drawings by the project engineer.  

The commissioners also approved a proposal for on-demand, on-call construction services from Jensen Backhoe.     

Jensen Backhoe is willing to do on-call work that exceeds the capabilities of city equipment or to provide additional equipment as needed for the water and sewer department, streets, golf, and parks departments. 

A per-hour cost was submitted for each type of equipment — excavators, backhoes, dumptrucks, Ditchwitch, dozer, front-end loader, sheep’s foot compactor, vibratory compactor — and labor with Jensen’s bid. 

Information can be accessed on the city’s website at by going to commission meetings, clicking on the July 20 meeting and scrolling through the agenda.

City Manager Mark Shrives told commissioners construction had begun on the Polson Bay Golf Course last week. The contractor ran into some asphalt and other items that were not expected, according to Shrives.

He and the contractor worked with engineers to come up with a fix, which is hauling in gravel and fill to build up the area. The lower building was raised 18 inches and the upper building about two feet for a cost of approximately $30,000. That sum included about 1,000 cubic yards of gravel but was cheaper than “digging down” into the problem area and not knowing what they’d find for a $60,000 to $70,000 price tag, Shrives said.   

Alex Burkhalter, Housing Solutions, presented information on a possible 36-apartment affordable housing project in Polson. The development would be funded by the Housing Tax Credit Program, a federal program, awarded by the Montana Board of Housing. Burkhalter would submit a letter of intent by Aug. 3, with the complete application due Oct. 5.

The next Polson City Commission meeting will be held on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. at Polson City Hall.

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