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Polson approves $12.2 M wastewater treatment plant contract

POLSON — The Polson City Commission took some action and received a lot of information last week.

In the action part, by a 4-0 vote with two commissioners absent the commission approved a $12.2 million contract with Swank Enterprises of Kalispell to construct a water resource recovery facility, or wastewater treatment plant.

The winning bid came in less than the $12.5 million estimate provided by project engineer Kevin Johnson of DOWL-HKM of Bozeman. Other bids came in at $12.9 million from IMCO and $13.4 million from Clearwater Construction.

The city is paying DOWL-HKM $1 million to engineer the project, City Manager Mark Shrives said, noting the project’s total cost is $17.2 million. The project, which will remake one of four lagoons at the current wastewater treatment plant on Kerr Dam Road and construct a new building, should break ground in April or May, Shrives said.

The project is required by the Environmental Protection Agency so that the city can obtain the necessary permitting in the future, he said. (The EPA is involved because Polson is on the Flathead Indian Reservation.)

Funding for the project will come from various sources including $1,325,000 in grants and a State Revolving Fund loan of $14,287,000. Shrives said the loan will be paid with user fees. A revenue bond process will begin within the next several months, he said, adding that the interest rate will be 2.5 percent. The city will also receive a $400,000 State Revolving Fund loan that will be forgiven when certain requirements are met.

In regard to information, the commission heard about proposed changes to special event permit fees and plans for a public safety building.

Special event permits 

Pat Nowlen, the city’s parks and recreation director, said city equipment that is used by private parties for special events sometimes comes back damaged or is not returned.

His proposal would recoup the cost of the services and equipment the city provides, such as cones, barricades and signs.

Special events cost the city $29,980 last year, he said.

Some rates would increase and other decrease. Nowlen presented preliminary fees of $60 a day for events with 75-100 people, $100 a day for 101-500 people, and $200 a day for 501-1,000 people. Non-profits would get a 50-percent discount.

“I see some of the events that go on, and there’s trash all over the place. I applaud what you guys are doing,” commissioner Lou Marchello said.

Police Chief Wade Nash said the number of special events in the city has exploded since he came on staff in 2007. Six or eight were held his first year but now there are 26, he said.

Shrives said a proposal will be considered by the city’s Parks Board next month and the city commission will consider it at its April 17 meeting.

New public safety building

Polson Police Cpl. George Simpson made a lengthy presentation detailing the need for a new public safety building for police, fire and the city court.

Simpson said the current city hall contains all of these departments in a former Safeway grocery store at 106 First St. E.

He detailed a general lack of space for interviews, offices and parking.

City officials recently attended a seminar with Architects Design Group, which has offices in Dallas and Winter Park, Florida, and is well-known for designing public safety buildings, Simpson said.

The first step of a threepart process is to complete a space needs assessment. Simpson plans to present information about the cost of an assessment to the commission on April 3.

“This would be the first of its kind in Montana,” he said of a public safety building that would house all three entities. He called it “a great opportunity to lead the way.”

Funding could come from grants, partnerships and bonds, he said.

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