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City commission, manager argue contract

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POLSON — Polson City Commissioners tabled a motion to amend City Manager Todd Crossett’s contract until their next meeting on Nov. 5.  Crossett has been employed by the City of Montana since June 2,009. 

All city employees have 7.07 percent of each biweekly check withheld to put into the Public Employees Retirement System. The city has to contribute a matching amount. Since the city manager is an employee with a contract, he may opt to join PERS or may receive the 7.07 percent in cash to invest. 

According to the amendment, Crossett opted to receive cash, and the city paid from June 15, 2009, through May 31, 2011. Crossett’s choice was never reflected in his contract of 2009 or 2011 and on May 31, 2011, “it was suddenly no longer part of his pay package,” City Attorney James Raymond said, noting that either the auditor or City Clerk Cindy Dooley caught it. 

The amendment would allow Crossett the choice of belonging to PERS or receiving 7.07 percent of his gross pay in cash and would be effective as of June 1, 2011. 

Commissioner John Campbell said it wasn’t in Crossett’s original contract and the commission should go with the contract.

“It’s a 7-percent raise, is basically what it is,” Campbell said.  

Mayor Pat DeVries noted the city had paid Crossett for almost two years and the amount had been budgeted. 

“It’s precedent. We’re going to get sued if we don’t pay him; we paid him for two years, John,” Commissioner Dan Morrison said.

Former mayor Lou Marchello, who was in office at the time Crossett was hired, said he remembered Crossett’s option to take the 7.07 percent and asked why that option was not included in Crossett’s contract.

“Had I known,” Raymond said, “it would have been in his contract.”

In other business, the commissioners approved a resolution to levy and assess fiscal year 2012-2013 annual assessments.

According to City Treasurer Bonnie Manicke, the assessments included:

• Special improvement Main Street Renovation District 42 (Streetscape)   $69,064.01

• Street Light Maintenance District 19 $14,078.21

• Street Light Maintenance District 20 $4,871.36 

• Noxious Weed Control Maintenance $4,500

• Delinquent Utility Service Accounts $3,222.81 (water, sewer, storm water charge)

• Total assessment levy  $95,736.39

Jules Clavadetscher, chair of the Polson Redevelopment Agency, presented the annual report for the group, which showed a tax increment fund balance at the end of year of $66,575.28 and estimated TIF receipts for fiscal year 2012-13 of $113,000. 

Polson resident Lee Manicke disagreed with Clavadetscher’s figures. He said expenditures should be $76,040.74 instead of $76,595.29, and TIF receipts would be closer to $130,878.24. Lee urged the report not be approved as submitted, but it passed unanimously.  

Clavadetscher also requested Crossett be authorized to hire a bond attorney for the PRA.

Both Manickes disagreed with this proposal. 

Bonnie noted the TIF district had received funding for only the past three years, and the revenue analysis is in the primary stages. She said the TIF district should establish a revolving fund comprised of 20 percent of the anticipated revenue, to be utilized by all properties in the TIF district for improvements.

“The pinch point,” Clavedetscher said, is if the city builds the boardwalk out into the river, to connect with the walk in Sacajawea Park and extend to Riverside Park, that is Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal water. The TIF money can only be used inside the TIF district, and the PRA needs a legal opinion before they proceed.

That was Lee’s point. Urban renewal projects must be within the urban renewal area, the area that was designated as blighted, he said. Two of the PRA’s projects are not within the urban renewal area, the fishing dock, formerly the Polson City Dock, and the walkway under the Armed Forces Memorial Bridge.

“The pertinent boundaries of the urban renewal projects ... are: ‘Salish Point: a combined commercial and residential area bounded on the north and west by Flathead Lake’ and ‘Central Business District:  ... bounded by the Flathead River on the west ...’” Lee explained. 

The motion carried, 4-2.

The commissioners then went into executive session to discuss litigation.


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