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New Polson mayor takes seat

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POLSON — Paul Briney was sworn in as Polson’s new mayor during a Jan. 3 city commission meeting.

Briney, who replaced Heather Knutson, was the lone person to file for the seat last year. He and new Ward 3 commissioner Brodie Moll took their oaths of office at the meeting along with Bob Martin, Ward 2, and Lou Marchello, the latter who was re-appointed to his Ward 1 seat when no one else filed for the position. Marchello did not file to run for the seat last year, but recently submitted the paperwork necessary for appointment. 

In his opening comments, Briney — a social studies teacher at Polson High School —  said he had big shoes to fill.

Polson Schools Superintendent Rex Weltz asked him to run, Briney said, noting that Knutson also encouraged him. 

The reasons he decided to run include: the openness and positive direction the city has moved in the past four years along with having a strong city manager, Mark Shrives, and a talented city staff.

Snow removal 

Shrives said he received some calls about snow removal after recent heavy snowfall.

“There is not much more that we could’ve done,” he said, noting that in addition to the city’s regular street crew, the fire chief helped drive a snow plow and the city’s building inspector drove a front-end loader. 

The city also contracted with a local business to use dump trucks to remove some of the snow, he said. 

Keeping the downtown area open is a priority, he said, adding that city staff can’t always remove snow from residential areas.

Martin said city staff had done a great job removing snow. “This is Montana and we do have snow in the winter,” he said. 

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