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St. Ignatius seeks to fill city positions

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ST. IGNATIUS — Between several water system improvement projects, dog and cat licensing and ongoing construction at the St. Ignatius Airport, city council members had much to discuss during last week’s meeting. 

Lake County Joint Airport Board Chairman Rick Newman gave the annual airport report and was pleased to announce the St. Ignatius Airport had received a $17,000 grant from Montana Aeronautics to remove and replace the roof and conduct repairs to a county rental hangar. 

“That should square that project away for the next several years,” Newman said.

In addition, Newman is following through on the Airport Affected Area project. The purpose of the AAA is to “regulate land adjacent to the airport to keep it safe and functional for the public, property owners and continued airport use,” read the project’s purpose statement. “The AAA spans over property within the St. Ignatius City limits and Lake County. Tribal lands within the AAA are exempt from these regulations.”

Newman said Ronan, Polson and St. Ignatius are all governed by the Lake County Joint Airport Board. The AAA would retain two enforcement officers appointed by two governing bodies — the City of St. Ignatius and Lake County — to oversee properties and structures with their respective jurisdictions. Permits would be required for any development (planting large trees, building new structures, adding to existing structures) within AAA boundaries.

“It was started initially back in 2003,” he said. “Now that we have Ronan’s (AAA project) done, I’m reintroducing (Mission’s) plan. I was (at the city council meeting) to get it back in their minds and give (the council) time to renew it.”

St. Ignatius Police Officer Jeffrey Ferguson and animal control officer Dodson are applying for federal funds for a police officer position. The grant would cover 75 percent of a police officer’s basic wages for three years with the remaining 25 percent paid by the city. Council members gave permission for Dodson and Ferguson to continue pursuing the grant. Should they obtain the funds, the council will review grant documents before proceeding. 

During the March city council meeting, Dodson was given permission to apply for an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals $20,000 grant to complete the National Animal Control Academy American Society and anti-cruelty investigation training. The grant would have paid for all of Dodson’s training and expenses. 

Sometime in the last week, the city received a $5,000 check from the ASPCA. The check originated from a New York address, but no additional instructions, information or points of contact were included in the envelope. 

The city has chosen not to deposit the check until some basic questions are answered. 

In addition, two new members are sought for the city’s Board of Adjustments. 

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