Twin Bridges Town Council Votes to be Proactive
Town Council Members Make Moves on Efficiency and Flood Risk
Twin Bridges city council approved to go digital at their monthly meeting June 11. They also approved for the Montana Department of Resources and Conservation and Great West Engineering to seek out grants to fund a feasibility study that would investigate the town’s levy.
The town clerk, Kristi Millhouse, said that the thick paper packets she prints for everyone at each meeting is time consuming and wasteful. The decision to move to tablets was the evening’s most debated topic with town council members. The council is a technology- diverse group but ultimately, Mayor Tom Hyndman produced the tie breaking vote.
“We ought to try it,” Hyndman said. “I’m not much smarter than anyone else, but I guess I’ll learn.”
Jeremiah Theys from Great West Engineering and Tiffany Lynden from MDNRC spoke about proactive measures that Twin Bridges could be taking to mitigate future outcomes of the updated floodplain maps of the area. The levy that boarders the town on the east side of the Beaverhead River isn’t certified to withstand a 100-year flood. The proposed feasibility study would inspect the levy’s condition and the impact its failure would have on the community during a major flood.
Over the next few years, Federal Emergency Management Agency and MDNRC will be producing accurate flood risk data for the town. These maps provide insurance companies, banks, developers and residents with information that affect their decisions.
“When we have the chance to make these maps accurate, we want to do that,” Lynden said. “Because we want people to know their risk and for the town to know its risk.”
A private contractor based the levy’s construction on a study from the Army Core of Engineers in 1930s, but it was never certified and has had little maintenance over the years.
The updated floodplain maps will incorporate the levy’s accredited status. If not accredited, most of the community will be considered in the range of the flood plain. Besides flood waters potentially threatening residents’ safety, insurance rates would substantially raise and banks would be reluctant to provide housing loans for the area.
The town council unanimously approved to begin searching for outside funding opportunities to address the levy before the maps are produced to avoid these potential consequences. Theys was confident that Twin Bridges qualified for multiple state and federal grants for the project.
Also in Twin Bridges’ future, is a 2019 audit for exceeding its state required revenue limit by about $145,000. Twin Bridges had several expensive projects, like the $250,000 grant it received for the Fair Grounds’ water line, which pushed their total revenue over the $750,000 limit. And, the town council will hold a special meeting with AT&T on June 27. AT&T selected an area next to the Ice House on E. 9th Ave to install a 144-foot cell tower. Town council members will discuss different locations outside of town during the special meeting, among other clarifying details.