Commission makes housing board appointments
VIRGINIA CITY -- The Madison County Commission appointed five members to a rejuvenated housing advisory board during its March 6 meeting. The commission voted to reestablish the disbanded board and advertise for candidates earlier this year. The mission of the housing board is to help identify and set priorities for housing needs in Madison County.
The commission appointed Mary Oliver, of Ennis; Ray Shaw, of Sheridan; Kristina Caldwell, of Alder; Charity Fechter, of Ennis; and Cindy Gockel, of Ennis to the housing board.
In written applications to the commission, each candidate explained why they wanted to serve on the board.
“To help solve the availability of workforce housing, seasonal and year-round, in addition to more affordable housing for for low-to-moderate income families,” wrote Oliver, senior vice-president at First Madison Valley Bank.
“I would like to be involved in the process of creating additional workforce/affordable housing housing,” wrote Gockel, a retiree with a B.S. in health science. “I want each person and family to be in decent and affordable housing.”
“Working for Garnet USA, I see an increased demand for housing in the county, especially the Ruby Valley; however, I would like to see this growth occur in a manner which lends to the 'small town' lifestyle the area affords,” wrote Caldwell, an office manager with a B.A. in economics.
“Workforce housing is a huge issue,” wrote Shaw, a rancher and weed sprayer. “We can't create jobs without housing.”
“Interested in addressing housing issues in Madison County, which is a hindrance to economic development,” wrote Fechter, Madison County planning director.
The commission voted 2-0 to approve the appointments. Commissioner James Hart was not present because he was attending a National Association of Counties meeting in Washington, D.C.
Speed study requested for Alder
The commission approved a letter to the Montana Department of Transportation, requesting a speed study in Alder. The letter states the board's concern about, “the speed at which motorists are allowed to travel through Alder and heading west out of Alder on Montana Highway 287.” Citing the presence of several business, government and residential activities in the area, commissioners requested a study to determine if speed limits should be reduced and a no-passing zone extended.
“Because more businesses have been established and existing businesses have expanded, there has been an increase in motorist traffic and heavy haul trucks, making the existing speed zone excessive and unsafe,” the letter reads in part. “Garnet USA alone has an average of 117 heavy trucks entering and exiting their facility daily, some pulling doubles, with an additional 25-30 private employee vehicles entering and exiting daily.”
Garnet USA provided a letter of support for the requested study, including suggestions from its employees how to mitigate the risk posed by truck traffic to and from the company's Alder facility.
In other business on March 6, the commission:
• Approved a budget amendment, adding a total of $67,031 to the Road District 3 budget. The money came from an insurance payout for snowplow repairs and the sale of equipment.
• Upon a request from GIS tech analyst Tommy Luksha, approved naming an un-named driveway in the Bradley Creek area Goldcut Road.
• Acted on a request by county attorney Chris Christiansen and approved advertising for the position of county attorney assistant.
• Approved the purchase of two recycling boxes.
• Approved the purchase of two beds for Tobacco Root Mountain Care Center.
• Approved for Luksha to attend a Montana Association of GIS Professionals conference.
• Affirmed a recommendation from the road review committee that Pony-Mammoth Road is a public road.
February 27 commission meeting
During the Feb. 27 meeting, the board:
• Heard a report from Dawn Conklin, with the Madison County Economic Development Council, and Rob Gilmore, with the Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District, regarding potential uses for the former children's center property in Twin Bridges. A representative from Habitat for Humanity was present. The agencies want to work with the property owner for potential development of the site.
• Approved aggregation of lots 70 and 72 in the Spanish Peaks subdivision in the Ennis area. The action does not need to be returned to the planning board for subdivision review.
• Reviewed an updated job description for a development coordinator position. The planning office has requested the county create the position to assist land developers with regulatory requirements.
• Selected Morrison and Maierle as an independent fee consultant for airport projects.
• Approved a notice of approval for two airport grants.
• Approved an encroachment/indemnity agreement between Thompson-Hickman Library and the Vigilance Club.
• Approved the purchase of a lawnmower for the fairgrounds.
• Approved renewal of annual agreements between county emergency management and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.