Commissioner's update: drones, bids and taxiways

VIRGINIA CITY – The Madison County Commissioners met for their regular meeting last week and discussed a pre-disaster mitigation plan, waterlines and fairground bids. 

According to Commission Chair Ron Nye, commissioners approved the fair board’s recommendation to move forward with applying for a tourism grant through the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development. The grant is expected to have approximately $700,000-$800,000 available for funding projects for communities looking to enhance tourism. The fair board approved moving forward with the grant with the hope to build a multipurpose building on the fairgrounds.

Nye said the commissioners would be doing a pre-bid walk-through of the fairgrounds on May 9, to look at the waterline and the extension to the grounds. “We’re hoping to open the bids on the 15th and start awarding bids,” said Nye. The fair board found a break in the waterline earlier this year, which Fair Manager Dana Escott said was probably caused by an ice jam in the river. 

Nye said the waterline project has been a team effort between the fair board, Madison County Commissioner, Great West Engineering and the Town of Twin Bridges. 


Drones, drones, drones

During their May 1 meeting, commissioners heard from Director of Emergency Management/Fire Warden Dustin Tetrault about adopting the pre-disaster mitigation plan, which they did, as well as purchasing a drone. 

“The drone thing is really exciting,” said Nye. “We just have to figure out how to insure it.” 

According to Joe Brummell, deputy director of emergency management, the drone would serve as an all-in-one tool for emergency services. “It’s mainly for thermal imaging for fires but can be used during Search and Rescue missions as it picks up body heat, and in a multitude of other services.” Brummell said the drone has simple lift capabilities to drop tools and supplies as needed. “I’m not certain on the payload, but it could drop life vests or send a line to someone stuck in a body of water, drop oxygen tanks, etc.”

Nye said to purchase the drone would cost right at $10,000. 


Other business

Nye also said the commissioners are planning a pre-bid walkthrough for the taxiway at the Twin Bridges airport on May 9. “That’s something that’s been needed for a longtime,” he said. “We hope to open those bids next week so it’s a lot of exciting stuff for Twin Bridges.” 

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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