Red Lodge City Council discusses major items

On Tuesday evening, March 25, after an earlier City Open House with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) on proposed summer road construction, council members gathered at City Hall. MDT was present along with the state’s contractor for the project, Goran LLC. MDT gave a presentation. MDT Division Administrator Stephan Streeter said the least impact on downtown businesses was their goal. There would be a weekly public meeting by Goran, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. at City Hall once construction begins. Jason Mojica, an MDT engineer, said he or staff would be at all weekly meetings. Chamber Executive Director Patty Davis gave a Highway 212 Construction Campaign update, saying they will have extensive signage and a proactive effort to declare Red Lodge open for business. She invited people to join the media committee. She will access tv, press, billboards, local radio and even WYO radio. Other highlights of the meeting included: 1. Approving the March 11 minutes. 2. 2nd Reading of Ordinance 902. Ordinance repeals Sec. 549 City Code regarding Weapons since it is superceded by state jurisdiction. Mayor Ed Williams explained that Montana Code had prohibitions against taking a weapon into schools, banks, places that serve alcohol and other public places. 3. Addressing Seasonal No Parking. Ordinance 903 was approved to prohibit parking on Broadway in the winter from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. to enable plows to access the streets.

The prohibition will extend to side streets 150 feet in, “to the alleys” said Williams. Mark Brajcich commented that he thought the idea was “brilliant” but that he expected there would be an issue with residents along the side streets. Williams said it would provide for curb to curb plowing, wider roads, less traffic hazards, less berms. “As it is now,” he commented, “they have to plow around cars creating big berms.” He said they will not ticket vehicles but owners will have to deal with the tow company. It will take effect in 30 days but will be applied starting October. 4. Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz spoke in favor of an interlocutory agreement for the City to contract with the District Fire Department to handle all calls. Functionally, Kuntz explained, nothing will change, but he is greatly in favor of it to add clarity to accounting and stop redundancy.

“The same paid staff and volunteers respond to the city calls as to the district calls,” he explained. He is also District Fire Chief. The contract would give time to effect a merger between departments if approved. 5. Revising the Cemetery Ordinance No. 905, 1st reading and public hearing. Ordinance approved. The approval means crucial repairs can begin. Dan Gainer was praised by Williams along with other committee members, for working “long and hard.” Gainer said, “It was founded in 1885 when we had the first internment and has 5,500 residents.” Cemetery care was left vacant by changes to the Montana code and now the community would take up the slack.