The Libby City Council met on Monday, March 4 for their regular meeting at City Hall. The meeting began with the pledge of allegiance followed by roll call and approval of minutes from both the Jan. 7 and Feb. 19 meetings. City Administrator, Jim Hammons, briefly reported about freezing water lines and the danger of blind intersections with piled up snow. Next, it was reported that the Libby volunteer fire department responded to five calls during the month of February including one false alarm. Police chief Kessel reported 218 service calls, 27 citations and 19 arrests as well as two vehicle crashes in February. One crash involved his vehicle and another involved Sgt. Pape’s. Both vehicles are being repaired, and a citation was issued to chief Kessel for the incident involving his vehicle. No additional information was provided on the incident since the potential for litigation still exists. Following other brief updates, two residents commented on non-agenda items. An unnamed councilwoman’s residency was brought into question by one public comment, but Mayor Teske clarified that the councilwoman has not resided outside of Libby’s city limits. D.C. Orr then discussed the importance of government transparency which related to a recent closed meeting that Orr said was held by the City-County board of health. The fee to rent the Ponderosa room was then waived for an upcoming KPFL event that will be held on April 12 and 13. A street closure and noise ordinance variance was approved for the 2019 Ignite the Nites car show that will be held on Aug. 16 and 17. New business licenses were approved for a propane delivery, sales and service company as well as a home care and eldercare business. The council also voted to search out an environmental law firm that will potentially assist with upcoming International Paper (IP) negotiations. The negotiations will be about the Libby ground water contamination Superfund Site; A ten-year settlement in which IP has been paying money to the City of Libby is coming to an end this year, and it will need to be renegotiated. DC Orr again made public a comment about how the council should have gotten started on this process previously.
By Tracy McNew