Libby City Council meets for the first time this year

By Danielle Nason

 

The Libby City Council’s first meeting of the year was held on Monday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.

First on the agenda was approval of meeting minutes from the December 3, 2018. Next, Libby’s Chief of Police, Scott Kessel, reported on the department’s activities during the month of December 2018. The department had 212 calls for service, which was up from 205 calls in December of 2017. They made 24 arrests, up from the 19 the prior December, and 21 citations were written which was 10 less than the prior December. Chief Kessel reported that most of the citations in 2017 were related to snow removal, and this year there isn’t as much snow to remove. There were 3,120 total calls for service in 2018, 2,560 in 2017, and 2,700 in 2016. Regarding staffing, Chief Kessel reported that the city’s newest policeman, officer Smith, has started the academy, and that officer Cody Dewitt is on sick leave for medical reasons and will not be back on full duty until mid-February. “We are getting busy, there is an increase across the board, there are more calls for service, assistance, etcetera,” Chief Kessel said. Ending on a positive note, he reported that there were only two DUI’s over the holidays.

With the lack of snow leading to the lack of snow plowing going on, some of the workers have been working on sprucing up the City Hall building to use their time wisely. They have been doing projects and getting things done that there isn’t usually time to do. For instance, they have been organizing court records and building frames that are brilliantly displayed behind council members seats. Jan. 7 was the first day that the city needed snowplowing.

When public comment was opened, DC Orr took the floor to speak about live streaming city council meetings. He said that in Sept. 2016 a newspaper article was published about how Montana Sky was installing equipment into City Hall that would enable council meetings to be livestreamed. Orr asked council members to consider livestreaming.

Four applicants were interviewed for the available City-County Board of Health position, and Laura Larson Crismore, of Libby, was selected. Larson Crismore stated that she is very analytical and likes to solve problems, which would be her best assets to her new role. “We need to focus on the processes and not the people,” she said. Larson Crismore is also on the Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team.

Two new business licenses were approved for Call Cleaning Service and Libby Cab Company. Three new coin operated amusement device licenses were also approved. Seven liquor licenses for local businesses including Aitkens, Cabinet View Country Club, Elks #2231, Harper-Erdman VFW #1548, the Mint Bar, the Pastime Bar and Lounge, and Rosauers Food and Drug Center #14 were renewed. Council Members noted that there are still a few businesses that have not renewed their licenses for 2019.

The council then discussed the city’s newly redesigned website that went live on Dec. 17, 2018. It has had a few issues since launching, but council members reported that the issues have been worked out, and that the site is now up and running for the public to use.

A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. at City Hall to obtain public comments on the proposed application to the Montana Dept. of Commerce Community Development block grant program. The proposed project will address critical water distribution deficiencies. Comments can also be submitted in writing to the City of Libby at PO Box 1428 in Libby before Feb. 8. The presentation that will be shared at the public meeting will be available on the city’s website at cityoflibby.com.

Rotary inducts member

Rotary member Gary Huntsberger welcomes new Rotarian Glenn Johnson. Photo by Tracy McNew, The Montanian