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City approves payment to wastewater plant engineers

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POLSON – Members of the commission voted in favor of paying $67,446 to DOWL-HKM Engineering, which is the firm overseeing construction on the town’s new wastewater treatment plant. 

Initial plans expected the project’s completion to be in October of 2018. DOWL has incurred extra expenses related to inspection. Even with the extra expense, the city is still within budget for the project.

DOWL Engineer Kevin Johnson requested the amendment to the contract with the additional cost because construction has continued far beyond the completion date construction company Swank Enterprises agreed to. Mayor Paul Briney said he plans to ask the Swank Enterprises to reimburse the city for this cost through funds that have been withheld because of a failure to complete the project on time. The project is five months behind schedule.

Johnson said the project should be finished by the end of September. 

In other news, commissioners voted to hold the 2019 city commission election via mail-in ballot for a vote on one seat. Interim City Manager Wade Nash recommended the use of mail-in ballots because statistics show higher voter participation via mail-in ballot. It is also more economical. The mail-in system will cost the city about $1,500 compared to the $2,000 cost of an election at a polling place. 

The commissioners expressed frustration with delays in city manager hiring. Commissioner Brodie Moll asked interim city manager Wade Nash whether there were any updates on the city manager hiring process. The city’s former city manager resigned 10 months ago, and the city has been run by interim city manager Wade Nash. Briney said that he had been meeting with the city attorney to adjust city policy on hiring a city manager. 

Commissioner Jan Howlett said she didn’t understand why the city policy had bearing on the city manager. The city manager is employed by contract with the city rather than being employed directly by the city. 

“We could have a lawsuit brought by city employees because the language has to be aligned,” Briney said.

One area where policy is being adjusted relates to the internal hiring policy. The city is working to change language stating that the call for applications for the position must be posted exclusively to current city employees for five days before it can be open to the public. 

“We need to get on with this and start this advertisement. It’s been 10 months already and it hasn’t happened,” Howlett said. 


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