Annexation, levees to be studied in 2017

Annexation, a new levee system, aging emergency vehicles, and public nuisances and parking problems are the top concerns facing Miles City in 2017, according to Mayor John Hollowell.

 

Annexation

The reason annexing property is being considered is because “the City of Miles City does not have any room to grow,” the mayor said.

He’s in favor of slow growth and said the city is mindful of the agriculture community and does not want to upset it.

Hollowell stressed there has been no decision made. The city may decide to do piecemeal annexation by doing some property here and there, annex all of the Custer County Sewer District. or annex nothing at all.

Council members have come up with many issues to take into consideration including the police department is already strained, and the street department would need additional equipment if land were annexed, he said.

The subject has not been on any council or committee meeting agenda yet, but several meetings attended by a few council members, department heads, the mayor, city attorney and city planner have been held.

 

Levee System

An effort to build new levees on the Yellowstone and Tongue rivers is continuing and probably go on for the next 10 years, Hollowell said. 

KLJ Engineers have completed their analysis on the cost benefits of the different options, and the study will help to secure grants and other funding.

The city has decided to go  for the 500-year certified dike system. Hollowell added that the 500-year system cost only 10 percent more than the 100-year system.

The project is estimated to cost more than $40 million, but would help make flood insurance affordable in the Miles City area.

Now the Army Corps of Engineers will be doing its analysis of the dike, which will be more in-depth, Hollowell said.

Hollowell said the planning stage is expected to take 2 to 2 1/2 times the length of time of the construction phase.

It is anticipated that it will be six or seven more years of planning before construction could begin. 

 

Public Nuisances, Parking

The issues of public nuisances and parking continue to be concerns for homeowners and city officials. 

Officials have been cracking down on public nuisances for several years but the court process is time-consuming so it will take a while to see the results.

The parking issue, according to Hollowell, stems from the parking of trailers, campers, recreational vehicles and motor homes on city streets for an extended period of time. He said they become choke points for traffic.

 

Aging emergency vehicles

The police patrol cars and fire department’s ambulances and fire trucks have aged to the point that they have become less dependable.

Police Chief Doug Colombik said many of the vehicles have trouble getting around in the snow after a storm and before the roads are plowed. 

The patrol cars also have high mileage. 

Fire Chief Gary Warren saidthe “ambulances are our major concern” though the fire vehicles are also cause for concern. Warren said because of their age they need a lot of repairs.

“We are squeezing by,” he said.

Warren has put together a plan to upgrade the fleet but there is not enough money in the budget.

 

Other Items

Other ongoing projects will be fixing the roof on Connors Stadium in the Denton Sports Complex. 

The city needs to renovate Stanley Field at the Pumping Plant Park and get new bathrooms installed before the CABA World Series baseball tournament is held in Miles City in late July and early August, Hollowell said.

There have been talks about having a training center for the police and fire departments but it’s all come down to the budget, so they’ll have to start small if they are going to get it started, Warren said. The city has looked at land on the northeast portion of town, near Brush Trucking Repair. 

Warren said they need a facility to stage fires without causing any problems. Currently training consists of explaining a scenario instead of staging it. 

“By scaling back expectation, I think it will be doable. Now we’re looking for funding sources” in the form of grants, he said.