by Gary Noland
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
April 15, 1999
About 30 homeowners in the airport area took advantage of a public Highway 83 meeting at the school Monday evening to hold a second meeting with county officials, who were going to be here anyway, on possibilities for local street improvements.
County Commissioner Bill Carey, County Surveyor Horace Brown and County Shop Foreman at the Seeley Lake shop, Bob Matye, fended questions from residents who want improvements on Frontier, Highland and Canyon streets in the vicinity of the airport.
Mary McGuire hosted the meeting and felt pretty good about the turn-out, since it was a "door-to-door, hi everybody" type of effort, she said.
The meeting, however, will probably lead to more as residents explore optionsa RSID district being the most likely, if anything is to be done in the near future.
Though a Highland Drive project has been on the drawing board since it was flooded badly in the record snow melt of 1997, Brown said there is "...no money to do anything."
Carey, elected a County Commissioner just last November, affirmed Brown's assessment saying the county is facing "...one of the toughest years in a long time."
Brown added that two employees who retired last year will not be replaced, and he is hoping to find enough funds to maintain current staffing at the Seeley Lake shop where five people work.
Brown also lamented project costs when he told how $85,000 budgeted to re-paving the Holland Lake Road a couple years ago proved to be inadequate when the lowest bid came in at nearly twice that.
People at the meeting asked several questions about finances and sources of revenue for road projects, including grants, but Brown told the group that if they wanted anything done very soon, they would have to form a Rural Special Improvement District (RSID) and assess themselves for the cost of materials. The County would then do the work.
Brown outlined steps in forming the RSID that involve the residents petitioning the county to form a RSID; the County then computes the costs of the project to be funded, boundaries of the district are set, and then the property owners in the proposed district must approve the project in a ballot election.
Several people signed up to serve on a committee to continue research on ways to improve the roads in the area.