by Patricia Swan Smith
For the Pathfinder
April 20, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
Conditions of the roads in Seeley and on Woodworth Road dominated a lot of the Community Council meeting held April 17th. County Surveyor Horace Brown attended the Council meeting, and he said that while he understands the frustration of Seeley residents, without more funding the road conditions are not going to get better.
Cyd Kats, who lives on Woodworth Road, and Diane Bourne, owner of the school buses that travel Woodworth, complained about the condition of Woodworth road and said the road was destroying vehicles and the buses.
Kats said she has driven Woodworth Road since 1976 and has never seen it in as bad of shape as it is now.
"What are the people supposed to do about their vehicles?" she asked. "The Powell County part of Woodworth isn't like that. Now there's been (rock) spikes in the road for three weeks. It's like they (the county employees) are saying 'If you keep complaining, it will get worse."
Brown said that the employees would not make things worse just because people complain, and if they did they wouldn't be working for Missoula County.
He added that if anyone has a complaint about a county employee they should contact him by calling (406) 721-5700, extension 3275, e-mailing at firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to him at 200 W. Broadway, Missoula, MT 59802.
He went on to say that in the past he has tried to get legislation passed to allow alternatives to getting roads fixed but his proposals never made it through committee.
"We're one man short in Seeley and three men short in Missoula," Brown said. "Things are bound to get worse unless the legislature changes things. We can't do everything the public is asking for. We don't have the funding."
Sam Bolton complained about the chuck holes on Riverview and other streets in Seeley.
"I've lived here about 11 years, and the road maintenance in this area has gone downhill a lot," he said. "I don't want to be unfriendly, but enough is enough. What are we going to have to do to?"
Brown said, "We haven't got enough money."
Bolton said, "That's not a good enough answer. We need to know what we need to do to change the situation. There's got to be a way."
Brown said until I-105 is repealed, there was nothing he could do. (I-105 holds taxes at the 1986 level). He said that he also tried to pass an additional mill levy and it was voted down 80 to 20. He said that without more money, nothing could be improved.
Council Chairman Dave Spence suggested that Horace work closely with local residents so he could gain support for either future legislation or another try at an increase in the mill levy.
Another issue Brown addressed is the walkway along Highway 83. He said that the project for Highway 83 includes a plan for trails along the highway, and part of the trail will require additional right-of-way. (The slope needed for a portion of the trail at the south end of Seeley increased the footage needed to complete that part of the plan. This is not the portion of highway planned for this summer. The owners of the property in which the right-of-way will be needed will be contacted.)
In other business, Council member Cheri Thompson announced that the Council will not ask for additional funding for budget year July 2000 to June 2001, because the projected costs for 2000-2001 can be covered by the remaining balance in the Council's account.
The Seeley Lake Skateboard Club presented its plan for a skateboard park in Seeley Lake. Members Chris Niles, Robert Wehern and Ely Sheets told the Council members that the club, which was formed in November of 1999, has completed much of the preliminary work for the plans of the park.
The park will be located at the Seeley Lake Grade School. Deer Creek Excavating's owner Gary Lewis is donating the excavation work and the gravel needed to prepare the site for paving has been donated. The club has submitted grant requests to both Blackfoot Telephone and Missoula Electric.
The club members said that an article detailing the plans would be submitted to the Pathfinder in May.
The Council is gathering a list of volunteers throughout the community. A majority of Seeley Lake's activities are made possible by local volunteers, and the Council would like to acknowledge them. If you would like to supply names of volunteers in the community, please contact Kay at 677-2200.
The Council agreed to give $100 to the Seeley Lake Volunteer Fire Department's sign program to help low income residents get an address sign for their property. The Fire Department has already put $100 into the program, and would like to encourage anyone who does not have an address to call the department at 677-2400.
The next Council meeting will be held on May 15th at 7 p.m. at the Seeley Lake Fire Hall. The agenda items for next month's meeting include: Comprehensive Plan, Volunteer List, Trails.