On The Agenda

By Beacon Staff

Kalispell city employees will be picketing tonight to call attention to a dispute over longevity pay between their union and the city.

City employees plan to demonstrate outside city hall beginning at 5 p.m., then will move inside to make statements to the council during the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting, according to Timm Twardoski, a union representative.

Twardoski said he will bring excerpts of the disputed contract clauses for council members to examine.

I want them to read it and tell me what their interpretation is,” Twardoski said. “We really think that they don’t know what’s going on in the negotiating session.”

The city and union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local No. 256, disagree over how much longevity pay will be tacked onto a tentative employment contract. Union negotiators interpret certain clauses in the tentative contract to mean that a city employee with a few years of experience would make significantly more per hour than how City Manager Jim Patrick and City Attorney Charles Harball, who represent Kalispell, are interpreting the contract.

The council does not plan to take any action on the tentative contract tonight.

Also on tonight’s Kalispell City Council agenda:

The council will adopt a preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Public hearing on the budget will be set for July 16, after which the council can make changes and adopt a final budget in August.

The Street Tree Commission has three open seats and three applicants for the openings; the council will make those appointments and consider an open seat on the Parking Commission.

After the official meeting, a brief workshop will be held to discuss funding options for a new ladder fire truck and street lighting options for Silverbrook Estates.


Whitefish’s city council gets another look at a proposed $12 million Safeway expansion on Monday at 7 p.m.

A 3-3 tie vote at city council’s last meeting to approve the renovation project sparked controversy partly because the project didn’t get approved but also because Mayor Andy Feury wasn’t present to break the tie. He was out of the country on business.

The project’s developers and architects are afraid Safeway officials will put the $12 million toward a grocery store elsewhere if the expansion doesn’t get approved in time to build this summer. Nancy Woodruff, a council member who voted against the project, and City Manager Gary Marks said they expect the project to eventually get approved.

Monday night is the first step.

The council will also discuss:

-A preliminary plat request for the Lookout Ridge Development
-A preliminary plat request for the Cold Water Basin Development
-Creating an ad hoc downtown infrastructure improvements committee
-A temporary gravel parking lot policy
-Optional zoning compliance permits
-An ordinance requiring site plans prior to excavation
-A recommendation to award a Third Street sewer replacement construction contract
-A recommendation to authorize an application for a state revolving fund loan for the
Texas Avenue/BNSF Railyard Water Main Improvements Project
-An ordinance allowing the Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau to amend bylaws