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Port mulls city offer on sewer

| November 9, 2004 11:00 PM

By Brent Shrum Western News Reporter

The Lincoln County Port Authority is considering a proposal to hand over the sewer system at the former Stimson mill site to the city of Libby.

Mayor Tony Berget presented the proposal to the port authority board at a meeting on Monday, suggesting that the city take ownership of the sewer system in return for free sewer service for a 20-year period.

Discussions with engineers indicate that taking over the system could be to the city¹s long-term advantage, Berget said.

³I think this is something that would be a real benefit to the city,² he said.

Taking over the former mill site¹s sewer system would give the city the ability to deal with more future development than the current system can handle, Berget said. He said he sees a trend toward increased development of town, including the U.S. Highway 2 corridor in addition to the area around Cabinet View Country Club. The country club is moving forward with plans to expand its golf course from nine holes to 18 and develop 100 new home sites.

Berget stressed that the proposal is preliminary and has not been formally considered by the city council.

³My suggestion is, it¹s your system, you figure out what it¹s worth and what you would want,² Councilman Stu Crismore told the port authority board.

Port authority chairman Jim Mayo said he would invite engineer Mike Fraser of Thomas, Dean & Hoskins, who serves as a consultant for both the city and the port authority, to discuss the issue at a joint meeting.

In other business, port authority board members discussed their attitudes toward the potential sale of portions of the 400-acre former mill site. The board was in general agreement that sale of parts of the property would be acceptable.

³You¹re probably going to have to sell the bulk of your property to develop the balance of it,² Dan Larson said.

Stan Kargol said he wouldn¹t rule out selling parts or even all of the property, and Mike Henry agreed.

³In reality, if we sell it and they develop it and it creates employment and it¹s on the tax rolls, we¹ve done our job,² Henry said.

Russ Barnes said the property should be ³platted out² and subdivided into parcels to promote orderly development.