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Council gives golf course go-ahead to $1.5 million

| October 6, 2004 12:00 AM

By Brent Shrum Western News Reporter

Convinced that the expansion of Cabinet View Country Club is viable without annexation into the city, the Libby City Council on Monday gave the club the go-ahead to access $1.5 million set aside as a loan to fund the project.

In July, the council agreed to set the money aside from its economic development fund but gave the club access to only $166,000 for engineering and other studies. City attorney Scott Spencer had cautioned the council against approving the proposal as submitted through the Libby Area Development Co. because the plan to expand the golf course from nine to 18 holes and develop 100 new home sites was dependant on annexation and the extension of sewer service to the area.

Spencer advised the council in July that it would be inappropriate to approve the proposal based on sewer service being available through annexation because doing so would give the city a direct financial interest in the annexation process. Opponents could point to the loan as evidence casting doubt on the council¹s impartiality in making the annexation decision, he said.

The country club was directed to provide additional information on the viability of the project without annexation and return to the council to receive approval for the rest of the funding. On Monday, CVCC representative Wayne Haines briefed the council on several options that have been determined viable, including septic systems, a local sewer treatment plant and collecting sewage locally and pumping it to the city system without extension of the city¹s lines to the Cabinet View area.

Annexation and extension of city sewer service remains the preferred option, Haines said.

³Naturally that¹s the ideal way we would like to go,² he told the council Monday.

Mayor Tony Berget expressed optimism about the city¹s chances of receiving grants to fund the sewer project. The cost of the project has been estimated at around $2.5 million.

³We¹re in the running,² he said. ³It depends on if the Legislature goes through with funding.²

Current plans are to begin work on the country club expansion in the spring, with the project to be finished in 2007, Haines said.