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Council supports creation of asbestos specialist position

| August 19, 2005 12:00 AM

By BRENT SHRUM Western News Reporter

The Libby City Council voted Monday to support the creation of a community resource specialist position to help area residents with asbestos issues but stopped short of a decision on whether the specialist should be an employee of the city or of the county.

Helen Clarke, representing the Environmental Protection Agency-funded Technical Advisory Group, briefed the council on the proposal. The TAG is looking into applying for an EPA grant to create the position, Clarke said. The specialist would be available to provide quick assistance to people who find asbestos-contaminated vermiculite on their property and would remain in the area after the EPA has finished its cleanup operations.

The plan is for the position to be run through either the county or the city, with the local government entity providing benefits and possibly a vehicle, Clarke said.

"Since the city has a building department, we think it would be best served going through this channel," she said.

The position could be either full-time or part-time, Clarke said.

"This position is just flat needed, whether it's city or county or whatever," said Mayor Tony Berget.

Councilman Stu Crismore said his concern is that the city building inspector would become a "quasi-county building inspector" and that the city would be funding a position with duties outside the city limits.

"It's so preliminary nobody knows," said Councilman Doug Roll, adding that he would "push it more toward the county. They have deeper pockets."

The council agreed to support the concept of the new position without specifying whether it would come under the auspices of the city or the county.

"We'll be back when we have some more details," Clarke told the council.