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Wolf Point Passes Emergency Resolution, Rural Development Loan

Wolf Point City Council Holds Virtual Public Meeting

The Wolf Point City Council held a special meeting Monday, March 23. Approximately 150 people viewed the meeting, which was livestreamed on Facebook.

Mayor Chris Dschaak sat in the council chambers with only assistant clerk Jhona Peterson to take notes and Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada present. Councilpersons Dean Mahlum, Laurie Evans, Craig Rodenberg, Tina Bets His Medicine and John Plestina were in attendance via conference call.

There were two purposes for the meeting.

The council passed a resolution of emergency related to the COVID-19 crisis. The motion was made by Rodenberg. It was seconded by Plestina. It passed unanimously.

The resolution follows on the heels of a declaration of emergency signed by Dschaak March 19.

The text of the resolution declares a state of local emergency; activates the response and recovery aspects of any and all adopted local disaster emergency plans and the furnishing of aid and assistance; gives the mayor authority to direct law enforcement to enforce quarantines and curfews in all or parts of the city; declares adherence to all directives issued by the governor and/ or county health officer or board of health; allows for official meetings to be held via electronic means with audio and visual communications; allows the mayor to approve workfrom- status for qualified employees; waives bidding requirements for disaster related projects; allows for city personnel and resources to be used to combat and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and dictates that the resolution be disseminated via news media, the city website, social media and other means.

Following the passage of the emergency resolution, the council took up a series of resolutions related to work on water lines at Sixth Avenue and the underpass in Wolf Point. The price tag for the project is $750,000. As budgeted by the council, this sum will be paid with $235,000 from the city and a combined $411,000 from U.S. Department of Agriculture Montana Rural Development funding. The remaining $109,000 budgeted for the project will come, if needed, from a guaranteed USDA rural development loan. The term for the loan is 40 years at an interest rate of 2.25 percent, which is expected to decrease over time with no penalty for repayment.

These resolutions also passed unanimously.

Following passage of agenda items, the mayor addressed questions from the public about a curfew enacted by the Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board March 23. The curfew, a public health move intended to combat the spread of COVID-19, extends across the Fort Peck Indian Reservation from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. It took effect Monday night and affects enrolled tribal members.

Dschaak said the city supports the curfew. He added that city police will prioritize non-curfew crimes and calls for service before assisting with curfew enforcement.

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