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A number of residents from Mary Street attended the eleventh meeting of the Billings Bypass Advisory Committee, recently, and were probably quite disappointed with what they heard.
Property owners along Mary Street, which will be significantly impacted should the bypass be built, along what is currently being identified as the preferred route , are striving to get another route named as the preferred route – one that passes through a former gravel mine. What they heard from officials from the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is that "we are really comfortable with the analysis that we made."
Yellowstone County's Health Insurance Advisory Committee is recommending that the proposal to establish a health care clinic for county employees be tabled in the hope of partnering in the future with other local agencies in establishing one. A move they believe would generate greater savings.
County Director of Finance Scott Turner said that they received three proposals in response to the county commissioners' request for proposal. But, in reviewing the proposals, he said, the advisory committee became aware that other entities, such as the City of Billings, School District 2, and the State of Montana are considering opening similar clinics in Billings.
The Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC) has awarded $60,000 of Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) job creation grant funds to Big Sky Economic Development in Billings to assist Northwest Scientific with expansion needs.
Northwest Scientific (NWS) is expanding their operation to a new building being constructed on Lohwest Lane in West Billings. NWS is a distributor of laboratory chemicals, instruments and supplies, serving the scientific needs of customers from their Billings location since 1948.
To do nothing about the increasing traffic congestion until the Northend Bypass is built was the primary suggestion from a consultant from Sanderson and Stewart Engineering, in a report presented to the members of the Policy Coordinating Committee, on Tuesday.
Kirk Spaulding said that it wasn't a recommendation that he liked but it appeared to be the best plan of action after having analyzed, as his firm was retained to do, by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), existing and future traffic conditions as they relate to the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Main Street.
Members of the Lockwood School Board said that they breathed a big sigh of relief to hear that ExxonMobil Corporation will not protest their taxes this year.
Board Chairman Tim Sather said that board members entered a meeting with ExxonMobil last week, with heavy hearts, prepared to hear the worst. ExxonMobil Manager in Billings, Monica Mainland was quick to announce the company's decision, said Sather, "it was a relief."
Patty Nordland, director of Community Development for Big Sky Economic Development (EDA), announced that the agency is submitting an application for another Brownsfield grant of $400,000. The grant, like that of a previous $400,000 grant, will be used to evaluate properties in the East Billings Tax Increment Finance District, or the EBURD (East Billings Urban Renewal District), which are potentially contaminated with toxic materials.
Does Billings need an industrial park developed?
That's a question that Steve Arveschoug, Director of Big Sky Economic Development, (BSED) hopes to answer with a feasibility study.
Arveschoug says that his agency is frequently approached by businesses looking for a place to locate that has the proper zoning, space, rail and road connections, and utilities. There just isn't much available in the Billings area, he said, and having it is "strategic to the expansion and attraction of manufacturing, warehousing , and transportation/distribution operations."
The last fiscal year was a good year for the Big Sky Economic Development Authority (EDA) and its sister organization the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), as far as Jim Tevlin, comptroller, is concerned. "We controlled our costs and stayed within budget, he told members of the executive committees for both organizations at, at their regular monthly meeting.
Their biggest struggle for the agency, which depends upon monies generated by a county wide mill levy, is to compensate for funds they can't use, because of the tax protests. Tevlin said that he has allowed as a line item cost, $60,000 to reflect that loss in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget, which will go before the full board for final approval, this week.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103