The Fairfield Town Council on June 10 approved hiring a third-party engineer to evaluate structural issues with the town’s newly constructed $3.8 million lagoon, completed in early summer of 2019.
At the May council meeting, Mayor Bob Swartz recommended the council meet with legal counsel to discuss possible litigation involving who is responsible for the repairs needed at the lagoon. Following an executive session, the town’s attorney, Bill Bieler of Choteau, advised the council to seek input from a third-party engineer given there are ongoing discussions of responsibility for the repairs with NCI Engineering, that was in charge of the project, and a conflict of interest between the town’s current on-call engineering firm Great West and contractors for the sewer project Missouri River Contractors.
Town maintenance employee Nick Dale reported at the town’s May meeting that the lagoon was losing between 80,000 and 90,000 gallons per day. The town’s maintenance crew believe the leak is in cell two since the water level was not rising. Per Dale’s calculations the cell should be a half of a foot higher than it was. Dale reported the City of Choteau has scoped lines that look to be good. Dale said they would not know what was going on until they lowered the water levels and pulled the liners in the cells. He added that there needed to be an inspector on site to make sure that all of the issues being fixed meet specifications.
Dale also said at the May meeting, town officials have notified the Department of Environment Quality regarding the issues at the lagoon. Dale explained there is not a quick fix for the problem that could involve pulling the liner in cell one and stabilize it before fixing the leak in cell two liner.
It was noted at both the May and June council meetings that the town crew has been working with NCI Engineering and Missouri River Contractors to go over warranty items at the lagoon.
At the June meeting the mayor said work was almost completed on the survey of Seventh Street by Morris Surveying from Choteau. In discussing the report, council members asked for a few more pins to be noted at key sections of the road.
During the last two months, town Clerk/Treasurer Tammy Comer reported that 7-Electric had completed the retro-fit updates to the existing decorative lights on main street, the town had received a $2,500 grant to go toward the pool slide and the town has a Facebook page where they plan to keep the community up to date on happenings.
During the May and June meetings the council approved:
•Moving forward with the proposed water project with Great West Engineering creating a detailed preliminary engineering report and submitting the town’s TSEP and DNRC grant applications for phase one of the water system improvements project.
•Accepting the $4,300 bid from Big Sky Striping to stripe and paint crosswalks on Central Avenue and Seventh Street.
•Re-appointing Larry Johnston as the Fairfield representative to the Teton County Conservation District.
•Salary increases of $.50 for Comer and Nick and Chuck Dale maintenance staff. The maintenance staff each received an additional $.50 raise for the work they are doing on the sewer project. The council has previously approved an increase of the employee monthly health benefit from $595 to $642.
•Re-hiring Amanda Brown as the manager of the pool and a dozen lifeguards at the appropriate rate on the salary matrix. With the input of the manager, an assistant manager will be hired before the opening of the pool.
•Teton County Sheriff’s Office, the Justice of the Peace and the prosecutor’s contracts for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
•Zoning and encroachment permits to: Gary and Kari Kasper, deck; Jon Manual, fence; Kris and Collette Ingenthron, two-car detached garage; Brad and Rachele Palmer, garage and fence; Jason and Terra Rosenbaum, detached garage; Humble Ventures (Ben Rhodes) fence; Jeremy Clotfelter, shop; Courtney Theron, fence; Mike and Donna Manuel, fence.