City council hires new officer, approves budget and tax resolutions

Mayor accuses Rod and Gun Club, local media of wrongly discrediting city
By: 
KATHLEEN GILLULY
Outlook managing editor
In addition to Chief Rick Musson, front and center, new Laurel Police Department Officer Chase Rasmussen, second from the right, had his parents, Roy and Gina Rasmussen and his girlfriend, Annie, on hand to witness his swearing in ceremony Tuesday at the city council meeting. Also participating were Captain Mark Guy, Officer Stan Langve, and Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Chase.
In addition to Chief Rick Musson, front and center, new Laurel Police Department Officer Chase Rasmussen, second from the right, had his parents, Roy and Gina Rasmussen and his girlfriend, Annie, on hand to witness his swearing in ceremony Tuesday at the city council meeting. Also participating were Captain Mark Guy, Officer Stan Langve, and Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Chase.
Outlook photo by Kathleen Gilluly.  Newly sworn in Laurel Police Officer Chase Rasmussen is congratulated by Mayor Mark Mace after receiving his badge at the Laurel City Council meeting Tuesday evening. Officer Rasmussen is from Helena, but is excited to be in Laurel. The 25-year-old worked hard to become a police officer and is eager to begin training. His parents, Roy and Gina Rasmussen, girlfriend Annie and her brother, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper were at the meeting to witness the ceremony.
Outlook photo by Kathleen Gilluly. Newly sworn in Laurel Police Officer Chase Rasmussen is congratulated by Mayor Mark Mace after receiving his badge at the Laurel City Council meeting Tuesday evening. Officer Rasmussen is from Helena, but is excited to be in Laurel. The 25-year-old worked hard to become a police officer and is eager to begin training. His parents, Roy and Gina Rasmussen, girlfriend Annie and her brother, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper were at the meeting to witness the ceremony.

During an hour-long meeting Tuesday evening, the Laurel City Council confirmed the appointment of Chase Rasmussen to the police department and witnessed the swearing-in ceremony conducted by Mayor Mark Mace. The council also approved and adopted the final budget for fiscal year 2017-2018; and approved levies and tax assessments for the lighting districts, park upkeep, street and sidewalk maintenance and special improvement districts. They also approved a resolution to levy taxes for general and specific purposes for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2017.
Just one resident addressed any of the budget issues. Dave Waggoner, mayoral candidate, questioned the two percent increase the city is planning for public works’ personnel costs. He noted the contract hasn’t yet been settled so the final amount may be different.
Waggoner also commented that there is no need for a levy for street sweeping services. He said the position of street sweeper had been eliminated so the only times the streets are being swept now is during business hours when parked cars make it ineffective.
After passing the budget, levy and tax assessment resolutions, the council discussed Laurel’s weed problem and line-of-sight interference at intersections before Mayor Mace read a statement concerning issues at Riverside Park into the record. Although the Outlook hasn’t yet received a copy of the statement, video of the meeting is available on the Outlook’s Facebook site.
Mace said the Laurel Rod and Gun Club and the local press have spread misinformation regarding the Riverside Park buildings in an effort to discredit the city. He also accused members of the LRGC of being disingenuous, since they have known for several years the club’s lease would expire in May 2018. The mayor said the professional restoration estimates for the buildings as quoted in the paper were not accurate and that the city will demolish the historic buildings if it is in its best interest.
Less than a month ago, the city hosted an open house at Riverside Park to gather comments and ideas from the public for the creation of a master plan for the park, which is currently underway by Great West Engineering. According to the engineer working on the plan, Jerry Grebnec, most of the attendees said preserving the historic buildings was their top priority. Many also hoped to continue shooting sports in the park, although LRGC officers have conceded they may have to move shooting activities elsewhere.
Since the 2011 flood damaged the park and the buildings, the LRGC has made several offers to the city and the council to pay to restore the building they have used for decades.
All the documents pertaining to the buildings and the master plan, as well as the mayor’s comments, will be posted on the Outlook’s website at www.laureloutlook.com

Below are the estimates we have recieved from the LRGC and other sources regarding the repairs to Riverside Park.

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Upcoming Events

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    Third Monday, 10 am., LDS Church
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    Mondays & Fridays, 1 p.m., Laurel Senior Center, 720 S. 4th St.
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    Al-Anon, Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St.

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