Firefighters enter Cross Petroleum

In April 2016, Billings firefighters responded to a structure fire at Cross Petroleum, 1818 Minnesota Ave. The Billings City Council is scheduled to decide Monday whether to authorize nearly $1.3 million to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatuses for firefighters.

HANNAH POTES, Gazette Staff

The Billings City Council is scheduled to decide whether to spend more than $500,000 on 17 new city vehicles and almost $1.3 million on self-contained breathing apparatuses for firefighters during its Monday business meeting.

The meeting commences at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 220 N. 27th St.

Low bidders for the new vehicles were all out-of-town dealers — Billion Auto Group of Bozeman, about $235,000; Fremont Motors of Powell, Wyoming, about $82,000; and Bison Motors of Great Falls, about $218,000.

The new SCBA gear replaces 12-year-old equipment with a 10-year life expectancy, Interim Fire Chief Bill Rash wrote in a report. Funding comes through a supplemental request to the 2017-18 budget.

In addition to the two purchases, the council’s consent agenda also contains these items:

  • A tax increment financing grant for up to $420,000 to Griffin Development to help renovate the Sawyer Building, at the corner of Montana Avenue and N. 23rd Street. The renovation will cost an estimated $2.5 million and will include a new roof, insulation, new windows and façade, an elevator and fire code improvements.
  • An up to $35,000 TIF grant to bring up to code the Carlin Building, at 2501 Montana Ave. Accessible restrooms and a fire sprinkler system were installed so that MoAv Coffee could occupy the space.
  • A third TIF grant, for up to $1.5 million, for infrastructure upgrades to the Stillwater Building, the former Battin Federal Courthouse. Improvements will include insulation, mechanical and electrical systems, energy efficiency, security, façade and deferred maintenance. The upgrades are designed to attract tenants to the building.
  • A staff recommendation that the council indefinitely postpone considering changes to the city’s noise ordinance so that staff can complete its research and obtain comments from stakeholders. The council was to have taken up the issue once again during its Monday meeting.

The council has two items of business on its regular agenda.

The first is a public hearing and vote on 2017-18 budget amendments totaling about $5.6 million. Included is $2 million for the Hilltop Road/Aronson storm water project and $1.5 million for the landfill drop-off facility project. In both cases, the council gave budget authority previously, but the projects were delayed.

The second item on the regular agenda is special review for a wireless communication facility at 1235 W. Wicks Lane.

The applicant, Digital Skylines on behalf of Verizon Wireless, wants to install a rooftop concealed wireless facility nine feet above the existing roof parapet at Harvest Evangelical Church in the Heights. Staff and the city’s Zoning Commission recommend council approval.

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City Government Reporter

City reporter for The Billings Gazette.