Before it votes on the NDO, Billings City Council must dispense with a plump agenda

2014-08-10T23:00:00Z 2014-08-12T11:46:19Z Before it votes on the NDO, Billings City Council must dispense with a plump agendaBy MIKE FERGUSON The Billings Gazette

Monday’s Billings City Council meeting could well be a long one even before council members arrive at the main event.

The city council has a lengthy consent agenda and four public hearings scheduled before the final item on the agenda: a public hearing and first reading of an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Monday’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at city hall.

In a memo, City Administrator Tina Volek recommends, on behalf of city staff, that the city council adopt first and second readings of the nondiscrimination ordinance, but postpone enactment until Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has issued an opinion on whether Billings has the authority to enact an NDO.

Before they can prepare for that significant decision, council members will hold public hearings and then vote on these matters:

A request for a variance that will allow a mixed-use commercial development at the northeast corner of 32nd Street West and Central Avenue with access via Central Avenue and the alley off of 32nd Avenue West. That’s not allowed under the city’s site development ordinance, so the property owner is requesting a variance — a request that is supported by city staff, since it moves the access away from traffic that queues at the intersection.

A request to create a streetlight district to pay the energy and maintenance cost for the streetlights within St. Vincent Healthcare Subdivision, between Monad Road and King Avenue West and bordered on either side by Marillac Street and Chapple Street. All energy and maintenance costs for the proposed light district will be paid for by assessments on properties within the district.

Yet another streetlight district request, this one at Vintage Estates Subdivision, which is constructing additional phases southwest of Grand Avenue and 52nd Street West. The new lamps will match the style of poles and fixtures used in the first phase of the subdivision and will use LED lamps for energy efficiency. The cost billed to the city for the lighting is passed on to the property owners in the light district as an assessment on their property taxes.

The city’s Parking Advisory Board recommends amending city code that allows disabled people to park free and without time limits in any city on-street or off-street parking space. But the equipment at the Empire Parking Garage, the city’s first automated parking garage, cannot distinguish between disabled and able-bodied people and their vehicles. Assistant City Administrator Bruce McCandless said that “an organization that represents handicapped individuals was consulted about the changes and commented that the availability of parking spaces is more important than time limits or paying for parking.”

In addition, the city council is scheduled to consider a sale for Pooled Sidewalk Bonds, Series 2014. The city has been working with Montana Municipal

Cooperative, a partnership of investors based in Bozeman, on the bond sale.

Consent agenda items include:

An approximately $673,000 bid to construct the car rental transfer lot and terminal loop road repair project at the Billings Logan International Airport

About $405,000 for a professional engineering services contract to design, bid and administer construction of the Mullowney & Elysian Area Water and Sanitary Sewer Extension Project

A management agreement between Zootist Hospitality LLC and the Empire Garage Owner’s Association

A contract with Safetech not to exceed about $404,000 for asbestos abatement at the old library building

Approval of the purchase of 11 replacement police vehicles from a Great Falls company for about $299,000, or about $27,000 per squad car.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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