The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Melissa Jenkins
Staff Writer 

Whitehall Council votes to increase cemetery fees


December 14, 2016

The Whitehall Town Council approved a resolution Monday night to increase cemetery fees.

The measure passed 5-0 to increase the fees to $125 for weekday cremation burials, and $150 for weekend and holidays. The fee for casket burials will now be $250 for weekdays, and $350 for weekend and holidays.

Tabled from last months meeting, the Council discussed modifying charges for solid waste services. Town Attorney Elizabeth Musick said when she sat down to draft Resolution 2016-3, she reviewed the resolution that was approved at the December 14, 2015 Council meeting, and she believes that last years resolution meets all of the changes the Council was hoping to implement in a new resolution. Musick suggested tabling the matter for next month so she could review the 2015 resolution and make sure it meets everyone’s needs, and satisfies what the council would like to have implemented for the charges for the solid-waste service. The council voted unanimously to table the matter.

Also tabled at the meeting was Resolution 2016-4, addressing attaching a late fee for unpaid utility bills over 60 days. Musick said she did research on how much a municipality can charge for late fees and she has not determined what the allowable amount of interest is. The matter will be discussed at next month’s meeting, after the allowable interest percentage has been determined.

The discussion and vote on selection of an engineering firm following a request for proposal related to DEQ, and water issues will be tabled until next months meeting. The Water Sewer and Garbage Committee recommended for the Council to wait until the results on the sample come back from the lab in Wisconsin the DEQ recommended. Mayor Dale Davis said the town has the results back from the last one the town took; one portion came back way below, but the alpha was still above normal.

“It’s changed immensely since our last one in July,” Davis said.

The committee recommended NCI Engineering out of Great Falls, but no action will be taken until the results from the Wisconsin lab come back.

The Whitehall Town Council approved changes to the Planning Board Committee at the meeting. Council approved Lori Young as New Chair, Marty Keogh as Vice Chair, and Carilyn Jenkin as Resigning Chair.

The Council did not act after an Executive session to discuss legal strategies related to the service area of the Whitehall Ambulance service.

During the Public comment portion of the Whitehall Town Council meeting, Whitehall resident Dawn Welch discussed cyber-bullying and the effects it can have.

“With the help of pro-active; caring parents and educators our youth can be taught digital citizenship. However, this leaves a large group of people that do not know that technology based bullying is not acceptable,” Welch said.

Welch added phones and computer screens have left many to believe that they can behave in ways they would not in person, that screen does not diminish the painful impact and by targeting someone or a select group of people. She said the bully magnifies the hurt of the victim because of the public nature of the assault.

“Verbal intent is assault and with the sheer abundance of technology available especially smart phones, means that people being targeted by bullies can no longer find safety in their own homes, among their friends or even by changing communities. Parents who have been targeted end up with their children being targeted and chastised in school, in extra curricular activities and by people in the community,” she said. “This last week is a prime example of cyber-bullying. A local resident came into the town hall to pay their utility bill and surreptitiously video recorded the deputy clerk processing that transaction. Town officials were not aware of the video until it was posted to Facebook. Public employees are subject to public scrutiny; they are not subject to defamation of character. This went from being a public service to a personal attack and assault in her own home.”


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