Two Rivers Authority soldiers on
Big Horn County News
The Two Rivers Authority board tackled the agency's financial issues and lack of legal counsel at Monday's meeting, which also saw the formal introduction of Jeffrey McDowell as the new TRA director.
As of the end of November, the TRA had about $45,000 in the bank, which led board member Harry Steinmetz to ask if the organization had enough money to make it through the fiscal year without another infusion of money from the city. That question was answered when the Sue Murphy, the TRA's accountant, advised the board that they can spend roughly $6300 dollars per month and still make it through July 30, assuming the port authority generates no revenue during the next seven months.
Bob Crane, the TRA treasurer and Hardin insurance agent, said that HUB International, who had presented a bid to insure the jail at the TKTK board meeting, had been tapped to cover the facility for $66,00013 in premiums, which would be paid by the bondholders out of the bond's reserve fund.
The question of whether or not to winterize the facility was largely decided for the board because the insurance policy requires a heated facility. “The heat and the sprinklers have to be kept on,” said Crane. “The insurance can't be in force if the heat's not on.”
The board has until February to complete an appraisal of the jail to determine its value given the amount of time it has sat empty. Murphy told the board she contacted Mike Harling, a vice president at Municipal Capital Markets Group, the Texas-based company underwriting the bond for the detention center, for suggestions on who would be qualified to do such an appraisal.
Moving away from matters surrounding the jail, the board discussed its presentation to the Montana Coal Board for grant funds at the coal board's meeting on January 13.
On the issue of legal counsel, the board noted no response to attempts to advertise for services and so approved a motion to hire Natasha Mourton, a Hardin attorney who had expressed interest.
Towards the end of the meeting, Crane reiterated his desire to open dialogue with the Schweitzer administration as well as the Montana Department of Corrections. “We have a new director,” Crane said. “What do you think about making contact with Schweitzer and Ferriter?”
Chairman Arneson agreed with Crane's sentiment, and Steinmetz said simply, “We need to do something different.”