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The original item was published from 12/2/2014 9:11:03 AM to 12/4/2014 12:05:01 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: December 2, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Trust fund, historic preservation before council

The Council of Commissioners could give a final nod Wednesday to a new board overseeing all future spending from a $15 million county trust fund.

An updated ordinance overseeing historic preservation in Butte-Silver Bow also is up for final approval, minus controversial provisions that would have given a county official more authority to have some houses or other structures torn down.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on the third floor of the courthouse.

The county signed an agreement with the Atlantic Richfield Co. in December 2012 that created the ARCO Redevelopment Trust Fund. ARCO has put nearly $15 million in direct payments and interest into it.

The pact and fund were designed to give Butte-Silver Bow a financial means for redeveloping areas polluted by mine waste and enhancing and diversifying its economy in a post-mine heyday era.

The agreement said a board to oversee the fund should be established promptly after ARCO deposited the money, which occurred in March 2013 – about 17 months ago. The county has spent nearly $400,000 from the fund without a board in place, though officials say the expenses fit squarely within parameters of the pact.

Under a proposal before the council, a board with seven voting members would be created to oversee future spending from the fund. It also would monitor and advise local government on issues related to Superfund environmental cleanup activities.

The board also would have four non-voting members, including Chief Executive Matt Vincent and a member of the council.

Commissioner Dennis Henderson said Council Chairwoman Cindi Shaw already has decided to appoint him to the board.

“I will take it very seriously,” Henderson said Monday. “I think the public deserves to know exactly where the money is going and what the money is being used for.”

Proposed revisions to the county’s historic preservation ordinance would clarify several areas of the law since it was last rewritten in 2007, said Historic Preservation Officer Jim Jarvis.

But it will not include a provision that would have allowed him or future preservation officers to authorize demolition of some buildings outside of Butte’s historic district boundaries.

Read the full story in the Montana Standard
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