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The original item was published from 2/5/2015 10:03:47 AM to 2/27/2015 12:05:01 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: February 5, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Council adds members to board in charge of $15 million trust

Butte-Silver Bow commissioners approved an emergency measure requested by Chief Executive Matt Vincent on Wednesday to change the makeup of a new board that will decide how millions of public trust fund dollars are spent.

Vincent said there were so many knowledgeable applicants wanting to serve on the Superfund Advisory and Redevelopment Trust Authority, he wanted to increase the number of its voting members from seven to 11.

The board will advise the county on Superfund cleanup issues and decide future spending from a nearly $15 million trust account created through a legal pact with the Atlantic Richfield Co., which provided the money.

The board's spending decisions will not need council approval, but it must fit within broad parameters of the pact. For example, it says at least $1 million be spent on Butte's three major festivals and $1 million be spent on historic preservation.

But some of the categories can include many types of expenses, and it appears the board will have wide discretion on spending about $8 million set aside for economic development.

Under the change, which the council passed 11-0, the board will now have eight voting members nominated by Vincent and three from other boards – one each from the county Board of Health, the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Board.

The council authorized the new board in December and was waiting on Vincent to nominate four of its voting members. The boards already had chosen their nominees.

Vincent told commissioners last week he would submit his four nominees for consideration at Wednesday night’s meeting, but he sought the emergency action instead.

Vincent said after asking for interest in serving on the board, he got 30 responses from "very well-qualified applicants" with a "wide range of expertise."

"I think we would be doing a disservice by picking only four of those," he said.

The applicant pool showed increased interest in Superfund activities, Vincent said, and it was important to "get the ball rolling" with the new board.

Read the full story in The Montana Standard.
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