Letter from Chief Executive Dave Palmer

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 March 10, 2020

 

Dear Citizens of Butte-Silver Bow,

 

As your Chief Executive and a prior member of the Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners for 20 years, I want you to know that I absolutely care about your comments and concerns regarding our City-County, especially in respect to the Superfund Butte Consent Decree.

I would never stifle public comment – the entire reason why I entered public service so many years ago was and is to serve and listen to my fellow citizens. I have and will always strive to be a catalyst for continuing to move Butte-Silver Bow forward in a positive direction.

Unfortunately, there was misinformation beyond our control circulating immediately prior to the March 4, 2020 Council of Commissioners meeting, about how citizens would be allowed time for public comment regarding the consent decree presentation. This was of course false, and it is our job to ensure our citizens are armed with the correct information. As a local government, we must follow meeting rules. Everything that comes before our Council of Commissioners is important, but there is a process to be followed.

Specifically, as the governing body of Butte-Silver Bow, the Council of Commissioners is required to follow the open meeting laws. In order to comply with these laws, an Agenda is prepared for each meeting to advise the public of what matters the Council will take action upon. Public comment on these action items is always allowed. The Council also often has presentations made before it regarding matters that they will be asked to take action upon in the future. Such a presentation regarding the Superfund Butte Consent Decree was what was placed on the March 4, 2020 Council Agenda. The Council’s procedures do not provide for public comment on presentation items. However, the Council is also subject to public participation laws, which require the Council to provide procedures to permit and encourage the public to participate in their decisions that are of significant interest to the public. Accordingly, at the March 4, 2020 meeting, it was clearly stated that the Council intended to specifically allow the public the opportunity to comment on the Superfund Butte Consent Decree at a subsequent properly noticed Council meeting. 

Butte-Silver Bow is well-equipped with a stellar Superfund team, the majority of which have devoted the bulk of their careers to ensuring our city-county is taken care of by constructively working together with Atlantic Richfield, The Environmental Protection Agency, and the state of Montana on the consent decree. The members of Butte-Silver Bow’s Superfund team are our fellow citizens, and truly care about their neighbors who live here. This is a positive step towards a brighter future for our city, and while some of the initial plans are fluid, it will require us all working together for the work lined out in the decree to be beneficial for all.

The team has been working tirelessly to educate the citizens of Butte Silver Bow about the consent decree. We realize that the information is quite a bit to digest, but our team is here to help make the plans easier to understand, and answer any questions brought to them by you, our citizens. There have been several opportunities to learn more about the consent decree, and there will continue to be more scheduled. We currently have commissioner meetings scheduled with most of our districts in Butte-Silver Bow, and there will be time for public comment reserved before the Commissioners authorize the Chief Executive to sign the agreement.

The best quality about our city-county is our people. We are fortunate to live in such a close-knit area where we look out for one other. I want to stress that I, as well as my fellow colleagues within Butte Silver Bow local government, are looking out for you. It is a privilege that we take seriously every day.

We encourage citizens to let us know what is on your mind. You can always find information about Butte-Silver Bow meetings on our website: http://co.silverbow.mt.us/agendacenter. We also post news that is relevant to all citizens of Butte-Silver Bow in our news section on the main page: http://co.silverbow.mt.us/ as well as our Facebook page. Another option is to call our Courthouse main line to request an appointment with me or other elected officials: 406-497-6200.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and for being active participants in your community. Please keep doing so. We want to hear from you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dave Palmer

Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive