Thursday, October 29, 2009


The Hill County Clerk and Recorder's office have been reporting that voting has been thus far light in the Current City election. Less than half of the mailed ballots have been returned. Perhaps, like this blogger, everyone is so disgusted with the Mayoral candidates that they are hesitant to even cast a vote. Basically you have a choice between the current and perpetually cranky Mayor Bob or the challenger Tim Solomon, who has so many County ties that he won’t know which way to turn with City business.

I know what we will get re-electing Mayor Bob as we have seen him in action for 8 years. He is perpetually pessimistic, difficult to get along with, and if you don’t happen to agree with him you are his enemy. On the plus side, he has made some accomplishments, in spite of himself, beyond what any of the former Mayors of Havre have ever done. He also considers the job a full-time position and puts in plenty of time being Mayor, whether it’s in City Hall or out with the work crews. To Mayor Bob’s credit I also will give him the fact that the City departments made it difficult for him when he did implement changes, so maybe in reality he is still the best choice.

Tim Solomon is employed by the County and will only be able to devote time to the City on a part-time basis. Mayor Tim would also look at ending the pool lawsuit and consider moving enhanced 911 dispatching back to the County. Accomplishing this of course, would also depend on the City Council. On the other hand Mayor Tim would likely be a push over in City – County negotiations so perhaps if ending bickering between the City and County is a voter’s primary concern without regard to your taxes, he may just be the best choice. I am concerned however with his continual comments about letting the department heads run everything unchecked. That’s how things were before Mayor Bob and the work force didn’t work to their maximum potential. I would venture to guess however, that Mayor Tim would be more approachable and would listen better then Mayor Bob but would he take any action?

All in all, two very less then exciting choices! Be sure and vote, because no matter which candidate wins, it is your tax dollars they will be spending.

Friday, October 23, 2009


An inside source at City Hall told us that the City is looking at some additional properties for another round of annexation. Maybe if they keep at it they will soon have all the properties that currently receive water and sewer service from the City of Havre. I am sure they have their eye ultimately on the additional tax revenue more annexation will bring but do they have the staff and equipment to take care of the extra responsibilities that come with annexation? More streets to maintain, more infrastructure to upgrade, and even the simple things like sending out those weed notices will need an increase in man power.

I wonder if the newly annexed property in this picture has gotten his weed notice yet? Further pondering has me also wondering if commercial eyesores like this second picture are also going to be on the list of blighted properties when the council goes after the landlords with its proposed landlord ordinance?

One picture is the tourists welcome to Havre from the east end and the other is the first thing you see traveling from the west.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Check out this article from the Billings Gazette.

Bozeman  Meeting
October 27
7 PM at the Wingate Inn

Patty Lovaas, a Certified Public Accountant from Missoula, is upset about the recent property tax appraisals and is doing something about it! She has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the state Revenue Director before U S District Court.

Patty will be happy to go over the "schemes" used to inflate the property values and explain the appeals processes. Bring your latest tax appraisals and she will go over them individually.

The meeting will be open to the public. Landlords as well as political people have been invited to this meeting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Atrium Mall and Office Equipment are in dire need of new sidewalks and have again come to the City of Havre to see about using our local CTEP funds to complete the project. Mr. Shaw said at Monday night’s council meeting that they couldn’t afford to replace their sidewalks unless they received substantial funding from the City for the $128, 765 project. Mr. Shaw was only in favor of paying the 13.42% CTEP match money or about $17,280. While we would all agree that the work needs to be done there are those of use that do not favor the use of our local tax funds to finance improvements to privately owned property. Mr. Shaw and Mr. Edmonds did in fact purchase their real property at a discounted price because of the poor condition of the buildings and sidewalks. Why should tax dollars then be used to inflate the value of a privately held real estate investment? The CTEP funds are best used for projects that will benefit all CityTaxpayers instead of a couple of local business people.

To add insult to this request Edmonds and Shaw were both parties to an earlier blog story where they hired the out of town Gallagher Paving to re-pave their parking lots. Yes, the same Gallagher that was reported by the Better Business Bureau fraud division to have duped their clients with poor workmanship and materials. If they refuse to support local businesses with their purchases why should the local taxpayers rush to approve the use of tax dollars meant to enhance the City for everyone?

The council meets Thursday, October 27th at 5:30 to discuss this matter. Call your council person and tell them to vote NO on this CTEP request.

Monday, October 19, 2009


If you may recall Mayor Rice stated at the recent Mayor’s Forum that the City of Havre was in the process of investigating a possible new ordinance requiring that local Landlords be licensed before they could carry on any rental business in the city limits. Rice further claimed that the ordinance would require that rental properties be inspected by City officials to make sure they were in good shape before the property owner could rent them out and this would begin the process of getting rid of “eyesore” properties in City limits.

Apparently this has struck a chord with one of our readers that recently sent us an e-mail with a couple of pictures of a City owned building on the alley between Washington and Cleveland Avenues on 11th Street. Why is the City so concerned with “eyesore” properties, which they arbitrarily attribute to being owned only by landlords, when they don’t even take care of City owned eyesore property? It would seem that they should fix up their own blighted holdings before they make new laws. This City owned well house has been in this state of decay for decades so why did they not “get’er done”?

Saturday, October 17, 2009


The latest out of town purchase by our locals really puts the frosting on the cake regarding our recent “buy at home” posts to this blog. The local school board just voted to award a 1.5 million dollar construction project to Helena contractor, Dick Anderson Construction. While Dick Anderson Construction is a quality business and has been in business since the late 70’s it is disheartening that a local contractor, who has a reputation of quality equal to that of Anderson, was passed over in this price “negotiated” project because he didn’t meet the school board guidelines relating to stimulus funds. I find it hard to believe that a firm that just received a federal award as a nationally recognized quality contractor for his work at the multi-million dollar border station isn't given any credibility by our local dim-wits at the school system.  Who do they think pays the property taxes to support the school system in Havre?

I would like to point out that Dave Clausen moved his construction business to Havre years ago and has built many large projects not only in Havre and throughout Montana, but even into neighboring states. Mr. Clausen built and pays substantial school taxes on the American Inn, a huge privatly owned Border Patrol station, a large rental storage facility, a large office /shop complex for his business and various other business properties in the Havre area. Dick Anderson, who by the way pays zero local property taxes, doesn’t even have an employee living in Havre.

In addition to the rather heavy property tax payment Mr. Clausen submits each year in support of the local school, city, and county governments, Mr. Clausen supports numerous athletic teams, school programs, and community events. Mr. Clausen also donated much of the labor and materials to make the Havre Town Square a reality. Did Dick Anderson Construction contribute to any of these things? In addition, Clausen Construction employs between 25 to 35 people on a full-time basis, which is no easy task in our recent economy,  that live here and support the community.   Apparently the School Board, not unlike other Havre businesses, thinks that the best deal is only to be had by out of town purchasing. In hindsight, I would venture to guess that Mr. Clausen would have gotten the contract and been the preferred out of town contractor if he only had the good sense to have stayed in Zortman and not moved to Havre.  Apparently he should have expanded his business and tax base in Philips County instead of investing millions of dollars in a community that throws their own taxpayers under the bus every chance they get.

I would encourage our readers to call your local school board to voice your disgust.

On behalf of all thinking Havre residents I offer my apologies to the qualified people at Clausen Construction and would like you to know that most of us do appreciate all you have done for Havre and the surrounding community.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Transit System Update

It appears even the "Local" Transit system can't resist the impulse to buy out of town. Note the delivery from a Ronan, Montana towing company. Is there not any car dealers in little Havre, Montana?

I especially got that warm fuzzy feeling when I saw the now infamous Government Recovery emblem affixed to the rear of our new vans, AKA the "I love Obama" for you republicans in the crowd. I do have one question about a statement Mayoral candidate Solomon made during the forum regarding this Transit System. He said he was willing to support this transits system until it became self sufficient and while I admit I am not a great businessman I do seem to remember from econ 101 that you need some sort of revenue to make money. How will this system ever be self sufficient when their customers all ride for free? I think it goes income less expenses equals profit but we appear to only have the expenses part so far in this enterprise. Anyone care to explain this to me?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The Hill Co. Clerk & Recorder’s office announced today that the ballots for the Havre City General Election were mailed to all active registered voters today. Voters will be able to vote their ballots and either drop the ballot off at the Courthouse or mail it back to the Elections Administrator’s office by November 3rd. Ballots will be accepted until 8:00 PM, period. The Corrector wants to remind our readers that if you plan on mailing your ballot back, make sure you’ve followed all the instructions, sign the back, check that you have the correct postage and give it plenty of time to be received prior to Election Day. The Corrector wishes all candidates running for office this fall well and the best of luck in this upcoming election. This election will surely be historic for Havre’s future and while the process might be new, the outcome will be ordinary with someone winning and someone losing. But that does beg the question, what is the deal with mail ballots anyway?

Montana law permits local municipalities and school districts as well as specialized districts such as local fire or sewer districts to hold elections by mail and is certainly not new as it has been around since 1985. There have been many attempts over the last several legislative sessions to amend these laws to include all statewide and federal elections as well including SB 394 this past session which failed.

Mail ballots are used in many states for multiple election systems; however, the States of Oregon & Washington conduct all their elections via mail and they love it according to their respective State Elections Administrators because it is more convenient, cheaper and it increases turnout. Does it?

Well the jury is still out on cost. Locally the State Elections Administrators group lobbied hard for the passage of SB 394 arguing that the cost savings alone makes it a no-brainer. Yellowstone County Elections Administrator Duane Winslow claimed that the State of Montana could have saved taxpayers between 3 and 4 million dollars if the 2008 elections were all mail ballot in his testimony to the Montana House of Representatives; however, he offered no details and no facts to back that up, but they still claim significant savings.

It certainly is more convenient for a number of reasons. 1) no waiting in line, 2) no confusion about where to vote, 3) more time to consider options and ask questions, 4) no need to take time out to go to polls. So it is more convenient.

It also does seem to increase turnout. In Havre’s most recent primary election the turnout was 49% which is much higher than the two most previous conventional primaries and the last City general by mail in 2007 saw as much as 70% turnout in some precincts. Similar findings can be seen across Montana.

Critics of an all mail balloting system claim that any potential cost savings is not worth the risk of fraud and ballot manipulation. Project Vote has contended in a long term study of the system that the facts do not bear out the arguments from proponents.  You can read their study by finding it on the internet, it is entitled “Vote-by-Mail Doesn't Deliver.” They make some interesting points in this work, but once again short on facts long on hypotheticals.  Repeating theme? 

The Corrector is interested in the views of Havre's voters out there on this topic?  What say you voters?

Friday, October 9, 2009


A candidate forum was held last night where the Mayoral candidates were given the opportunity to respond to some loaded questions from the Havre Daily News and also to some random written questions from the audience. While my writing format may make my former English teachers cringe I am going to present the questions and candidate answers in a rather loose grammatical form. I will leave out all personal comment until the comment section with the hope that our readers will provide us with some opinions

The first question presented to the candidates related to making an ordinance regarding eyesore properties. Rice stated that the problem was with section 8 rental assistance to landlords and is currently looking into proposing a new ordinance requiring landlords to be licensed and also requiring that the City take on the task of inspecting rental properties before the privately owned properties are rented to tenants to make sure they are safe. Rice went on to claim that he has personally went to some of the problem properties with city crews to do clean up. Tim Solomon responded that the City shouldn’t be doing the cleanup and he would take a look at some other solutions.

The next question dealt with the controversial issue of RV’s being parked on the city streets. Solomon said we should just work to enforce existing laws without making any new ordinances. Mayor Rice said that while they try to do just that it is very difficult as the current ordinance allows the offender to move the RV a couple of feet per week and still be in compliance.

How will you attack the age old problem of needed street repairs? Rice stated that the City has recently purchased a patching machine for $40,000 and it is out there every day getting it done. Solomon said residents should just call Public Works if there is a problem area that is getting missed so they are aware of the problem. He also agreed with Rice that the investment in the patching machine was a move forward.

Solomon stated that he thinks the key to increasing economic development is to push actively for the expansion of highway 2 to 4 lanes and continuing to work towards expansion of the Wild Horse port hours to around the clock. Bob said the expanded port hours would help and he works diligently towards that goal and claimed he was instrumental in getting the few expanded hours we did just recently get. He also said we need to make sure the town is clean and inviting to potential businesses. Rice went on to say that Quantum 5 had just called that day and offered to give the city 20 acres for a community center.

When asked if the City should look at raising taxes to improve service both Rice and Solomon agreed that people couldn’t afford more taxes. Rice also stated that he is looking into more stimulus dollars and that Bear Paw Development was doing a wonderful job of finding funds for the city.

When asked what they thought were the best opportunities for Havre, Solomon said as Mayor he would work towards stopping the loss of qualified city employees and would maintain and support the current department heads. He promised not to meddle in the day to day operations of the city departments. Rice responded that our opportunity is our way of life and he will continue to cultivate good relationships.

A person in the audience wanted to know how the candidates would include the disenfranchised people. Rice claimed that he currently does that by giving them 3 minutes at the council meeting to air their concerns and he also send personal postcard invitations to people that he thinks may have a personal interest in subjects that are on the council agenda. Solomon stated that he thinks people need more input to the council before the vote instead of at the end of the council meeting.

$15,000 was just allotted to the Transit System. Will you work for future allocations to support the buses? Solomon said we should see how it goes and in the future the System should get to the point of supporting itself but he does support looking at future funding. Rice said that the vote to give them the money was a good decision and possible the extra money they will get from annexation will help the city in future allocations.

What is your plan to reduce the excessive police turnover? Rice stated he has done just that and it is no longer a problem. The new chief has fixed everything and they are back on track. Solomon said he would support the Chief by staying out of the way and letting the Chief run the department.

A question was raised about supporting a dog park like the one in Great Falls. Rice said yes, he didn’t exactly know what a dog park was but if Great Falls can do it then we could too. Solomon made a quip about it being on the Quantium 5 property way out east of town but then said he would be willing to look into anything to improve Havre.

With the annexing of additional business there is a probability that the City Court will see a substantial increase in its case load. Would you support hiring another court clerk to help the City Judge? Solomon said he would wait and see what develops but would look into it and Rice state that yes; they could hire another clerk but maybe part-time at first.

How will you handle the current pool lawsuit and related pool funding problems? Rice said they have exhausted all venues and it should just go to court for a decision, but in the meantime he is looking into solar panels and related grants to help with the energy bills. Solomon’s approach would be to take another look at negotiating with the County.

When asked about what they thought were their differences Rice said that the buck ultimately stops with me and if you don’t get results I just do it myself. Solomon said he would focus on taking care of the Department heads and put the “buck” back where it belongs.

In their concluding remarks Solomon stressed that he has the experience and can get things done. He wants to take a look at again combining the dispatch services with the County and look at other areas where we can join forces to save money. Rice again stated that he just gets things done and then finished up by waving a couple property tax notices and inviting anyone to come up and take a look to see that he does in fact pay property taxes contrary to what defeated candidate Glock said about him in the primary.

Now lets have some comments to let our City candidates know the feeling of the voters.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Monday night the Havre City Council agreed on a budget that included $15,000 to be put into an escrow account for the North Central Montana Transit System with the stipulation that Hill County had to match the same amount. Hill County Commissioners agreed with that request and have promised to do just so.

Today, the HDN quoted Mayor Bob as saying the $15,000 set aside by the City would only be paid to the Transit System when and if Opportunity Link, Hill and Blaine Counties, Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations and MSU-Northern also give money. These groups earlier signed an agreement to give if the others followed suit. Some of these groups have donated and some have not so is the Mayor now trying to change the intent of the Council to withhold the money?

Interestingly the $15,000 given, if it in fact is ever given, represents just one dollar and twenty cents out of every thousand dollars in the Havre's current $12,541,000 budget.

The County match was the only stipulation at the Monday night Council vote. What has changed between Monday night’s council meeting and today’s paper Mr. Mayor?



I should know better by now then to quote anything I read in the HDN as a fact.  A couple post back (CTEP) I stated that the match funds sought by the private individuals in the concrete projects was 3.42%because that's what I read in the HDN.  However, I have been informed that it is in fact a match amount of 13.42%.

Thats why we decided to call this blog the Havre Daily Corrector in the first place.  Sorry about the erronious report


Just a couple of years ago our local Mayor touted the fact that he was the "Getter Done" Mayor and proclaimed that he had just aquired a nice shiney Vacuum Truck to enable the City crews to more efficiantly pickup leaves and yard debris. This service was claimed to be for the convience of the taxpayers.  Furthermore, the vac would save the City money because they would no longer have to pickup by hand from the alleys also not have to deal with plastic leaf bags at the dumping site.

The City just announced that due to budget constraints and the poor condition of that "shiney" Vac truck the City Public Works Department will not have a loose leaf pick-up service this year.

Our "Getter Done" Mayor has in fact made some accomplishments in his tenure, but he dropped the ball on this one.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


It was announced in tonight's paper that 2 CTEP projects were presented to the City council by the Bear Paw Development Corp totaling $345,424. One project was for sidewalks around the Atrium downtown and the other was for a new sidewalk and planters around the Ryan building which incidentally houses the Bear Paw Development Corp. The problem is that they only have $185,204 available.

It is also prudent to note that both of these properties are privately owned, and personally I have a problem with spending tax dollars on improving private property. To get this CTEP money the private businesses are being required to pay 3.42% of the project costs themselves or a total of around $6,334. The City Streets and Sidewalk committee wisely voted to postpone appropriating the money for these two projects.

Earlier this summer I had a dream of replacing the sidewalks and a section of driveway to my private home but when the bid I received from a local contractor came in at over $15,000 I postponed my aspirations due to a lack of funds. According to this CTEP formula my out of pocket expense would only be a mere $513 if my little job received CTEP funds. Why is my private home any different then a private investor owned downtown building? In my opinion it is just not right to use tax dollars for the improvement of someone's privately owned investment property.

Folks, now is your opportunity to apply for CTEP funds for something that will benefit all taxpayers instead of those that happen to be buddies with someone at City Hall or at the Bear Paw Development office. The City Streets and Sidewalk committee meets again on October 13th at 5:30 pm to discuss this further.

Call your council people and make yourselves heard on this issue!


FYI - The following was copied from the Havre Chamber of Commerce BBB weekly e-mail

413 SE 4th StreetLaurel, MT 59044406-628-3033 Matthew Gallagher, Owner

This company's BBB accreditation was revoked by the Ft. Worth TX BBB on June 28, 2009, and currently has an F rating. The company is currently operating in the state of Montana. For a full report on this owner and his past activities with BBB, read the report at:
Consumer complaints allege dissatisfaction with services received and product quality. Complaints also allege the company will not honor the written contract warranty for needed repairs. The company has responded to complaints but some complaints remain unresolved and unanswered.
The BBB warns homeowners to do their homework before hiring a paving company. Itinerant asphalt/paving dealers can always be active in the area, especially during the spring and fall.
Be aware of paving companies that approach your home, stating that they are "in the area" and have extra asphalt or concrete to repair your driveway for a minimal cost. Many times the company will quote a low price for their work and upon completion overcharge the customer. The BBB also notes that contracts are not always provided prior to the work being performed and that many jobs are poorly done and incomplete.
The BBB advises consumers to research all options thoroughly and not be pressured into signing a contract or agreement before all terms and conditions are clearly understood.
For tips on finding a reputable paving company visit

Thank you,

Coleen Smith Director of Accredited Business Relations- Montana

Tel: 406-439-4369
Toll-Free: 800-356-1007 (Spokane)
Fax: 406-227-3775
Email: Start With Trust

Better Business Bureau
Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana
152 S. Jefferson; Suite 200


A few of us around town are trying to get this blog rolling to be an information sharing venue for the "facts" and happenings around town. If you have comments or want a topic to be researched or discussed here outside of the main stream media by all means post a comment or send us an e-mail. Bookmark us or sign-up for the rss feed to be kept abreast of what is going on in our community. You can also help by sharing this link with others.

Look forward to hearing from you

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Yea right! I think most Havre people enjoy doing business in Havre with reputable people that they have grown to know and trust. While we all make purchases out of town in our various travels I think the bulk of the community supports the local Havre businesses. Why is it then that recently some of the local business community choose to hire a fly by night out of area paving contractor to do their parking lots and various paving jobs? Is not there a local contractor that handles paving work? Did these people even give a chance to bid on the work before contracting with this out of area hit and run paving contractor? Some of the people I asked said that they just thought the price was good and didn't even bother to check locally.

Shame on these same business people that in turn expect the rest of us to only buy at home from them. I must say, I can hardly blame a person for going to an out of town business to make a purchase when this is what our local business people do to each other.

Wake up Havre business people!