Town of Philipsburg
P.O. Box 339 I 04 S. Sansome Street Philipsburg, MT 59858 PHONE: 406-859-3821 FAX:406-859-3821
June 3, 2018
Granite County Commissioners
Acting in my capacity as the Mayor of Philipsburg, I come before the Granite County Commissioners to respectfully make an official request for the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) from the County's Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PIL T) fund. This money shall be used for the emergency repair of 2,000 feet of the Fred Burr waterline.
This line is a seven mile long main artery that delivers approximately eightyfive percent (85%) of the Town's municipal water supply. This waterline is arguably one of the single most important pieces of infrastructure in all of Granite County. Upwards of twenty million gallons of water per month flows through this pipeline to service the Town's needs, and eventually enters Flint Creek to work its way down the valley.
There is approximately 2,000 feet of this line that is seriously compromised and needs replacement as soon as is practicable. The pressure of the water running through this line under certain conditions can approach close to 300 pounds per square inch. The integrity of this section of the pipe is seriously in question. It is of great concern as to how much longer it will safely function. A rupture in this line would be a potential catastrophe to our community.
One of the numerous unique qualities of our gravity-fed water system is that the town has two hydro-electric power plants built in to our main line. Each plant produces electricity; some used to power various public buildings, as well as a portionof this electricity that is sold to the school at a discount rate which translates to a savings in taxes to citizens of the County. There was a recent event that happened on this section of pipe wherein it was a necessity to turn offthe upper power plant. When this issue was addressed it was determined that the condition of the section of pipe we are referring to was so defective that we dared not turn the plant back on. It has been sitting idle now for several months.
The loss of revenue that is the result of this plant being put on standby is an important matter, but this pales in comparison to the potentially monumental loss of this entire section of pipe. It would change the very nature of our community by severely impacting our quality of life and presenting a very serious challenge to public health.
The first rung on the ladder of governmental responsibility for me has always been health and public safety. No matter how much the role of government grows and entangles itself around common social discourse, thus setting up unreal expectations among its citizens, the fact remains that providing public health and safety is the single most essential service that we undertake as elected representatives.
This a textbook case. We oftenhear about money being spent by government requested by, and for the benefit of, special interest groups. Clean, available water, and the proper disposal of waste water, are the most common of common interests. Everyone needs it, everyone participates in it, and everyone benefits from it. Business, commerce, art, leisure, all the cultural amenities that we define as civilization are made possible only if we attend vigorously to the maintenance of our most basic needs, of which water is at the top of the list.
I hope that the Honorable members of the Granite County Commission will give sincere consideration to this request. It would affect the people of both the Town of Philipsburg and the citizens of Granite County in a very positive manner. By doing this we will be fulfilling our primary obligation of health and safety to our constituents. I look forward to your timely response to this urgent matter.