At its regular meeting Monday, the Powell City Council approved a budget amendment, received an update on the Clocktower Inn project and approved a new agreement with the City of Billings landfill. …
At its regular meeting Monday, the Powell City Council approved a budget amendment, received an update on the Clocktower Inn project and approved a new agreement with the City of Billings landfill.
Christine Bekes, executive director of the Powell Economic Partnership, said the Clocktower Inn remains at a standstill while hotelier Steve Wahrlich secures funding for the project.
While the hotel and conference center has yet to break ground, Bekes said things are moving forward.
“There are things happening behind the scenes, but it’s hard to see things happening without the dirt moving,” she told the council.
The project is a public-private partnership between the City of Powell and Wahrlich, who will own and operate the roughly 75-room hotel. The conference center, meanwhile, received $2.62 million in state funding, and the city will own it. If the project comes to fruition, Wahrlich will lease the conference center from the city on a 20-year lease, with an option to buy after 10 years.
Bekes said at Monday’s meeting that Wahrlich is in talks with a bank for the final piece of financing on the hotel side of the project, and she said the bank is very interested. There are still details to hammer out before a deal is finalized, but “it’s looking very positive,” she said.
Wahrlich decided to go with a construction manager at risk to oversee the construction of the hotel, and Bekes said he interviewed three contractors, two of which were local. He selected one of the local candidates, who will be announced at a later date.
Mayor John Wetzel asked if there was any certainty as to when the project will break ground.
“Is there a date we can circle on our calendar?” he asked.
Bekes said a date is still uncertain. She had previously indicated that construction would likely start in July.
The council also approved an agreeement with the City of Billings for an increase in out-of-state landfill fees. The City of Powell, which hauls its solid waste to the Billings landfill, had been paying $27.40 per ton. However, the Billings City Council recently raised that fee to $31.40 per ton, with the increase going into effect July 1.
For the time being, there will be no increase on Powell residents’ bills.
“At this immediate time there won’t be an increase passed down to the Powell residents, but we constantly monitor rates,” said City Administrator Zack Thorington.
Any rate increases in the future would need to be presented to the City Council.
The council also approved an amendment to the 2018-2019 budget at Monday’s meeting, adding $49,500 from unappropriated funds to cover increased expenses from former city administrator Zane Logan’s retirement payout.
The city also needed to cover a month’s salary for a new IT manager, a position that was vacated when Thorington was promoted to administrator.