EDA Gets Brownfield Grant for East Billings

Big Sky Economic Development (BSED) was recently notified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Billings is one of 171 communities receiving $67 million in brownfields funding to assess, clean and redevelop contaminated properties.

Big Sky Economic Development successfully made application for two brownfields assessment grants. The organization received $200,000 in community-wide hazardous substances dollars to conduct ten Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments (ESA). Another $200,000 in grants funds will be used to conduct the same tasks at sites with potential petroleum contamination. The targeted project area will be in the East Billings Urban Renewal District.

Read more: EDA Gets Brownfield Grant for East Billings

Wolves Contract, Marketing Director, Fair Budget on Metra Agenda

Much is happening at Metra Park as spring unfolds.

County Commissioners have signed a contract between Metra with the Billings Wolves and the Indoor Football League. The contract provides for a renewal of the contract at the end of the first two-years.

The process of hiring a new marketing director for Metra Park has proven more difficult than anticipated. "The position seems to have out grown previous models" and Metra Park officials are rethinking and redesigning it. After having gone through one round of applicants, Metra Park administration is reclassifying the position and will re-post it offering a higher salary range.

Read more: Wolves Contract, Marketing Director, Fair Budget on Metra Agenda

O’Connor Files for District Court Judge

Bill O’Connor, a Billings attorney for thirty-three years, filed as a candidate for judge.

“Billings needs judges who can bring breadth and depth of experience and knowledge to the bench,” O’Connor said. “While some vying for a judgeship in Yellowstone County know a great deal about one area of law, I bring three and a half decades of experience representing individuals and businesses across countless topics. I have practiced extensively before Montana’s state and federal trial courts, and I have successfully argued numerous matters of constitutional law before our Supreme Court.”

Read more: O’Connor Files for District Court Judge

Compete Smart Conference Set for October 9 &10 in Billings

Every two years, somewhere in Montana, the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center holds its Compete Smart conference. This year manufacturers and industry leaders from throughout the state will convene in Billings, on October 9 and 10, under the theme “Making the Magic - -Manufacturing.”

The event will feature Keynote Speaker Joe Calhoon providing strategy on improving business performance and guidance to growth. It will also focus on the innovations which are happening in the Bakken as a result of the booming oil and gas industry and other speakers talking about best practices in the industry.

Read more: Compete Smart Conference Set for October 9 &10 in Billings

VA National Cemetery Transfer Nears, Memorial Day Dedication

County officials were working last week with Sara Elton with the Veteran's Administration (VA) to make the final arrangements to transfer ownership of the Yellowstone County Veteran's Cemetery near Laurel to the federal government, to become Montana's only open national cemetery. Elton is Chief of Operations at the Black Hills National Cemetery in South Dakota.

Dedication of Yellowstone County's Veterans Cemetery is planned for Memorial Day, May 26.

The primary "piece" of the transaction that remains to be put into place, said Commissioner Bill Kennedy, who has largely spearheaded the project since its inception, is the acquisition of water rights, which will go before the Montana Land Board, for consideration, on April 21.

Read more: VA National Cemetery Transfer Nears, Memorial Day Dedication

County Plans on Moving Offices Around

Yellowstone County Commissioners are considering changes in department locations and office enlargements that would move the Yellowstone County Extension Services and 4-H headquarters to the MetraPark fair grounds.

Commissioners are hiring an architect to redesign areas of the Court House to provide more room for the County Attorney's office and the Clerk of Court office.

Read more: County Plans on Moving Offices Around

Liveability vs. Resource Development?

A proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU), to support the goals of the Billings Livability Partnership and to collaborate with the organization, met with some opposition before it was eventually approved, in a split vote, by the joint Big Sky Economic Development boards – EDA and EDC.

“At least no one can say we rubber stamp everything,” commented one board member during their regular monthly meeting.

Read more: Liveability vs. Resource Development?

Tax Incentive for 360 Office Solutions

For the next five years 360 Office Solutions, Inc. will not have to pay taxes on the value of the new construction involved in their expansion at 3723 Pierce Parkway, the former location of Sportsman's Warehouse.

County Commissioners approved the application under a program which is commonly used to grant some tax relief as an incentive to growing and expanding businesses in the county.

Read more: Tax Incentive for 360 Office Solutions

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