Future location of Butte maintenance shop uncertain due to rising costs

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 19:12:22-04

BUTTE – The new location for Butte’s maintenance shop was established more than a year ago. Now, that’s not certain.

“That’s where we stand. I don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s what bothers me,” said District 6 Commissioner Jim Fisher.

The state-funded project to remove the buried mine waste, known as the parrot tailings, has begun and the county must move the maintenance shop off of Civic Center Road because it’s in the contaminated area. But the cost is estimated at $3.5 million more than initial estimates from last year, which is delaying the project.

“Here in Butte it seems we’ve been fighting for 30 years to try and get our answers solved and here we are at a stalemate over $3.5 million,” Fisher said.

Jon Sesso who heads Butte’s Superfund cleanup said costs to install utilities and to level the land of the proposed new site off Beef Trail Road is more expensive than originally estimated. New tariffs and steel imports have been a factor in the increased cost. Fisher claims the council is being left in the dark.

“There’s been no communication with the council whatsoever and I think that’s a real error on everyone’s behalf,” Fisher said. 

In April of last year, the commissioners voted 8 to 2 in favor of making this 18-acre property off of Beef Trail Road the site of the new maintenance shop. However, Fisher fears the latest developments will undermine the commissioner’s decision.

“We’re going to end up in a situation where the county shops aren’t going to be moved, they’re going to finish removing the parrot tailings and then they are going to try to ram a thing down our throat to say that the shops should be moved to the north or to the Montana Pole site, which both have been denied by the council,” Fisher said.

Sesso said no such decision has been made. The committee on the maintenance shop relocation may have a solution by next week.