Commissioners support county library, look at road inventory

The Madison County Board of Commissioners carried a motion Tuesday to approve a memo of understanding between the board and the Thompson-Hickman County Library Board of Directors concerning plans for an addition to the library.

The new addition to the library will remain the property of the library, and its purpose is to accommodate an archival repository for county records, which are some of the oldest in the entire Rocky Mountain region. Madison County will contribute $33,000 toward the construction costs for the project to include the repository as well as stairwell access.

The board offered their full support in moving forward with the project, applauding the library for funding the majority of the project with grants and private donations.

“In today’s age, a repository/archive is an important part of the library,” said Commissioner Dave Schulz. “Having a safe elevator access to get down there for day-to-day what not is certainly going to be to their advantage.”

Marilyn Ross of the Montana Heritage Commission was present at Tuesday’s meeting to offer insight and support for the project.

“I think there is wide support across the county for the archives, the idea of saving our records and having a place where families can deposit their records I think is really important to people,” she said. “The important thing I think is just that commitment: we’re going to do this, its going to be a repository archive, its going to be of archival standards and we’ll be preserving some of the oldest records in the state.”

The board of commissioners also discussed a project to index Madison County’s roads with Madison County Clerk and Recorder Peggy Kaatz Stemler and information technology director Karen Brown. The project’s goal is to organize detailed research of road segments to complete a contiguous road by compiling county documents with historical records and current road maps. Once the information is gathered roads will be re-numbered and defined with a start/finish, legal description, width and whether or not the county maintains them.

At this point the definitions will be published with a resolution of intent, followed by a 30-day protest period and public meeting to pass the resolution.

The difficulty of the project is determining where to begin and how best to organize the information, not to mention scanning documents, maps and records into an electronic form. Commissioner Dan Happel suggested starting at the beginning.

“Get each road identified, get each road numbered, define some very very basic parameters and then get all that established for every road in the county, then start adding the details after the fact,” Happel said.

“We’re not talking about closing an inch of road. We’re talking about definition of that road,” Schulz added.

By organizing the road index information electronically, Kaatz Stemmler will be able to continue adding to the file as more data becomes available.

“Once they’re created, we can always add new information,” she said.

The next regular commission meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the Broadway Annex in Virginia City.

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