Polson commissioners appoint Ward 2 representative

by SCOT HEISEL
Lake County Leader | October 6, 2020 5:00 PM

The Polson City Commission appointed a new member during its Monday night meeting, which was conducted remotely via Zoom.

Members appointed Patricia Corrigan-Ekness to fill the Ward 2 seat last held by Bob Martin, who resigned Sept. 9 due to a move out of his district to Swan Lake.

Corrigan-Ekness was one of two Ward 2 residents to apply for the vacancy. She was selected over David Coffman, a decorated veteran and former law enforcement manager who received an endorsement from Martin during his final meeting. The other Ward 2 commissioner, Tony Isbell, also voiced support for Coffman on Monday night.

Both applications are attached to Monday's agenda and may be viewed at www.cityofpolson.com/meetings.

Referring to Coffman’s application, Isbell said: “I believe he’s put forward something that’s highly professional and reflective of the type of work he will do.”

Ward 1 Commissioner Jan Howlett made the motion to appoint Corrigan-Ekness. It was seconded by Commissioner Brodie Moll of Ward 3.

Isbell and Mayor Paul Briney were alone in voting against the appointment.

“(Corrigan-Ekness) has a lot of knowledge. ... I feel she would make a very good commissioner,” said Lou Marchello of Ward 1.

“I just believe she would be such a positive influence as a member of the Commission,” Howlett said.

Commissioners also voted a second time to set a special election in January for a 3%, 20-year resort tax on luxury items and services. A unanimous vote during the Commission’s Sept. 9 meeting initially approved the ballot item. However, Polson resident Murat Kalinyaprak later pointed out a procedural error regarding a tabling of the item that occurred during an Economic Development Committee meeting in August.

City staff acknowledged the error and made adjustments to allow Monday’s vote, which also was unanimously in favor.

Kalinyaprak, a vocal opponent of the resort tax, questioned the moves and accused commissioners of trying to force the issue without a proper process.

The vote is set for Jan. 26, 2021. If passed, the tax will go into effect the following July. It would return 3% of funds collected to vendors with 97% going to the city. Of that 97%, 17% would go toward property tax relief, 80% would go toward city street improvements and 3% would be allocated to administrative costs.