August 13, 2020
August 13, 2020
Commissioners Scott Blain and Bill Bullock; Administrative Officer Angela Newell; Commissioners’ Secretary Barbara Daniel; and Hope Smith, Polly Richter, and Judith Gregory, and Eleanor Guerrero (tele-conference) were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance
Gregory would like more contact information for Commissioners on the website. Newell stated that if someone calls the posted main 446-1595 and follow the phone-tree, they will be connected to the Commissioners.
Smith expressed appreciation to the Commissioners for their work done, especially with a Commissioner position vacant. Smith has been an election judge for 30 years and feels passionately about it. She cited the record voter turnout for the June primary election which was mail-only. She is concerned about judge institutional knowledge (ie too many new judges) and COVID-19 social distancing if there were a poll election in November. She doesn’t want judges burdened with trying to maintain social-distancing; if a poll election is conducted, she wants someone with legal authority to be present to enforce. Richter echoed Smith’s sentiments and questioned what would happen if there are an insufficient number of judges; Blain responded that at the public meeting on August 25th at 9am the feasibility of a poll election will be decided. Gregory echoed Smith and Richter’s sentiments and cited national examples (Wisconsin) of poll election failures in trying to accommodate COVID-19 mitigation measures. Gregory appreciated Election Administrator Macque Bohleen’s efforts to conduct a fair election in unprecedented times. Blain expressed his personal preference to vote in-person and feels obligated to provide that opportunity to citizens if it can be done safely. Blain acknowledged that some citizens have expressed concern over fraud in mail-in ballots, but said he’s not concerned about Carbon County’s ability to conduct a fair election.
8:50 Scott Miller and Gordon Sirrine joined the meeting (tele-conference).
Commissioner Bullock moved to approve the 373 Consulting COVID-19 Public Health Order Investigation Services Agreement; Commissioner Blain seconded; discussion regarding minimum/maximum weekly hours in the contract; Commissioner Bullock noted that the contractor, Jason Mahoney, is currently investigating three complaints and reports to Commissioner Bullock; motion carried.
Commissioner Bullock moved to approve the Buy-Sell Agreement with Norman and Geraldine Stevens for the purchase of property for the proposed detention facility; Commissioner Blain seconded; Sirrine asked about receiving a copy of the agreement;
Blain read aloud the terms of the agreement; Sirrine asked when the ballot will be held and Blain responded that it is unknown at this time; Blain said it’s important to lock-in the property in the hopes the bond passes at the appropriate time (and that it can always be sold if needed); Miller expressed support for the purchase of the property given the hot realty market; Sirrine asked about contingencies which are present in the agreement. Bullock echoed that the property could be liquidated if need be, but given the hot realty market and so much time/spent in research/development on this particular site, that it behooves the County to go forth with purchase; motion carried.
9:20 Guerrero departed the meeting.
Phil Mankin, Realtor for Norman and Geraldine Stevens, joined the meeting regarding his clients’ Buy-Sell Agreement for the proposed detention facility property. Earnest money will be deposited at First American Title Company in the next check run. Newell noted the purchase will be made with the County’s PILT funds as a transfer to the General/Building Capital fund.
9:30 Red Lodge Mayor Bill Larson joined the meeting for his weekly update. The new skate park is under construction and should be completed by mid-September; re-modeling the pool facility is still on the radar. Commissioner Bullock provided an update about work on the breaches in Rock Creek near 2-Mile Bridge. He also informed the Mayor that COVID-19 Incident Management Team member Jason Mahoney has been contracted to receive and investigate formal complaints for non-compliance with the County Public Health Order issued last week by Public Health Officer, Dr. Bill George. He noted a new grant opportunity from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development – the Live Entertainment Grant Program – for loss of ticket sale revenue. Discussion regarding the November 2020 Federal election options/procedures in light of COVID-19.
9:55 Miller departed the meeting. Newell discussed the County Search and Rescue Agreement. She stated that due to the 2015 agreement, their budget allocation is tied to mills; therefore, their budget allocation has gone up 30% since 2015. Newell recommended tying the allocation to something other than mills, such as floating mill or Consumer Price Index increase. Commissioner Bullock supported tying their allocation to the floating mill calculation; Newell will coordinate with the County Attorney for an amended agreement.
10:00 County Attorney Alex Nixon joined for his weekly update. Nixon reviewed CenturyLink’s Encroachment Permit application he recommended they be required to remove their Tort claim against the County in order to proceed with the permit process. Election Administrator Macque Bohleen joined the meeting; discussion regarding the upcoming November Federal election; she has 55 election judges willing to volunteer but she needs to get up to 65 to run a poll election. Newell discussed the Search and Rescue agreement and allocation computation. Nixon discussed COVID-19 mitigation measures in the courtroom and accommodating a live video feed.
10:45 Sirrine departed the meeting.
10:55 Commissioner Bullock moved to approve Resolution 2020-23 to Adopt Carbon County Fee Schedule for Sheriff Civil Process Fees and Large Group Ordinance Fees; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried
11:00 Airport Board meeting attended by Commissioners Scott Blain and Bill Bullock; Merrill Pfeifer; Gary Herem; County Contract Engineer Brent Moore of Interstate Engineering; Red Lodge Community Development Director James Caniglia; Red Lodge hangar owners: Bo Ewald, Drew Daniel, Steve Smith, Andy Teetzel; prospective Red Lodge site lessee Lance Brill; and Commissioners’ Secretary Barbara Daniel.
12:20 Airport Board meeting adjourned.
12:30 Commissioner Bullock moved to approve Library Board By-Laws changes; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried. Commissioner Bullock moved to approve appointing Scott Cain and Doreen Braund to the Library Board; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.
12:35 Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Coordinator / Fire Warden Tom Kohley joined the meeting to discuss current fire conditions; he recommended adopting Stage 1 Fire restrictions next week. This would restrict fires at Cooney Park. Commissioner Bullock asked to postpone decision until Monday.
Newell discussed financial resources to pay for new radio consoles in dispatch in light of not being funded for grant. Newell recommended allocating some of the additional payment to the principal balance of the CAD system lease to pay for the consoles.
Newell has advertised the vacancy for DES Coordinator due to Kohley’s hiring as Geospatial Information Services (GIS) Coordinator last month.
Commissioner Blain said he’s been asked about the financial costs of running poll election vs. mail election. Newell stated that the costs are approximately same with the increased costs of paying election judges being about the same as the increased postage associated with mail-in only. Newell provided historical figures demonstrating it costs $5k more to run a poll election not including intangibles such as other department staff time. Commissioner Bullock stated he feels that voting is a right and financial costs are irrelevant.
1:00 pm Kohley returned to the meeting to discuss the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Cache host program. Commissioner Blain signed the agreement with the State of Montana.