December 12, 2023

December 12, 2023
Commissioners Scott Miller, Scott Blain, and Bill Bullock were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance.
9:00 Administrative Officer Angela Newell joined.
Commissioners discussed the records destruction request from Justice Court. Blain moved to approve the records destruction request; Bullock seconded; Bullock and Miller expressed concerns regarding the previous data entry backlog and would like to discuss retention requirements with Nichols before approving. Blain voted in favor; Bullock and Miller against. Motion failed.
Commissioners discussed last week’s public hearing regarding Development Regulation revisions. Some discussion about public comment from Theresa Whistler regarding lighting restrictions; and concerns about the ask being overreaching.
Commissioners discussed the County’s appointee to the Red Lodge Planning Board. The current appointee is interested in resigning but does not want to leave the County without representation.
10:00 MSU Extension agents Carrie Guderjahn and Amber Elliott met with Commissioners for an Office update. Discussed Fair Board Meeting, Fair schedule changes, Fair book, and the MSU Extension Services Agreement. Guderjahn and Elliott provided an overview of projects and programs that have taken place over the last several months and possible upcoming programs including estate planning, continued partnership with Public Health on Senior outreach, animal workshops, and shows.
Blain moved to approve the Montana State University Extension Services Cooperative Agreement; Bullock seconded; motion carried
10:40 Geospatial Information Systems Coordinator / Fire Warden Tom Kohley met with Commissioners for his monthly update. Kohley reviewed his written update (attached).
Bullock moved to accept Treasurer Cash Report, Clerk and Recorder Monthly Deposit Reconciliation, Justice Court End of Period Disbursement, and District Court End of Period Disbursement for November 2023; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Bullock moved to approve Commissioners’ Proceedings for November 2nd, 7th, 9th, and 16th; Blain seconded; motion carried.

11:00 Kohley was joined by Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz, Torsten Paul, and Election Administrator Crystal Roascio to discuss Ambulance Fee assessments for residents on Butcher Creek Road. Roascio noted a resident has questioned the Ambulance District fee on their taxes this year as they had not been assessed the fee previously. Kohley discussed the use of preexisting districts in the formation of the Ambulance district and believes there was some crossover when the fee was applied by the Department of Revenue. Discussion of 15-16-603 MCA regarding tax refunds. There was a review of the Resolution adopting the District, the map and description in the Resolution, and what was submitted to the Secretary of State when the District was created; it appears the residence was included in these documents. Kuntz expressed concerns about the impact to potential ambulance response and complications with refunding fees. Resolution 2010-05 includes levy district 10A which includes the Butcher Creek Area in question. Bullock moved to approve a tax refund for residents in the Butcher Creek area not previously assessed; the motion failed for lack of second. Commissioners would like to revisit the issue after more information is gathered.
Kuntz provided an update on the discussion with representatives from the Bridger and Joliet Ambulance services regarding the creation of a county-wide ambulance district. There have been some preliminary discussions on how funding would be split between the three districts; they would propose the split be on a percentage basis based on taxable value share, population, and call volume. They would like to propose a fixed levy of 18 mills which would generate about $1.2M. They believe this funding would be sufficient to provide 24/7 coverage for all three areas with incentive pay for EMTs and some provisions for capital equipment replacements.
12:00 Lunch.

1:00 Tim Jager ARETE Design Group met to discuss County projects. Discussed Red Lodge Road District Sand Shed and bid timelines with construction in the next fiscal year after July 1, 2024. Jager will provide an approximate schedule in the coming weeks. After further cost analysis of recent projects, Jager believes bids would be approximately $150/sq ft for a total project cost in the $380K- $500K range. Jager discussed the addition to the Bridger Road Shop and the need to narrow down a target budget and timeline. Jager expects construction to be in $225/sq ft range for a project total between $1M and $1.2M. Discussed needed remodeling of current space at $125-175/sq ft., and the possible benefit of combining the remodel and addition into one project to gain more interest from contractors.

Bullock noted receipt of a signed Airport Interlocal Agreement and boundary from the City of Red Lodge. Commissioners would like the agreement placed on the agenda in late January to allow time for the County and Town of Bridger to consider Red Lodge’s proposed changes to the agreement.

Blain noted quotes for a brush cutter/mower attachment for the excavator came in at around $15,500; also discussed the modifications to the excavator that will need to be done to accommodate the attachment for $7,800.

Discussion of budget and architect project priorities.