January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018
Commissioners Scott Blain and Bill Bullock and Administrative Assistant Angela Newell were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance.
Mary Cameron, Diane Dimich, and Gordon Sirrine were present.
Mary and Diane informed Commissioners they are being sued by Joel Todd for slander. Mary assured Commissioners the suit would not interfere with her responsibilities as DUI Task Force Coordinator. She noted the Boys and Girls Club will be hosting the next Coffee with A Cop event. Mary left the meeting.
9:00 Red Lodge Mayor William Larson and Council Woman Corry Thompson joined the meeting. Commissioner Bullock moved to adopt resolution 2017-19 Creating the Board for Cemetery District No. 8 – Red Lodge; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.
Commissioners and Red Lodge representatives discussed the draft Rodeo Road Survey and issues related to deannexation of the fairgrounds. City will need to vacate roads and ally’s and the easement will need to be recorded so the city can continue to maintain road. Also discussed continuation of walking trails.
Cory and Commissioners discussed pedestrian access on 19th St. Bridge. The Parks Board would like a higher railing as they believe the existing rail is a safety concern.
9:30 City of Red Lodge Public Works Director Jim Bushnell joined the meeting to discuss garbage issues in Red Lodge. Julia Jones with Republic Services was also present. The City is looking at ways to ease garbage issues and considering a garbage transfer station near the recycling center. Julia noted a garbage transfer station is typically used for communities that do not have access to regular trash pickup. She noted Red Lodge and surrounding areas have access to garbage service; establishing a transfer station would most likely result in seasonal and rural residents to opt to bring their garbage to the transfer site which would increase costs for those that keep their trash pickup. Julia also noted it may cause problems with property owners within the City wanting to waive their tax assessment for trash service. Julia noted the City’s dumpster at the Historical site on south 212 is highly used and may demand more frequent pickups. She noted per Montana law property owner responsible for garbage disposal, they may need to impose a fine for those using City dumpsters to dispose of their trash. Julia suggested the City approach the State Board of tourism regarding a grant to help address garbage created by tourists.
10:00 County Attorney Alex Nixon, Deputy County Attorney Shannon Foley, Civil Deputy Jacque Papez, Sheriff Josh McQuillan, DES Coord. / GIS Mgr. Tom Kohley, and Deputy Kelly Carrington met with Commissioners to discuss the next steps for the Simulcast Radio System. Tom Dunne provided quote for new turn key Simulcast system at $266,000 for one channel at 4 sites; each additional channel would be approximately $100,000. Law and mutual aid are the two channels that need Simulcast. Kelly noted Flathead County uses an 8-site simulcast system with Codan repeaters; that system has been in place since the late 1990s. Tom presented coverage maps created by Dunne Communications; Tom noted there is significant overlap in tower coverage. Tom reviewed the existing equipment configuration and a possible new configuration using surplus equipment. The attorneys would like more firm numbers for turn key system with two simulcast channels from Tom Dunne; those costs will need to be presented to Industrial Communications and Electronics and give them a chance to remedy the system. Tom noted the final configuration may need to factor in other tower sites like Shane Ridge. Tom will get a more detailed cost estimate from Dunne Communications that would include the costs of having a local technician install the equipment. Kelly noted Industrial has had to reset the system approximately six (6) times over the week of New Years. 10:50 Commissioner Tucker joined the meeting.
Jacque noted they have received a request from the Burgens to amend their complaint. Commissioners and attorneys discussed the Mud Springs et. al. wind projects New and Expanding Industry applications. Jacque discussed when the tax credit would start, noting state law requires the developer to invest at least $125,000 worth of qualifying improvements or modernized processes in the first tax year in which the tax benefit is provided or in the preceding tax year. Jacque does not recommend delaying the implementation of the tax benefits to when project is operational as she does not believe that option is provided for in state law.
11:00 Treasurer Jane Swanson-Webb, Clerk and Recorder Marcia Henigman, Justice of the Peace Kevin Nichols, Sheriff Josh McQuillan, DES Coord. / GIS Mgr. Tom Kohley, County Attorney Alex Nixon, Extension Agent Nikki Bailey, and Floodplain Administrator Annie Gillespie met with Commissioners for a Department Head meeting. They discussed the Health Insurance Request for Proposals, the draft Asset Management Policy, capital planning, and accident reporting. 11:30 DES Coord. / GIS Mgr. Tom Kohley joined the meeting. Marcia requested the County conduct an exercise to review emergency and evacuation procedures with department heads and employees. Tom will work with Angela to coordinate.
11:45 Floodplain Administrator Annie Gillespie met with Commissioners to discuss her first few weeks as floodplain manager. She will attend the Montana Floodplain Managers Conference in March and plans to take the certification test at that time.
1:00 County Attorney Alex Nixon, Civil Deputy Jacque Papez, Everpower Director of Development Gary Verkleeren, Justin Petersen, John Husar, Gordon Sirrine, Sue Schwend, Lindsay Murray, Sonia Murray, Phil Martin, and Jack Alexander met with Commissioners regarding Mud Springs et. al. New and Expanding Industry (NEI) Applications. Gary gave Commissioners an update on the project. The Department of Environmental Quality has approved their storm water plan, US Fish and Wildlife has approved the eagle conservation plan, and they will be holding a mediation at the Wyoming Public Service Commission in February to try and resolve the power purchase agreement. Gary met with contract planner Forrest Mandeville regarding the amendments to the Development Permit. They hope to have documents for the consistency review to Forrest in the next month. Commissioner Tucker noted there are expenditure requirements in statute the projects must meet before being eligible for New and Expanding Industry tax abatement. Jacque noted 15-24-1401-02 MCA requires $125,000 be spent in qualified improvements in the year the benefit is to be received or in the preceding tax year. Jacque also noted statute allows the NEI applications within 5 years a construction permit being issues. As there is not a construction permit at this time, Commissioners and attorneys asked if the application was premature. Gary noted Everpower intends to commence construction in 2018 and believes issues would meet the dollar threshold for qualified improvements within the year. Gary asked why concerns about construction permit was not brought up earlier; the County wants to make sure the project has met all statutory requirements. Commissioner Blain reiterated his support of the project. Lindsay Murray believes Everpower is operating in good faith; he believes the project will benefit the community and does not see a lot of options. Commissioner Bullock confirmed his support for the projects, noting the County wants to make sure everything follows statute. Sonia Murray noted landowners have been involved in this process for a long time and they believe Everpower is serious about this project; she noted the obstacles the projects have faced and applauded Everpowers resilience and patience. Commissioner Blain moved to approve New and Expanding Industry Applications for Mud Springs Wind Project LLC, Horse Thief Wind Project LLC, Pryor Caves Wind Project LLC, and Bowler Flats Energy Hub LLC with conditions as set forth in statute and an additional condition to enter into a limited tax appeal agreement similar to the one passed by Stillwater County; Commissioner Bullock seconded; motion carried unanimously.
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Assistant