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June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

Commissioners Bill Bullock and Scott Miller; Administrative Officer Angela Newell; and Commissioners’ Secretary Barbara Krizek were present.

8:30 Pledge of Allegiance.

Commissioners’ meeting on Thursday, June 18 was canceled due to the Robertson Draw Fire. Carbon County road crew members were deployed to participate in firefighting efforts.

On June 19, by verbal and email consensus, all Commissioners approved the Bureau of Land Management Northern Rockies Preseason Municipal Emergency Facilities and Land Use Agreement for Heli-bases at Red Lodge and Bridger Airports and Incident Command Center at Carbon County Fairgrounds.

On June 21, Commissioner Miller (verbal approval) and Commissioner Bullock (text approval) approved the USDA Forest Service Custer Gallatin National Forest Emergency Facilities & Land Use Agreement for the Red Lodge Airport Heli-base for the Robertson Draw Fire.
Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Coordinator Cyrina Allen and Geospatial Information Systems Coordinator / Fire Warden Tom Kohley joined during Public Comment period to provide an update on the on-going Robertson Draw Fire which has burned 29,596 acres and is now 53% contained. Discussion regarding the Forest Service’s Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team and who should be agency representatives when that time comes; Allen, Kohley, and Commissioner Miller will represent; discussion regarding concern over erosion and stream water quality. Kohley presented the Predictive Service Area Fire Indices and expects this to be a challenging fire season. US Forest Service is expected to jump from no restrictions to Stage II restrictions. Discussion regarding 4th of July fireworks.

Red Lodge resident Sara Urbanik joined the meeting to discuss COVID-19 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funds that the County has available to distribute around the County. She urged Commissioners to award grants to small businesses and small organizations, especially those that helped the Community wade through the pandemic.

Weed Coordinator Brian Ostwald joined the meeting to discuss 226 acres of weeds on Leonhardt Family Trust property which is too big/rugged for County ground application. He has received complaints on it for years. Asking for permission for $11k-12k for helicopter spraying. Been in non-compliance for 6 years. Court-ordered with no response. Discussion of recouping funds through taxes rather than a lien. Commissioner expressed support for spraying, but will Coordinate with Treasurer Lori Lynde to ensure the fees are applied to the owner’s tax bill. Will discuss further this afternoon.

Commissioner Scott Blain joined the meeting.

9:00 Burial of Persons on Private Property. Attended by Clerk and Recorder Christine Stovall, Sanitarian Cortney Lynde, and Sheriff Josh McQuillan. Newell stated that there have been a number of recent inquiries from the Amish in Roberts and others asking about burials. Stovall recommended researching protocols in other/neighboring Counties and expressed concern about the level of regulations in today’s draft resolution. Up until now, private burials have needed Sheriff and Sanitarian approval. Amish will have to go through Montana Department of Environmental Quality for cemetery designation due to number of burials. Resolution would be for five or less burials and go through Sheriff/Sanitarian. Will re-agenda for end of July; for the interim, Sheriff and Sanitarian will continue to approve and notice will be provided to Clerk and Recorder noting GPS coordinates for recording.

Stovall reported that only two unresolved tax deeds remain: Frances Owen (Tract 1, COS 266) and Kenneth Berndt (Bearcreek OP Lot 23, Block 5).

9:30 Kohley returned to discuss Fire Stage Restrictions language; current language causes confusion regarding campfires, especially with multiple jurisdictions (State/Fed) with differing rules. Commissioners would like to retain common-sense flexibility. Commissioner Bullock asked to discuss fire restrictions on Tuesdays throughout fire season until no longer necessary. Discussion regarding whether the County has the authority to prohibit fireworks under Stage restrictions. Kohley will follow-up with County Fire Chiefs to discuss potential language changes. Yellowstone is entering into Stage II and Stillwater is considering.

Commissioner Blain moved to approve Commissioner Proceedings for May 27, June 1, and June 3; Commissioner Miller seconded; motion carried.

Commissioner Blain moved to appoint William Oley, MD to Red Lodge Fire District #7; Commissioner Miller seconded; motion carried.
10:00 Commissioner Miller moved to appoint Belfry Lighting District Board in line with Belfry Water-Sewer District; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.

10:15 DIS Technologies – Administration Building Security Agreement. Stovall shared that staff in her office are in support of a camera system for staff safety.

Commissioner Blain moved to approve the agreement; Commissioner Miller seconded; motion carried.

Commissioner Blain moved to approve Employee Time as submitted; Commissioner Miller seconded; motion carried.

10:30 Clerk / Custodial / Dispatch Pay Scale. Stovall and Treasurer Lori Lynde in attendance. Continued discussion from previous meetings. Newell provided an updated scale. Discussion regarding the differences between the “Administrative” level and the “Additional Duties” level as well as costs to the County to implement changes requested in Preliminary Budget meetings to-date. Commissioner Blain moved to approve Resolution 2021-17 Adopting Clerk/Custodial and Dispatch Pay Scales; Commissioner Miller seconded; motion carried.
Interstate Engineering Brent Moore joined the meeting to discuss ARPA granting rules regarding qualifying projects.

Justice of the Peace Judge Kevin Nichols joined the meeting to discuss pay in his office as pertaining to the adopted pay scales. Nichols requested an 80% of elected base salary for Head Clerk Callie Allen, advocating that she qualifies as “Administrative”. Commissioner Bullock expressed that he did not concur with Nichols’ justifications for the increase.

11:30 Industrial Communications and Electronics Settlement Recommendation. Attended by Contract Deputy County Attorney Jacque Papez. Commissioners will await final documents for signature from the Defendants; rescheduled for July 8.

Discussion regarding disbursement of American Rescue Plan Act grant funds. Commissioners concurred that Senior Centers as a whole should receive a grant and that it should be disbursed based on the per capita computations based on Area II Agency on Aging Agreement.
Discussion regarding Sheriff Department pay scale; a resolution will be deferred until after the August ballot measure for the Detention Facility.

Commissioner Miller moved to approve the Memorandum of Understanding with the Montana Wool Growers Association Predator Control Fund; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.

Discussion regarding the upcoming Sanitarian vacancy; Commissioners directed Newell to post the internal vacancy notice for five days as per Hiring Policy and accept letters of interest.

12:00 Adjourned.

1:00 Review ARPA Grant Applications. Discussion regarding how to maximize State grant allocations in concert with County matches, especially as pertaining to Town of Joliet’s proposal for wastewater system improvements. Commissioners decided to fully fund senior centers and libraries as proposed. Commissioners also supported inviting Belfry Senior Center and Fromberg Senior Center to submit proposals ($20k each) as well as Belfry Water-Sewer District.

3:00 NorthWestern Energy (NWE) Transmission Line upgrades/enhancements. Calista Montgomery and Lisa Perry introduced themselves and provided updates on recent developments. There will be an upgrade to transmission lines during a two-year project set to start next year. Discussion regarding transmission lines and concern whether they might conflict with the Red Lodge Airport’s process of trying to re-acquire FAA funding; Montgomery plans to attend the June 29 Airport meeting with contracted engineers Robert Peccia and Associates.

In consideration of the Insurance Services Request for Proposals (RFP), Commissioner Miller moved to continue using HUB Insurance; Commissioner Blain seconded; motion carried.

Commissioner Miller departed the meeting. Kohley returned to the meeting to discuss Stage Restrictions. Commissioner Bullock communicated his opinion to follow Montana Association of Counties (MACo) interpretation of legal statutes regarding fireworks: “the [fact that] legislature has refused to grant counties the specific authority to enact firework bans carries the strong implication that counties do not have the authority to ban fireworks; a general powers government has only the authority to do those things that are specifically authorized by the legislature in statute. Municipalities have been granted the power to regulate fireworks within municipal limits by Section 7-33-4206 MCA but there is no comparable authority for counties.”

3:30 Adjourned.