March 16, 2023
March 16, 2023
Commissioners Scott Miller, Scott Blain, and Bill Bullock; and Administrative Officer Angela Newell were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance.
Public Comment: Theresa Whistler was present to address questions and concerns regarding the Whistler Observatory. Bullock noted as a taxpayer, his concern is regarding how the property was transacted; Whistler noted the organization is placing the facility on City property there was no transfer. Bullock expressed concerns that the City is desperate for land for affordable housing and industrial developments; there was a discussion about the lot being dedicated to parkland. Bullock noted the construction of a new sand shed and eventual plans to relocate the Red Lodge Shop to the south Fair property where the Road Department’s storage yard is. Theresa noted her project does not consider parking; Bullock noted parking on County property may be considered trespassing. Discussion of Stakeholders listed; Commissioners expressed concerns that the County is listed as a stakeholder when they have not been consulted or informed of the project. Whistler apologized if Commissioners feel left in the dark. Whistler noted the project is still working through the City’s procedures for authorization. Discussion about requests for lighting restrictions to be extended to County. Bullock noted the Road Shop Sand Shed has already been designed and that there will be lighting impacts to the area. Bullock expressed concerns about City taxpayer maintenance obligations similar to what happened with the Moose Track Trails park. Discussion about funding; Whistler noted private donations and plans for fundraising and grant writing once all permits have been secured. Miller asked who approved placement on City Property; recommendation from Parks Board and approved by City Council.
9:00 Public Health Director Erin Cross and Denise Metzch met with Commissioners. Discussed tablets from Cedarwood; Cross would like to use them for Community Health Assessment (CHA). Bullock requested assurances that there is no HIPPA protected information on the devices. Blain moved to approve Public Health use of tablets for CHA; Bullock seconded; motion carried.
Cross presented a grant application for Workforce Supplemental Positions. Cross reviewed the grant request for 5 years funding to continue the Rural School Nurse position. Cross noted that current 3 grant funded positions for the School Nurse expire June 30th. Cross confirmed there is no match for the grant. Blain moved to approve the Application for Workforce Supplemental Positions; Miller seconded; Commissioners discussed submission time, Cross noted a tight deadline from when she received the full application and the time necessary to fit the narrative into narrow wording limits; motion carried.
Blain moved to approve Commissioners’ Proceedings for February 9th as corrected; Miller seconded; motion carried.
9:30 Red Lodge Mayor Kristen Cogswell and Council Representative Jodi Ronning were in attendance for the City’s regular appointment. Bullock noted the painful nature of last night’s Planning Board meeting in regard to Short-Term Rentals (STRs) and the level of specificity that was delved into. Discussed Planning Board organization and appointments. Cogswell noted her discussions with the City Attorney and MSU Local Government regarding member appointments and structure, and what Cogswell believes are conflicts between the City charter and statute. Discussion of neighboring properties and desire for good neighbor relations; Bullock noted concerns from County residents that City rules will be extended outside of the City Limits. Discussion about rules protecting local STR and companies and the desire to limit Corporate STRs.
10:00 Contract Civil Attorney Jacque Papez met for County Attorney time. Discussed conversation with Matriarch’s Attorney and noted issues with auditing for bid requirements. Discussion about conditions of the pit; application of liquidated damages; original bid price; and options to move forward. Miller noted the obligation to Devries. Papez noted the motion to dismiss the Bennett case is sitting with the Judge; she is not sure of the timeline for a ruling.
Discussed grant sponsorship for the Rock Creek / Clear Creek Canal. Papez will request the attendance of a member of the ditch board who has been more involved in the grant process.
10:30 Geospatial Information Systems Coordinator / Fire Warden Tom Kohley was in attendance for the petition to reduce the speed limit on Willow Creek Road. Bullock provided an overview of the request to reduce the speed limit to 35 miles per hour. The petition is signed by all adjacent landowners. Bullock moved to accept the petition to reduce the speed limit from the intersection with Highway 78 to the end of the current pavement on Willow Creek Road (just past Spires Subdivision); Blain seconded; the motion carried.
11:00 Miller noted he is still waiting on details of the Home of Champions’ Rodeo Grant. Letter of Support will be postponed Bullock would like the position of County as not a Stakeholder or beneficiary of the Whistler Observatory to stand in minutes and does not believe a letter is necessary after the discussion this morning.
Blain moved to approve a special check run; Bullock seconded; motion carried.
Blain moved to approve a letter of support for the Home of Champion’s Yellowstone Country Montana Tourism Region Cultural Tourism Grant Application; Miller seconded; motion carried.
JW Papez, Tyler Gardner, Erin Wall, and Autumn Hollman met to discuss sponsorship of the Rock Creek / Clear Creek Canal Grant. Discussion about the application for SAM.gov Registration; they have applied, but are waiting on authorization and approval. Work on the project will be weather dependent. Discussed start-up conditions including whether or not an Environmental Assessment will be required. Wall outlined the requirements to receive federal funds; as the sponsor County would assume all responsibility for the project including procurement, administering payments, and submitting reimbursement requests for expenditures. Rock Creek has pledged the required match funds. Bullock asked about establishing a precedent for sponsorship of other ditch companies in the County. Discussion of the procurement process, sub-award agreement, and quotes for the required work. Blain would prefer to wait to see if Rock Creek Clear Creek can get SAM reg. Blain noted in his conversation with Conservation District members they don’t feel like they had the whole story when the sponsorship fell through.
Blain moved to accept Blue Cross Blue Sheild as the COBRA manager; Bullock seconded; Bullock moved to add Long term Disability to original motion; Blain seconded; discussion of comprehensive long-term disability; Asbury noted overall cost will be about even; motion carried.
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Officer