March 23, 2023
March 23, 2023
Commissioners Scott Miller, Scott Blain, and Bill Bullock; and Administrative Officer Angela Newell were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance.
Kate Asbury met with Commissioners to discuss road maintenance worker applicants. One has a learners permit and takes last CDL test on the 30th. Commissioners are comfortable interviewing the candidate, but would not selection for the position until April 4th when the final CDL determination should be made.
Also discussed additional vision coverage options with BCBS. There are other plan options. Bullock moved to approve Plan 7; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Geospatial Information Systems Coordinator / Fire Warden Tom Kohley met with commissioners to present purchase requests for $1280 in airline tickets for a Conference in Nevada, 100% of the travel will be reimbursed by a grant. Kohley also presented purchase requests for two new radios and command truck accessories. Discussed upcoming fire season; Kohley has a quote for pants and packs for the road crew fire team, he would like to order now so the items are here in time for fire season. Packs that have the ability to carry a fire shelter are $175 each. Kohley asked what volume should be purchased. Bullock recommends 16 be purchased; Kohley noted this will put the line over budget. Commissioners approved.
9:00 Federal Lands Access Program Grant. Rebecca Shaw-Quinones and Brent Moore from Interstate and Geospatial Information Systems Coordinator / Fire Warden Tom Kohley were present. Bullock discussed the scope of work which would pave the East Rosebud Road from Highway 78 to the Forest Service boundary. Bullock noted the need to procure right-of-way for uniform width for the entire road. Rebecca noted the County has received over 50 letters of support for the project; one letter requested the road not be paved. Bullock discussed his preference for an asphalt road, noting the lack of access to gravel makes maintenance of the current road problematic. Bullock also discussed other road improvements that would be included in the project including reconfiguring the elevation of the road in areas to help with drainage and establishing borrow ditches. Discussed historic motor vehicle crash data. Kohley noted Sandford Bridge provides some of the only public access to the river and requested that a parking area at the bridge be considered as part of the project. Moore confirmed the Grant has no match requirement and expects grant awards to be announced in August or September 2023; Shaw hopes that federal entities expedite the funding so that the project could be done in coordination with the Forest Services’ project next year.
Bullock moved to approve FLAP Grant Application for East Rosebud Road and access to Federal lands; Blain seconded; motion carried.
9:35 Red Lodge Mayor Kristen Cogswell and Council Members Terry Durbin and Jody Ronning met for the City’s regular meeting. Discussed Red Lodge Road sand shed and likely lighting conflicts with the observatory. Cogswell noted an Airport presentation, the Observatory Memorandum of Understanding, and Short-Term Rental Regulations (STR) are scheduled for Tuesday’s Council meeting. Discussion about recycling fees and potential impacts on future garbage rates if recycling is discontinued. Also discussed were the timeline for flood debris removal and the meeting with regulatory agencies next week. 9:45 Cogswell departed. Durbin discussed the organization of a community meeting on April 6 from 6-8 at Elks. The meeting is focused on flood prevention and community members have brought in an engineer to help answer the public’s questions (it was noted that this is not a City sponsored event). Durbin and Ronning departed.
10:00 Contract Civil Attorney Jacque Papez met with Commissioners for the regular County Attorney meeting. Marie Olsen was in attendance Olsen expressed concerns about the Red Lodge City Planning Board. Feels the Board is not open to public discussion and input. Discussed the Commissioner’s authority to enable the creation of the Board and asked if they have any oversight authority. Bullock expressed concerns about the regulatory overreach of the current Board. Olsen discussed what appears to be a change in the Planning Board’s relationship with the City Council and the agenda-driven nature of a number of Board members.
10:25 Meeting closed to discuss litigation strategy with regard to gravel crushing.
10:40 Meeting reopened. Discussed complaints regarding compost facility on Whitehorse. Blain would like to investigate.
10:45 Public Health Director Erin Cross met with Commissioners to discuss strategic planning for the Department. Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Coordinator Cyrina Allen and Sheriff Josh McQuillan were present. Cross presented her 6 moth task list. Discussion need for more space; Commissioners asked about the current Alternatives Office when that function is brought into the Sheriff’s Office; McQuillan does not have space to accommodate the position at this time. Discussion of better utilization of current Child Protective Services office space. In discussing the future of the Public Health Department, Bullock noted his preference would be to stop with additional hiring and pursue a focus on long-term stability. Commissioners’ priorities for the department are providing immunizations, maintaining school nursing services, and continuing to build mental health services coordination and case management. Commissioners see the other community outreach programs as more discretionary functions of the Department. Blain noted Public Health’s presence in schools is noticed and appreciated. Cross noted she is coordinating with both the Mental Health Center and DSVS to make sure her department is not duplicating existing services. Discussion of School Rural Health program; Cross noted the current ARPA funding expires in June, but she has submitted a grant application for 1 FTE to continue that program. A discussion of other funding sources and staffing levels ensued. Cross discussed the County and Tribal Matching Grant program (CTMG) funding the mental health component; the mobile crisis team is an elevated step for that grant program. Cross discussed the State’s discussions about regionalizing Mental Health programs. Blain noted he prefers the Department stay small and consistent rather than expand into programs that can not be maintained. Blain would like the focus to be on kids, seniors, veterans, and those who can’t afford other health services.
11:30 Public Hearing Carbon County Compensation Board. Dan Coolidge, Lori Lynde, Macque Bohleen, Josh McQuillan, Kate Asbury, and Alex Nixon were present. Bullock moved to continue the Public Hearing for the Carbon County Compensation Board; Blain seconded; motion carried. Commissioners reviewed the discussion at Tuesday’s meeting. Nixon moved to recommend an 8 % Cost of Living increase; Lynde seconded; motion carried. Blain and Bullock voted in opposition. Nixon noted his motion was with the understanding that the Commission needs further discussion before a final decision and that the full 8% may not be financially sustainable. Blain moved to close the Compensation Board Public Hearing; Bullock seconded; motion carried. Blain moved to offer 3% Cost of Living increase (not including 1% longevity); Bullock seconded; Blain discussed the financial cost of other county commitments including equipment costs; Bullock noted he would like to see a higher increase to close the gap to the Consumer Price Index increase of 8%; Blain noted would like to see continued steady increases going forward rather than a large increase in one year and no increase in a subsequent year. Discussion of whether or not a hiring and budget freeze is necessary. Discussion of hiring and retention challenges in other Counties; Nixon noted the long-vacant Yellowstone County Deputy Attorney position; McQuillan noted he has had another deputy resign as of this morning because he can make more money in the private sector. McQuillan noted the need to balance wage increases with increases in operating expenses. Discussion of public perception of too high of an increase. Discussion of understanding of full compensation package. Blain called question; Motion carried.
12:00 Rod Ostermiller, Erin Awes, and Janell Ball from the Mental Health Center met with Commissioners to discuss DPHHS funding for flood victim mental Health Sevices. $300,000 is available for residents of Yellowstone, Carbon, and Stillwater counties, the funding expires in October and does not require a match. The Mental Health Center has been coordinating with Public Health and the counselor support network they developed in immediate response to June 2022 flooding. Bullock moved to approve Crisis Counseling Program Grant Application; Blain seconded; Bullock thanked MHC for incorporation of the whole county into this grant; motion carried. Awes asked if the County could provide a map of the flood affected areas; referred to DES department. Discussion of jail alternatives and the need to explore all preventative services.
Blain moved to approve Commissioners Proceedings for February 14th and 16th; Bullock seconded; motion carried.
1:00 JW Papez met to discuss grant sponsorship of the Rock Creek / Clear Creek Ditch project. The Ditch Company is still waiting on the assignment of their SAM number. Discussed grant and project timelines. Bullock asked how this project is different from other irrigation ditches in County; Blain noted Conservation District has sponsored others and originally indicated they would sponsor this one. Bullock moved to approve sponsorship conditional upon all procurement steps being followed; Blain seconded; Blain noted preference is still for Ditch to go through their own application if they can get a SAM number; there was discussion about drafting a ubrecipient agreement; motion carried.
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Officer