May 18, 2017


May 18, 2017

Commissioners Doug Tucker, John Grewell, and Bill Bullock, and Administrative Assistant Angela Newell were present.

8:30 Pledge of Allegiancet

Commissioner Grewell moved to accept the Justice Court End of Period Disbursement for April 2017; Commissioner Bullock seconded; motion carried.

Commissioner Grewell moved to appoint Harris Gabrian as Fire Dist. 7 Trustee for period of three (3) years; Commissioner Bullock seconded; motion carried.

9:00 County Attorney Alex Nixon met with Commissioners for his weekly meeting. Sheriff Josh McQuillan and Civil Deputy Jacque Papez were present. They discussed Charlie Reed stopping road crew on Edgar Pryor Road when they didn’t have enough man power to have a water truck. The County Attorney will write a letter regarding not stopping operators while they are working. Wyoming has approved the form contract to secure fire protection in the south-eastern part of the County; it has been circulated to all entities for final review. Industrial Communications has installed the software patch on the mutual aid repeater and it is now being tested. We have been given permission to use Shane Ride tower site if needed.

Discussed Marsy’s law position and the need for a full-time employee to fill the position. The County has applied for a grant that would cover 80% of the employee’s salary and equipment costs. The City of Red Lodge has not yet confirmed if they will contract for services for Marsy’s Law compliance, but other municipalities have indicated they would like to. There is also approximately $6,000 per year going to the tri-County Victim Witness Advocate Program that could be reallocated to support the new position. Commissioners agreed to start advertising for the position.

Commissioner Grewell moved to approve the April 20th and 24th meeting minutes; Commissioner Bullock seconded; motion carried.

9:30 Gary Verkleeren EverPower, Ian Andrews Pacific Corp, and Ken Clark PacificCorp met with Commissioners regarding the MudSprings Wind Project. Weed Dist. Coordinator Brian Ostwald, Civil Deputy Jacque Papez, Planning Director Monica Plecker, and County Attorney Alex Nixon were present. There have been some changes to the Mud Springs wind project from what was outlined on the Development Permit. The original plan was based on 2MW turbines; as 2.5MW and 3MW turbines are now available and provide some efficiencies which will also make the project more economical. The layout will change to shrink the project foot print by moving turbines, reducing the number of turbines, shortening roads, and moving the substation /interconnect facilities. The proposed changes resulted from discussions with Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and the Sage Grouse Oversight Team.


EverPower will be finishing the second year of eagle surveys by the end of the month. Once all turbine locations have been finalized, geotechnical tests will confirm if soil conditions are adequate for construction. They asked how the County would like the project changes documented. Monica believes the existing Development Permit would be sufficient as the project was not intensifying from the original plans. She would like a copy of the final plans and if the project would be in compliance with setbacks and noise thresholds as outlined in the new Development Regulations. Commissioner Grewell moved to allow the original Development Permit to stand as-long-as the project is not intensified from the application; Commissioner Bullock seconded; motion carried.

Gary noted some items in the Impact Fee Agreement that EverPower would like changed so EverPower’s requirements are clear. Under 1(b)(i) it notes EverPower will stockpile 30,000 cuyd for use by the County, but does not specify a location for the stockpile. They are considering a stockpile near Railbed or Pryor Mountain Road, but asked if it would be acceptable for the gravel to be supplied with a credit at Montana Limestone; Commissioner Tucker agreed a MT Limestone credit would be sufficient. 1(b)(ii) discussed Everpower providing a Fire Truck and staff for fire protection; EverPower would like language added to allow the staffing requirement to be fulfilled by construction or operations employees that have the appropriate credentials. Commissioner Grewell moved approval of amendments as proposed; Commissioner Bullock seconded; motion carried.

1(b)(iv) discusses Everpower providing an ambulance and staff for emergency responses. Everpower would like that clause to only require staffing during active construction. Commissioner Grewell suggested inserting “active” between during and construction at the beginning of the clause. Commissioner Grewell moved to insert active as suggested; Commissioner Bullock seconded; motion carried. Jacque noted the changes will need to be memorialized with written amendment.

They also discussed the New and Expanding Industry resolution. EverPower would like a clean resolution; the County will need to review their request. The project is progressing from a development standpoint; however, the power purchase agreement has not been resolved; a potential resolution is for Pacific Corp. to purchase the project. Brian Ostwald noted the weed management plan is probably expired, he believes a new inspection should be conducted when the final project footprint is confirmed. Ian gave overview of Pacific Corp. as a company and noted the project is unique as it is outside of their service territory.

Jacque Papez noted impact fees have not been paid; Gary stated it is EverPower’s position they have not commenced with construction as outlined in impact fee agreement. Position of county is that construction has begun as it met requirements for Federal Tax break.

Gary noted that work will be reclaimed, qualifying for tax credit by purchasing transformer.

10:40 Clerk and Recorder Marcia Henigman, Election Admin. Macque Bohleen, Deputy Clerk and Recorder Christine Stovall, and Superintendent of Schools Clerk Lori Kane met with Commissioners regarding school elections. Joliet and Red Lodge have requested the elections office conduct their school elections. Marcia noted there is no requirement under Montana Law for her office to conduct the school elections and is not inclined to because of the staffing requirements. Marcia will write a letter to the school districts informing them of her decision.

10:50 Patrick Olp met with Commissioners regarding Cerium networks a phone systems and Information Technology company. They currently have the State phone contract and contract Information Technology Services with other counties in the state.

11:00 Meeting closed to discuss personnel issue.

11:35 Meeting reopened.

12:00 Adjourned    

Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Assistant