Commissioners proceedings


September 29, 2014

   9:00 CONVENE

PRESENT  Deb Ranum, Chairperson; William L. Randash and Steve Baldwin, members; and Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder

  9:00 AM  Resignation-September 16, 2014 the Commission received the written resignation from Don Buerkle. Don resigned from the Fair Board earlier but formally tendered his written resignation.

  9:00 AM  Amber Lawlar

Amber met to discuss the costs related to the sewer line the Lawlars replaced on their property west of Baker. The Lawlars would like to ask if the County would agree to pay for the expense above what the original cost to replace the sewer line would have been.  The original cost was quoted to the Lawlars at $5,000.00.  Amber hopes the total cost of the project will be under $40,000.

    Amber feels since the Planning Department turned the Lawlars into DEQ, when in fact their line was grandfathered in, this would be the responsibility of the County to pay. The DEQ now stated they have to have two lines due to Leland Erickson property.

    Amber would rather work this out than to get an attorney involved in it. The Lawlars will know the costs this week.

  Bridge work-Discussed placing some guards or speed bumps, speed zone signs and in some way mark the new road. The reason for asking is the Lawlars feel they will experience a lot of traffic driving on their property.

  10:00 AM Bobby Wiedmer, Road Foreman, and Alba Higgins, Shop Foreman

  Auction-The group reviewed auction items; the Road Department will place new batteries in the snow blower and the cars are repaired.

  Diesel fuel-Number 2 diesel will not make it to the pipelines until November. At this time the Road Department has been getting number 1 diesel from Cenex.

  10:00 AM-Nicole Shuler, Chamber of Commerce Director, joined.

   Bids-Permission granted to get the trucks and tool carrier bid process ready. Trucks-will bid with the option of purchasing one or more trucks and trading 0 – 2 trucks.

Mowing-They should be done mowing or very close to it this week.

  Culverts – Golden Valley County purchased some culverts they may not be able to place, due to FWP rulings.  Bobby felt the culverts may work for our County.

  Shop addition – Discussed adding eight more bays to the County shop. This would alleviate the Park from having to move items back and forth between two shops as well as accommodate housing more trucks and equipment inside.

  Calcutta Tickets – Nicole was selling calcutta tickets to anyone wishing to purchase one.

  10:45 AM Fish Wildlife and Parks Cooperative Management Agreement -The Commission reviewed and approved the Cooperative Management Agreement between the County and MT FWP for the Construction and Rehabilitation of Roads, Parking Areas and Bank Erosion at the South Sandstone Fishing Access Site. The agreement will remain effective for one year beginning September 1, 2014. Commissioner Ranum signed as Chairperson and Rich Batterman signed as legal counsel. That agreement is on record in the Clerk and Recorder’s office.

  11:00 AM-Lutheran Church Fair Stand

    Pastors Reba and Bruce Kolasch, Julie Stanhope, Parish Secretary, and Fred Houzvicka, Church Board Chairman

   Water issues-Commissioner Ranum stated it seems water run-off has been diverted, from the new construction that has taken place, to the existing Lutheran Stand; several agreed.     

   Discussion-Commissioner Ranum feels the County would pay for the building; place the anisole hood and relocate the grill. Pastor Reba wondered if the County could write up a letter stating the new stand will belong to the Lutherans. Commissioner Ranum stated she felt the County would want to use the building for other events; the Lutherans would get first choice to do the event or others could use it. Discussed the dimensions of the building so they will know if they can move the grill to the new building. Commission suggested contacting Darrell Aaby, Building Codes Inspector, for advice.  The group also discussed making a larger area for seating.

    Decision-They will work on the size; get the building plans together and return to speak with the Commission after that is decided. At this time they can work on the timing for removal of the old stand and building construction for the new stand. Discussed possibly adding a fryer to the stand since there will have to be an anisole hood in the new building. The County would also furnish the water, sewer, electrical in addition to the building and the hood; the Lutherans would need to provide the rest. Fred will take this to the Council. They will decide what they can move over and the costs for the rest of the items. The group expressed their appreciation to the Commission.

  11:50 AM  Dale Butori, Weed Supervisor

   Dale asked permission to purchase a side by side. The Weed Board approved of this and there is money in his budget.  The other side by side could be taken to the landfill.  Permission granted.


Commissioner Randash made the motion to recess. Commissioner Baldwin seconds the motion. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. Motion carried unanimously.

   Noon recess.


PRESENT  Deb Ranum, Chairperson; William L. Randash and Steve Baldwin, members; and Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder

1:15 PM  FEED MILL BRIDGE – Jon Brosz and Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering, and Bobby Wiedmer, Road Foreman, met to discuss the Feed Mill Bridge project.  Jon and Shannon stated they have all of the permits to complete the project but have not yet received the local permit from the Planning Department (Flood Plain Coordinator).  Mary Grube, Planning Secretary, was asked to join the group.

   FEMA and DNRC -These two groups were here completing an unannounced Flood Plain Audit.

   1:20 PM-Mary Grube, Planning Secretary, joined the discussion.

    Feed Mill Bridge permitting was discussed. Mary stated she needs to contact Traci Sears, DNRC, but Traci is out of the office today. This will have to be advertised in the paper and the landowners will have to be notified of the project as well. Jon stated he would complete a template to get the public notification to the paper. Mary stated it would be conditionally approved.

   1:30 PM Faron Henderson, Contract Planner, joined; Faron agreed this needs to be advertised and they will contact Traci Sears tomorrow.

   Bonnevale Bridge-Discussed the amount of County land that would be needed from the landowners for temporary construction.

   Fletcher Creek-The box culvert will be set on Thursday.

  Nelson Survey-TNT completed the boring and were told TNT may have knocked some of the coating off the pipes. Brosz has the information they need to finish the plat.

   Examining Land Surveyor-Discussed possibly having more than one examining land surveyor, such as Brosz Engineering and Adam Thompson, so they do not have to send the plats so far to be reviewed.  Jon felt Brosz would be willing to do that.

   Subsequent Minors-This was discussed by the group; State laws allow subsequent minors but Fallon County Subdivision Regulations do not allow them. Faron could do some research on them.

  2:00 PM Planning Agreement

  The Commission and the County Attorney reviewed and approved the agreement between Fallon County and FH Engineering for Planning and Flood Plain Coordinator services. The agreement is on record in the Clerk and Recorder’s office.

   2:20 PM  Scott Rabbitt, Park Supervisor

  Skate Park-Scott stated the generous donation from Jeff Ament was received for the Skate Park in the amount of $40,000.00 (which was applied toward the cost of the bowl)! They poured some concrete last week Monday, forming today through Wednesday; plan to pour more on Thursday and Friday.

  Pump Track-The Pump Track arrived and was unloaded today. The loader will arrive tomorrow so they can start assembling it.

  Cement Work-Gamut Construction is preparing to pour cement for the boat launch and sona tubes for the remainder of the lights.

   Sidewalks-Discussed preparing to pour sidewalks by gathering signed easements from landowners.

  2:30 PM  September Mid-Month Claims

  The Commission reviewed and approved the Fair Concert refund claims in the amount of $29,565.00   and they are filed in the Clerk and Recorder’s office.

  2:45 PM Barb Ketterling, Treasurer/Assessor

  Training-Barb will have two people going to Motor Vehicle Training and another will be out of the office. Barb asked if she could call Erna Greenlee, former Treasurer Clerk to come in as Erna is already trained on the computer system. Permission granted.  Payroll will be notified.

  3:00 Joe Janz, Outside Maintenance

  Heat tape-Joe asked for permission to order heat tape (480’ from jail to end of courthouse on south side). The roofers cut the original heat tape during the roofing project and spliced it together. Joe feels this was a safety issue.   Permission granted.

  FWP-There are no updates; waiting to talk to Jason Senn, FWP, about the South Sandstone project. Jasen Wyrick, Contractor for the project, has not set up yet.

  Museum Storage-Connex storage unit is full of Centennial items.  Joe has permission to use the building south of the big metal building (former outside maintenance building). Commissioner Baldwin will visit with Museum Curator about the storage issues.

  3:15 PM  Alberts’ Approach Permit-The group discussed the approach permit for the Alberts. The Commission will not approve until the Road Foreman lets the Commission know the Alberts have completed necessary work.

   3:30 PM-Mary Grube, Planning Secretary, and Faron Henderson, Contract Planner.

   Plat Status Report and Planning Department Report were reviewed with the Commission.

   3:40 PM  Susan Swimley, MACo Attorney, joined the group.   

   Discussed various items:

  City of Baker – What Planning needs to do for the City.

   Feed Mill Box Culvert-The group asked about the procedure for the Flood Plain permit. Susan recommended they wait on Traci Sears, ST of MT Flood Plain Coordinator-DNRC, before they make any decisions.

  Planning Laws-Susan explained various laws relating to County and City Planning, etc.

  4:25 PM  Wanda Pinnow, Fair Board member, joined the group.

Everyone left except Wanda.

   4:30 PM  Fair Board Member Appointment

  Applications-Two applications were received for the open position on the Fair Board:  Courtney Dietz; and Jason Coulter. After reviewing and discussing the applications, Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to appoint Courtney Dietz to complete the term vacated by Don Buerkle. Commissioner Randash seconds the motion. 3 ayes. 0 Nays. Motion carried unanimously.    

   Barn restrooms-The group discussed complaints about the barn restrooms during the Fair. Wanda explained they were cleaned every two hours.  They would clean them, and for example, 5 minutes later someone would come in and flush the toilet with their dirty boots, etc. rather than their hands.

  4:45 PM-Mary Grube, Planning Secretary, stated she received approval from Traci Sears, State Flood Plain Coordinator, to have Brosz Engineering submit an emergency permit for the Feed Mill Box Culvert placement and advertise for public comment at the same time .

   4:55 PM-Scott Rabbitt, Park Supervisor, stated Solar Bee would be here Thursday to take the aerators out of the lake.


  5:00 PM  – The Commission reviewed folder items and took action on the following business:

  Turch Contract – Mr. Turch will be sending a Professional Consulting Agreement for review by the Commission. This agreement is between Turch and Associates and Fallon County and would allow Mr. Turch to assist with various items for the County, such as the Powder River Expansion.

   Fairgrounds -The Commission was notified of water repairs that will be made at the Fairgrounds by CT Excavation. The floor for the new shop was poured; Griffith Steel will start on the building later.  A cement landing was poured by one of the big barn entry doors for safety reasons.

   Grant Work Plan-Commissioner Ranum signed, as Chairperson, the 2014-2015 Emergency Shelter Work Plan Grant paperwork.

  Notice-The County, as Property Owners, received notification September 22, 2014 of the Public Hearing for the Keystone XL Man Camp Subdivision by rent or lease, to be held September 29, 2014 at 7:30 PM.

   9-1-1-Audit Report-The 9-1-1 Audit identified one expenditure compliance issue.  Chuck Lee, DES/911 Coordinator, was contacted and the audit issue was resolved.

   Thank you-Thank you was received from Chalee Harms for the saddle she won, donated by Fallon County, at the Baker/Wibaux Youth Rodeo.

  Funding Agreement – The Commission received the Funding Agreement from the MT Department of Transportation for the Corridor Planning Study. The Agreement was sent to Rich Batterman, County Attorney, for review.


  Jeff Ament-Skate Park Donation-$40,000.00

   Continental Resources, Inc.-August, 2014 Oil and Gas Royalties-$10,067.88

  Baker Air Service -September, 2014-Aviation Fuel-$586.06

  Mid-Rivers-Encroachment Permit #603-$150.00


  The Commission reviewed and/or approved the following which are filed in the Clerk and Recorder’s office.

   Seniors in Action-October, 2014 Flyer

   Planner Staff Report-Copy of the Baker Workforce Camp Major Subdivision Staff report was received and reviewed.

  Treasurer’s Receipts-September, 2014-Miscellaneous Revenues-$6,771,674.25

  Treasurer’s Receipts-September, 2014-Rents/Leases/Oil & Gas Royalties-$21,411.01

  Plevna Water Project-September 15th and September 22, 2014 report

  Entitlement 1st Quarter Payment-$135,178.59


Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to recess until Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 1:00 PM. Commissioner Randash seconds the motion.  3 Ayes. 0 Nays. Motion carried unanimously.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014


PRESENT  Deb Ranum, Chairperson; William L. Randash and Steve Baldwin, members; and Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder

1:00 PM  Chuck Lee, DES/911 Coordinator; Tim Barkley, Sheriff; Trenton Harbaugh, Undersheriff; Justin LaCroix, City Police; Randy Hoenke, Fire Chief; Fred Thomas, Ambulance Director; Bobby Wiedmer, Road Foreman; Faron Henderson, Contract Planner; Lance Wedemeyer, Public Works Director; Cody Shepherd and Matthew Jones, BNSF Representatives.

  Home loss-Chuck explained the fire from last year, a family lost the home they were renting in a fire.

  General Order-The group discussed placement of a General Order.

  Longest train-Felt the longest train would probably be 7000 feet.

   Cody stated he would visit with the Forsyth Train Master and explain they must keep the Main Street crossing open.

   6th Street Crossing-Chuck discussed possible placement of a 6th street crossing and the General Order further.

Ordinance-Commissioner Baldwin discussed passing a City Ordinance. Matt did not know if it would be enforceable.

   Crossing-Discussed reducing the number of crossings we have in our area.

Accountability-Discussed who, if anyone, could be held accountable for the trains blocking the crossings. Cody explained the Train Master can be here more, for further accountability. They will make sure they are not blocking 3rd street, but most preferably Main Street. Matt will further discuss a general order.

   Siting-Discussed moving the 3rd street siting or possibly they could use the old siting by Murphys. Faron discussed leaving a crossing on the west and east end open

    Matt felt they could get back to Chuck by next week. Commissioner Randash discussed speaking with DOT about the possible overpass plans.Matt discussed contacting Jason Sanchez, Head of Operations, to get Baker on his radar.


Commissioner Randash made the motion to adjourn. Commissioner Baldwin seconds the motion. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays.  Motion carried unanimously.


      s/Deb Ranum, Chairperson


s/Brenda J. Wood,

Clerk and Recorder

Monday, April 13, 2015

   9:00 AM CONVENE

  PRESENT William L. Randash, Chairman; Steve Baldwin and Deb Ranum, members; Lani DeBuhr, Clerk

  9:00 AM Bobby Wiedmer, Road Foreman, and Alba Higgins, Shop Foreman


  Blading of Roads: Alba reported all blades are out working roads now.

County Road Pickups: Quotes are still being worked on for the new pickups. When the pickups are purchased Alba said they plan on sending the two white Rangers, purple Ranger, and S10 to auction. The other pickups may be sent to other departments to be used. The Fairgrounds is interested in one of the pickups and Alba suggested the blue F150. This pickup would replace the two Dodges at the Fairgrounds. One of the Dodges could be sent to auction and the other one could have a water tank put in it and be used to water the flowers around town.

  County Side by Side Repairs: Golf Course Side by Side is an older Jacobsen with a steering problem that has made it inoperable. Alba is trying to determine if parts can be ordered to fix it & how much it would cost. Landfill Side by Side has an oil leak, Mitch is trying to determine source of leak so the landfill can continue using it.

  Tow Bars for Pickups: Alba has contacted a couple vendors and looked online for pricing. The cheapest price he has found thus far is with Hitchworld online. Commissioner Baldwin suggested calling other vendors for prices on the bars and will get Alba vendor numbers to call.

  Culverts: Bobby is going to send someone up to Billings to get new culverts.

Calumet Bridge: Bobby talked to the State about the Calumet Bridge and they said they did not know anything about the bridge as it wasn’t on the state inspection list due to its small size. They said it would be the county’s responsibility to replace it and it shouldn’t be a steel culvert. Bobby told them Brosz Engineering has done the hydrology study and it will be a box culvert, not a steel culvert. Bobby said the bridges are being prioritized based on condition of bridge and the Sparks & Kramlick are top on the list.

Steve Beylund’s Mulchers– Commissioner Ranum asked if Alba had gone and seen Steve’s mulchers and what his thoughts were. Alba said they don’t rake like ours do and our tractors wouldn’t be able to pull them so he isn’t sure what we would gain by having them.

  9:35 AM Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering, joined meeting and Alba Higgins left meeting.

North City Shop Bridge– Shannon received an email from Mid-Rivers regarding the fiber lines that are hanging on the current bridge. Mid-Rivers said they are having a hard time getting an easement from the landowners to move these lines. The landowner has expressed concern that putting this new bridge in will create truck traffic on the road. Shannon and the commissioners are confident this would not happen. Bobby will talk to landowner more about the easement and the corridor planning for that area.

Calumet Bridge– Shannon spoke with MDT regarding the bridge and they said it has to be a 25 year structure and is a county responsibility as the work is considered “maintenance”.  Brosz Engineering is still waiting on two permits, one from the Fish, Wildlife & Game and the other from the Army Corps of Engineers. He thinks getting the Fish, Wildlife & Game permit shouldn’t be a problem as this bridge is upstream from the Sparks Bridge that has already been approved by the Fish, Wildlife & Game. Prior to the Corps permit being given, an easement from the landowner has to be received. Once these two permits are received the planning department can advertise to get the local permit and then the project can go out to bid. Shannon reiterated it is not a quick process and will take some time.

Sparks Bridge – Commissioner Baldwin confirmed with Shannon that the bypass for this bridge is on the east side, Dean’s side. Darcy Wassman, County Attorney is working on a maintenance agreement between the landowners and the county. Shannon will stop in to see Darcy to discuss separating the maintenance agreement from the temporary easement with the landowners.

  Hwy 7 Ditch:  The ditch along Hwy 7 by Spiffy’s is getting clogged with dirt and garbage. Bobby said the ditch on the east side of the highway has been partially cleaned but wasn’t dry enough to complete it. Bobby will talk to Lance Wedemeyer, Public Works Director for City of Baker, about working together to clean out the rest of the ditch in that area.

  1st Street Culvert: Commissioner Randash said the culvert on 1st street needs to be looked at as is it in bad shape. He asked Bobby to go look at the culvert to determine what needs to be done. Bobby said the culvert was cleaned out about four years ago but it may need to be replaced, he will go look at it.

   9:55 am- Bobby Wiedmer left the meeting.

  Napa Retaining Wall– Shannon brought the Army Corps of Engineers permit application to have the commission sign it. He is submitting this application for the wall by itself, rather than as an amendment to the Lower Baker Lake Channel project. Commissioner Randash signed permit.

  Channel pipes from Upper to Lower Lake– Commissioner Ranum asked if the seals have been put on the lower channel pipes. Shannon said the seals & bands have been put on all pipes although one of the bolts was stripped. Shannon is contacting Cretex to ask what their recommendation is to repair the stripped bolt and will get their recommendation in writing.

  Upper Baker Lake Phase II– Shannon said it is almost done and he has given Diamond J a punch list of things they need to finish up before seeding.  Shannon spoke with the Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) about the progress and they stated they want Brosz Engineering to do an inspection of the dam every year once the project is complete.

  Upper Baker Lake Phase III– Shannon asked how the commissioners want to proceed with this phase. Shannon is concerned that there may be issues with Phase III. He said there would have to be compulsory mitigation on it due to it being in a wetland. He also mentioned the existing plastic culverts would need to be lowered if they proceed with Phase III. No decision was made on proceeding with Phase III at this time.

  10:15 am- Shannon Hewson left the meeting.


  Commissioners attended and participated in the Corridor Planning Study Conference Call.  The next meeting will be May 5th, time will be determined at a later date.


  11:50 am- Mona Madler with SMART joined meeting for public comment.

  Millennium Project Sidewalk: Ruth Deviney gave SMART the names she wants put on the Millennium Project sidewalk. It will read “In Memory of Erika Nicole Deviney & Carl Deviney”.

TransCanada Contribution: SMART received $6500 from TransCanada towards the Baker Lake Tributary which is the creek that runs through McClain Park. TransCanada has a blog area on their website where they published an article regarding their community involvement in contributing to the tributary. Mona shared the article with the commission to get their feedback on it. The commission supported the article written.

Canadian Press Visit: Alex Panetta with Canadian Press will be here on April 22-23. On April 22 he will meet with Mona, Merri Beck from Russell’s, and Mike Griffith from Griffith Excavating to discuss the opportunity of the Keystone Pipeline and the effects the oil prices have on our community. On April 23 he will go with the Commission to see the area designated for the TransCanada Marketlink.

  CTEP: Jolene from Peaks to Plains will be sending the Commissioners the CTEP report.

  12:10 pm- Mona Madler left the meeting.

  12:15 pm RECESS

  Commissioner Ranum made the motion to recess. Commissioner Baldwin seconds the motion. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. Motion carried unanimously.

   Noon recess.


  PRESENT William L. Randash, Chairman; Steve Baldwin and Deb Ranum, members; Lani DeBuhr, Clerk

  1:20 PM Jason Rittal, Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation

  Tiger Grant: The deadline for applying for this grant is June 5 with the pre-app being due May 4. The Commission is wanting to hold off on applying for the grant this year due to not having all of the plans and studies that need to accompany the grant application nor having time to gather this information before the grant deadline. Jason agreed with that decision and suggested taking steps now to prepare to apply for it in the future if it is available. Jason said the Tiger Grant is not guaranteed every year but he is hopeful that it will be available in the future. He suggested keeping track of all the information that is being gathered with the current Corridor Study, to begin setting aside money for the County’s local contribution that will be required if they receive the grant in the future and possibly seek out state dollars. Commissioner Baldwin asked Jason how much the County’s contribution would have to be and he said the average contribution is $3.50 of local funds for every $1 of grant money received or at times is 20% of the total money granted.

Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to table pursuing the Tiger Grant at this time. Commissioner Ranum seconded the motion. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. Motion carried unanimously.

Canadian Press Meeting: Commissioner Baldwin invited Jason to accompany the Commission on April 23 when they meet with Alex Panetta from the Canadian Press. Jason said he will plan on attending and to let him know the time when they find out.

  Fallon County Capital Improvement Plan: Jason handed out the Fallon County Capital Improvement Plan and asked for an input session to discuss it at a later date. He would like to look at the budgets from FY 2014-15 to determine what portion of the revenue was spent on capital projects. Then from there they could look and map out what future capital improvement projects they would like to focus on for the current upcoming fiscal year.

  Commissioner Ranum shared with Jason there have been changes made to the Lower Baker Lake Drainage Project due the Core disagreeing with the project.

  The Commission and Jason discussed the status of projects that are nearing completion and whether they can be removed from the plan. The Boy Scout building is almost complete and can be taken off, the Skate Park and the Plevna Park are getting close to completion but may need to stay on the plan due to rock work and other landscaping work still needing to be done.

   Jason asked if he could meet with Brenda Wood; Clerk & Recorder; Barb Ketterling, Treasurer; and the Commission for a couple of hours to review budgets, review the capital improvement plan and make decisions regarding future capital improvements.  The meeting was set to Thursday, April 30, from 10 am-12 pm. Prior to the meeting Jason would like the Commission to review the plan and budget and take notes of ideas or comments they would like to discuss at the meeting. Lani DeBuhr will contact Brenda and Barb about meeting.

  Jason asked if a CD could be made and given to him with pictures of all assets. He would like to use these pictures to include in the Capital Improvement Project Plan. Lani DeBuhr will ask Joe Janz, Outside Building Maintenance Supervisor, if he has the photos to put onto a CD.

  2:20 pm- Jason Rittal left the meeting.

  2:25 PM Bobby Wiedmer, Road Foreman

Bobby went to look at culverts after his morning meeting with the Commission.

  1st Street Culverts: Tops of culverts are fine, but the bottoms are rusted. There are two of them and they are rounded on top, flat on bottom. The end walls are wooden and the water is coming around these end walls and washing dirt from around them. He said they need to be replaced but it isn’t a dangerous situation right now.

  Culvert by Conoco building: The culvert needs to be cleaned out and Lance Wedemeyer, Director of Public Works for City of Baker, is going to go clean it out.

  Nelson Culverts: Lance and Bobby went over to Nelsons and ordered culverts to put in there.

  2:30 pm- Bobby Wiedmer left the meeting.


  2:40 PM LAWLAR SEWER ISSUE– Amber Lawlar, Member of the Public; Rich Menger, Sanitarian; Darcy Wassman, County Attorney

   Amber came in to respond to the letter she was mailed on March 29, 2015, from Commissioner Randash stating the Commission is not responsible for DEQ regulations her and her husband were required to follow nor the cost associated with it. Amber said she disagrees and feels the county failed to advise her correctly on the process to repair and replace her sewer line and therefore is responsible. Commissioner Randash said they are doing what is in the best interest of all taxpayers and what their attorney and previous attorney advised them to do.

  Amber asked Commissioner Baldwin if he was able to look at the letter she brought in from DEQ. Commissioner Baldwin said he has not been able to look at it but has attempted to call the DEQ person to no avail.  Amber gave him the letter she received from DEQ regarding the issue.

  Amber said they were having sewer line problems in the fall but were not able to dig up the ground until the spring when her brother-in-law could dig it up. She said when they were ready to start digging she got permission from Mike Rinaldi, previous Fallon County Sanitarian, to start digging. Her brother-in-law, Bobby Thielen, dug the line up and afterwards she was sent a letter from the county telling her to stop any activity on the sewer line due to it being in a flood plain. Commissioner Baldwin asked Rich Menger, Sanitarian, if Mike was wrong for telling Amber she could start digging to begin with. Rich said no, that was right because anytime there is a possibility of raw sewage being exposed it needs to be fixed immediately.  After receiving the stop order notice, Amber said she applied for an emergency floodplain permit rather than a regular floodplain permit so that they could fix the line right away. She said she didn’t get an emergency permit denial letter but rather got a regular permit with no explanation. This caused a delay in them getting their sewer fixed. Darcy Wassman, County Attorney, said her being granted a regular floodplain permit was in essence the “denial” of the emergency permit. Amber said she wasn’t sure about that because it gave no explanation as to why they didn’t grant her the emergency floodplain.

   Darcy asked Amber how she felt the county was responsible for the repairs she had to do on her line. Amber said she was not given the proper information from the county regarding what was required with fixing her line and because of that she lost time and probably spent more money.  Darcy said when work is done to a sewer line that is less than 40 ft., like Amber’s, it is considered  “maintenance” and the home owner has the responsibility to gather the information needed to do the work and to make sure it is done. Amber said she was trying to get the information by calling Mike Rinaldi to ask if she could dig up the sewer line and then asking Mary what to do after she received the stop order. She said she filled out the paper work while sitting at Mary’s desk and it was then that Mary called someone at the state about a question Amber had. Amber said she thinks this phone call was what got the DEQ involved in which it didn’t need to be. Darcy said no one knows exactly how DEQ became aware of the issue but that it is a county employee’s right to inquire at levels “above” them such as the state department to get further clarification or instruction on matters which is what Mary was doing.

  Rich Menger stated the importance of repairing a sewer line immediately because of the danger of being exposed to raw sewage. He said he was surprised how the PVC pipe on Amber’s line was crushed as it could not have happened from soil action. Rich asked if something, like the backhoe may have driven over it. Amber said it was a weak PVC pipe that was used from day one when the sewer was installed originally. Commissioner Baldwin asked if anyone in the city knew about the PVC pipe in the ground and Amber said she did not know.

   Amber asked Rich if she was wrong for repairing the line. Rich said no, the repair needs to happen immediately but a permit needs to be granted before any renovations on the line are done and those renovations need to meet the current DEQ standards. Amber said Jon Brosz submitted her plan to DEQ but they made her put two separate sewer lines in rather than replace the original line. Darcy said this was because her line did not meet the current standards, you cannot have two lines coming off of the same sewer line therefore they have to be made separate. Darcy said that no matter what Amber would have had to comply with these standards and fix her lines that way and that it is her responsibility not the county’s.

  Amber asked Darcy about the investigation she did into the problem and questioned the thoroughness of it as Jon Brosz said he did not talk to Darcy about it. Darcy said she talked to all parties involved including Jon. Amber asked Darcy what Jon said about it and Darcy said he would have been upset if he was told to stop working on repairing his sewer line also. Commissioner Baldwin said they have not been able to talk to Jon about it. Amber asked Commissioner Baldwin to call Jon to see if they could talk to him now about the situation, he tried to call but could not contact Jon.

  Amber asked what Mike Rinaldi’s role was in all of this as he was the one who told her she could dig up the line. Darcy referred to Rich on the sanitarian’s role in this. He said for a repair, as the Sanitarian, he would have said to dig up the line and fix it. Commissioner Baldwin asked Amber if she talked to Mike after receiving the stop order and she said she was sure she did but couldn’t remember exactly when.  Darcy Wassman asked Amber if she had any written communication with Mike Rinaldi and she said no, it was all done over the phone.

  Amber said she thinks the county and her both share responsibility for the mess this created. She asked the Commission if they will work with her and help her out with the expenses. Commissioner Baldwin asked if her neighbors, the Ericksons, agreed to pay for some of it and Amber said yes they did.

  Darcy asked Amber what part of this project the county is responsible for and if the cost would have been the same even if the delay and DEQ involvement wouldn’t have happened. Rich agreed that this is important to know. Amber said she didn’t know for sure but that having to wait an extra 30 days to do the work, to have to hire Jon and make the sewer line into two separate lines has cost quite a bit. Rich said the project had to be engineered no matter what since it was a renovation of the line and doesn’t think the cost would have varied very much even with the delay. Amber said she agreed but she thinks things would have been different had they been told what to do from the start and DEQ may not have had to be involved.

  Rich and the Commission discussed the DEQ role in these situations stating they are there to make sure the standards are met and that the county was not at fault for DEQ getting involved.

  3:40 pm- Rich Menger left the meeting.

  Darcy asked Amber if she had a dollar amount she felt the county was responsible for. Amber said she didn’t, she was just hoping the county would help her out with some of it. Darcy told Amber if she felt the county was responsible for part of the expense of the project she needed to determine the amount the county is responsible for. Darcy said anytime someone holds another party responsible for a financial obligation on something there has to be a value determined. Amber said she doesn’t know but would like Jon Brosz her to help her figure it out. Commissioner Baldwin told Amber she needs to determine the amount she thinks the county is responsible for.

   3:50 pm- Darcy Wassman left the meeting.

  Amber told the Commission she didn’t want to cause a problem but hopes they will help her with this as she was not told the right thing to do. She said she thinks if she would have been told what to do from the beginning she wouldn’t have this problem.

   4 pm- Amber Lawlar left the meeting.

   4 PM Scott Rabbit, Parks Director

   Sidewalks: Scott said this project will be under $80,000 and therefore does not need to go out to bid.  He would like Chad and Carson with Gamut Construction to do the work as they have already taken measurements and done a walk-through with Scott on what the job will entail. The Commission voiced concern if the project would be done in a timely manner and Scott said it will be done no later than August. The Commission made the decision to have them do the work.

  Splash Park: Scott has sent the “Invitation to Bid” for the Splash Park to Fallon County Times and it will be in the paper on Thursday, April 16.  Scott said he does not have the bid specs right now but Greg Steckler with Stahly Engineering said he will have the specs delivered to Scott no later than Friday, April 17, so he will have them for potential contractors. Scott gave a copy of the “Invitation to Bid” to the Commission for their records.

   4:10 pm- Scott Rabbit left the meeting.

  4:10 PM Debbie Wyrick, Deputy Clerk and Recorder

   Property Hail Claim: Debbie gave the commission the Property Hail Claim sheet that lists all the county assets that incurred hail damage on August 20, 2014, and the status of their repairs. The Commission and Debbie discussed the status of what has been repaired and reimbursed so far. The roofs for the museum, courthouse and grandstands are complete and we have received the insurance reimbursement for these repairs.  There are still items that need to be repaired and top on the list is the fairground and road buildings.

   Debbie said she was waiting for Terri Scherr, the insurance adjuster, to give her the amended appraisals for the roof projects that were appraised initially with the wrong material being used. Commissioner Baldwin called Terri Scherr and he said he would send the amended appraisals by the end of this week.

   Fairground Roofing Repairs: The Commission said it is important to try and get the fairground buildings repaired prior to the fair if possible. According to the itemized repair list from the insurance adjuster, the big barn will exceed $80,000 to repair so Commissioner Ranum asked Lani DeBuhr to schedule a time for Richard Griffith to come in to discuss the bid specs for the big barn in order to get it out to bid soon. The other buildings are smaller projects and will only need quotes from contractors to repair. Debbie will contact Terri Scherr to ask for the itemized lists of the fair building repairs to help with getting quotes for these buildings.

  Indoor Shooting Range: The building is not finished yet, but Debbie said when it is, the Commission will need to determine what insurance they want for it.

  MACO: Debbie said MACO (Montana Association of Counties) will be here in June to discuss the County’s insurance coverages and policies. They would like to meet with our insurance agent while here also. Debbie said she is going to call Jim Leischner, the County’s insurance agent, to ask about the replacement values we have set for our buildings as they may need to be adjusted.

  4:55 pm- Debbie Wyrick left the meeting.


  5:15 pm- Commissioner Minutes: No minutes submitted for approval.

  5:15  ADJOURN

Commissioner Ranum made the motion to recess. Commissioner Baldwin seconds the motion. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. Motion carried unanimously.


                                                                                                s/William L. Randash,



s/Lani J. DeBuhr, Clerk


s/Brenda J. Wood,

Clerk and Recorder