Commissioner Proceedings

MONDAY, OCT.  23, 2017


PRESENT: Steve Baldwin, Chairman; Deb Ranum, Member; Roy Rost, Member; Brenda Wood, Clerk & Recorder



No one appeared for Public Comment.

9:10 AM MID-RIVERS UPDATES/BROADBAND IN FALLON COUNTY-Erin Lutts and Scot Buerkle, Mid-Rivers and Jason Rittal, County Development Advisor

Broadband – Erin and Scot updated us on the Broadband progress via Power Point Presentation

Broadband is Internet, but not all internet is Broadband.

They will install 9,000 miles of plant fiber in its various exchanges.

The cost for this is approximately $20,000 per mile, which would be cost prohibitive if they were not receiving Federal support. There are special requirements that have to be met in order to obtain the funding;                

Usage is monitored monthly if not more frequently to keep this affordable for all customers.

Baker’s rural areas will be completed in 2020; City of Baker was completed, inclusive of North Baker. Currently working with the Stanhope Addition during their sewer project.  Fallon County should be completed in 2026.

Mobile wireless was discussed.

Information presented (10 year build-out) is located on the Mid-Rivers website.

Education for patrons was discussed in the constant changing world of technology.

The County will assist in any way possible for Mid-Rivers to achieve their 10-year goal.

10:00  AM Alba joined.

10:03 AM Erin, Scot, Jason left the meeting.

10:04 AM Alba Higgins, Shop Foreman, joined the meeting.



Wings – Gearing up to plow snow; 1 wing installed to date.  Alba explained they would like to order (3) new stability pipes for blades at $5,000 per pipe to keep the blades from buckling while plowing. There is funding in their budget; permission granted to purchase.

Landfill tub grinder – Broke another tooth off; Alba wants permission to repair or know if he is to hold off.  Decision is to complete repairs on the tub grinder again. Commissioner Rost discussed the tire grinder he and Landfill Manager, Tom Kachel previously viewed.   Tom was to report back with information pertaining to the number of tires accumulated and the cost to rent the machine. Commissioner Ranum would like to check further into burning tree branches at the Landfill.

Shops roof/wall repairs – Contractors are still working on the repairs.

SD LTAP Meeting – Alba stated the Road Maintenance Training was very informational and Alba would like to have at least a portion of Road Crew members attend the next meeting.    

10:21 AM Bobby Wiedmer, Road Supervisor joined.

10:25 AM Mary Grube, Planner Administrative Assistant joined.

Alba reiterated he would like the blade hands to be able to go next time also, will revisit before the next meeting.  They discussed Telematics at the training also and its constant and ever-changing updates.

10:32 AM Alba left the meeting.

10:33 AM Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering joined the meeting


South Ismay Road – Should finish patching this week.

Hay Creek Road – This road needs patched as well.

Johny Creek Trail – Bobby would like to mulch this road and at least gravel as much as possible; the gravel would most likely come from Ollie.

Anticline Road – The road is coming apart on the south end. Bobby would like to place scoria first and gravel over top, as has been done with the rest of the road.

Snake Trail – Commissioner Ranum has been called that this road needs graveled

Ollie Road – Completed road work for the Ollie Road.


Culvert Project – Bobby and Shannon completed a walk through on the culvert project.  Diamond J has a punch list they are working on. Commissioner Baldwin asked about the cracks, especially 1st Street. Shannon feels they need to repair by cutting out the cracked area, pouring new; remainder of cracks would be repaired using a bonding agent. Retaining funding for repairs and releasing the bond was discussed. Shannon will check with Jon Brosz, Brosz Engineering to see if that is possible.

Job shack location – Shannon will check with the City of Baker as to how they want reclamation handled.

ADA ramp – Will check the ADA requirements for the ramp on 1st street and address accordingly.    

Smith Contracting – Have not completed their portion of the project. A letter will be written to Smith Contracting by Shannon addressing all issues.

Upper Lake – Shannon has been working with Steve Becker, NRCS on options of holding water in the Upper Lake and keep water away from the gate.  Shannon stated Brosz recommends building a coffer dam using the material removed from the Upper Lake in 2012. Shannon feels this is more practical than placing a heater in the bottom of the riser. Bobby feels the Road Crew can build the coffer dam; should be able to complete using three (3) Road Crew members. Shannon has amended the Army Corp of Engineers permit and will also need to amend the Flood Plain Permit; Brosz will complete the elevations needed for this. Mary stated the amended Flood Plain Permit will not be a problem on their end; Forrest will prepare the letter as soon as reviewed. Commission agrees to proceed with the coffer dam option. Bobby and Shannon explained this will need to be removed in the spring.

Lake Project – Decision to send certified letters, with a response date, to the remaining landowners with outstanding easements. 5% of the material has been removed from the Lake. Shannon would like the Commission to go review the progress and will schedule a date for that. Shannon is still working with MT DOT regarding the signage for the work areas. Improvements have been made on work area speed. Shannon will continue to stay on top of it.

11:28 AM Shannon, Bobby and Mary left the meeting.

11:30 AM COUNTY DEVELOPMENT UPDATES/Jason Rittal, County Development Advisor

Appraisal – Luther Appraisal is working on the property appraisal and inspection on a once leased piece of County Property.

Press release – Working on a quote for Senator Tester’s press release regarding the FEMA award for the Baker Lake Project.

Auditor – A contract for Ohlness & Associates, Auditor selected for FY17 Audit, will be prepared, for review by the Commission.

RFQ – Will decide on engineering procurement for the Wetlands phase of Lake project as soon as the County Attorney advises.

Tornado report – Submitted to the Commission for review.

Hail report – Almost completed and ready for review.

11:35 AM Jason left the meeting.

11:35 AM COMMISSION WORK SESSION                      

Commission Reviewed/Approved and Signed the County Superintendent of Schools Contract with Donald Schillinger, effective August 1, 2017. The Document will be placed of record in the Clerk and Recorder’s office.

Commission Reviewed/Approved and Signed Application for Chuck Lee to attend a course sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.

Commission Reviewed/Approved AIP-019 Request for Reimbursement #4 for the Baker Airport Project 3-30-0004-019-2017.

Commission Reviewed/Approved and Signed a Letter of Support for the Denbury CO2 Pipeline; this will be submitted to BLM.

11:45 AM PLANNER ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT UPDATES/Mary Grube, Planner Administrative Assistant

Purchase – The basement office complex would like permission to purchase a new microwave for the breakroom.  Permission granted. The Extension Agent will use the old one for testing of samplings.

Letter of Map Amendment – Mary stated the Flood Plain Coordinator never received the LOMA for the Conservation District to build in the Flood Hazard Area. It was mailed to an incorrect address but Mary has since received it and will submit it to Forrest Sanderson, Contract Planner for review and response.

Upper Lake Reservoir – Mary will await the amended Flood Plain Permit.

Public Hearing – The hearing has been noticed in the paper regarding adopting changes to Subdivision Regulation per the past Legislative Session.

11:53 AM Mary left the meeting.


Commission discussed fees for special inspections performed by the County Sanitarian. The Commission will request further information from the Sanitarian to review.

Commission reviewed emails, letters, various revenues received, various Department Reports, Board Minutes and Agendas.


Commissioner Rost made the motion to approve the Commission Minutes for the week of October 16-20, 2017 as submitted. Commissioner Baldwin stepped down from the Chair and seconded the motion. No further discussion. 2 Ayes. 1 Abstain (Commissioner Ranum was not present for that meeting date).  The motion carried.

12:05 AM Commissioner Rost made the motion to take a Noon Recess. Commissioner Ranum seconded the motion. No further discussion. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. Motion carried.



PRESENT: Steve Baldwin, Chairman; Roy Rost, Member; Deb Ranum, Member and Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder


1:15 PM PUBLIC COMMENT – NON-AGENDA ITEMS – No one appeared for Public Comment

No one appeared for Public Comment

1:30 PM  FAIRGROUNDS UPDATES/Shyla Hadley, Fairgrounds Manager; Barbara Ketterling,

Income/Expense-Presented the Income and Expense Report from the 2017 Fair.

1:34 PM Rachel Brockel, Fair Board Member joined.

1:35 PM Barbara Ketterling, Treasurer/Assessor joined.

TixMaster – Shyla will complete more research on the cost, effectiveness of the ticketing program used at this past Fair.

Training – Shyla has been receiving GovTell (credit card program) training from Barb and has also received other training from the other ladies in the Courthouse.

Bleacher project – Shyla would like to ask if Lead Seasonal Crew hand could stay on through the first week of November to finish the bleacher project.

Convention – Shyla thanked the Commission for letting them all go to Convention.

1:55 PM Shyla, Barb and Rachel left.


Support – Cost is $3,450 per year and can use the system without the buttons or use 1 button per office for cost saving purposes. If you do not keep the service you would lose most of the access features. No decision was made due to time constraints this will be rescheduled.

1:57 PM Jerrid Geving joined

1:58 PM Eddie Coulter; Rachel Brockel, Fair Board Members; Shyla Hadley, Fair Manager joined


Commissioner Ranum asked what duties Jerrid had as a Fair Board member. Jerrid stated basically whenever Fair Manager needed to have work completed he would go out and do it. Eddie stated he and Jerrid took care of the Rodeo. Commissioner Ranum stated what she wanted to know was, what type of work they would have an employee do during the off-season. Eddie stated they could finish work on the bleachers, work the indoor arena twice per week, clean stalls, and empty garbage’s. Shyla stated she and Seasonal Lead Crew Hand met with HRM to discuss possible duties for Special Projects employee. Shyla will present that information to the Fair Board for approval and then to the Commission.

2:08 PM Jerrid left the meeting.


PRCA attendance – Eddie would like permission to attend the PRCA in Vegas, December 4-7, 2017. Permission granted.

Awards – Eddie would also like all other Board Members and Shyla to be able to attend the 2017 Fallon County WPRA Large Rodeo of the Year award ceremony in Las Vegas on December 7, 2017.   Permission granted. The Fair will also be an Honoree of the Montana Pro Hall and Wall of Fame Great Montana Pro Rodeo award on January 27, 2018 in Billings, MT.

Alleyway – Would like to extend the alley way in the arena which would consist of moving the gate and extending the fence about 20’.   Discussed padding the gate or placing a banner on the gate so the horses can see it. Would also like to have the fence painted so it is ready for the High School Rodeo. Permission granted.

Bulls/Broncs and Barrels – Eddie stated this will be a two-day event this year February 23 and 24, 2018.

2:17 PM Shyla, Eddie and Rachel left the meeting.


Quote – Trenton spoke to John, MTI regarding a quote to change the controllers and integrate into the current system. There is no guarantee this will work or will fix the issues with the system. The two (2) options available are to try changing the controllers or replace the entire unit.  The Commission will contact John, MTI regarding concerns and questions and make a decision as soon as possible.

3:07 PM Trenton left the meeting

3:08 PM Jerrid Geving, returned.

Requested a copy of the letter, with information pertaining to him. Julie Straub, HRM was contacted and deferred the question to Darcy Wassmann, County Attorney.

3:15 PM Jerrid left the meeting.


3:26 PM CLOSED SESSION – LEGAL/PERSONNEL/Darcy Wassmann, County Attorney

4:32 PM COUNTY FINANCES AND GOTTA QUESTIONS/Angel Wyrwas, Fallon County Times Reporter

GOTTA QUESTIONS – Started because individuals wanted answers to various questions but feared retribution as that has happened to citizens before. Angel stated, in all, Fallon County answers about 3 questions per month on an average. Angel explained the questions are filtered through 2-3 employees before being submitted for answers. Angel further explained the Commission can choose not to answer the questions and see what happens. Angel stated this is part of her job and it tends to be quite stressful.

FINANCES – Angel stated they are getting questions from individuals that ask:  Due to the decline in oil prices, is the County going broke or does Fallon County still get oil revenues? Commissioner Baldwin stated we still receive oil and gas revenues and the State of Montana is taking as much from the oil revenues as they ever did. Angel was given a copy of the Treasurer’s September Cash Report.

OTHER INFORMATION – Commissioner Ranum stated Fallon County is operating on a very conservative budget this year because of the Lake Project.

4:50 PM Angel left the meeting.


Commissioner Rost made the motion to recess until Wednesday. Commissioner Ranum seconded the motion.  No Further Discussion. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. Motion Carried.

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 25, 2017

4:00-6:00 PM DENBURY/BLM PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING/Carter County Event Center-Ekalaka, MT


s/Steve Baldwin, Chairman


s/Brenda J. Wood, Clerk and Recorder