~ Plan On It ~

Growth Policy

Chapter 6 –

Land Use Overview Part 3

Submitted By

Mary Grube,

Fallon County Planning Department

Land use brought many different comments to the Fallon County Planning Board regarding infrastructure and transportation. This in turn brought discussion regarding the Capital Improvement Plan for all three governmental entities.

Shane Mintz, State of Montana Highway Department Glendive District Administrator, attended one of the public hearings surrounding the update of the Growth Policy. The funding that the State Highway Department receives goes toward a five-year construction plan. The City of Baker, Town of Plevna and Fallon County are all eligible for TA funding annually. A bulk of the funding is based on the condition of the highways. The State Highway Department views traffic data all the time to ensure the projects are being done according to need. The most recent study was for a truck by-pass.  The biggest challenge for a by-pass is funding; it would require local government funding to complete the project. Some issues surrounding the truck by-pass could be eliminated.

Shane mentioned that the Highways that run through the County allow for transportation to schools and for ranchers and farmers to haul livestock and produce. Some farmers and ranchers attended Growth Policy meetings to comment on their concern regarding the infrastructure in our County.

Concern came up regarding the County Roads. The roads have increased damage over the years from oil boom days, and travel on these roads for pipeline activity. The Planning Board made the recommendation to the County Officials to put a public road plan into place for continued upkeep of these roads; and to keep the infrastructure at the top of their radar including maintenance of the roads and bridges. It is imperative to keep law enforcement and other emergency responders safe to respond to calls that might come up. The roads are also used to haul cattle and produce in large semi-trailers. Public health and safety are important in all aspects of the infrastructure.

Another item that was brought to the Planning Board’s attention was the lack of transportation for Seniors that live outside of the city limits, and this is a need in the community with our rural areas.

Through all of the above discussion this brought up the need for a Capital Improvement Plan for all entities. Without the plan, the entities cannot plan for future expenses that might arise with the infrastructure and other needs in the community that deal with public health and safety. The Planning Board recommended that Fallon County take steps to prepare and adopt a Capital Improvement Program and to work with the Town of Plevna and City of Baker to be certain all entities are working toward a finished adopted plan. One of the benefits in adopting a Capital Improvement Program is that the public is very much involved in the process to strategically work with the Governing bodies toward funding improvements that all members of the public want to work toward and can be involved in. The Growth Policy may not be a regulatory document, but it is one that the Planning Board is tasked to complete to work toward a plan that allows for future decisions and guidance in making these decisions. The elected officials are encouraged to use this as a guiding document; as this is a way to hear from the people they work for. If you have any questions regarding the Growth Policy or Planning in our community, please contact me at 406-778-7111 or email me at grubem@falloncounty.net. If you are curious as to how the government is moving forward, there is always a public comment period during the City and Town Council Meetings and the County Commission Meetings. The public is always welcome.