December 2, 2019
The meeting was called to order at 8:39 a.m. by Commissioner Berry, Commissioner Carlson was present. Commissioner Borner was absent. Minutes were being taken by Clerk & Recorder Tomassi.
Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Agenda- Commissioner Berry made a motion to amend agenda by adding “Vote” to item #2 on the 3:00 business so that it will now read “Discuss and Vote on Mill Levies”. Commissioner Berry also asked to add an “s” to violation under the Old Business item number (b) so now it will read “Discuss the County’s next move on Flood Plain Violations”. Commissioner Berry also asked to amend the agenda by removing the 10:30 Department of Administration phone conference and the 4:00 County Attorney regarding #4 Road. Both of those items were taken care of at the November 25th Commissioner meeting.
Commissioner Carlson made a motion to approve the agenda as amended. Commissioner Berry seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Commissioner Carlson approved the minutes as they were emailed to him by the Commissioners Executive Assistant Bonadee Hagstrom. Commissioner Berry second the motion. Motion carried.
Commissioner Berry did not have any board meetings this past week.
Commissioner Carlson had a refuse board meeting where they went over the by-laws and discussed amending the by-laws.
Commissioner Carlson said that he is looking at different devices regarding recording equipment that will be used during public meetings.
Old Business-Commissioner Carlson spoke about the status of the Extension office repairs and improvements. Commissioner Carlson said there was nothing new regarding the Flood Plain Violations information. There has been nothing new regarding the policy for claims. Commissioner Carlson said that he spoke with Tony from Wipfli and Tony needed information on all the prior Attorneys that the County has hired to do cases for the county. The Commissioners would like the Melstone property put onto the 3:00 business meeting for next week.
New Business-Commissioners discussed the rental and hold harmless agreement that will cover all the County facilities.
Grants-There has been no new information regarding the County’s grants. The Commissioners discussed that the Bureau of Crime Control investigation has been completed regarding the false grant application.
Commissioner Berry and Carlson discussed the demo bids. Commissioner Carlson spoke with Eric from MACo and the County will be able to drop the lowest bid as long as they did not meet the specs for the job. The lowest bidder was planning to burn and bury all the buildings and not planning on hauling anything away. It will be a conflict with DEQ If the contractor plans to bury everything.
Maintenance Supervisor Jett was not available to give her weekly report to the Commissioners.
Road Secretary Kenner and Supervisor Stockert gave their weekly report to the Commissioners. Road Secretary Kenner asked if County Attorney Peterson has agreed to write letters regarding the #4 alternation. The Commissioners said that County Attorney Peterson will not be writing the letters regarding #4 road because he is too busy working on the hail storm claims against contractors. There are no new computer updates regarding the Road Department getting a couple new computers. Secretary Kenner gave the Commissioners her updated Capital Improvement plan. Road Secretary Kenner inquired about rather Commissioner Borner had a chance to talk to MACo regarding sending the draft letter concerning #60 road. Commissioner Borner was not at today’s meeting, so there was no answer regarding #60 road. Road Secretary Kenner gave the Commissioners a picture of the new snowplow truck that they received from the Coal Board. Secretary Kenner said that she was going to place the picture in both newspapers along with a Thank you letter to the Coal Board as well. Commissioner Berry signed the SMES renewal form for the COE site. Supervisor Stockert gave a report regarding roads that the Road Department has been working on and will be working on once the roads get drier. Supervisor Stockert said that it has been a pleasure working on Johnson Road because the residence has been very appreciative. Supervisor Stockert said that the Road Department will be hauling gravel all month if the weather permits them to. Commissioner Berry asked about the Motor Grader that is parked on Alan Road.
Sheriff Lesnik gave his weekly report to the Commissioners. There are currently 4 prisoners in jail. Sheriff Lesnik said that he will be going to coroner training this week in Great Falls. Sheriff Lesnik will have amended budget numbers for the Commissioner next week. The Commissioner and Sheriff Lesnik discussed budgets, mills and what funds claims are being paid out of.
DES Coordinators Harper and Fisher gave their weekly report to the Commissioners. Mr. Harper is still currently awaiting approval from the state for the budget amendment/scope of work change and he will be contacting Kyle today. Mr. Harper said that the Floodplain permit that was submitted on behalf of MDOT is on hold because no one is happy with the way it was written. There were no visits from the Billings Swat Team this past week. Mr. Harper discussed the call out that they had for the possible grass fire/smoke. Mr. Fisher let the Commissioners know that he will be doing bailiff duty all day tomorrow for a District Court jury trial. The Commissioners discussed the Demo Bids and that they are trying to get clarification regarding hauling off and burning debris.
Paul with Diamond T. LLC came into the Commissioners meeting. Diamond T. LLC was the lowest bidder and the Commissioners asked him for clarification of their demo bid that was submitted. Paul stated that they will be doing some haul off. He explained that anything that can’t be burnt like tires will be hauled off. Commissioner Berry explained that there was a lot of red flags in Diamond T. LLC’s bid. There is a lot of concrete and the county has concerns on how it will be broken up and buried. DEQ will be going down 4 feet and Paul from Diamond T. LLC said that his company will be putting 3 feet of top soil on top of the broken concrete. Commissioner Berry explained to Paul from Diamond T. LLC that the county has major concerns with his bid compared to the other bids.
County Agent Fosjord gave her weekly report to the Commissioners. Ms. Fosjord will call Rose Snider since Ms. Snider’s bid was the highest bid received for the soap stone wood stove. Ms. Fosjord explained that she doesn’t want Troy Evans to use the silt from down at the fairgrounds. Ms. Fosjord asked the Commissioners if the Road Department has any fill that the fairgrounds can have. The Commissioners told her to call Candy at the Road Department. Ms. Fosjord discussed upcoming trainings that she is setting up for anyone that is interested.
Andy Koval from the Youth Probation Office visited with Commissioners thanking them for this year’s Youth Probation budget. Mr. Koval discussed how many youths have gone through the Youth Probation program since January and that the youths have completed 336 community service hours so far this year. There has been $1035 in restitution collected already this year and they will be receiving more restitution money prior to the end of the year. Mr. Koval thanked the Commissioner for replacing the windows and moving the thermostat in the Commons as it makes a huge difference.
Commissioner Borner, Commissioner Berry, Commissioner Carlson were present for the 3:00 public meeting. The following public attended today’s meeting: John Weatherly, Troy Evans, Joe H. Stahl, Gary H. Eliasson, Kelly Gebhardt and Sheriff Lesnik.
The main concern and discussion from the public was the mill and tax increase. Mr. Gebhardt mentioned that in MCA 15-10-420 the mill amount is established and they are over about 1/3. Mr. Stahl informed the Commissioners that if the issue is not fixed, there may be a class action suit against the County.
Commissioner Borner said she is speaking for herself, but she was never informed there were mills left on the table and that she was told just what was had. Commissioner Berry and Commissioner Carlson said that they didn’t know either. Commissioner Borner thinks that she is glad that they are having the conversation and people are asking questions now but they did have a public comment hearing for the preliminary budget and no one came. They want the public to understand that they are cleaning up their books, there was no internal control and things just weren’t being done. They are all on a learning curve and there was no separation of duties. There is going to be another meeting on December 5, 2019 at 6:00 at the Musselshell County Central Commons.
End of public comment.
Comissioner Carlson made the motion to discuss the Preliminary Access Plan from Fish Wildlife and Parks. Commissioner Berry seconded the motion. Discussion: Commissioner Berry said it looks like a nice plan but he wants to make sure the County isn’t going to have to pay for anything or maintain the area.
Commissioner Berry made the motion to discuss the mill levy. Commissioner Carlson seconded the motion. Discussion. Commissioner Berry said that he relied on Amy Angel and Kathy Pfister when it came to the budget and mills and he is at a loss. Then last week Monty Sealey and Sue Olson met with us last and it appears our mill levy (that I did not vote for) figures went up 24%. I feel that is too big of a burden to put on our tax payers and that we should take baby steps. Commissioner Berry moves to reduce to 6 or 7 will make up for the decrease in County property tax values and the rate of inflation. Commissioner Carlson said this has been a learning process because we relied on the former finance administrator to do this. That is the issue we are working on. Looking at past audits there are findings of facts and red flags. This being his first year he went with the States recommendation because we have no idea where we are financially in the County. Commissioner Carlson does not know if we can legally change everything mid cycle, we can amend the budget, but not sure about the mills. If we refund people that have taxes taken out with their mortgage who is going to make sure those people get their money back. Commissioner Berry said if we stick with these mills, we will have another problem with cash reserves. Commissioner Borner checked with the State to see if we can lower the mills already set and they said there will be ramifications we should be aware of. Bob Denning recommended we need to get the books clear and make better decisions next year. Commissioner Borner called for the question, all in favor of reducing mills to 6% say aye. Commissioner Berry, aye. Commissioner Carlson said he needs to have more information. Commissioner Borner asked all opposed? Commissioner Carlson, nay. Commissioner Borner, nay. Motion died. Commissioner Borner said they need to get more information as a board to see if they can reduce or redo the budget. Commissioner Carlson would like for The Department of Administration to come and sit down to help them be a more educated board.
Commissioner Berry made the motion to discuss and award the bid for the FEMA demolition. Commissioner Carlson seconded the motion. Discussion. Commissioner Carlson said after looking at the bids, the Commissioners decided to award the project to WHC whom had the 2nd lowest bid. The first bid had a lot of red flags and we found out they do not have a business registered with the State. Commissioner Berry said there was a bid discrepancy of $300,00.00 and the bid spec were not followed. Commissioner Borner said the Commissioners made the motion to award the bid to WHC. Joe Stahl asked where the money was coming from? Commissioner Carlson said that they are doing a budget amendment to the State and FEMA and there is 1.1 million from where money wasn’t used. Commissioner Borner asked the question all in favor? Commissioner Berry and Commissioner Carlson said aye. Motion carried.
Commissioner Berry made the motion to hire an outside attorney to work on #4 Road. Commissioner Carlson seconded the motion. Commissioner Carlson said it is really just a matter of the legal papers now. They will call a few different lawyers. Mr. Stahl asked why the County Attorney couldn’t do it? Commissioner Berry said at the meeting last week with the County Attorney, he said that he has 27 cases regarding fraud from the hail storm last year and he is too busy. Commissioner Berry also said he would like to amend his motion to hire based on agreed fees. Commissioner Borner asked the question of all in favor? Commissioner Berry and Commissioner Carlson, aye motion carried.
There being no further business the motion was made to adjourn. Motion carried.
Last modified: December 19, 2019