10 W Fallon Ave Baker, MT 59313
Fallon County of Montana

Commission Minutes

Commission Minutes



PRESENT: Roy Rost, Chairman; Steve Baldwin, Kevin Braun, Members; Kelsey DuCharme, Recording Secretary


The Pledge of Allegiance was held in the Commissioner’s Office to start off the week. PUBLIC COMMENT –AGENDA/NON-AGENDA ITEMS

9:45 AM Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder joined the meeting.

County Audit- The County Auditors – Olness and Associates – have completed their Fiscal Year 2021 County audit. Discussion on the findings of the audit.

9:55 AM Brenda left the meeting.

Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to approve the minutes from January 3-7, 2022, with corrections. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion. Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none. 3

Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

9:56 AM Bobby Wiedmer, Road Superintendent; Mitch Overn, Shop Mechanic joined the meeting.

Road/Shop Updates- The Road Crew is finishing up removing trees at the Golf Course this week. No scoria has been hauled to the Landfill yet, as there is a suitable area to stockpile it there. All the County vehicles seemed to run well during the colder weather last week.

10:01 AM Bobby and Mitch left the meeting.

11:00 AM Julie Straub, Stacey Moore, Dale Butori, Dustan Davis, Debbie Wyrick, Safety Committee Members joined the meeting.

Approve Updates to Courthouse Emergency Procedures- The Courthouse emergency procedures is

needing to be updated, pending Commission approval. The language has been cleaned up, it has been added that there is an AED in the Courthouse, and some of the verbiage has been changed. Discussion on the panic buttons and the potential to add more in the future.

Commissioner Braun made the motion to update the Courthouse Emergency Procedures. Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion. Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

11:15 AM Julie, Dustan, Dale, Debbie and Stacey left the meeting.

11:15 AM Kimberly Jensen, AP Clerk; Kathy Newell, Elections Clerk joined the meeting.

Discuss Courthouse Utility Cost Share- The MDU costs for the Courthouse has increased by 4% in the last year. As of July 1st, there will be a 4% increase to the utilities for the City of Baker as well. The billing will increase to $1,708.56. The Commission will review the maintenance costs again in January of 2023.

Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to increase the City of Baker’s utility cost by 4%, to match the County

4% increase with MDU. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion. Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

11:20 AM Kimberly and Kathy left the meeting. COMMISSION WORK SESSION

The Commission reviewed revenues, reports, emails and other correspondence, board minutes and agendas.

They also approved and signed the performance agreement for the Dueling Pianos at the Fairgrounds.

Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to approve the Request for Reimbursement #5 for the Baker Municipal Airport – AIR 3-30-0004-022-2021 – in the amount of $1,881.88. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion. Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

11:24 AM Commissioner Braun made the motion to take a noon recess. Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion. Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.



PRESENT: Roy Rost, Chairman; Steve Baldwin, Kevin Braun, Members; Kelsey DuCharme, Recording Secretary



1:15 PM Karol Zachmann, Member of the Public joined the meeting.

1:16 PM Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering joined the meeting.

Box Culvert Bridge Project- Shannon brought over the project manual for the Box Culvert Project. The cost estimates have been updated. Shannon has sent a copy of the project to various companies on the plan holders list.

Waterfall Project- Wyrick Construction stated that the earliest they will start digging for the Waterfall

Project will be later this week.

1:18 PM Rich Menger, Sanitarian joined the meeting.

The manhole was unloaded on site last week. Shannon will measure it today.

Updates- Shannon will send a request to Wyrick Construction this week to ask about gravel and will also ask about the agreement for paving.

1:24 PM Rich left the meeting.

1:29 PM Shannon left the meeting.

1:30 PM Carla Brown, Council on Aging Coordinator; Julie Straub, HRM; Kim Bryan, Director of Public Health joined the meeting.

1:32 PM Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder joined the meeting.

Discussion on Current Home Health Aide Position and Services Provided- There are questions about the Home Health Aide position and if the supervisor should fall under the Council on Aging or the Public Health. The pandemic has put a halt on many services and there are not enough hours to constitute hiring a full-time or part- time employee to fill this position. It is primarily housekeeping at this point. Carla gave the Commission a background on the program, as in 2016 it was changed to be supervised by Public Health because they needed more assistance. She has spoken with Heather Handran from Action for Eastern Montana, and about 90% of the homemaker programs are overseen by Public Health. The County receives grant funding for this program. These funds that are received then go into the general fund. Discussion regarding what this position entails and what is required each week. The Commission made the decision that homemaker services will now only be available on Fridays. Public Health will be closed on Fridays and Connie Moore, Administrative Assistant, will do the services accompanied with the Home Health Aide. They will try this for the time being and if it needs changed, it can be revisited. Discussion on the extra duties of bus drivers, including shopping, mail pickup, etc.

2:00 PM Carla, Brenda, Julie and Kim left the meeting.

2:04 PM Karol left the meeting.

2:21 PM Mary Grube, Administrative Assistant Planner joined the meeting.

2:25 PM Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering joined the meeting.

2:30 PM Steve Zachmann, City Mayor; Kevin Dukart, City Clerk joined the meeting.

2:30 PM Nadene Wadsworth, DNRC; Forrest Sanderson, KLJ Floodplain Administrator; Tiffany Lyden, DNRC

joined the meeting via ZOOM.

Discuss Updated Flood Plain Maps- The DNRC is reaching out to counties and cities to discuss updating the mapping information. They are doing revisions to maps that were done years ago and are on an old format. It would replace the existing floodplain maps. The DNRC is working with FEMA to receive the funding. The maps help identify the risks to help lessen the risk of destruction should a flood happen in the community. Baker was the first town in Montana to receive a floodplain map in 1975. A full flood study was done in the 1980’s, which

then in turn updated the map again. Discussion followed on what goes into a flood study, which includes surveying, hydrology, hydraulics and mapping. The benefit to the community is better maps and better regulation of the floodplain. The DNRC would update the existing floodplain maps with new data. As of right now, there are no engineering costs associated with the new maps. The only cost to the county would be mailing information regarding a public meeting with affected landowners to discuss the potential impacts.  Shannon asked if existing revisions would be included into the updated maps; in which there is potential these could be added if done in a timely manner. The existing projects could be included into the maps if the timeline matches up correctly. The DNRC would ask Fallon County and the City of Baker for a letter of support for the grant application to FEMA. The funding should be decided on by August or September. One advantage of getting the update would be landowners would have access to the floodplain data and would potentially not have to hire an engineer to find the boundaries.

2:54 PM Traci Sears, DNRC joined the meeting via ZOOM.

A negative impact could potentially be if there are new homes that are in the floodplain area, they would be required to carry flood insurance. The DNRC is working with Dawson, Big Horn, Treasure and Rosebud Counties. They have a meeting with Richland County tomorrow. Because it is a FEMA funded project, the County, nor the City, would be able to opt-out once started if the findings negatively impact the public. The Commission will make their decision next week.

3:04 PM Nadene, Tiffany, Forrest and Traci left the ZOOM meeting.

3:26 PM Kevin and Steve left the meeting.

3:27 PM Mike Madler, Contractor; Cindy Irgens, Recording Clerk; Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder; Darcy

Wassmann, County Attorney; Dale Butori, DES/911 Coordinator joined the meeting.

County Road Study Discussion- Mike informed the Commission that there is not much he is needing to add to the road study to be updated. The price of the project that is going to be sent out for Request for Proposal will be greatly increased due to the amount of work involved. The company that is awarded will need to focus on county roads that were created and abandoned by petition, which will require tedious research and time. There will need to be consideration of easements created and how they will be handled, according to County policy. Discussion on what constitutes as a county or a public road. Resolutions, easements, and petitions were discussed, which will all need to be researched in the project. The final product map would need to be interactive and owned by Fallon County, so that changes can be made when needed or updated. Mike will create a Request for Proposal (RFP) before the project can be advertised.

4:02 PM Mike, Cindy, Brenda, Darcy, Shannon, Mary, Dale and Darcy left the meeting.

4:03 PM Chase Marston, Laird Scheer, Invenergy; Steve Zachmann, City Mayor; Shawn Wiseman, Tom Owens, Members of the Public joined the meeting.

Wind Farm Update- Invenergy is looking to develop a wind farm in Fallon and Carter County called Jane Wind.  They are an international developer and have projects all over the world. They currently provide wind, solar, storage, and are looking into transmission. They have previously worked in Judith Gap as well, leaving a great impact on the community. They have been operating since 2006 and employ 11 people. They have received

$15 million in county property tax payments. Invenergy develops, builds, and operates. There is usually a 25–30- year life cycle of the project. The current blades are non-recyclable, but the newer technology blades are able to be grinded down. Bonds are put into place requiring the land to be reclaimed, which is also part of the permitting process. The Jane Wind impacting this area will be 1,000 MW capacity, which is very large. It is project $180 million invested into the local economy over the 30-year life span. There will be approximately 500 jobs supported during construction, which is typically 2 years. There will then be 35-40 full time operation and maintenance positions after construction. They are working on a road haul route at this time. The target operation date is 2025/2026. Target construction dates are 2024/2025. There is 80,000 acres of land signed, and

they do not need much more than that to make the project work. It will be approximately 10 miles south of Baker and 10 miles north of Ekalaka, on the border of Fallon and Carter counties. The interconnection line will likely be at the Colstrip substation, via 130 miles Gen-Tie line. Invenergy is working to put together wind studies at this time. They plan to only work with State land and will not include any Federal. The land acquisitions are currently taking place. This area is able to meet an upcoming energy demand from the public utility companies. There is sufficient acreage for newer, larger wind turbines. They are still working on the land acquisition, offtake

opportunities, transmission, environmental and cultural studies, and local engagement. The next steps include layout designs, offtake negotiations, engineering constraint studies and construction permitting with the DEQ. As for construction, they have built 8 “mud mats” to qualify for tax credits, as any wind turbine must have a foundation built before it can be placed. There is no federal funding, the only assistance is the tax credits. There

is a significant financial investment in this project thus far. They plan to have further conversations with the county and typically do road use agreements before construction takes place, as it will take a toll on the county roads. They also coordinate with the Weed Department and would continue status meetings with relevant

county officials throughout the process. After the towers are built, they continue to take care of the weeds on the roads they have built. Landowners can typically still use 98% of land for existing operations and there is 25 years

of guaranteed income. The employees are full-time positions will be required to live in the area and work in Carter and Fallon counties, as they are needed on-site. The Commission explained that if landowners are happy and worked well with, usually the Commission is as well.

4:53 PM Chase, Laird, Tom, Steve and Shawn left the meeting.

4:55 PM Commissioner Braun made the motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion. Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.


s/Kelsey DuCharme, Recording Clerk


s/Brenda J. Wood, Clerk and Recorder

s/Roy Rost, Presiding Officer