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

Commission Minutes – July 17 – 21, 2023

Commission Minutes – July 17 – 21, 2023

MONDAY, JULY 17, 2023


PRESENT: Steve Baldwin, Chairman; Kevin Braun and Roy Rost, Members; Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder


The Pledge of Allegiance was held in the Commissioner’s Office to start off the week.


          No one appeared for Public Comment.


         Chamber Updates/The boat parade did not do well this year and they will not be doing it again next year. They need help with Crazy Days and Nights-need help cooking Saturday from 4-6 PM as they only have two (2) cooks. They are also looking for some barbecue grills, if anyone knows anyone that may be willing to loan them.  The Fall Festival will be held September 30th

          Storage/The Recreation Department received a grant from Grid United to purchase a trailer and a container. They are wondering if the county has any land, they could store their items permanently. They still have time to purchase the items but would like to have a location before purchasing. The Commission discussed a trailer they may have available for them that is not being used. The Commission will have to do some checking on an area to store the items and asked Melissa to find out the size of the connex box. They will need access to those items during the winter months and would prefer a space in town. The Commission asked them to check with the City of Baker to see if they have any place for them to store their items.

          Recreation Department/They have the 3 on 3 Basketball tourney this weekend and are looking for volunteers and basketball hoops; contact Mariah. AAU football practice has started. They had an art camp and an art show last week and will have STEM camps the end of July. Soccer skills starts in August.  The raffle for football helmets went really well and raised over $8,000.  They are hopeful they can get 3 home games and 3 away games.

9:30 AM Melissa and Mariah left the meeting.

9:43 AM PERMISSION TO APPOINT/DESIGNATE A COUNTY PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER (PIO)/Dale Butori, DES/911 Coordinator; Kathy Newell and Kimberly Jensen, Elections

         A Public Information Officer was discussed at the Election Security training. Dale was in attendance and stated he had the training. Discussed designating Dale to be that person and asked what the Commission thought. 

          The decision is to designate at the time of the incident because every incident is different. Discussed having a committee which would include a Commissioner, Dale and a designee from the department/office involved in the incident. 

10:03 AM Dale, Kathy and Kimberly left the meeting.

10:03 AM ROAD/SHOP UPDATES/Bobby Wiedmer, Road Superintendent; Mitch Overn and Carl Overland, Shop Mechanics

         Road/Shop Updates/Chip and seal is done and went very well. They are now back to work on the city streets, SW of Baker Lake and East of Highway 7, which is also going well.  Bobby feels it will be about three (3) weeks before they will be done. Carl stated the loader is almost back together; it should be done by the end of the week. Mitch stated they need a fuel tank for one of the trucks. Other routine maintenance such as air conditioners are also being addressed.

          Commission Braun discussed maintenance on a county road or other county maintenance; the employee should not engage in discussion with the public should a problem arise.  Bobby discussed the new law regarding people going around signs. Discussed more strategic placement of signs should be considered allowing the public to take an alternate route. Bobby stated he would visit with the employee about this matter.

1.Permission for Carl to fill-in at Shooting Range if needed August 7th and 8th

          Discussed permission for Carl to fill in at the Shooting Range (only if needed).  Bobby stated that would not be a problem, they could work around it.

2.Discussion regarding trading Superintendent pickup early

          Discussed the Superintendent pickup would normally be traded or passed along to another department in the 2025 budget. Discussed possibly getting a work pickup for the Weed Department since it is used to spot spray and hauls the crew in the pickup as well so should be a four (4) door. The Superintendent’s pickup probably would not work for that.

          Discussed recent accidents on county roads and the width of those roads. Commissioner Rost measured a county road after a recent accident; the portion of the road which a truck went off measured 22 feet.  Bobby measured the road at 24 feet. Discussed the width of Hay Creek Road; that road has since been widened.  Discussed the county road, which our county truck got close to the edge and tipped over. Bobby stated that particular road is and always has been narrow. Commissioner Rost is concerned about the trucks that have tipped over and what can be done; if we do nothing, what is the perception. Bobby stated a lot of times the contributing factor is speed, which is hard on the roads. Commissioner Braun stated he viewed the road where the county truck tipped over. The old road was wider and had been built up with several inches of road material. Commissioner Braun discussed using less surfacing and keeping the road at the original width or no less than 24 feet wide. Commissioner Braun stated he realizes over time the roads get wider, but the roads have to be at least 24 feet wide. Discussed the patrol operators have tape measures and they need to be used.  Commissioner Rost stated, as the Superintendent, Bobby needs to make sure the operators are measuring the roads.

          Commission stated the building at the old landfill needs to be moved.

          Discussed the Brutus, used by EMS and mechanical issues. Carl stated it is hydrostatic and is designed for speeds of no more than 21 MPH. The new skid steer was delivered, and the Fairgrounds received the old skid steer from the Road Department.  

10:33 AM Richard Menger, Sanitarian joined.

Discussed possibly other departments that could use the Brutus if EMS was to get something different.

10:38 AM Bobby, Mitch and Carl left the meeting.


          Rich discussed a campground he has been trying to license for years and discussed the letter of denial received from the DEQ for the campground. Rich is going to send a letter to our local legislators.

10:40 AM Rich left the meeting.

10:40 AM Commission phoned Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering

          Shannon was unable to attend the meeting in person. Shannon contacted one of the contractors regarding questions pertaining to the quote they submitted and is waiting to hear back from the contractor. A decision will be made next week regarding the submitted quote.

10:48 AM Shannon hung up the phone. 

11:00 AM PROPERTY INSURANCE VALUES/ DISCUSSION/DECISION/Debbie Wyrick, Deputy Clerk and Recorder

          Debbie discussed the insurance company is trying to get us to insure to value; if you don’t insure to value you get dinged hard if you have a partial loss. Depreciation was discussed as well as rebuilding if you have a total loss. Jade provided his figures to Debbie on some of the buildings that were valued extremely high in comparison to the insurance company and feels he can justify his figures.

          Decision-The Commission made the decision to use Traveler’s figures that Jade had previously discussed.

11:15 AM AIRPORT FUEL TANKS DISCUSSION/Liability/Debbie Wyrick, Deputy Clerk and Recorder

          The project is completed, and the tanks no longer need to be insured; Debbie will take care of this. 

11:17AM Debbie left the meeting.


          Amanda would like to increase the hours for the Administrative Assistant to 32 hours per week.  The Administrative Assistant has shown significant initiative and helped re-introduce the Homemaker program as well as taking on other office duties. Julie explained the Administrative Assistant runs out of time all the time when completing tasks and currently works from 20 to 40 hours per week, dependent upon the projects. Commissioner Rost felt the homemaker program was an important part of this person’s duties and was happy the Administrative Assistant had the program operating. 

11:50 AM Amanda William, County Extension Agent joined.

          Amanda apologized for being late but was waiting on a customer. Amanda was updated on the conversation prior to her joining. Amanda stated Carter County pays 40 percent of the wages for the Administrative Assistant and the 4H Program Coordinator. Julie and Amanda stated the Administrative Assistant also attends all of the homemaker program meetings. The Commission asked if the Carter County Commission was in favor of the increase in hours. Amanda was sure they would be fine with it but had not officially asked. The Commission would like to have Amanda get the approval from the Carter County Commission first and return for a decision. Discussed the Administrative Assistant is also working on other office duties that the 4H Program Coordinator has been absorbing. 

          Amanda will return after visiting the Carter County Commission. 

11:53 PM Amanda and Julie left the meeting.

12:00 PM Commissioner Braun made the motion to recess. Commissioner Rost seconded the motion.

Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none.  3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

          NOON RECESS

PRESENT: Steve Baldwin, Chairman; Kevin Braun and Roy Rost, Members Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder



          Carl Hepperle met to discuss the safety hazard relating to the Baker Senior Center parking lot.  The Commission let Carl know they are working on the drainage and have come up with a plan. Carl also mentioned the sewer line cap is missing after snow removal and wondered about having someone come to look at it.  The Commission will get someone to go look at it and take care of it. 

1:20 PM Carl left the meeting.

1:30 PM SMART BUDGET/Vaughn Zenko, SMART Executive Director; Sharon Gookin, Board Member; Jodi Varner, Board President

           BUDGET/Vaughn explained they are unable to continue to do much more without an additional employee. SMART would like to request assistance of approximately $51,000, in addition to the $50,000 they currently receive or a total of $101,000. Jodi discussed doing this on a trial basis of approximately 2 years. Vaughn stated they need another full-time person; the current part-time employee wants to remain part-time. 

          Discussed, as they generate more income, they may not need Fallon County’s funding.  Vaughn stated, in fact they would demand Fallon County stop funding them. Jodi stated SMART is trying to do tangible things.  Sharon stated they would like to have a full-time employee at the travel center. Discussed how time-consuming grant work and administration of those grants have become; they want to continue to do more and get more grant funding. This will be placed on the Commission agenda again for a decision.

1:50 PM Vaughn left the meeting.


          The Commission reviewed revenues received, reports, emails and other correspondence, board minutes and agendas. The Commission signed a Certificate of Appreciation for Bobby Wiedmer’s 15 years of service to Fallon County. Congratulations, your service to Fallon County does not go unnoticed. 

Old Business (as needed)

          a.Moving Wells Fargo Trust to Bank of Baker (any decisions needed)

             We continue to wait to hear back from Wells Fargo Bank

          b.Hospital basement maintenance (any decisions needed)

             No further decisions have been made as of this time.

          c.Chamber of Commerce MOU for Recreation Department Services

             The County Attorney is working on this.

          d.Decisions EMS billing practices/rates  

            No further discussion at this time.  

          e.Decisions regarding weapons policy

            No further discussion at this time.

          f.Approval of Fair Contracts (as needed)

              No contracts received this week.

          g.Decision on RFQ for Planning Services or going out for Applications for Planner

             No decision at this time; the Commission is still exploring options.

          h.Decision regarding Emergency/Disaster Leave Policy

              No decision at this time.

          i.Discuss/Decision to prepare to go to bid for Ambulance

             Dale Butori will take the bid specs and review them. 

          j.Approve Standard Lease between State of Montana and Fallon County for DOR Office Rent

              Waiting for the correction page for the lease agreement.

          k.Discuss use of LATCF Funding

              The decision was to place the LATCF funds in theAmbulance Fund to assist with traveling EMS attendants

          l.Discussion/Decision additional hours for Justice of Peace

             Commissioner Baldwin asked for a motion pertaining to the additional hours requested for the Justice of Peace.  No motion was made.

             Anna will need to schedule an appointment to discuss further with the Commission.


3. Review & Approve Encroachment Permits (as needed)

4.Review Board Minutes/Agendas (Boards other than Commission)

5.Review Department/office reports/sign journal vouchers (as needed)

6.Executive/Action items:

          a.EPEDC Budget

             This budget is shared with four (4) other Counties, no changes as of this time. 

          b.Adopt Resolution #1109 to set per diem and travel rates

Commissioner Braun made the motion to adopt Resolution #1109 to set per diem and travel rates for FY24.  Commissioner Rost seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any discussion; being none.  3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

          c.Sign Amendment No. 5 to the EBMS Administrative Services Agreement

Commissioner Rost made the motion to sign Amendment #5 to the EBMS Administrative Services Agreement. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously. 

          d. Approve/Sign Employee Assistance Program Service Agreement with Sapphire Resource Connection

Commissioner Rost made the motion to approve the Employee Assistance Program Service Agreement with Sapphire Resource Connection. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion. Commissioner Baldwin asked for any discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.   

3:00 PM COUNTY ATTORNEY WORK SESSION/Darcy Wassmann, County Attorney

          1.Approve/sign KLJ Termination Letter for Planning Services

             The Commission noted they (Fallon County Commission) were not notified by KLJ, that Forrest Sanderson was no longer their employee and that we no longer had a contract planner.

             In reading the agreement, Darcy stated the agreement can be terminated for convenience, (termination clause 3.01 A. 2), effective upon written notice.

Commissioner Rost made the motion to terminate the Professional Services Contract, dated September 29, 2015, between Fallon County and Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson. This contract pertains to Planning Services, and termination is effective immediately.  Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

           2.Approve/Sign Chamber/Fallon County MOU for Recreation Services

              The Commission contacted Auditor, Curt Wyss, regarding his suggestion to draw up an agreement in which the Chamber runs the Recreation Department for the County.  In reviewing the laws, Darcy has not been able to find that the County can pay to operate a Recreation Department, but they can pay for infrastructure.  Curt defers to the County Attorney regarding this matter but felt if the county can pay for park expenses, should be no different than Recreation services.  Darcy will look into this further.

           3.Approve/Adopt Resolution of Intent to Adopt an Ordinance Establishing a Speed Limit on County Roads/set hearing dates-need a rational basis.

             The feeling was mutual; the Sheriff should be included in this discussion before proceeding further.  

          4. Approve/Sign Whiteline Consulting training agreement/

              The agreement will be sent to John Carlbom with Whiteline for review and signature. 

          5.Approve/Sign Townsend Computers agreement/

              Darcy has not had time to complete the agreement.

          6.Approve/Sign Peaks Planning Agreement

             Will shorten the terms to 90 days and send to Forrest for his review and signature. 

          Darcy will work on a lease agreement between Fallon County and EMEDA for the county land and an MOU for the Food Forest.

4:05 PM Darcy left the meeting.


          UPDATES/Sara stated she has a good portion of the weeds sprayed for private landowners. They have also sprayed some weeds on the Highways. They have sprayed a lot of knap weed and white top in town.  90% of the county roads are finished. Will have to wait for the wind to go down before spraying any more. Discussed budgeting for a ¾ ton pickup for the Weed Department.  The oldest gator is overheating and will probably be the next one replaced.   

          Time off/Permission was granted to take time off August 2nd and 3rd

          4H volunteer/permission granted to volunteer during the Fair for 4H.

.         MWCA Board Retreat/Permission granted to attend the MWCA Board retreat September 12-14th

          Spray Days/Will plan spray days for August.

          Weed Tour/The Tri-County Weed Tour is this Thursday at Tunby’s.  

4:18 PM Sara left the meeting.

4:18 PM-Dale Butori, DES/911 Coordinator joined.

          Dale would like permission to purchase the grill guard and topper budgeted in this year’s budget (for the DES pickup.  Permission granted.

4:20 PM Dale left the meeting.

4:28 PM Commissioner Baldwin stepped out of the office briefly.

4:30 PM Planning Laws– Commissioner Rost received a message from Forrest Sanderson, Peaks Planning regarding the new Planning Laws as per the most recent legislature.  The local governments need to update the laws by October 1st. The Commission granted permission for Forrest to move forward with this process as soon as possible.


Commissioner Rost made the motion to approve the July 10-14, 2023 Commission Minutes.  Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Braun asked for any discussion; being none. 2 Ayes. 0 Nays. 1 Absent. (Commissioner Baldwin). The motion carried.

4:43 PM Commissioner Baldwin returned.

          The Commission updated Commissioner Baldwin on the decision to have Peaks Planning update the Fallon County planning laws as needed.  The Commission also approved the minutes in his absence.

         4:45PM Commissioner Rost made the motion to adjourn.  Commissioner Braun seconded the motion. Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.




    7:00 AM           9:30 AM          1:30 PM


                                                                                                s/Steve Baldwin, Chairman

s/Brenda J. Wood, Clerk and Recorder