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

Commission Minutes – March 13-17, 2023

Commission Minutes – March 13-17, 2023

MONDAY, MARCH 13, 2023


PRESENT: Steve Baldwin, Chairman and Kevin Braun, Member; Christa Alford, Minute Recorder; Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder

ABSENT: Roy Rost, Member


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


             No one appeared for Public Comment.

10:00 AM ROAD/SHOP UPDATES/Mark Sieler, Road Foreman; Carl Overland, Shop Mechanic

Jeff Frank, Landfill, joined meeting.

             Permission to go out to bid for Road Department/Landfill equipment- Mark provided spec sheets for themotor grader and loader for the Road Dept and big loader for the Landfill to be reviewed. Fairgrounds Skid steer-Mark Feland, RDO came down to look at the Fairgrounds skid steer, but Carl hasn’t heard about a price. Commissioner Baldwin asked which skid loader? Mark stated it was the one from the hospital that went to Fairgrounds. Discussion about giving Fairgrounds the one from the Road Department but hasn’t heard about a price on a new one. RDO’s Skid Steer Program-First year the county would be trading an old skid steer for a new skid steer.  The second year the cost, at trade would be $500 to $1000 for a new skid steer. No further questions from anyone. Commissioner Baldwin said the Commission will look the bid specs over and get back to them. The Fairgrounds skid steer didn’t have a lot of hours. Commissioner Braun stated it had 2900 hours and the Road Department skid steer has 1500 hours. Mark asked the Commission to look at sales propaganda from John Deere, regarding their skid steer program. Commissioner Baldwin stated they would look it over.

             Shop Updates:  Discussion on tire pressure sensors getting too old; won’t calibrate. Snap-On has two options:  One just over $1045; another unit is $2020.  The unit for $2020 does more; the biggest difference is that it is a stand-alone unit. The lower priced one needs a scanner and doesn’t do additional features as the higher priced one does. Additional feature for the higher priced one is it will program in quicker time for sensors, there are less steps, buying pre-program is $20 and can set pressure readings lower. Higher priced unit will keep calibration and they won’t have to recalibrate all the time. Software would be free if there is a glitch or incorrect information, updated at no charge. In case of going through a portal to unlock, we’d have to pay for that. After further discussion, Commissioner Baldwin feels the stand-alone unit would be the way to go. Asked Commissioner Braun for his thoughts. Commissioner Braun agrees. Carl stated the stand-alone would be better; it will provide automatic updates once unit is powered on.  Decision made to purchase the stand-alone unit for $2020; Road Department has the budget and now would be a good time to purchase.

Commissioner Braun made the motion to purchase the stand-alone pressure sensor unit for $2020.00. Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion. Commissioner Baldwin asked for further discussion; being none. 2 Ayes. 0 Nays. 1 Absent (Commissioner Rost). The motion carried.

             Road Updates- All bus routes completed on Sunday. Couple of blades down, tire on county blade, rental blade; should have parts this morning. Commissioner Braun asked about Windy View and Sheep Corner Roads.  Mark said they hope to have everything cleaned up by Tuesday evening. School House Road was snowed in pretty bad; could not get there due to roads being closed due to conditions and wrecks. Airport Road stayed closed through Saturday. Commissioner Braun asked if they had heard anything on county blade at RDO. Mark stated it was still in Dickinson, waiting on harness; been 2 weeks, they may hear something next week. Mark from RDO may be coming down today, so will wait to hear from him.  Commission thanked the Road Department for all they do.

10:17 AM Mark, Carl and Jeff left the meeting.

10:25 AM Richard Menger, Sanitarian, joined.

10:30 AM PROJECT UPDATES/Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering

          UPDATES- Lakeview Drive Storm Sewer Project-Shannon brought the as-builts for this project and will take a copy to Mary; that should close out the project. Shannon spoke with both Slope and Bowman Counties regarding royalty payments for road material. Slope County pays the landowner $2.00 per yd and Bowman County, $2.00 per yd, looking at going to $2.50. Will pay for easements (one-time) and will pay for full reclamation as well. Shannon hasn’t talked to Carter or Wibaux counties. It is easier for the county to permit a pit and if that’s something Fallon County would want to do, (get 3-4 pits around county), it would make sense and the county would still bid out crushing. Gravel project bid opens in April.

Road mapping project:  Cindy Irgens, Recording Clerk gave Brosz Engineering about 95 plats to scan. They have one set of commission minutes, which had about 15 pages that were corrupt, so they had to rescan them. Commissioner Baldwin asked what causes that. Shannon stated it could be computer problems, putting it on external hard drive and then transferring. Cindy still planning to look into old indexes for easements. Michael, Brosz Engineering is still working minutes and has scanned up to the early 2000’s and is working on grants. Shannon has a meeting tomorrow and will see where they are at. Will schedule an update next month with the Commission to go over project status. Discussion on Bergstrom Hill Road: Brosz drafted and submitted a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to request a jurisdictional determination of the wetlands. Shannon hopes to hear back on the determination by the end of the month. Discussion on Fallon County 6th Street West box culvert project. Hasn’t heard back from the Corps, only heard, “Yes, we received the application”. Jerin, USACE, is still waiting for reassignment on the application; should hear back soon. City heard from the USACE on their waterline project within 30 days; seems to be taking longer to hear back from DEQ on county related projects. Commissioner Baldwin stated he was concerned about change of staff in these offices. Shannon said the box culvert project should have at least one bid. If Western Municipal submits, there could potentially be two contractors that may bid it. 

Commission asked if there were any questions?

          Rich Menger stated he had questions. He wants to make sure we are headed in right direction on the Wastewater Irrigation O&M plan.  Rich explained to Shannon that he should consider his engineering portion of the O & M, for the golf course, just an addendum to what Rich has already done. Shannon agreed. Rich stated that everything they are asking for is engineering related. Shannon asked if they gave Rich a timeline. Rich said no. Rich expressed concern over the golf course pond. Discussed boring the soil and testing. Rich stated the DEQ assumes the pond is leaking; what we have to do is provide information that there is no leaking, and no contamination to ground water. Shannon said DEQ is going to want soil boring. Shannon will look at quotes for soil borings. Shannon asked about soil borings at other nearby county facilities such as the Fairgrounds. Rich said DEQ may not accept soil borings from Fairgrounds. Commissioner Braun asked if there were original borings for the golf course pond. It was felt there was not any borings done at that time. Rich feels it would be good to include Fairgrounds and any new borings. Rich knows Commissioner Rost has contemplated putting in a liner to save on expenses. Shannon said a liner would cost $1.00 per square foot. Commissioner Braun stated that liners won’t last forever. Shannon stated clay soils, without the liner would be better. After much discussion, it was decided to see if anyone can find previous soil testing from boring during the Grandstands project and if so, include it in the O & M report. Rich included well log from a landowner that lives near the golf course which is the nearest domestic well. The only well closer is located at the Fairgrounds and would be in the Hell Creek formation. Discussion about someday lagoon treatment will go away, as DEQ is pushing for more extension and aeration. Shannon stated that full treatment or aeration is the goal. 

10:54 AM Shannon and Rich left the meeting.

10:54 AM Commissioner Baldwin was excused; will be back before the next meeting.

10:58 AM Brenda Hoeger, Julie Straub, Beth Meggers joined the meeting.

11:06 AM Commissioner Baldwin joined the meeting.

11:06 AM PERMISSION TO RECRUIT EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS DISPATCHER/Brenda Hoeger, Emergency Communications Dispatch Supervisor; Julie Straub, HRM

Discussion on the need for permission to recruit an Emergency Communications Dispatcher. Julie stated there was no pool to draw from for applicants.

Commissioner Braun made the motion to grant permission to recruit an Emergency Communications Dispatcher.  Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for further discussion; being none. 2 Ayes. 0 Nays. 1 Absent. (Commissioner Rost). The motion carried.

11:08 AM Brenda left the meeting.

PERMISSION TO HIRE LIBRARY TECHNICIAN/Beth Meggers, Director of Library Services; Julie Straub, HRM

Beth stated they have interviewed and would like to hire Johanna Tooke for the 30-hour per week Library Technician position. 

Commissioner Braun made the motion to grant permission to hire Johanna Tooke for the 30-hour per week Library Technician position.  Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for further discussion; being none. 2 Ayes. 0 Nays. 1 Absent. (Commissioner Rost).  The motion carried.

11:15 AM Beth and Julie left the meeting.

11:20 AM Commissioner Braun made the motion to recess. Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion.

Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none.  2 Ayes. 0 Nays. 1 Absent. (Commissioner Rost). The motion carried.

          NOON RECESS

PRESENT: Steve Baldwin, Chairman; Kevin Braun, Member; Christa Alford, Minute Recorder; Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder

ABSENT: Roy Rost, Member



          No one appeared for Public Comment

2:45 PM DISCUSS EQUIPMENT REPAIRS INVOICE/Roger Meggers, Airport Manager

2:45 PM Debbie Wyrick, Deputy Clerk and Recorder joined the meeting.

          Discussion on project debris moved out of the Airport parking lot, which was left by Young Guns, Airport project contractor. Darin Meggers, Airport Assistant Manager was removing snow from the taxiway, runways, etc. and accidentally hit the pile of debris which damaged the plow.

          Commissioner Baldwin had a question on repair itself; the Commission was notified on Monday of the incident. Commissioner Braun stated anything over $2000 needs Commission approval. Roger stated $1000 of repairs was for skis. Craig Canfield, KLJ Project Engineer felt the best approach was to charge the repair cost back to Young Guns. Commissioner Braun asked if the cement was supposed to have been moved. Roger stated that he was told that items were supposed to be moved prior to winter; there is no option to move at this point. Commissioner Baldwin assumes we have to pay for this in the interim. Roger said Debbie mentioned turning in to insurance. Commissioner Braun asked if skid shoes were part of incident, if not, then we probably can’t turn in to insurance. Roger felt if this would not have happened, the skid shoes would not have had to be replaced. Debbie said there is a deductible on equipment, but she can’t remember if it’s $1000 or $2500. Roger showed pictures of the gravel pile. Tri-State bill included what it would cost to order parts, shipping from Denver, plus labor, which would have been approximately $3045 altogether. Baker Metal repaired the equipment for approximately $1600. Discussion on how strong the concrete was; Roger stated it was strong enough to fold the blade over.  Commission asked Debbie if we needed to keep the pictures. Debbie said yes, Julie Straub, HRM may need it for safety reports.  Any damage to equipment is included in safety reports. What happened, what was included, what was paid out; insurance wants to see these, to keep us in good standing.

          Commissioner Braun stated that Young Guns may not want to pay. Roger stated it was their pile, and it should have been moved. Craig feels the contractor is responsible to pay for the damages. Young Guns should want to take part in their project. Roger said they haven’t been back since they left in the fall and are working on a fuel system and hangar in Forsyth. Commissioner Baldwin asked Debbie if she had any other questions? Debbie restated that Julie will want the pictures for Safety Reports. Debbie asked if we are turning it over to insurance. Roger said that Young Guns should be given figures to pay at end of project; total cost of damages was $2365.19. Commission decided not to turn into the county insurance. Roger requested Young Guns to reimburse at the end of the project at airport. Commissioner Baldwin asked if there was anything else to add; Commissioner Braun said to give the numbers to Young Guns.

          Additional discussions/Rotating Beacon-Roger said they are in the process of replacing the beacon. Depending on Direct Electric estimates, MT State will provide a grant to cover 100%.

Commissioner Braun said we will need to put it in the budget. Roger said he would tag on federal projects. Cave in-Commissioner Baldwin asked about the cave-in situation. Roger stated it was not repaired yet, it is still covered with snow and ice.

3:00 PM Roger and Debbie left meeting.


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

Approve Annual Fuel Tax Certification Form/maps and return to MT DOT

          Yearly Fuel Tax Certification of Roadway Mileage – SFY 2024 was approved as submitted. Commissioner Baldwin signed the certification form as Chairman.

APPROVE (as Supervisors) Employee vacation and sick leave requests

         Two requests were approved. After discussing, the Commissioners will still need a text message and a form from employees that are supervised by Commission, when requesting vacation and sick leave.

Discuss/Decision to send reminder MEMO to county departments regarding purchases

          Departments are trying to save taxpayer dollars and we are trying to keep local businesses going.  Some departments are ordering items online versus ordering from local businesses. Commission says to shop local when possible.  Brenda asked if someone was to save $500.00, what are the Commissioners’ thoughts?  Both Commissioner Braun and Commissioner Baldwin said to shop local as much as possible. Kimberly tries to express this as much as possible to new department heads during orientation. The Commission made the decision to send a Memo to County Departments/Offices.

Approve Journal Entries made in county financial software

          Commissioner Baldwin signed the Journal Entries.

Approve Family Planning Agreement FY2023

Commissioner Braun made the motion to Approve the FY2023 Family Planning Agreement.  Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for further discussion; being none. 2 Ayes. 0 Nays. 1 Absent. (Commissioner Rost). The motion carried.

Discussed Statement of Understanding between School of Social Work and Sociology

          Discussion on potential for use of the office space.  Commissioner Braun stated it should be Public Health decision.  Called Kim Bryan to discuss the use of Public Health additional office space.  No answer. Kim called back and spoke with Commissioner Baldwin. She informed Commissioner Baldwin that there was no issue with the use of the office space from Public Health side.

Sign Certificates of Election for Baker Rural Fire District and Plevna Rural Fire District Trustees/EMEDA-Port Authority

            Commissioner Baldwin and Commissioner Braun signed certificates of Election for Baker and Plevna Rural Fire Trustees and EMEDA Port Authority Commissioner. Commissioner Rost will sign when he returns.

Approve repairs to vehicle for Member of Public due to accident caused by county employee

          Senior Bus driver accidentally backed into Norita Fried’s vehicle. Approve to fix Norita Fried’s vehicle in the amount of $1894.82.

Approve updated eligible signers for State and Federal Surplus Property Program

          Commissioner Baldwin and Commissioner Braun signed updating eligible signers for the State and Federal Surplus Property Program.  Will have Commissioner Rost sign upon return.

Thank you to Mid-Rivers for EMS donation

          Mid-Rivers donated $350.00 to the ambulance.  Brenda deposited in the Ambulance donation account with Treasurer’s Office.

3:50 PM Molly, Matthew, Charlotte and Jeanine Losing, Rachelle and Piper Christiaens, Tammy Witcher-Members of the Public; Jennefer Wheeler, Fairgrounds Manager; Derrick deHaan, Fair Board Member joined.

3:57 PM Stacy Downing, Member of the Public joined the meeting.

4:05 PM Jozell Brewer, Ocean Krech, Members of the Public joined the meeting.


          Molly started the meeting with a comment that she was there to gain clarification on a few things. She said she had heard some things in the first part of December regarding comments made during a Commission meeting. She is here today to clarify what she had heard and wants to know for sure what is going on, and not hearsay. She said she had dug through some commission notes; read that the commission discussed possible placement of cement in County Fairgrounds Livestock Building.  She just wanted to clarify if the livestock building was the building discussed, and what exactly was discussed.

           Commissioner Braun stated there was discussion on having a multi-purpose building. Dirt would be hauled in/out for events specifically. Molly asked who originally thought of this. Commissioner Braun stated he brought it to the Commission, as a member of the public brought it to him. He stated there was discussion regarding a community building and it was still in discussion. Nothing has been decided. Discussion from several public members that more people want this type of building in the County. Molly said she heard that people don’t want it to be a livestock building at all. Commissioner Baldwin stated that the Commission wants to give fair users/4H the priority use of this building. Molly stated she was approached by 4H Extension Office that there is discussion on making the Livestock Building a Public Building. Commissioner Braun stated that there must be a public meeting to make any decision.

          Molly said people want to know why not have a whole new building. Commissioner Braun said it would cost around $10 million, but that was just a figure for conversation. Commissioner Braun stated that he was not interested in building a Community Building. Commissioner Baldwin stated that a new building must be used for Fallon County. Commissioner Braun stated there are already a lot of county buildings to maintain. Building it is easy, but we would have to maintain the new building for next 50 years.  Molly commented that she comes from community where a building was taken from them (4H and horse arena users); and now use of building has faded. She could see the direction of where using the livestock building for community purposes could cause them to lose the building altogether. Commissioner Braun restated that priority would be given to 4H, and that the group would be asked if they needed the building, prior to giving use to another group. Dirt would still need to be moved in/out.  Molly stated that dirt was not put back in between County Fair and Wild Game Feed and 4H/arena users could not run horses in there because there was no dirt. Commissioner Braun said that is something that could be changed. Molly stated the arena users were concerned that going to a multi-purpose building would cause the group to lose use of it, as more and more would want it for something other than livestock. We have people from Bowman and other places, that want to use the building among the horse community. Horse Association would like to hold 2-3 day shows here in Baker. Molly has not heard for sure if they contacted the Fair Manager.

          None of the attendees take for granted the use of the building as a livestock building. They do not wish to see the building as a multi-use building and lose the opportunity. Commissioner Braun lives on a ranch and understands where she is coming from.  Molly stated she is glad for truth from the Commission. Commissioner Braun and Commissioner Baldwin stated they are glad the group came in; they are always welcome to come in. Jennefer stated that she encouraged them to come in. Molly stated that Fair Board members did not want to really come in. She heard that in the first discussion that architecture would change in the building. Commissioner Baldwin stated that the architecture cannot be changed in the current livestock building. Commissioner Baldwin said that the Commission wanted to give the group some assurance, this isn’t even on the budget any time soon. Molly said there was only one sentence in the minutes from December, so she wasn’t sure.

          Molly stated that the new building in Miles City was about $10 million, and it is a fancy building. New building for Fallon County could be beneficial. Tammy Witcher said they keep bringing up $10 million.  She asked how much money will be spent on the cement floor. Commissioner Braun stated it would cost around $500,000.00. Discussion on the cost of moving bleachers in and out of the barn, as well as who would be able to use the barn. Bleachers are portable and can be used for multiple events. Molly isn’t necessarily against removing the bleachers but doesn’t want to see the them cement the floor. More discussion followed on 4-H sales; why are they being asked to shrink the number of animals they bring to sale? Discussion followed concerning buyers waiting 2-4 hours for animals to sell. Limiting animals to 1-2 per 4H member would shorten time, and buyers wouldn’t be there that long. Commissioner Braun stated that it is a 4H decision. Further discussion on what is best for the community. Wild Game Feed brings in a lot of money that is then given back to local churches and other charities. Horse events could contribute money in the same way, but probably on a smaller scale. Discussion on other events that could be held if Livestock Barn was a multi-purpose building, such as family movie nights and Dueling Pianos.

          Another question was raised as to renting of upper barn stalls within the next year. Those that currently rent stalls out in the upper barn do so for older horses that likely would not survive in the cold, especially this year’s cold weather. They would need enough notice to find another location if that were the case. Jennefer said she was waiting on the stall rental agreement from the County Attorney regarding that. Jozelle brought up key fobs for the barn doors. Concern would be how would the key fobs work in case of fire. Derrick stated that Parkview has similar key fobs and that there is a lockbox that law enforcement has access to. The fobs are hard wired, but in case of power outage, the locks default to unlock. Again, no decision made on any of this at this point, only discussion. Molly just wanted to clear up any rumors. Arena and stall users commented that they appreciate the ease of transition between Fair Managers. Jennefer said she will keep the group informed of any changes, as soon as she knows anything. Group thanked the Commission for their time and patience. Commission thanked the group for coming in and expressing their concerns.

4:45 PM Commissioner Braun made the motion to adjourn.  Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion. Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 2 Ayes. 0 Nays. 1 Absent. (Commissioner Rost). The motion carried.




1:00-4:00 PM


                                                                                                                s/Steve Baldwin, Chairman

s/Christa Alford, Minute Recorder


s/Brenda J. Wood, Clerk & Recorder