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

Commissioner Minutes – July 24 – July 28, 2023

Commissioner Minutes – July 24 – July 28, 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.


         Derrick deHaan, joined/Fair Board-Discussed picking up wood in Ekalaka for the upcoming Fair. Permission to use a county vehicle, trailer, and bobcat for this purpose, with Derrick being the driver.

         Outside Maintenance/Derrick is going to Parkview due to the recent mechanical issues with the generators.  Derrick will report back to the Commission.

9:05 AM Derrick left Public Comment.

Commissioner Baldwin also reported they are having issues with one of the elevators for one of the Parkview Apartment Complexes. Commissioner Rost received a phone call from a member of the public asking if the County could continue to mow the Highway Right of Ways. The Commission will visit with the Outside Maintenance Supervisor regarding this matter.


SIGNATURE/Jennefer Wheeler, Fairgrounds Manager

          Fair Contracts-The Commission signed authorizing compensation changes to the JoDee Messina contract, (by bringing their own equipment brought a savings of $6,350), and the Slamabama Duo contract, through Bitzer Agency, (increased by $1,000 to accommodate opening for JoDee Messina).

          Updates-The road crew removed the sand from the barn. Jennefer is not accepting any further reservations in the Exhibit Hall before the Fair. Still has a feathered friend in the grandstands. Discussed funding from the Tough Enough to Wear Pink rodeo. A portion of the ticket sales used to be given to the FMC Foundation. Jennefer was contacted by Karol Zachmann, stating they have not received a payment since 2019. Jennefer did some research and found the Fair Board made the decision in 2010 to allow $1 per ticket sold at the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo be donated to the FMC Foundation. Money collected in 2021 and 2022 has not been paid to the Foundation and due to COVID there was nothing for 2020.  The Commission stated the Fair Board did not/does not have the authority to make those types of decisions.  The Commission did not feel the Auditors would allow the funds to be given to the foundation. The Commission will contact Karol Zachmann and visit with the Fair Board regarding this matter. Jennefer’s vacation request was approved. Permission granted to work overtime as needed. Jennefer needs a few loads of gravel hauled in and will contact the road department. Discussed the need to purchase or have something built to stack all of the extra panels. The Commission discussed placing a fence at the fairgrounds due to the debris that blows into the golf course. The debris could end up in the pond and get stuck in the pump. They will be having another Fair Board meeting before the Fair (August 9th). The Commission thanked Jennefer for doing a good job.

9:45 AM Jennefer left the meeting.

9:45 AM APPROVAL OF FY24 BUDGET REQUEST FOR SMART/Vaughn Zenko, SMART Executive Director

          UPDATES/Started construction on the visitor center last week; they hope to be finished in 90-days. The work on the pocket park will start on Monday the 31st of July and should be done for the Fair.

          SMART BUDGET/Commissioner Rost is in favor of doubling the SMART budget for FY24.  Vaughn stated he would bring in monthly reports for the Commission to review. Commissioner Braun asked if the new employee would be a SMART employee. Vaughn stated they would be and would be located at the visitor center and will help with grants. This position would be advertised at 40 hours per week. The Commission asked if the emphasis will be on grant writing. Vaughn stated yes. This budget request will begin with a 2-year trial period. Commissioner Rost asked how this would become self-sustaining. Vaughn stated a full-time person will open up more opportunities for the organization to apply for grants and do more fund raising so it will be self-sustaining. They will also assist with event planning. Vaughn has been busy assisting with renovations, etc. 

Commissioner Rost made the motion to approve the FY24 budget for SMART. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion. Commissioner Baldwin asked for any discussion.  Commissioner Braun further stated this is with the caveat the additional funding will be contingent on a 2-year trial period, with the intention that SMART will become self-sustaining.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any further discussion; being none.  2 Ayes. 1 Nays. (Commissioner Baldwin). The motion carried.

10:01 AM Vaughn left the meeting.

10:01 AM ROAD/SHOP UPDATES/Bobby Wiedmer, Road Superintendent; Mitch Overn, Shop Mechanic

          UPDATES/They are working on the city project SW of Baker Lake and E of Highway 7; the streets are looking good (currently working on the avenues) and should be finished the first week of August. It will be ready to chip and seal when the City of Baker’s contractor starts the project in August. This is the road department’s main focus at this time. Carl found some additional issues with the loader; something had been stripped and siliconed, not sure if it came from the factory this way or how it would have happened. Currently working on some truck maintenance and will be doing some welding at the fairgrounds.

10:07 AM Marty Asay, Member of the Public joined.

Discussed the sign order that has been placed; takes a while to get them. The Commission would like the 91 Ford removed from the Golf Course.

10:23 AM Bobby and Mitch left the meeting.

          Golf Course/The Commission announced all golf course greens will be opened on Saturday. If they are damaged the Commission will close them again. They will continue to monitor them through the end of the season; the greens may have to be closed earlier this year. The Greens Committee was discussed.

10:25 AM Richard Menger, Sanitarian joined.

          Pond testing-Rich stated the water samples taken from the pond have all shown ZERO coliforms.

10:28 AM Marty left the meeting.

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

          UPDATES/Rich discussed some shoreline work that will be requested by some of the landowners. Also stated the lake is down 1-1/2 feet. The wetlands look great; will continue to monitor the level of water in the wetlands. Geum Environmental will be here to complete the 5-year inspection of the wetlands.  Commissioner Baldwin informed Senators Tester and Daines about the upcoming inspection.  Rich stated he had a good conversation with Senator Bogner regarding the campground he has been trying to license.

10:38 AM Rich left the meeting.

  1. -Shannon reviewed the quotes with the Commission again. The quote from Wyrick Construction does not include seal coating or striping. The Commission discussed Shannon contacting David Espeland, FMC to coordinate the fuel tank work with the parking lot work. Shannon has not been able to get in touch with Top Gun for questions he has regarding the quote.

       Shannon’s recommendation is to hire Wyrick Construction to complete the reconstruction and paving and hire Top Gun to complete the seal coating and striping (if they can get a quote for just that portion). Shannon feels it would be best if the seal coating is completed this year. Shannon did contact another company (Hard Drives) for quotes, but their cost was considerably more.

        The Commission had concerns whether or not Wyrick would have time to get their portion of the job completed in time for Top Gun to complete the sealing and striping or would it be best to wait to start until next Spring. Shannon will get an updated quote from the contractors; visit with David and a decision can be made next week.

          OTHER UPDATES/Shannon updated the Commission on the road mapping project; they will meet with the Commission after they have prepared their presentation. Discussed the work that is being completed for Bergstrom Hill Road.

10:54 AM Barbara Ketterling, Treasurer/Assessor joined.

wrapping up the Thielen Access and Troubadour Drive projects. They have not had time to work on the Workforce Housing survey project; will work on as they are able; Shannon will coordinate the Golf Course permitting with Mr. Menger and Kevin Hill, Golf Course Superintendent. The pond will need to be drawn down by October 1st.

10:58 AM Shannon left the meeting.

          Barbara presented the June 2023 Treasurer’s cash report. Barb negotiated a 5% interest rate with the Bank of Baker for the money the bank will be giving to the City of Baker for the SID’s.

11:05 AM Barb left the meeting.

11:06 AM Commissioner Braun was excused. 


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

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.Decisions EMS billing practices/rates  

            No further discussion at this time.  

          d.Decisions regarding weapons policy

             This has been given to the County Attorney for clarification so a decision can be made.

          e.Approval of Fair Contracts (as needed)

              Contracts were signed when the Fair Manager met at 9:15 AM.

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

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


          The Sheriff’s Office would like to order their new radios using ARPA funds.  Permission granted. 

          g.Decision regarding Emergency/Disaster Leave Policy

 11:31 AM Julie Straub, HRM joined.

           The Commission discussed moving forward with the Emergency/Disaster Leave Policy with the caveat this would be for a 1-year trial basis. 

Commissioner Rost made the motion to adopt the Emergency/Disaster Leave Policy for 1 year and at that time it will be reviewed. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

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

             The Commission would like to prepare to go to bid.

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

             The Commission approved and signed the standard lease between the State of Montana and Fallon County.

          j.Approve/Sign/Chamber of Commerce MOU for Recreation Services

             The County Attorney is working on this.

          k.Approve/Sign Townsend Computers Agreement
The County Attorney is working on this.

.         l.Approve/Sign Peaks Planning Agreement

              The County Attorney is working on this.


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.Approve/Sign Whiteline Consulting & Training, LLC Professional Services Agreement

             The Commission approved and signed the Agreement between Fallon County and Whiteline Consulting and Training, LLC. 

          b.Decision to close PO Box 1134

             The Commission granted permission to close PO Box 1134 (Planning Department) and forward any mail to PO Box 846; a partial refund will be received. 

          c.Review & Approve Concrete Maintenance quotes for various county properties

             The Commission reviewed the quotes received and would like to review them with the Maintenance Department, contractor and Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering for further clarification. This will be placed on the agenda for next week.

          d.Sign ARPA grant agreement and electronic agreement with DNRC for Lakeview Storm Sewer Project

             The Commission signed the grant agreement between Fallon County and DNRC for the reimbursement of expenses for the Lakeview Storm Sewer project. The agreement will also be digitally signed. 

          e.Decisions regarding Golf Course Maintenance and use of course for events (if needed)

              The Commission met this morning at the Golf Course and decided to open the golf course greens, effective Saturday, July 29th. If there is any damage the greens will be closed again.

          f.Adopt/Sign FY24 Salary Resolution

             The Resolution cannot be completed until the Department of Justice sends their portion of the County Attorney salaries to the County.

          g.Discuss/Decision County Extension Administrative Assistant Hours

             No decision from the Carter County Commission at this time.

          h.Discuss Ordinance establishing a speed limit on county roads

              The County Attorney is working on the process and resolution of intent.

12:07 PM Commissioner Rost 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 Braun). The motion carried.

          NOON RECESS

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



          No one appeared for Public Comment         


         Commissioner Baldwin explained, there was no motion brought to the floor, so the Commission did not make a decision at the last meeting. Anna wanted it on record, she apologized for the text she sent to Commissioner Baldwin and thanked him for listening and responding. Commissioner Baldwin stated he feels Anna should bring the hours request up again at the budget meeting next year. Anna was disappointed and said she was here during her budget time as she was told to do before. Anna also mentioned the Commission going to other departments and asking questions about her budget. Commissioner Braun stated he wanted to know if things were getting done or if more hours were needed. Commissioner Rost supports her request; it is her office and if she feels more hours are needed, he supports that because she knows what she needs. Anna does not come and ask for much and needs the time to do some stuff before they go into hearings. Commissioner Braun asked about trials if she would need a week would her hours adjust accordingly.  Anna cannot set hours outside of her Justice Court hours so would only have Thursdays and Fridays available, (from 11 AM to 5 PM). Anna further explained she is standing up for her office.  Commissioner Rost stated did you just want to try to see how it goes? Anna stated we know what we need, and it may grow. Acknowledged her goal is to be full-time Justice of Peace and believes courts of limited jurisdiction should be full time. Anna stated the work is there and feels this would also bring more people forward that would want the position, such as an Attorney. Anna still plans to approach the City of Baker for additional hours but has no idea what their decision will be. Commissioner Braun spoke to many individuals asking only if Justice Court needs more hours and not one person said yes. Commissioner Braun wanted to know if this would be a taxpayer benefit.  Anna feels it would be and is looking out for the taxpayer by doing this in steps, she answers to them and always does her best to manage her budget wisely.  Commissioner Baldwin stated the Commission realizes she manages her budget very well and they appreciate that. Commissioner Braun discussed some statistics he was looking at and noticed their cases have declined since 2019; also discussed District Court cases she deals with as well.  Anna stated the initial appearances she sees right away because they have to appear within 72 hours and have everything explained to them.  Those cases do not go into the Justice Court system, but they do get credit for them. Commissioner Braun wanted confirmation the work is there. Anna said yes, there is so much to do. Commissioner Rost mentioned by increasing the hours, Anna’s employees will still not be eligible for benefits.  Anna acknowledged that to be true, she is the only one that receives Health Insurance. Commissioner Baldwin would entertain a motion.

Commissioner Rost made the motion to increase the Justice Court hours by one hour per day (Thursdays & Fridays) for those employees scheduled to work Justice Court hours.  Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any discussion; being none. 2 Ayes. 1 Nay. (Commissioner Baldwin). The motion carried.

          The effective date will be decided after visiting with Human Resources and Payroll.

1:52 PM Anna left the meeting.


Commissioner Braun made the motion to approve the July, 2023 mid-month claims in the amount of $2,967,162.81, with the exception of a portion of the Wyrick Construction claim, for (gravel), until receiving measurement of gravel pile. Also, Anna Straub, Justice of Peace declined payment for an adjustment made to per diem due to an unknown change in the In-State meal rates.  Commissioner Rost seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any discussion; being none.  3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.


          No supervisors appeared before the Commission.


          Wall units behind Dispatch had no filters where required. Outside Maintenance had to clean the wall units due to this issue. The Emergency Communications Dispatch Supervisor asked if those units could be taken off the MTI check list and have Outside Maintenance take care of them. MTI provides the filters, through the contract. The Commission asked where the filters would be stocked if we were to take care of this ourselves. Discussed review of the contract first and discuss further. 

          Quote-Lynda will get an updated valve quote.

3:30 PM Lynda left the meeting.


Commissioner Rost made the motion to approve the Commission minutes for the week of July 17-21, 2023. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays.  The motion carried unanimously.

4:40PM 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.



                                                                                                s/Steve Baldwin, Chairman

s/Brenda J. Wood, Clerk and Recorder