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

Commission Minutes

Commission Minutes

      MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2022


PRESENT: Roy Rost, Chairman; Steve Baldwin and Kevin Braun, 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


Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to approve the minutes from August 22-26, 2022, as presented. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion. Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

9:30 AM CITY OF BAKER IRON HORSE WATER BILL DISCUSSION & WATER/SEWER LINE DISCUSSION/DECISION-BONNIEVALE BOX CULVERT PROJECT/Steve Zachmann, Mayor-City of Baker; Kevin Dukart, City Clerk; Robbie Christiaens, Maintenance Supervisor; Derrick deHaan, Maintenance Assistant; Kimberly Jensen AP Clerk

          Water Bill/Iron Horse Park Sprinkler-Discussed the current amount due is $7,382.99.  Mayor Zachmann explained when the meter was installed by the plumber, the City of Baker was not notified. When that happens, the meter does not get activated in their system. City of Baker records show the meter was dropped off August of 2020. They have no way to average the usage since the meter was not being read regularly. The City of Baker does not charge for the sprinklers at Triangle Park since that is city land and the county maintains it. The length of time it took to discover this was discussed in length. Commissioner Rost felt the parks are used by the Public and felt the taxpayers were being taxed twice. Clerk Dukart stated it is not a tax, it is a usage fee. Kimberly discussed another bill that we did not receive. The first time she asked the clerk in the city office about it she stated there was no reading; the second time she asked they said they would look into it.  Robbie stated the park meters are unhooked, not removed, and drained in preparation of winter. Mayor Zachmann will do some checking on the billing questions.  Clerk Dukart stated if the city is not notified, they do not get them activated in the system; discussed putting them in their system in May to start the billing process. 

9:52 AM Kimberly left the meeting.

          Water/Sewer Line-Commissioner Braun asked if the shut off valve for the water line had been found.  It has not been found the city crew is working on a water leak. Commissioner Braun asked why there has been so many questions asked about the repair of an existing line that was placed with approval of previous Sanitarian and the City of Baker; it has been a waste of time. Mayor Zachmann explained the city needed to find out if it was being placed according to code.  Commissioner Braun asked why the city is involved when it involves a private line. Mayor Zachmann explained the line will be hooked to a city line and there could be contamination.  Commissioner Braun stated the county may have to place a valve on the south side of the box culvert if the valve cannot be found. The county has to move the lines again to place them deeper in the ground to alleviate freezing issues.  Mayor Zachmann will visit with the Public Works Director regarding a time frame to locate the valve. The contractor is waiting for the boring company; if the valve is not located in time, the county will place a valve. The city will inform the county when they will be able to locate the valve and the county will inform the city when the boring company is expected to arrive.

10:00 AM Mayor Zachmann; Clerk Dukart; Robbie and Derrick left the meeting.

10:00 AM ROAD/SHOP UPDATES/Bobby Wiedmer, Road Superintendent; Mitch Overn Shop Mechanic

          Road Updates-Mowing is going well. The crew is putting sand back in the Fair barn today.  Bobby viewed the progress on the Ismay box culvert; they are waiting on the break test for Bonnievale box culvert.

          Shop Updates-Discussed the hook truck for the Landfill; Jeff Frank, Manager of Landfill Operations and Carl Overland, Mechanic found a truck in Fargo, ND that is set-up, with exception of a tarp. They were originally going to view two trucks in Minnesota but were happy with the truck in Fargo instead.  Mitch stated they are keeping the Road Department mowers running and waiting on parts to repair the golf course mower.  Discussed the water tank in the SE corner of the Fairgrounds; no one is certain if it only provides water for the tank and the golf course pond or if it also provides water to any buildings or hydrants at the Fairgrounds.  Bobby felt Cliff Tudor completed the most recent waterline work at the Fairgrounds.

10:10 AM Bobby and Mitch left the meeting.

10:20 AM Jasen Wyrick, Wyrick Construction joined.

          Jasen brought the Lakeview Drive Storm Sewer Project agreement to be signed, as well as the performance and payment bonds.  Discussion on the water standing in the vault and leaking into Parkview basement.  Commission will have Derrick deHann, Maintenance Assistant check on the water level.

10:30 AM Jasen left the meeting.

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

          Bonnievale Bridge-Broke all cylinders Friday, August 26th: 4130, 4570, 3990, 4320 which is a 4250 average over a the 28-day period.  There will be a 5% deduct for the floor and walls. The structural engineer said it was okay to move ahead, so the contractor can backfill and get the bridge opened.  Commissioner Braun asked about the improvement of strength over time.  Shannon explained it will gain strength until it freezes. Discussed the change order that will be prepared to replace existing water and sewer lines.

10:43 AM Cindy Irgens, Recording Clerk joined.

 The Commission granted permission to move forward with the change order.

10:45 AM Darcy Wassmann, County Attorney joined.

10:45 AM Road Mapping Research Project/Discuss-Decision research start date/Cindy Irgens, Recording Clerk; Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering; Darcy Wassmann, County Attorney

          Shannon explained, as Mike has been going through the files, he has found a disconnect between the Commission minutes and files. Shannon explained they will continue to scan the petitions and get the commission minutes scanned so they are digitized. If they continue as they have been it will take a lot of time; they would like to suggest starting with the 1930 road plat and moving forward from there.  Cindy’s issue relates to a recent petition that was found from 1918; if they do not go back that far, how will we ever know about them.

10:51 AM Mike Madler, Contractor joined.

          There was a surveyor in place in 1930 that was there to keep the records current. Mike discussed the issues he has run across such as reference to a name on a petition “i.e., the Johnson Petition.”  Mike explained there are many Johnsons, which one is it for and you cannot connect it to the Commission minutes because they do not reference it the same way and/or there are no legal descriptions in the Commissioner minutes; there is no way to know. Mike will continue to digitize the petitions and link them to the digital road version. Discussed differences in the laws from1913 to current laws.  Darcy felt the codes changed in 1947; she will research laws. 

        The Commission agreed to move forward from 1930 using the accepted roads from 1932. Also continue to digitize and link the petitions to the roads. 

11:15 AM Lisa Mitchell, EMS Program Manager joined.

        Discussed the process of researching for the public or hiring someone to do the research. Discussed a decision on the cost per hour to research for the public.  It was reiterated that they will move forward from 1932; once they are finished, the decision will need to be made regarding research prior to 1932. 

11:22 AM Cindy, Darcy, Mike left the meeting. 

11:23 AM EMS PROGRAM MANAGER UPDATES/Lisa Mitchell, EMS Program Manager

          Policy manual-Lisa emailed the policy manual and handbook to the Commission prior to the meeting. Lisa brought the printed copy of the policy manual but did not bring the handbook.  The handbook details the expectations of the EMT’s and what the County expects from the EMT’s.

          EMT Job Openings-Lisa stated HRM has received a few inquiries asking if they are paid positions but has not received any applications.  Lisa and Julie will revisit the position and the ad after it closes.

          Document extra hours-Lisa reminded the Commission they asked her to go back seven years, so it is taking her some time. The figure is needed for budget purposes. 

          EMT pay-Commissioner Rost asked if the EMT’s receive longevity. No, they do not. When someone new starts they receive the same per run as everyone else. This will be revisited as well. 

11:30 AM Lisa left the meeting.

11:31 AM Back to Shannon

          PROJECT UPDATES (CONTINUED)/Bonnievale Box Culvert/Commissioner Braun discussed the water shut off valve; if the City of Baker cannot find the valve in the time frame needed, the County will place a valve.  Shannon had just received notification from the City of Baker (via his phone); they spoke to the state plumbing inspector, and feel the lines need to be separated.

          Shannon received a quote from Diamond J to perform the work needed to replace the water/sewer lines.  This will come across in the form of a change order in the amount of $16,000. 

Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to approve moving forward with the quote received to bore and replace existing service lines for the Bonnievale box culvert project.  Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none.  3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The Motion carried unanimously. 

It is felt the materials for this quote could be here as soon as one week.

          Ismay Box Culvert project-The contractor has started digging the bed for the box culvert.

          Lakeview Drive Storm Sewer Project-Contractor is setting up traffic control so they can begin the project.

10:36 AM Shannon left the meeting.

11:37 AM Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to recess. Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.

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

                    NOON RECESS


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



No one appeared for Public Comment


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

1:30 PM Darcy Wassmann, County Attorney joined.

Discuss Workforce Housing Appraisal

          The Auditor had requested a current appraisal of what was to be the Keystone XL man camp.  Commissioner Baldwin contacted Luther Appraisal several months ago.  The appraiser has been to the site, but the county has never received a report.  Commissioner Baldwin called Luther appraisal; Mr. Luther had just left the state. The Commission will keep trying to get the information.  

Approve/Sign letter to FAA regarding Change Order 2-Airport Fuel System

           Commissioner Rost signed the letter approving Change Order 2 for the Airport Fuel System. 

Approve/Sign Changer Order 2 for the Airport Fuel System

          Commissioner Baldwin made the motion to approve and sign Change Order #2 for the Airport Fuel system project.  Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none.  3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

Discuss/Decision Gotta Question(s) answer/policy

          The Commission discussed this in detail with Darcy. There will be an answer sent to the Fallon County Times

2:25 PM Shelley Mackay-Dean joined.  


Commissioner Rost opened the preliminary budget hearing.

          Shelley is concerned about the way our economy is going. Discussed California and going to all electric cars and feels the handwriting is on the wall (so to speak).  They are going to do away with fossil fuels and we are going to have to look down the road at solar and wind energy.  We are a dependent fossil fuel and agricultural community, and we rely heavily on the oil revenues we receive. Shelley is concerned what will happen when that goes away, and our budgets are not sustainable.  Shelly feels we need to make sure there is budget to keep our Hospital, Law Enforcement and Fire Departments operating. The Commission reviewed the preliminary budget appropriation sheets with Shelley and thanked her for coming. 

2:59 PM Shelley left the meeting.

3:00 PM Commissioner Rost closed the preliminary budget hearing.

3:00 PM BAKER LAKE WETLAND REPORT/Tom Parker and Marisa Sowles, Geum Environmental Consulting, Inc.; Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering (via conference call); Richard Menger, Sanitarian; Steve Zachmann, Mayor-City of Baker

          Tom stated the wetlands look really good; the major concern will be next year which is Fallon County’s final year of monitoring and will be the year that really matters. Tom feels we should continue doing what we are doing now and also keep a little buffer between the mowed areas and the wetlands.  They need to be able to see the wetland growth. 

          They want to keep those areas intact for next year’s wetlands tally. They noticed very few weeds; salt cedar was identified and was pulled. If noxious weeds are found, they should be pulled to keep them at a minimum.  Tom discussed the rock for the storm sewer project should be kept at a minimum, so it is not pushing down the wetlands.  Tom does not feel we are short acreage, but we want to include as much area as possible. Some erosion was seen; this was part of a project the county was working on this spring, but we had to stop due to causing more damage. The county will complete that project after it freezes. Tom discussed having drone imagery of the wetlands during the final report process. Shannon stated they can provide that for them if they are notified so it can be scheduled; discussed timing regarding flying the drone.  Rich asked about the established trees and whether the fencing could be removed.  Tom feels the fencing can be removed; however, it will not hurt to leave them up.  Rich further stated there has been an increase in waterfowl, etc. Tom stated they had noticed many species of birds and a lot of waterfowl. Tom will send the EPA photos from today’s reporting.

          Discussed the EPA tying the Afrank property to this matter and the County has not received an answer from them.  It was felt they probably will not respond until the wetlands issue is resolved.  The county wants to complete the work on the drainage though the City of Baker and that work cannot happen until the wetlands and Afrank property issues are resolved. Commission asked if there would be a time frame of when the EPA submits their decision, once they have received the report. Commissioner Braun asked if there was a shelf life. No answers are known.

3:10 PM Mary joined.

         The group discussed scheduling the drone; they may try to schedule it earlier next year depending on the weather.

3:30 PM Steve, Rich, Tom, and Marisa left the meeting; Shannon hung up the phone therefore leaving the meeting. 

3:30 PM Mary Grube, Planning Administrative Assistant

          Workforce Housing-Mary discussed the possibility of workforce housing being moved in.  The Commission stated the area Mary is discussing is a drilling rig.  Mary spoke to Forrest Sanderson, Contract Planner about this and he noted drilling rigs are exempt. Mary had just noticed this and in doing her job inquired due to the workforce housing adopted by the County. 

3:35 PM Mary left the meeting.


          Julie would like permission to hire Joshua Lewis as the new System Administrator. Julie stated Clint Townsend, current contract IT, will train Joshua and will stick around indefinitely as a resource. It is felt it will be an approximate three-month training period. Clint will also be part of the 6-month evaluation, and he is also willing to be our backup.  The Commission would like to have Joshua report every week. 

          Commissioner Braun made the motion to hire Joshua Lewis as the System Administrator.  Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion.  Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none.  3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

          Julie plans to complete the pre-appraisal Friday afternoon.

4:15 PM Commissioner Braun made the motion to adjourn. Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion. Commissioner Rost asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. 0 Absent. The motion carried unanimously.




PRESENT: Steve Baldwin, Presiding Officer; Kevin Braun, Member and Brenda Wood, Clerk and Recorder

ABSENT: Roy Rost, Chairman



Commissioner Braun made the motion to adopt Resolution #1092 Appointing a Special Deputy County Attorney.  Commissioner Baldwin seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 2 Ayes. 0 Nays. 1 Absent. (Commissioner Rost).

9:15 AM 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).


                                                                                                   s/ Roy Rost, Chairman  8-29-2022


                                                                                                   s/Steve Baldwin, Presiding Officer  9-2-2022

s/Brenda J. Wood, Clerk and Recorder