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

Commission Minutes January 9-13, 2023

Commission Minutes January 9-13, 2023



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


9:20 AM Roddy Rost, Public Member joined. 

9:30 Amanda Williams, County Extension Agent joined.

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


          Roddy M. Rost, Public Member met to discuss Bergstrom Hill Road.  Roddy would like to see this road be made an all-weather road.  This road is mostly used by Beach’s, Sikorski’s, Bruski’s, Wolenetz’s and Rost’s. This road is on the Old Baker Highway from Bergstrom Hill Road to Duck Creek Road.  Roddy would like to make a suggestion regarding a sharp curve, (just before you go down to Duck Creek Road); the corner needs to be reshaped. Commissioner Baldwin asked where Roddy would rate this road as a priority, if there was to be a storm. Roddy felt this could be one of the latter roads that get cleaned out.  Roddy also mentioned, this winter Sikorski’s have been hauling a lot of hay on that road. 

9:38 AM Roddy left Public Comment.

           Amanda asked if the Commission made a decision which vehicle Kodie will take tomorrow.  Commissioner Rost will check on the vehicle. Amanda asked if any of the Commission planned to attend the Livestock Committee Meeting to discuss possible Fairgrounds barn upgrade.  Commissioner Rost will attend the meeting tonight.

9:42 AM Amanda left Public Comment.

9:42 AM Dale Butori, DES/911 Coordinator joined.


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


          Commissioner Rost made the motion to sign the Radar Service Contract between Fallon County and the State of North Dakota, (acting through the Atmospheric Resource Board), and approve payment of $4,000.  Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.   Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously. 

          Commissioner Braun asked if the radar system goes down and it is not replaced, would the County get its money back.  Dale-That would be a conversation we would need to have with them when or if that happens. 

9:51 AM Dale left the meeting.


          No quote was approved, still waiting for another quote.


          Commissioner Braun made the motion to approve the letter of agreement with SDI for 3D scanning to develop more accurate as-builts of existing conditions and renaming/relabeling rooms and doors for future reference for Parkview 1 & 2, Public Health and FMC areas. Commissioner Rost seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously. 


          No decision yet.


         Commissioner Braun made the motion to approve the decision regarding the FMC cost report settlement, (FMC will not pay the difference of the FY2022 cost report settlements of with and without related party costs); Commissioner Rost seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 nays. The motion carried unanimously.

          The reason the Commission made the determination regarding the cost report settlement is the settlement is a payable with and without related party costs.


          No decision was made at this time.


          The decision is to wait and visit with Forrest Sanderson, Contract Planner, before a decision is made.


         Letter of engagement was not signed; will wait and visit with Forrest Sanderson, Contract Planner before a decision is made. 

9:53 AM Randy Wolenetz, Public Member joined.

          Randy met to express his support for the project regarding Bergstrom Hill Road and Duck Creek which intersects with the Old Baker Highway.

9:58 AM Bobby Wiedmer, Road Superintendent; Mitch Overn and Carl Overland, Shop Mechanics joined.

          The group discussed Bergstrom Hill Road becoming minimum maintenance about 5 years ago. Randy stated people travel that road when they need to feed cattle.  Feels it is a safety issue when the roads are closed; he would like that little stretch of road to be maintained.  Commissioner Baldwin asked what priority Randy feels this road lies regarding maintenance. It would be less of a priority than bus routes.  Randy feels after secondary roads are plowed, the Old Baker Highway should be cleaned all the way to Ekalaka.  

10:05 AM Randy left the meeting. 


          Calls have been received from Byron Wolenetz and Connor Beach regarding Bergstrom Hill Road.

Commissioner Braun discussed keeping it open and plowing it after all other roads are finished.  Getting the rural individuals’ roads open first was discussed as also being a priority.  Commissioner Baldwin asked how many other roads have this type of use that need some more maintenance. Straub Access was discussed; Bobby would like this road to have some work done to it before making it a year-round road.

          Bobby discussed Straub Access; Randy Tunby would like to have work completed on this road, (about ½ mile). Bobby stated the road department could pull the ridge off and make it more useable and still keep it a seasonal road. Commissioner’s Braun and Rost would agree with that.

          Discussed Johny Creek Trail and a landowner that wanted the road open due to an event that was taking place on his property.  The landowner asked if he could use his personal equipment; county roads should not be repaired or plowing completed using a private landowner’s equipment.  Commissioner Braun contacted Mark; Mark sent a blade operator to open the road.  The landowner commented that the blade operator did a good job. 

Commissioner Braun made the motion to keep Old Baker Highway (from Bergstrom Hill Road to Duck Creek Road) open, but as a low priority, and repair areas that are in need this summer.  Commissioner Rost seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion. Commissioner Rost asked to amend the motion to include removing the minimal maintenance signs, after the work has been completed this summer.

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

         ROAD/Other Updates-They are currently graveling on Webster Road.  Bobby stated we need more gravel; we are running low. Commissioner will discuss preparing a bid for gravel. They have about 1 and ½ miles left to gravel on Webster Road; there will be enough gravel to complete the work. Discussed an area of Webster Road that had been dug up previously, it is noticeable but it is the portion of the road that will be receiving gravel. 

         SHOP-They are working on some blades that need some maintenance; John Deere will be coming to work on the blades. The Landfill truck is running and everything is working. They were dealing with oil and grease issues due to the bypass; the governor was also changed out. There may also be water in the tanks that cannot be drained, but it should be fine. They have time to work on the Golf Course mower deck; it needs to be rebuilt.  They have had a hard time catching up with the Golf Course Superintendent.  The Commission will discuss this with him when he comes in later today.

10:31AM Bobby, Mitch and Carl left the meeting.

10:31 AM PROJECT UPDATES/Shannon Hewson, Brosz Engineering was unable to attend the meeting.

Approve change order and Pay Application for 2022 Bridge Replacement Project

          Commissioner Rost made the motion to approve the 2022 Bridge Replacement Project change order 2F in the amount of ($66,741.69-Credit). Commissioner Braun seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously. 

          Commissioner Braun made the motion to approve the 2022 Bridge Replacement Project final pay application 5F in the amount of $50,085.19; with $49,584.34 to be paid to the Contractor; and $500.85 1% gross tax to be paid to the State of Montana.  Commissioner Rost seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none.  3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously.

10:35 AM Richard Menger, Sanitarian joined the meeting.


          Rich discussed the Operation and Maintenance plan requested by the DEQ; the plan will enable the county to continue to use wastewater at the Golf Course, for irrigation purposes.  Rich may need Shannon’s assistance with portions of the project.  Rich discussed several requests from the DEQ regarding this project; also stated this is the City’s responsibility because it is still the City’s water. They are not able to water when there are people on the Golf Course; these changes came about in 2012; will have to test the water twice per month, forever. Needs permission to purchase corrosive resistant vents for the new building; they can be installed by a county employee.  Permission granted to purchase vents and fan. The electrical will be moved, by a local contractor, from the old building to the new building.  There is no heat required in this building as it is seasonal, and the pump is pulled before cold weather. Rich has until the end of February to get the O & M manual completed and feels he has plenty of time to accomplish that.

10:45 AM Rich left the meeting.

10:52 AM Mary Grube, Planning Administrative Assistant joined. 


          Mary stated there will be three (3) Growth Policy listening sessions coming up.  This Thursday the session will be in the Exhibit Hall at 5:00 PM.  The next session will be held in Plevna at the Community Center-January 19th at 5:00 PM. The final session will be held at Thee Garage-January 26th at 5:00 PM. Mary is working with KLJ on coordinating everything; has gotten all information mailed; information has been spoken of on the “Talk of the Town” radio program; has been discussed at the Chamber meetings. Commissioner Baldwin stated Vaughn Zenko has mentioned the Growth Policy. Survey Monkey will also be used to update the Growth Policy.  Mary explained she is happy with how this has been going. The Planner from Mitchell, SD and the Planner from Grand Forks, ND have been assisting also and they are very knowledgeable. 

          Mary has also been working on de-annexation of a subdivision.

11:02 AM Mary left the meeting.

11:20 AM Curt Wyss, Olness & Associates (Auditor)

          Chamber question was posed to the Commission regarding the Recreation Department and the need for funding.  Curt discussed drawing up an agreement, which places the Chamber in charge of running the Rec Department on behalf of the County.  The County is not able to donate funds to the Recreation Department.                    

          Ambulance-Curt asked how things were going with the Ambulance reporting, etc. The Commission stated reporting matter seems to be better. The Commission was approached by the Health Department asking for more hours.  The Commission asked if they would be interested in doing the Ambulance billing; the Health Department agreed they would. Public Health is currently getting some training from Wibaux as they use the same insurance billing software.  FMC has new Payroll Software, new system software and are short staffed; therefore they have not had the time to devote to the billing.

          Hospital-Curt asked how things are going with the Hospital. They have new board members; it is work in progress.

          Man Camp appraisal-The Commission explained that is work in progress as well.  They asked for an appraisal quite some time ago so they spoke to someone else regarding getting an appraisal.

11:29 AM Larry Brence, MSU Extension Eastern Region Department Head joined.

The Commission explained the first appraiser has since informed the Commission he plans to have the appraisal to them by the end of the month.  Discussed issues appraisers have had regarding this process. 

11:36 AM Curt left the meeting.

11:37 AM EXTENSION AGENT ANNUAL REVIEW/Larry Brence, MSU Extension Eastern Region Department Head

          Larry met to view and discuss the annual review for Amanda Williams, County Extension Agent, with the Commission.

12:00 PM Larry left the meeting.

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



          No one appeared for Public Comment

1:30 PM DISCUSSION – GAS CHLORINATION VERSES HCT FOR GOLF COURSE IRRIGATION TREATMENT/Kevin Hill, Golf Course Superintendent; Richard Menger, Sanitarian; Todd Eden and Dave Solga, HCT, LLC, via conference call. 

          Todd stated since 2015 they apply technology to agronomy as a whole. Todd feels the water used to irrigate is toxic; after watering it dries and the soil becomes hard as cement. On top of that we have been adding sodium/salts to the soil. The nutrients don’t resolubilize, therefore, we are imitating growing grass on cement. Discussed filtering water but it is costly and that alone will not fix the soil, we still need to fix the soils. Discussed our normal process of dressing, this also does not solve the problem long term. They have figured out how to make water drinkable to the plant.

          Mr. Solga-Discussed his background to the group.

          Commissioner Braun stated he would like to discuss projected costs. 

          Rich-How many gallons of product would be used per irrigation cycle. Todd discussed what amount of product would be used per million gallons of water.  Todd also discussed injecting in a wet well and on the discharge side. Todd stated flushing will not be necessary. They plan to fix the soil by treating the water.

2:25 PM Julie Straub, HRM joined.

          Commissioner Braun explained we came off the worst drought in 20 years and also had a defunct irrigation system. The Commission will need the costs for HCT, the system and start-up infrastructure costs. 

2:28 PM Brenda Hoeger, Emergency Communications Supervisor and Dale Butori, DES/911 Coordinator joined.

2:30 PM Kevin and Rich left the meeting; Todd and Mr. Solga hung up, therefore leaving the conference call.


          Brenda would like permission to go out for hire for a full-time Emergency Communications Dispatcher.  After much discussion regarding a 36 hour employee or a 40 hour employee. Brenda stated if she were to get a 40 hour per week employee she would have double coverage on weekends.  The Commission made the decision to advertise for a 36 hour per week employee. 

2:40 PM Brenda left the meeting.

2:42 PM Dale left the meeting.


          Bobby Wiedmer, Road Superintendent joined.

          Commissioner Baldwin explained this is an extension of the conversation they had the other day. 

          Bobby did not wish to close the meeting and notified that he would be recording the meeting.

          Commissioner Braun -On May 9th, after the spring storms, the commission had a conversation with you about Division Road. The suggestion was made to keep the road open by bringing the blade from the north. The Commission was of the understanding there would be a hole punched on Division Road at that time.  On November 14th Mark Sieler, Road Foreman met with the Commission and was reminded of this.  Commissioner Braun stated on December 17th when he discussed Division Road with Bobby, he was really surprised when Bobby told him he would not be doing that.

          Bobby-Friday they did not make it to Division Road, but they did on Saturday.  Bobby informed Commissioner Braun the other blade would not be used because there was no reason to.

          Commissioner Braun called and informed Bobby, they did not come to open the road.

          Bobby-Friday afternoon they did not go to Division Road because a hole was already punched through it.  One of the blades did not go there because he was gone and the other blade had to go to an emergency.  The blade was sent there on Saturday.   

          Commissioner Braun-When we gave the directive in May; did you understand that was a directive.

          Bobby did not know that it was a directive, he thought it was a suggestion.

          Commissioner Braun-It doesn’t make a difference to him which blade is sent, he feels that is up to Bobby.

          Bobby-The one from Highway 7 goes to DuCharme’s house and back. It makes more sense to send that blade.

          Commissioner Braun -Todd said he watched the blade turn around when they saw Todd moving snow. As stated, before Commissioner Braun personally doesn’t care which blade is sent. This was all brought up because of the April storms. Todd watched the blade from Commissioner Baldwin’s district turn around at the hill.  Bobby made the comment to Commissioner Braun that he was not going to pull the blade from that District.  When we give a directive, then it should be followed.

          Commissioner Baldwin-Does not remember it being a directive. 

          Commissioner Rost-Felt it was a directive. 

          Commissioner Braun-Todd discussed the blade turning around; discussed being accommodating in the public and understands there are a lot of landowners to accommodate.

          Bobby-There are different circumstances every time. Bobby stated Rick Wiman’s blade was stuck and Doug Wildish did not come in. We send the blade that can get there first.  When Mark left on Friday, to his knowledge, Doug was coming to work, and Rick was headed that way.  There were circumstances that changed what was going to happen. 

          Commissioner Braun-Felt it was a directive and felt it was ignored.

          Julie-When the Commission is giving a directive and setting precedence, what do we have to do to make sure Bobby or Mark understand the message given is a directive. 

          Commissioner Braun-Who has kids in Commissioner Baldwin’s District.

          Bobby-Robbins, Mackay’s, Hadley’s, Lanes, O’Connor’s, then over to Rye O’Connor’s, South to Plevna Road and on to West Willard Road and then the operator turns around.  If Mark and Doug leave at the same time, Doug would arrive at Division Road first.

          Further discussed the best route and a solution to get there first. 

          Bobby- Communication is where we messed up.  On a normal day, Doug would go there first. 

          Commissioner Braun-If Doug is not coming in do we leave that person sit for a day. 

          Bobby-Doesn’t know what to do in that instance, because there will always be someone that gets missed.  When Doug leaves he goes south to Willard Road; Rick goes to Airport Road, Brackett Butte, Highway 7, then to 101 Road, turns at Webster Road and hits the Highway and comes back; then Webster Road to County line.  North blade-Shell Oil Road, Tobin School Road, Cabin Creek and over to Ollie. 

          Commissioner Braun-Moving forward, the Commission will get it in the minutes that it is a directive and we will follow that as a directive.

          Julie-Because things are unforeseen, if there is a deviation, Bobby needs to call and communicate to the Commission. 

          Bobby-He will do that. 

          Commissioner Braun-Speak to one Commissioner and that Commissioner will pass it along to the rest of the Commission.

          Commissioner Braun-Division Road needs to be kept open but Bobby needs to decide which blade will be sent first.

          Bobby -We do try to do the best we can, we don’t try to make people mad on purpose. 

          Commissioner Baldwin-With all that has been said there is nothing further that needs to be done?

          Commission-No. Also, Mark needs to be informed, if there is going to be a problem, be sure to contact a commissioner. 

          Bobby-We are also doing more in town than we used to; Road Department extra blade hand is Matt, and he is usually tied up until 10:00 AM.  Bobby reminded, they also have two (2) less people than they had before.  They also generally don’t send a person alone in a truck; Bobby will go alone; a truck can cover quite a few miles if the roads aren’t that bad.

          Communication will help.  Thank you’s were said. 

3:16 PM Bobby left the meeting.

3:29 PM Julie left the meeting.

3:34 PM Curt Wyss, Olness & Associates (Auditor) joined.

          Discussed various questions he had regarding audit items. Shell Oil Road, the road was never traded to the State of Montana. Day care matter-Commission explained the ballot issue failed and there is nothing further the County has to do. Hospital boiler-The replacement/repairs are in the process. 

3:39 PM Jim Leischner, Shooting Range Manager; Shane Bettenhausen, Shooting Match Supervisor and Kirk Lineback, Board member joined.

3:41 PM Curt left the meeting.

3:45 PM Elisabeth Epley, EPEDC Executive Director; Matt Webber-Board Member joined.


          Discussed the match requirements for the grant would be approximately $45,000; this would be the County’s match for the trap/skeet project. Matt explained they went above and beyond what they truly need to do; this is the Cadillac version, so there is wiggle room.  The Trap portion of the project is approximately $46,765; the lighting and skeet portion of the project brought the project to approximately $90,000. Beth explained the grant is a dollar for dollar grant.

          Discussed having fund raisers, etc. to generate funding as well as holding four (4) shoots per year. They would also like to get energy companies to donate. 

          The Commission stated the county would have to go out to bid for anything over $80,000. 

          Beth explained there is $75,000 available to the entire state. Commissioner Rost asked if that is an annual amount.  Beth stated yes, with FWP. Matt explained Carl Overland has completed an FWP grant before. Beth stated they can also use volunteer hours worked as the dollar for dollar. Discussed using an amount such as $25.00 per volunteer hour; they can also use in-kind county labor or equipment toward the match. Discussed trying to get a grant for the trap portion this year and skeet next year. Discussed the timing of the grant; by the time the grant is awarded and work could begin, the county portion could be budgeted in the next fiscal year. 

         The grant requires a Resolution; the Commission agreed they could proceed to see if the grant is received and decide how to proceed from there.

4:04 PM Elisabeth, Jim and Shane, Matt and Kirk left the meeting.

4:15 PM IT UPDATES/Josh Lewis, System Administrator

          E-mail and teams retention policy-Josh was asked by an employee if the users could have the authority to permanently delete messages.  Discussed putting a retention policy in place. The decision was to set up emails and teams communications to never be deleted.  There is 50GB of data for each user; discussed Email communications staying on record for three (3) years; Josh has not reached out to other Counties to see what their policies are. Discussed what to do with information for employees that are leaving; decision to download and archive their information. 

          Fairgrounds email is set up and rolling. Also has the previous Fairgrounds Manager email set up to forward to the new Fairground Manager’s email, especially beneficial for past vendor communications.

          Josh worked closely with the Library during the transition period; also set up their new computers and rotated their old computers to the public area. Found corrupt software was downloaded to new computers and caused periodic crashes; repaired one and will wipe and reset the other two. Josh got familiar with the deep freeze software used at the Library. This locks all public computers and will revert everything back to the original settings in case someone downloads something. 

         Josh is pretty comfortable with the website and email server.  Some departments quit sending minutes after the former IT Tech left; Josh is now receiving some of those minutes to post again.  Josh has added banners for Holidays, so people know we are closed, also added a public notice section to the website. Website server storage was getting full due to old webmail accounts that were full; he spent a few hours cleaning this up to free up space. Josh also upgraded Landfill software.

Permission to upgrade cell phone line

          Josh would like to get an upgraded cell phone.  The line is open and eligible; there is no cost to the county.  Permission was granted.

Permission to proceed with soft roll-out for multi-factor authentication

          An employee’s email account had tried to be accessed from multiple places around the world; no one was hacked. Josh would like to introduce the MFA (Multi-factor authentication) but would like to do a trial run with a few volunteer employees. Josh would like to do the trial period for a month. The Commission granted permission and will send a MEMO to County Departments/Offices.

         Discussed communicating by text with the Commission is best.

4:45 PM Josh left the meeting.


          Commissioner Braun made the motion to accept the January 2-6, 2023, Commission Minutes. Commissioner Rost seconded the motion.  Commissioner Baldwin asked for any other discussion; being none. 3 Ayes. 0 Nays. The motion carried unanimously. 

5:00 PM Commissioner Rost made the motion to Recess.  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 & Recorder