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

SMART Board of Directors Meeting – August 2023

SMART Board of Directors Meeting – August 2023

Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
August 28, 2023
12pm – The Garage Showroom

Members Present:  Jodi Varner (President), Krista Nemitz (Vice President), Sharon Gookin, Kevin Dukart

Members Absent:  Karol Zachmann (Treasurer),

Staff Present:  Vaughn Zenko (Executive Director)

Meeting called to order at 12:02pm by President Jodi Varner

Public Comment (3 minutes each): No public present

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes:  The board reviewed the minutes from the July 25, 2023 meeting. Vaughn also presented an email from Karol requesting clarifications to the prepared minutes. Karol’s clarifications referred to board discussion during the Director’s Report and had no bearing on official SMART activities or action items. Kevin motioned to approve the minutes with Karol’s clarifications added. Sharon seconded. All in favor, minutes approved with the noted clarifications.

12:05pm:  Alyson Lineback entered the meeting.

Financial Reports:  Vaughn presented the monthly financial report prepared by Shannon Johnson.  SMART currently has $481,748.93 in total assets, a decrease of $5,951.53 over September. SMART has $$173,106.51 in the general operating fund, a decrease of $12,638.40. The decrease was noted as expenses for the Visitor Center Project, and Vaughn stressed to the board that additional expenses would be arrive in the coming months as the project was completed.  Jodi questioned why Utilities expenses seemed lower this month than usual. Vaughn said that it is likely just that the latest bills arrived late and haven’t been noted in Quickbooks, which will likely be reflected in the September financials.  Jodi also asked about the $817.00 Insurance payment. Vaughn explained that it is the required builder’s insurance on the Visitor Center Project and was included in the original budget for the project. No further discussion.

Director’s Report:  Vaughn informed the board that Megan Torgerson from the Red Ants Pants Foundation and the Reframing Rural Podcast will be in Baker on October 4th for a tour of town and meeting amongst Red Ants Pants grant recipients from Glendive, Terry, Ekalaka, and Baker. Any SMART board members who are available are encouraged to attend the meeting and join in the tour afterwards.
Vaughn reminded the board of the Chamber’s Fall Festival on September 30. SMART will be present in association with the Baker Arts & Culture Council’s kids pumpkin painting. He also asked about SMART’s interest being involved in the Rib Cook-Off that day. The board generally agreed that no members would have the time to participate that day.
Vaughn also reminded the board about the Pizza, Puzzles and Pints fundraiser coming on September 23. Since he will be gone attending the Montana Nonprofit Association Annual Conference, he asked that any board members available be on hand to help and/or participate in the fun.

President Varner amended the agenda to add Alyson Lineback’s Letter of Interest in joining the SMART Board to the agenda prior to Old Business.

Alyson Lineback’s Letter of Interest in joining the SMART Board:  Alyson Lineback presented the board with a letter stating her interest in joining the SMART Board. Alyson had previously worked with SMART on the Community Theater Project over the summer. Krista motioned to accept Alyson’s letter an appoint her to the SMART board. Kevin seconded. All in favor, one absent. Alyson Lineback has been appointed to the SMART board, filling the term set to expire in January of 2024.

Old Business:

               Visitor Center Project Budget:  SMART received a bid from Frank’s Arcs & Sparks to do necessary work on the concrete landings on both the front and the back of the Visitor Center. The bid came in at $6,480.00. This was about $4,000 higher than the bid from Bob Parker Design & Construction that SMART previously rejected in the initial scope of work for the project. Vaughn stated that the concrete work needs to be done in order for the building to open and be up to building codes, but also that the Project Supervisor, Brandon Janshen from SDI Architects + Design in Miles City stated that the Frank’s Arcs & Sparks bid did seem exceptionally high.
President Varner had requested an estimated projection of where SMART would be financially in June of 2024 when the existing projects were completely finished. Shannon Johnson prepared an estimate showing that, by June 2024, with no other unanticipated revenue coming in, SMART could expect to have approximately $33,000.00 in the general operating fund, with additional expenses for furnishing, flooring and painting of the Visitor Center anticipated in that time.

Jodi asked about scheduling a meeting with Junction 39 to review their lease agreement, which expires on October 11, and potentially charge more rent to cover some of those costs. Vaughn said he would inform Junction 39 about SMART’s next meeting or try to schedule a special meeting with them regarding the lease.
Krista asked if the decision on the concrete could be delayed. Vaughn said it could, but the Visitor Center could not be opened to the public until the work was done. Krista asked that the discussion be tabled until a future meeting. There were no objections.

               Visitor Center Interior Design / Operation:  Vaughn told the board that the time had come for the SMART board to make decisions on interior design for the Visitor Center. Krista said she would get some ideas together and then work with Vaughn and Shannon on a preferred design and go over options for flooring and paint.
Vaughn also stated that there was some interest from the Chamber about moving their office into the Visitor Center. There had only been casual discussion about how that relationship would work. Jodi stated that the idea does make some sense, but that further discussion between SMART and the Chamber must take place. Vaughn will invite Chamber representatives to the next SMART meeting in September.

Project Update:  Baker State Bank Building Roof:  Vaughn said that Design & Construction had accepted the roof project and it was currently out for bid. He reported that the initial bids had come in much lower anticipated, so there may be additional funds available from the Grid United Grant that can go towards other Visitor Center improvements.

Project Update:  World’s Best Pocket Park:  Razor Edge Landscaping has still not begun work on the Pocket Park. Vaughn said that, at this point, it was unlikely the project would be done in time for a 2023 Grand Opening. To avoid doing all the work on the park only to have it diminished by a winter’s worth of weather damage, Sharon made a motion to request that Razor Edge delay work on the park until Spring of 2024.  Kevin seconded.  All in favor, motion carried. Vaughn will contact Razor Edge about potentially delaying work commencement on the park.

Project Update:  Baker State Bank Clock:  Vaughn received word from Ken’s Clock Clinic in Colorado that the Clock had been added to their waitlist and restoration would commence in 10-12 months.  There was no cost estimate provided. SMART currently has $3,753.35 in the Clock fund. Previous estimates were that restoration and installation of the clock would cost around $14,000. No other discussion.

               SMART Employee Retirement Match Paperwork:  The employee retirement match account has finally been completed by Ameriprise.  There is a $1,000 set-up fee. After that, the money SMART spends on retirement match already would simply go into the new account instead of just being paid directly to Vaughn, so SMART’s yearly expenses would not be affected after the initial fee.  Kevin motioned to pay the $1,000 set up fee to Ameriprise for the account. Alyson seconded.  All present in favor, motion approved.

               SMART Application to Grid United Community Investment Program Grant: With the deadline for the next round of Grid United Community Investment Program Grants coming in November, Vaughn queried the board as to what projects they believed SMART should apply for. After discussion, it was agreed that SMART should request $14,000 for building and setting up planter boxes/benches in the pocket park. No further discussion.

New Business:

Review Resumes of Applicants for New SMART Job Opportunity:  Vaughn presented the board with six resumes that had been received for the open position at SMART. Due to time constraints for the meeting, it was agreed that a hiring committee be formed. Jodi, Alyson and Krista volunteered to be on the committee. They will meet at 6pm on August 30 at the Tavern to review resumes and set up interview times.

Development of Baker/Fallon County Tourism Website:  With the upcoming completion of the Visitor Center, Vaughn reminded the board that creation of a tourism website for Baker was included in the original grant proposal. He asked the board their preference on creating a separate website for tourism, or altering the SMART website to include Visitor information as well. After some discussion, the board agreed that updating the existing SMART website was the better and more cost-efficient option. No further discussion.

SMART Halloween Haunted House / Escape Room:  Vaughn told the board that due to scheduling with the roof project and a lack of volunteers, the SMART Haunted House would likely have to be altered this year. He suggested an Escape Room event instead, as it requires less man-power to operate and so can be open for more dates than the Haunted House had. He received a quote for a completely pre-designed Escape Room experience for $10,000. The board questioned the cost, and Vaughn said that it would include props and designs which would become SMART property and could be open as many days as SMART wished, as opposed to simply paying someone to run an escape for a weekend. The board asked what SMART’s revenue from previous haunted houses was. Vaughn said it generated about $2400 the first year and $4000 the second.  Kevin motioned that SMART pay $4000 for the Escape Room and try to get donations for the remaining $6000.  Krista seconded.  Vaughn and Shannon will attempt to find donations for the remaining cost.

Community Theater Play Licensing: Vaughn stated that the Community Theater would like to do a presentation of “A Christmas Carol” on December 1, 2 and 3.  He said licensing for the play would be approximately $520. As the revenue from the previous Community Theater production was directed to the SMART general fund, the board needs to approve such an expense.  Kevin motioned that SMART pay $520 for licensing of the play. Sharon seconded. All in favor, motion carried.

Having no other new business to attend to, Krista motioned to adjourn the meeting. Sharon seconded. All in favor. 

Meeting adjourned at 1:11pm.

The next scheduled meeting is October 24, 2023 at TBD

Respectfully submitted:

______________________________                         _____________________________

s\ Jodi L. Varner, President                                          s\ Vaughn Zenko Jr, Executive Director