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

SMART Board of Directors Meeting – Special meeting July 12th 2023

SMART Board of Directors Meeting – Special meeting July 12th 2023

Board of Directors Special Meeting
July 12, 2023
12pm – Compass Coffee

Members Present:  Jodi Varner (President), Karol Zachmann (Treasurer), Kevin Dukart, Sharon Gookin, Krista Nemitz (Vice President) via phone.

Members Absent:  none

Staff Present:  Vaughn Zenko (Executive Director), Shannon Johnson (Assistant) via phone.

Public Comment: none

Old Business

Project Update:  Wild Roots Community Food Forest:  A study on the land donated by the City of Baker as part of an Interlocal agreement with SMART showed that the soil is unsuitable for growing. Lacey Berg approached the County Commissioners about a possible alternate property for the Food Forest and the Commissioners offered a 0.7 acre plot of County land on the east side of the lake near Iron Horse Park. In order to simplify the agreement, the Commissioners have agreed to lease the land to EMEDA, another County entity. This alleviates SMART of responsibility for the Food Forest other than administration of the $4,000 grant from EPEDC. The Interlocal agreement with the City of Baker for the original site will be terminated and EMEDA will assume the Food Forest project going forward.

               Project update:  Visitor Center (with guest Brandon Janshen of SDI Architecture + Design): Brandon was unavailable to attend the meeting. Vaughn reported that work on the Visitor Center is expected to begin on Monday, July 17, with Joel Malenovsky of JM Construction in Miles City acting as contractor on site on behalf of Robert Parker Design & Construction of Big Fork.

Project Update:  World’s Best Pocket Park:  SMART has received an official estimate from Razor Edge Landscaping of Dickinson, ND. The initial estimate came in at $72,325, approximately $12,000 over the project budget approved by SMART. This was the only bid SMART received for the project. Sharon questioned the concrete patio being proposed with no rebar, noting the land tends to shift and break up concrete in this region. The board agreed that the concrete should be done with rebar. In order to get expenses down within the budget, President Varner requested Vaughn to ask Razor Edge if they would be open to doing the project in stages. The board also suggest eliminated the proposed planter boxes from the Razor Edge bid and finding someone locally in Baker to build the planter boxes once the main parts of the project have been completed. Eliminating the planter boxes from the bid would save $12,950 and get this portion of the project within SMART’s approved budget.  Shannon will contact Razor Edge about the board’s proposed changes.  Kevin noted that SMART will need to acquire a building permit for the proposed shade structure and water wall for the park. Vaughn will file the appropriate paperwork. No official action taken until SMART receives the amended bid proposal from Razor Edge.

New Business:

SMART Support Request from Fallon County:  Vaughn informed the board that he had queried the County Commissioners as to their interest in providing SMART additional County support out of the general fund and they had requested he come back with an official proposal. Vaughn said that for the $50,000 in County support in 2023, SMART had brought back a 5-1 return to the County for each dollar spent, but in order to continue operating at this level, SMART needs to hire a new full-time employee to assist with grant administration, fundraising and event planning. The proposed new employee would also be based out of the new Visitor Center, providing a full-time attendant there. Vaughn noted that, in order to be competitive, the new hire would likely need to be paid at least $36,000 per year. He requested board guidance as to what amount to request from the County for additional support.  After discussion, the board agreed that an additional $50,000 would suffice for both a new employee and additional operating expenses anticipated from increased grant administration. Vaughn will meet the Commissioners on July 17 to make an official request for additional support for SMART.

Having no other business to attend to Sharon motioned to adjourn. Seconded by Karol.
Special meeting adjourned at 12:49pm

The next scheduled meeting is July 25, 2023 at Thee Garage Steakhouse

Respectfully submitted:

______________________________                         _____________________________

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