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99th Annual MACo Conference Minutes

Opening General Session - Monday, Sept. 22, 2008

Hamilton, Montana

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, MACo President

The 99th Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties opened at 8:30 a.m. President Cynthia Johnson introduced the head table:

  • Paddy Trusler, parliamentarian, Lake County commissioner
  • Allan Underdal, fiscal officer, Toole County commissioner
  • Carl Seilstad, second vice president, Fergus County commissioner
  • Mike McGinley, first vice president, Beaverhead County commissioner
  • Greg Chilcott, urban representative, Ravalli County

The Marine Corps League of Townsend presented the Colors for the Pledge of Allegiance. The National Anthem was sung by Gina Wilson, Hamilton, and the cast of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”

Greg Sangster conducted the Invocation.

Hamilton Mayor Jerry Steele and Russ Lawrence, owner of Chapter One Book Store, welcomed the delegates. First Vice President McGinley responded with gratitude and thanked the Ravalli County Commissioners, both past and present.

Roll Call

Allan Underdal, Toole County, MACo Fiscal Officer

After the roll was taken, Underdal announced a quorum was present to conduct business.

Memorial Resolution

Carlotta Grandstaff, Ravalli County, read the following Memorial Resolution:

Resolution in Memoriam

Whereas, the members of the Montana Association of Counties, with great sorrow and a deep sense of loss, wish to remember and honor those members who have been taken by death since the last annual conference of our Association; and

Whereas, each of these county commissioners has rendered innumerable public service to his or her respective county, to the state of Montana, and to the people thereof; and

Whereas, the absence of these persons is keenly felt as a great personal loss to their families, friends, and colleagues,

Now therefore be it resolved by the Montana Association of Counties in conference duly assembled in Hamilton, Montana, this 22nd day of September, 2008, the Association does hereby pay tribute to the memory of Commissioners:

  • Robert “Bob” Peterson, Beaverhead County
  • F.F. “Bunk” Huckins, Powder River County
  • Joe Gottfried, Toole County
  • Lewis Stahl, Madison County
  • Lyle Stortz, Musselshell County

A motion was made to adopt the Memorial Resolution. The motion was seconded and passed by unanimous consent.

Resolutions Committee Report

Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County, Resolutions & Legislative Committee Chair, presented the following proposed resolution:

  • Resolution 2008-01 is the absence of county officers from the state,
  • 2008-02 is aging services funding,
  • 2008-03 is airport authority appointment rights,
  • 2008-04 is bison management,
  • 2008-05 is bonding for improvements,
  • 2008-06 is buffer zone,
  • 2008-07 is chemical dependency funding,
  • 2008-08 is to clarify 76-3-511, MCA,
  • 2008-09 is clean water restoration act,
  • 2008-10 is compensated absences fund,
  • 2008-11 is condo statute clarification,
  • 2008-12 is to decouple the deputy sheriff’s salaries,
  • 2008-13 is DEQ permitting,
  • 2008-14 is drug testing,
  • 2008-15 is election funding,
  • 2008-16 is employee incentives,
  • 2008-17 is EPA environmental finance center,
  • 2008-18 is final plat bonding,
  • 2008-19 is food service inspection fee,
  • 2008-20 is four-day workweek,
  • 2008-21 is impact fees,
  • 2008-22 is inmate medical,
  • 2008-23 is interim zoning,
  • 2008-24 is six-mill university levy,
  • 2008-25 is mail ballot elections,
  • 2008-26 is metal mines license tax,
  • 2008-27 is mosquito districts,
  • 2008-28 is obsolete statutes,
  • 2008-29 is open cut mining,
  • 2008-30 is Part 1 zoning,
  • 2008-31 is short term investment pool,
  • 2008-32 is soil conservation district levy,
  • 2008-33 is southern route Amtrak,
  • 2008-34 is special purpose districts,
  • 2008-35 is state PILT,
  • 2008-36 is statewide cost allocation plan,
  • 2008-37 is subdivision environmental assessments,
  • 2008-38 is subsequent hearing,
  • 2008-39 is technology districts,
  • 2008-40 is wind farm and turbine permitting,
  • 2008-41 is youth detention funding,
  • 2008-42 is school district boundaries.

We have four resolutions that have not been accepted by the body yet because they were filed late. On Wednesday, the entire body will vote on whether or not to accept these resolutions. The first one is court security funds, the second one is mill levy rounding accuracy (instead of two decimal points, the resolution provides for three decimal points). The indoor clean air act needs to be accepted. The Resolutions Committee yesterday recommended the indoor clean air act. What this deals with is in September 2009, all licensed taverns and bars are precluded from having smoking on premises. We didn’t get involved in the original Clean Air Act. The committee yesterday recommended this be incorporated as a health statement rather than have us involve ourselves in legislation. When the original legislation passed, MACo did not take a stand on it. The fourth one is special districts for federal mineral royalties.

From past years, 2000-25 is detention costs for Department of Corrections inmates, 2004-11 is clarify the status of fences attached to bridges, 2004-15 is equitable PILT distribution, 2004-27 is delisting the gray wolf in Montana, 2004-28 is uniform penalties for violations of zoning regulations, and you’ll note in your packet that 2006-06, interim zoning, has been recommended to be dropped as it’s incorporated into a new resolution this year, 2006-07 is exempt thresholds for solid waste sites, 2006-08 is aging service funding and that also has been incorporated into an updated resolution, the same with 2006-11, which is mail ballot elections; 2006-13, appointment of rights to an airport authority, has been incorporated into another resolution. 2006-14 is summer youth employment, 2006-27, to amend and simplify collection of impact fees, also has been incorporated into an updated resolution. 2006-37 is presumptive eligibility, 2007-01 is FSA office closures, 2007-02 is Montana split state, 2007-03 is buffer zones, and that’s been incorporated. 2007-04 is noxious weeds on DNRC lands, and 2007-05 is wilderness study area.

Tomorrow, all of these resolutions will go to various committees. If you’re not on a committee, feel free to go to any committee meeting and participate. We’d like everybody at the convention to be involved in a committee discussing these resolutions.

Now Jack Holstrom, MACo’s personnel services attorney, will speak on 2008-14.

Jack Holstrom, MACo Personnel Services Administrator

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The reason I would like visit with you about this resolution is that I think that legislative changes clearly need to be done to drug and alcohol testing. In 1995 after the federal government passed the drug and alcohol testing for people having CDLs, Montana and the legislature got into the act and they created the Montana Drug and Alcohol Testing Act. Shortly after that act was passed, I met with a number of defense counsels from Montana Power Company, Qwest, and other large corporations in the state and we reviewed this particular legislation and actually determined it was unworkable the way that bill was drafted. It’s just a complete mess. So, I think the power company, Qwest, and myself recommended that no one actually use that act until we get it cleaned up. It’s so poorly drafted it’s really unworkable. If, in fact, any of the counties attempted to apply the drug and alcohol testing act in Montana and terminated someone for testing positive for a violation of the act that there would be a setup for a wrongful termination suit. The employee would probably win. I don’t see how the counties can actually comply with all the provisions that are in that act.

When you look at the act, the most glaring error that I see is right in the first section when it defines employee as including elected officials. The act goes on to say that employers are supposed to do certain things like impose sanctions on employees who test positive. They’re supposed to provide rules and regulations, too. However, in the county government situation, who is the employer if the elected officials are employees? It just doesn’t make any sense, so I think it’s impossible for the county government to comply with this piece of legislation. It sorely deserves and needs to be amended so it is workable for county government.

I believe it’s really necessary because in my tenure with MACo, I’ve had many instances where there have been county employees, and I guess it’s probably the minority of the employees, that have had drug and alcohol problems in the workplace. We need legislation to allow us use the Drug and Alcohol Testing Act. The grossest one I can recall was a situation where we had a county nursing home where one of the CNAs was actually stealing pain-killing patches off some of the elderly residents in the home and using them herself. Without an effective drug and alcohol testing law, the only thing we could resort to was setting up a surveillance camera and caught her that way. If we had had a workable drug and alcohol testing law, we would’ve been able to utilize that to do reasonable suspicion testing on this particular CNA.

I would really recommend you pass this resolution.

There is, in fact, an error in the resolution that Chairman Murray just pointed out to me; the correct MCA cite is 32-2-206 rather than 39-2-205. Thank you for your time and attention.

Madam Chair, that’s my report.

Nominations Committee Report

Cynthia Johnson, President

The board of directors, acting as the nominations committee, brings forth to you the candidates for the 2009 year as follows: Second Vice President, John Ostlund, Yellowstone County; First Vice President, Carl Seilstad, Fergus County; President, Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County; Past President, Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County.

President Johnson asked for additional nominations and noted nominations would remain open until Wednesday noon at the general session.

   99th Annual MACo Conference   

2010 Conferences

Cynthia Johnson, President

We invite Yellowstone County and Missoula County to come forward with their bids for the 2010 Convention.

Bill Carey, Missoula County

We don’t have a formal bid at this time because Commissioner Curtiss was out of town due to a family emergency. We of course would be honored to host the conference in 2010. There are lots of things going on in Missoula County. I think one of the main things is all the manmade obstacles at the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers’ confluence will be out of the way and restoration work would be underway by then, so it should be pretty exciting. Thank you.

Bill Kennedy, Yellowstone County, Health & Human Services Committee Co-Chair

We have just a short DVD from the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. That’s the property we’re looking at to bid on the 2010 conference.

(Video shown)

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director

Thank you, Madam President. I feel obligated to pass along the same information that was given to our board of directors last night concerning the dates of the annual conference, and that’s something to consider as you’re making your decision, as well as room rates. As Missoula indicated, Karen has talked to two different facilities there as far as costs. At the Hilton Garden Inn, which is a really wonderful, new facility, that facility is available the week we traditionally have our annual conference, Sept. 19-23, 2010. They are also available Sept. 26-30, which would be the following week. The Hilton has offered 100 sleeping rooms at the state rate. You need to also know the state rate in Missoula is higher than it is in Billings. Billings is at the current standard of $70 right now and the Missoula rate is $84. That is an issue you need to think about. The Hilton will charge us $1,000 for meeting room space. At the Holiday Inn in Missoula also has availability on the week we traditionally have our conference, Sept. 19-23. They too would offer state rates, but they didn’t indicate a limit on the number of rooms they would offer at that rate; again, it would be at $84. They would not charge us anything for meeting room space.

The Billings Hotel and Convention Center is not available the week we traditionally have our annual conference. It is available the following week. They have offered state rates, no limitation on the number of rooms at that rate, and the current state rate in the Billings area is $70. They would not charge us for any meeting rooms. Also, the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings is available also, but, again, the week later. They, too, would offer state rates and there would not be any meeting room charges.

Cynthia Johnson, President

Another consideration is that if we change the week that we meet, we may have a conflict with a lot of the vendors because a lot of them that would come to visit us also visit the Montana League of Cities and Towns. We won’t vote until Wednesday.

Also remember that you’ll be in Helena two times next year: first for the Midwinter Conference and second for the Annual Conference, which is MACo’s 100th Anniversary. It’s sponsored by Lewis & Clark, Jefferson, Broadwater, and Meagher counties. Please be sure to forward any information to the MACo that would contribute to the 100th Anniversary Conference.

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clerk County

We do want your feedback for next year’s 100th Anniversary Conference because we are considering a similar format. We have a brand new building at our fairgrounds and we’d like to show it off to you, but if it doesn’t work well for having meetings, we need to know that.

Special Message from U.S. Sen. Max Baucus

Matt Jones, Director of Economic Development/Field Director

Hello Friends!

I’m so sorry I can’t be there with you.

Local governments are instrumental in getting things done in our communities. And I would like to thank MACo and each person here for their commitment and hard work. Every one of our 56 counties is unique, but we are all Montanans. And as Montanans, we have a common goal: to keep Big Sky Country the best state in the union to live, work and raise a family.

My top priority is creating good-paying jobs. Montana’s economy is going strong, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to keep it that way. Earlier this month, we save 3,500 Montana jobs by reauthorizing the Highway Trust Fund, bringing in cash for highways and making sure our airports and train depots are full of business people and tourists.

I’m always working to bring more federal funding to economic development projects and important services in every community. I’ve added a provision to the energy tax bill that will nearly double Montanans access to Secure Rural Schools funding and reauthorize SRS and PILT for four more years. That bill is making its way through the Senate right now and you can be sure I’ll fight like the dickens until it’s a done deal.

So, folks, enjoy your meeting and keep up the good work. Montanans are counting on you!

All the best,


Special Message from U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg

Dear friends:

It is my pleasure to send you greetings as you gather in Hamilton for the 99th Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties. I am very grateful to MACo for your long and productive commitment to Montana. You represent the best we all reach for in our personal and professional lives. It is a privilege to be associated with you!

Montana’s 56 counties are as unique and diverse as its landscape. That is why it is so important for both rural and urban county commissioners to meet several times a year, to share successes, discuss failures and exchange new ideas.

The reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act remains a top priority of mine in Congress. This legislation is critical for Montana’s rural communities. In many of Montana’s western counties, the Secure Rural Schools Act provides vital funding for local schools and transportation projects.

Another area of significant importance has been the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program or PILT. I have personally sponsored two pieces of legislation that would fully fund this program. All 56 counties in Montana have federal public lands and receive PILT payments. When PILT is not sufficiently funded, every single community in Montana is impacted and forced to struggle to adequately provide important local services such as education, healthcare, roads and law enforcement. This legislation will provide a huge boost in giving Montana communities the PILT funding they intended.

This Administration has not been an advocate for Secure Rural Schools, or PILT and I intend to continue to raise awareness in Congress about the vital nature of both of these programs and the services they provide to rural America.

I believe government should begin at the grassroots level and work its way up to Washington. County Commissioners represent the very best Montana has to offer. You are the real driving force behind Montana’s job creation and economic development.

I thank you for your selfless endeavors. Every effort you have made to serve this state is an effort to improve our quality of life and increase our economic security. Thank you for going the extra mile to help Montana families and businesses.



      99th Annual MACo Conference      

Detainee Medical Costs Legislation

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director

Thank you, Madam Chair, and members. In December, MACo received a phone call from the secretary of the Law & Justice Interim Committee asking us to serve on a panel regarding an incident where counties are not charging individuals, so therefore not paying medical costs. This stems from a single incident in Yellowstone County where an individual was shot by law enforcement. He was not charged and the county attorney showed up at the hearing and decided a number of reasons for that, the number one being once you charge an individual, they have constitutional rights. They have a right to have defense provided, they have a right to an arraignment, they have a right to be Mirandized. An individual who’s critically wounded and is in surgery and sedated is not competent to exercise those rights, so therefore the charges weren’t filed. The hospital association took this to the interim committee and it became an pretty contentious issue over the last nine months culminating last week where no resolve was found. They would like to change the law. They would like to add a new class of citizen, if you will, called a detainee, and that is anyone who is detained by law enforcement, whether or not they are charged, and if injured during the course of interaction with law enforcement, the county is responsible for those costs. That creates some significant problems. Once you restrict a person’s right to movement, you accept liability and responsibility. To arbitrarily pay medical costs for someone who is injured during the commission of a crime, you then become responsible.

The representative on the committee was a highway patrolman who successfully argued the fiscal impact to the state should Highway Patrol come up on a DUI crash, the individual is obviously supposed to be charged. He’s violated the law. The next bill draft that came out was strictly city-county with the state excluded. We have seen probably nine different bill drafts, and they change daily. One was issued for a subcommittee meeting on it; the next week we got another bill that didn’t even resemble the prior bill, and it shifted costs completely to counties. The first round included preexisting conditions, self-inflicted injuries, injuries sustained in the commission of a crime, injuries sustained during flight, resisting arrest. That was then taken out. We showed up at the subcommittee hearing, and there’s a whole new bill as a consensus bill. We didn’t concede to it; we had never seen it before that morning. Now, all that’s back in with a statutory appropriation that the state would pay the bill. Counties would just submit the bill to the state. I can tell you that did not sit well with the committee. One comment made was, “We’ve already assumed district court, welfare, public defenders, so do you want us to take over law enforcement, too? Why should the state pay the bill?”

We had to argue that we didn’t have any part of this. A working group got together, some associations met, and they came up with that bill. It wasn’t our idea.

It went to the full committee last week. Well, the subcommittee voted not to carry the bill forward, but to take it for discussion with the full committee. They ordered, directed, however you want to term it, for the parties to get together. We conducted a meeting in our office with the hospital association, the American Medical Association, representatives for all those hospital associations and agencies, we had sheriffs, county attorneys, our insurance team, there were probably 20-something people at the table. We talked about the issues: how do you do this without the civil liability exposure? We just could not find a way because they’re not inmates, they’re not charged, they’re not incarcerated, so we’re not responsible for them. How do you arbitrarily take away someone’s rights?

We made a negotiation proposal to the hospital association in writing asking them to form a stakeholders group because our law enforcement is enforcing state law. Just because counties have the jails doesn’t mean counties put them there or counties interacted or counties injured. We offered a stakeholders group consisting of prosecutors, our insurance team, county attorneys, the hospital association, the sheriff’s association, the attorney general, the Department of Justice, the Department of Corrections, and other agencies that involved to form a working group over the next biennium to work through these issues to see if they can be resolved and remove the liability exposures for counties, get the hospitals paid, take care of the HIPAA questions.

The hospital’s response was Friday afternoon to send in a bill draft. We weren’t happy. It was posted as a consensus bill, but it wasn’t. Monday morning, we walked into the hearing, there’s a newer version, which struck the negotiated rate out of both inmate medical and this bill and included preexisting, self-inflicted, injuries sustained during the commission of a crime, injuries sustained while fleeing arrest; it also said the payment would be made in 30 days rather than 120, so there’s no third-party payer, there’s no more Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. It is straight “counties pay the bill within 30 days.” It excluded the state and put it solely on counties regardless of who caused the injury. Now the interesting piece is the hospital association members wrote letters to the committee. Those letters cite personal negligence; for example, a youth that fled a scene and intentionally wrecked his car so he could go to jail with his brother. Personal, individual negligence where people just committed crimes. They rolled their vehicle on a DUI. The two letters that even cited a specific incident cited the highway patrol; the rest were vague and non-specific. One even said this isn’t a problem; one said their costs are probably $2,300 a year and we talked to the hospital association during our meeting and asked them where are the numbers? We need some viable data to validate this claim. If this is a chronic statewide problem, prove it.

The hospital association said that in one hospital, they had tracked 27 cases in the last 12 months. They didn’t know who had brought the individual to the hospital. Was it a Billings police officer? Was it highway patrolman, was it a deputy, was it FW&P, BIA, Department of Justice? We don’t know who brought them in, but of those 27 cases, one was the catalyst case which was a $250,000 bill. The other 26 cases combined were $50,000. Admittedly, some under $100.

Our defense has been, if this bill passes, the hospital association has not come forward with any statistical, viable information to base this on, but we would be back in two years with statistics with the claims filed and the settlements cause for constitutional rights violated. It’s my understanding that Senator Shockley is coming shortly; he and Rep. Stoker, both from Ravalli County, are advocates for this bill. They believe counties are liable, responsible, and they we need to just write the checks. We don’t believe that.

We are miles apart. It’s unfortunate the way this is being handled. They’re rewriting the language and slipping it into committee without our consult and presenting it as a consensus bill. We’re not going to stand here and say, if you shoot somebody, you’re not responsible for their medical. I don’t know why Yellowstone County did that. We’ll let them explain that; there’s probably some circumstances I’m not aware of, but that’s the whole hang-up with the committee: counties are injuring individuals and not paying the medical costs. Our concern is we’ve got (unintelligible) in custody, we’ve got a (unintelligible) when a county or what law enforcement agency be it county or state is responsible while maintaining constitutional rights and protecting us from any civil liabilities for denying those constitutional rights.

Bill Kennedy, Yellowstone County

It’s been a heck of a ride since last January on this bill. We didn’t get too many people excited about the bill until we started talking about how much it’s going to cost. After talking with the representatives and senators on the committee: they don’t understand one thing. I was told over and over again, “You guys are county commissioners. You can go ahead and pay the bill and you tell the county attorney what to do and you can tell the sheriff what to do.” I’ll tell you, things aren’t as cut and dry as that. For some reason, they feel that we can just go ahead and tell them what to do. Once you pass the budget, they expend their budget and they also have their own legal authority and statutes, so it’s not that easy.

What we’re trying to do with this bill, and why it becomes a real problem, is, I handed out, about a month and a half ago, at one of the interim committee meetings, about five newspaper articles from Yellowstone County on DUIs. The way this bill is written, and the detainee, each of those five DUI cases ended up with someone being injured. And so, as a detainee, or possibly going to jail because of the DUI, before they were ever charged, they ended up going to the hospital because of those five cases. That was just out of two weeks in the paper that I just went through and grabbed these articles. They would’ve been thousands of dollars worth of medical costs for those cases that the counties would’ve been responsible for.

We didn’t get the league of cities onboard with us until the bill was changed to include cities and towns. After the January hearing, actually one of the representatives from Richland County, a highway patrolman, said this will break the state, so they took the state out of paying for it, then, once the cities and towns got together and worked on the bill, they came back and said we’ll just pass it all over to the state and the state will pay for the whole thing. Well, after talking to the people on the committee, they said, no way in heck they’re going to pass that cost back on to the state.

What the hospital association is doing is looking for someone to pay the bills. The real deal, and as I testified to last January, we would pay any bill that they gave us, as long as the legislature gave us a permissive levy that we could put on the tax bills that would say “hospital tax” and this is what we pay every year to pay our bills at the hospital. We need some type of revenue source to pay it all. We also looked back through ? and looked at most counties; if you took the money out of the sheriff’s department, most of you with a few cases a year would probably have to lay off one or two deputies just to find enough money in your budget to be able to pay for it, or you would have to figure out somewhere else you’re going to cut.

The other thing is I agree with legislators as they’re very upset about charging someone and then un-charging them because they went to the hospital and charging them after they the hospital and we’ve got to work through that, but the county commissioners in the state of Montana do not charge anyone. Basically, what we need to do is work with the county attorneys and the county attorneys association and the sheriff’s department. Over the last nine months, we have also heard testimony from different counties, from sheriffs, from county attorneys, from a wide variety of folks, and no one’s on the same page.

What our proposal is going to be is to be more proactive and work out this situation. The only way to work out the situation is we need to come with our own bill to go forward and try to get an even playing field across the state so we’re all following the same type of program. We need to come and get all the players to the table and sit down and get it in what we’re going to pay for and what we’re not going to pay for.

The other key element in this is how do you pay for it? You don’t have any revenue to pay for it. When we had the hospital association meeting, we also had the American Medical Association, the x-ray folks who wanted to be paid; we had a whole string of medical people who all wanted to bill also and get paid for it. The bills kept on getting bigger and bigger.

A lot of the other part of the problem is where do you get the revenue from, and most of these hospitals are non-profit, so they don’t. If you come to our community, the largest landowner, it seems like, all of downtown Billings, is the hospitals, and none of that is taxed.

You do provide fire, police, street, all of that, to the entity. As I was talking to Rep. Stoker, last night, is one of the things we have to ask is how do we find the revenue to pay for this? You can’t put the burden strictly on the counties. You have to have the cities, the counties, the state, the feds, all of them, as well as anyone who’s in law enforcement. All of them have to be billed and we have to spell out what we’re actually going to pay for.

The other piece of it is revenue sources. The beneficial use tax could be a possibility and that is a tax that a business that may build a building or a lease a building on public land pays a beneficial use tax and that might be something that we look at. Another one would be a permissive levy. Every year, you just get your bill from the hospital and levy that from the taxpayers across the county. You could go to a voted-on levy, but you know as well as I do who’s going to vote to tax themselves to pay for a guy who just broke the law and got injured. The other one that I came up with is a per-capita fee that the hospitals would pay to go into a fund.

This project started with the example at Yellowstone County. The man who killed his wife came out and we figured the case was a murder-suicide, but instead of killing himself, he came out, pointed a gun at the deputy and the deputy shot him. He ended up in the hospital. The county attorney would have to be here to explain the whole case to you as to why they didn’t charge right away. That’s the case that keeps on getting referred to; the real deal is once the can of worms was opened up, then you started getting cases all over the state of Montana.

We’re going to go forward with a proposal for our own bill and we’d like to get everybody together on the same page, put together a piece of legislation and have something that actually derives a revenue source for the counties so you would be able to pay for it and put the responsibility on each of those law enforcement, too.

Fiscal Officer’s Report

Allan Underdal, Fiscal Officer

We don’t have any handouts for you on the budget, but you did get that at the district meetings and so have seen all that information. Unlike the federal government, we are actually taking in more than we’re spending. As a year-end dollar amount, we expect starting cash for this budget year of $232,665 with a revenue source of $522,328. Our expenditure budget this year would be $592,260, which would leave a projected cash balance at the end of ’08 of $162,733 for the MACo budget. That adds in some other things that you saw earlier, such as a new server system, which would be shared by the pools and MACo, and, possibly, interns, and a video conferencing system that voted on and rejected as something we didn’t need at this point.

That is the budget update. We actually, as of the end of August, collected all of the dues for the year and the expenditures and revenues are coming in as they normally would.

A couple of things that might have been in your packet are about the audit and you can ask Harold about it if you want more information. We did yesterday at the board meeting pass a resolution to change auditors to Junkimeier, Campenella, Clark & Stevens from Anderson ZurMuehlen because the latter said they weren’t able to continue the annual audit. JCCS is willing to pick that up and catch us up because we were behind in every area on all the pools. Each pool board will also have to vote on here in the next couple of days.

99th Annual MACo Conference

Detainee Medical Costs Legislation

Sen. Jim Shockley, Montana Senate District 45

Good morning. It’s a privilege to talk to so many folks and maybe I can pick up some votes here. I represent the north part of Ravalli County and I’m on the Law & Justice Interim Committee and have been for five interims. I want to address what you call the medical detainee issue.

Let me explain the law as I understand it. I called my staff to confirm my understanding of the statutes, which deal with persons who are in jail, inmates. Case law covers the difference between and time between when a person is apprehended and goes into jail. Apprehension is when a policeman circumscribes a person’s right to move freely about. When a policeman says you can’t go somewhere, you’re apprehended, in custody, whatever you want to call it, but you are in the power of the state. The case law is clear, it’s out of Cascade County, the most recent case, that if someone is injured while they’re apprehended, then the government’s responsible.

Those are two definitions: number one, when you can’t leave, you’re apprehended or in custody, and number two, if you’re injured in that process, then the government’s responsible. In the Cascade County case, the county was responsible.

What aggravated me immensely is the matter out of Yellowstone County. Somebody called the police and said “I’m going to shoot my wife or girlfriend.” The county rolled an ambulance and some policeman. When they got there, somebody’s shooting inside the building. It turned out he killed the lady. As he came out, he pointed a gun at the policeman and the policeman very prudently shot him. Too bad he didn’t shoot him a couple of more times, but he survived. The ambulance was already on the way because they knew there might be a shooting. So they put him in the ambulance and took him to St. Vincents.

The position of Yellowstone County is A, he was never apprehended, which is ridiculous, and two, he was un-apprehended. That’s a little confusing as to which period they’re going to us. To un-apprehended somebody, the only way you can do it, is, say a policeman mistakenly takes somebody into custody. That doesn’t happen very often, but if they realize that there’s no probable cause to hold his person, to keep that person from moving about the face of the earth, then they let him go. What I just said was supported by a sheriff, a policeman from Missoula County, a lieutenant, I believe.

I’m telling you that this is one vote that’s not going to vote for anything that MACo comes up with, good, bad or indifferent, unless you come clean in the Yellowstone County case. I can’t understand, you have a legitimate concern. It’s a concern all over the state, at least in the big counties: who’s going to pay in this situation? I’d like to help you, but you aren’t getting my vote unless you come clean and tell me the truth. Why you’re hanging in there with Yellowstone County, I don’t understand, but when you come into a legislative committee, takes hours and hours of our time, we even had a subcommittee to deal with it, and it’s just nonsense. I’m not going to reward nonsense.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m supporting hospitals in this situation, either. The hospitals say, “We’re non-profits, we’re non-profits.” They aren’t charities, they’re not for paying taxes. That’s what non-profit means, not for paying taxes. The people who work there, at least in the higher echelons, are making a pool of money. It ain’t a charity, they’re in business.

What I’m saying to you, I think the legislature would work with you, more readily, if you told us the truth. Just come clean with that and maybe we can come up with a solution.

Sen. Shockley then took questions.

Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, asked why the hospital association didn’t just sue Yellowstone County so a court could decide on this issue; he was told by the hospital association that it doesn’t sue counties

Sen. Shockley replied that he has a bill that will put in statute the law that injuries incurred by those people who have been apprehended will be paid for by the government. He agreed that St. Vincent’s should have sued Yellowstone County. He also said while he respects MACo, he didn’t appreciate the association wasting his time during the interim committee meetings.

Commissioner Allan Underdal, Toole County, asked what government should pay for those costs.

Sen. Shockley replied that the law says even if a city policeman makes an apprehension and the party is injured, the county will still pay. He noted the hospital’s bill wanted the counties to pick up the first $10,000 of an injured party’s medical bill and the state pick up the rest. Sen. Shockley also noted there’s no free money in Helena, so can’t keep his promise to keep taxes down, then vote on bills that would force taxes to go up; just because there are state laws doesn’t mean the state should pick up the freight.

Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, wanted to know why the highway patrol is exempting itself from the same provisions the state is forcing on counties.

Sen. Shockley said he’s not going to support MACo efforts on this issue unless it tells the association tells the truth on the Yellowstone County case. He also said a state pool might be a solution.

Commissioner Gary Matthews, Custer County, said Miles City has never charged anyone on a violation of city ordinance since at least 2003 because they don’t want to pay detention costs.

Sen. Shockley said he’s not going to do anything until Yellowstone County comes clean regarding the St. Vincent’s issue; he added that he’s offended that the counties are treating him like he’s stupid.

Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County, said he’s offended Sen. Shockley is painting 55 counties with the same brush as Yellowstone County.

Sen. Shockley said his purpose in coming to the convention is to tell the 55 counties in question that MACo, as representing all Montana counties, sides with Yellowstone County.

Commissioner Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, said she didn’t see MACo side with Yellowstone County at the interim committee meetings she’s attended.

Sen. Shockley said during the many hours of testimony he heard, MACo never said Yellowstone County was wrong. MACo opposed the hospital bill, but that’s not the same thing as supporting Yellowstone County, he said, and all he wanted MACo to say was when a policeman shoots a suspect, that person is apprehended.

Commissioner Kathleen Driscoll, Ravalli County, said MACo and the counties need to work together with the other interests on this issue.

Sen. Shockley said Yellowstone County viewed the suspect as not being apprehended.

Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County, asked if there was an attorney general’s opinion on this case.

Sen. Shockley replied no AG opinion had been issued, but a Supreme Court ruling did address the issue.

Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, said he testified before the interim committee against the bill because it hurt counties, not because he supported Yellowstone County. He also said this issue should be decided in a court of law, and that any bill on the issue be fair across the board.

Sen. Shockley said legislature needs to approach this issue.

Commissioner Jim Rokosch, Ravalli County, asked for the legislature not to abdicate its authority in this issue to help lead the way to an equitable resolution.

Sen. Shockley disagreed with the assertion that the legislature isn’t leading. He pointed out the two theories of democracy and said he worked on the Edmund Burke theory of voting for what he thinks is right rather than what his constituents think is right. He said the funding mechanism should be via an insurance pool.

Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, said insurance was mentioned early as a possible solution, but that move was negated when the hospital association rewrote the bill.

Sen. Shockley then mentioned Rep. Stoker’s bill, which he supports.

Commissioner Bill Kennedy, Yellowstone County, then said the hospital association lobbyist continued to drag this issue out via additional bill drafts despite the county asking for the issue to be thrown out in January 2008. He also pointed out St. Vincent’s had no problem suing the county 15 years ago.

Sen. Shockley said he did want to throw out the issue. He also said the hospital bill was unreasonable, especially the detainee category of person.

Committee Meetings

The following MACo committees met after the opening general session:

  • Agriculture
  • Budget & Finance
  • Community, Economic Development & Labor
  • Energy
  • Health & Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Justice & Public Safety
  • Land Use Planning & Development
  • Public Lands
  • Transportation

General Session - Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008

Committee Reports

Agriculture – Kathy Bessette, Chair, Hill County

Our Committee met and reviewed the resolutions that were referred to our committee.  We would ask that Resolution 2008-04 – Bison management be segregated and amended.  Maureen Davey, Stillwater County, asked that the Committee send a letter regarding the Equine Cruelty Act and oppose the slaughter of wild horses.  Dave Schulz, Madison County reported on the $700,000 appropriation for the Weed Management Plan and also discussed Russian Olives as a noxious weed.  The Committee also discussed the upcoming reappraisal of agricultural land.

Budget and Finance – Allan Underdal, Chair, Toole County

Our Committee met and has the following recommendations on the resolutions referred to our committee:

  • 2008-08, clarify 76-3-511, MCA – do pass with high priority;
  • 2008-10 - compensated absences fund – do pass with high priority;
  • 2008-12 - to decouple the deputy sheriff’s salaries – do not pass;
  • 2008-15 - election funding – do pass with high priority;
  • 2008-20 - four-day workweek – do pass with high priority;
  • 2008-21 - impact fees – do pass with medium priority;
  • 2008-26 - metal mines license tax – do pass with medium priority;
  • 2008-31 - short term investment pool – do pass with high priority and the committee felt this should be an emergency resolution;
  • 2008-32 - soil conservation district levy – do pass with high priority;
  • 2008-35 - state PILT – do pass with high priority;
  • 2008-37 - subdivision environmental assessments – do not pass;
  • Court Security Funding – do pass with high priority;
  • Clean Air Act – do not pass; and
  • Mill Levy Rounding – do not pass.

Community, Economic Development & Labor - Mike McGinley, Chair, Beaverhead County

Our committee reviewed our policy statement and adopted it unanimously. We also discussed the housing crisis. Our committee had three resolutions; we recommend a do pass with high priority on 2008-09 – Clean Water Restoration Act; and a do pass on 2008-13 – DEQ permitting, and our Committee recommends segregating and amending 2008-36 – Statewide Cost Allocation Plan.

99th Annual MACo Conference

Energy – Mack Cole, Chair, Treasure County

The energy committee discussed ensuring that counties are receiving fair and equitable money from the coal board and the coal trust funds. Our committee also reviewed and adopted a policy statement. As this is a new committee – we needed to develop one. The Committee also reviewed three resolutions:  2008-40 – Wind Farm and Turbine Permitting and we support it as written; 2008-13 – DEQ permitting – the committee supports that one as written also.  The Committee has some concerns with 2008-20 regarding the four day work week and believe this resolution could cause some problems with implementation

Health and Human Services, Bill Kennedy, Chair, Yellowstone County

Our committee discussed chemical dependency funding, and recommends appointing a sub-committee on the issue. This subcommittee would also consider an insurance pool for inmate catastrophic illness, and mental health, along with chemical dependency. Commissioner Seilstad, Fergus County, also requested that Greg Jackson, MACo JPIA/JPA Trust Administrator, investigate the inmate medical insurance program being offered through the National Association of Counties. The Committee also reviewed resolutions and offers a do-pass on resolutions 2008-02, 2008-07, 2008-09, 2008-16, 2008-22, 2008-27, 2006-14 and 2006-37. The Committee recommends that the language regarding the Clean Air Act should be in the Committee policy statement and recommends a do not pass on that resolution.

Information Technology – Sandra Broesder, Chair, Pondera County

Joe Fraulik, Ravalli County IT provided the Committee with some great information. Also, Amy Palmer from MT DOA/ITSD attended and gave an update on the statewide network expansion project. They intend to upgrade 80 sites by December 31, including all 56 counties.  Art Pembroke, Lewis & Clark County, provided an update on the activities of the MLIAC. I also reported on the work of the NACo IT Committee and the statewide eRIM group. A discussion was held regarding rural counties forming a working group, consisting of a local consortium, to consider joint server hosting to reduce duplication of services to counties. Our committee reviewed two resolutions and recommends a do pass as presented on 2008-09 and 2008-39.

Justice and Public Safety – Andy Hunthausen, Chair, Lewis and Clark County

Our committee reviewed a number of resolutions and recommends the following: 2008-25 Detention costs – do pass – low priority; 2008-09 – Clean Water Act – do pass; 2008-12 Decouple deputy salaries – do not pass; 2008-22 Inmate medical – do pass; 2008-41 Youth Detention Funding – do pass; 2008-43 Court Security Funding – no action. We also discussed the proposal from the dispatchers regarding changing to the Sheriff’s retirement system from the Public Employees retirement system. As there are no fiscal statements yet on the costs, our committee did not make a recommendation. We also discussed upcoming legislation regarding stranded 9-1-1- funds and a correction to the distribution formulas. This legislation is a result of recommendations from a legislative audit. Our committee also reviewed and adopted our policy statement.

Land Use and Planning – Paddy Trusler, Chair, Lake County

Our committee has a large number of resolutions that we have been working on throughout the year. The majority of them are a result of lawsuits that have been filed, won and lost. I would like to thank Myra Schulz and Harold Blattie for all of their work and assistance with the resolutions and the meetings. Our Committee recommends a segregation and do not pass on 2008-05 – bonding for improvements. Our committee recommends a do-pass on all of the rest, which are:  2008-08, 2008-09, 2008-11, 2008-13, 2008-18, 2008-21, 2008-23, 2008-29, 2008-30, 2008-37, 2008-38, and 2008-40.

Public Lands – Alan Thompson, Chair, Ravalli County

I would like to welcome everyone to Ravalli County and hope you are all enjoying your stay. I would also like to thank Ryan Yates, NACo Public Lands Committee Liaison. Ryan attended our Committee meeting and gave us a report of the work on PILT and SRS and other public lands issues that are being worked on in Washington. Our Committee reviewed three resolutions, and would like to recommend that 2008-04, 2008-09, 2007-04 and 2007-05 be segregated and amended. We recommend a do-pass with high priority on resolutions 2008-35, 2004-15, and 2004-27. We recommend a do-not pass on the proposed resolution regarding Federal Mineral Royalties in Special Districts

I would also urge members to get involved with the Coalition of Forest Counties. There are seven members, and four of the founders are leaving office. It is very important that this group stay involved and continue to pursue PILT and SRS funding.

Our Committee reviewed our policy statement and will be amending it.

Transportation Committee – John Ostlund, Chair, Yellowstone County

I would like to thank Jamie Doggett for all of her work with this committee, and for her exceptional representation of us on the NACo Transportation Committee. She is going to be greatly missed and she has left some big shoes to fill, especially since I don’t wear pink.

Our Committee reviewed our resolutions and we recommend a do-pass on 2008-03 with a medium priority, and a do pass with a high priority on 2008-09, 2008-29, 2008-36, and 2004-11.  We recommend a do not pass on 2008-33 – the southern route Amtrak.

We spend a considerable amount of time discussing gravel pit legislation. The main question is an annual fee versus and open and closing fee. There is no consensus among our membership on the issue. However, our Committee recommends no fee at all at this time.

Also, I would like to announce that we have appointed Richard Dunbar, Phillips County, as vice chair of the Committee.

Resolutions Committee - Mike Murray, Chair, Lewis and Clark County

Our Committee met on Sunday, and reviewed all of the submitted resolutions and referred them to the Committees. There were a number of them in our Committee, and we met this morning and offer a do-pass with a high priority on all of them.  They are: 

  • 2008-01
  • 2008-09
  • 2008-14
  • 2008-17
  • 2008-24
  • 2008-28
  • 2008-31
  • 2008-34
  • 2008-42

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director

I would like to thank all of the Committees for all of their work. I would also like to remind everyone of the delegate rules that were in your packets, specifically the process for suspension of the rules and segregation of resolutions. Late resolutions require a 2/3 vote of the membership to suspend the rules to be introduced. There are a number of resolutions that are going to be amended. Please get those amendments to Sheryl as soon as possible so they can be prepared for the membership meeting tomorrow.

99th Annual MACo Conference

County Leadership Institute

Andy Hunthausen, Commissioner, Lewis and Clark County

I was recently chosen by the Board of Directors to make a trip to New York to attend the County Leadership Institute.  It was a great trip, and was the best training I have ever attended.  I had the opportunity to spend time with 24 other county officials from across the country, and learn about the struggles they face at home.  We learned how to deal with difficult people, and shared ideas and issues from the citizenry to personnel issues.  Some of the highlights were the great staff and faculty at the NYU graduate school of community service in Manhattan.  I was able to learn from multiple perspectives.  It was truly inspiring and the main message I brought home was that leadership is an action word and how we are perceived as a leader is based on how we act and what we do.

Executive Director’s Report

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director

Our activities for the last year have been mainly dictated by the activities of the legislators and the Interim Committees. These Interim Committees were the most prolific of any I have seen, with each of them generating anywhere from 20 to 40 bill drafts. There are still ongoing discussions with the Department of Justice regarding raffles and permitting, and we anticipate having some legislation to remove that responsibility from counties. I have also been involved in ongoing discussions regarding stream access and gravel pits.

We have been busy this year attending the NACo Legislative and Annual Conferences, along with the WIR conferences. I have been doing a number of Budgeting 101 workshops. It started with a request from the State Library to work with Library Board members on budgeting, and expanded to the MACRS conference.

The Insurance Pools continue to have a high level of activity. The HCT moved into the new building, and pool staff has been attending AGRIP conferences and meeting to learn what other pools are doing. Staff has also been busy the past few months with conference preparation. We worked from January through June on our budget process, and had two rounds of District meetings, in May and August. They were all well attended. There will only be one round next year in June, to present the budget and do a post legislative wrap-up.

Regarding staffing, it keeps us busy with changing positions, writing position descriptions, posting jobs, screening, interviewing, etc. The recent group of positions being filled is for the new Legal Services Division created by the insurance pools. I am happy to announce that we have made an offer for the Chief Counsel position, and Mike Sehestedt, Missoula County Deputy Attorney, has accepted. We believe his knowledge and experience will be a great asset to the membership.

And finally, I would like offer my respect and appreciation to all of you for everything you do. It continues to amaze me how part-time commissioners have any hope of staying on top of all of the issues. I have the utmost respect for you, and want to thank all of you for your continued support of our Association.

Closing General Session - Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008

Roll Call

Allan Underdal, Fiscal Officer

After the roll was taken, Underdal announced a quorum was present to conduct business.

Unfinished Business

Cynthia Johnson, President

President Johnson introduced Conrad Eckert, primary chairman of the DEQ Solid Waste Advisory Committee, to speak about septic tanks.

A few months ago, we had Harold come by our meeting in Helena to discuss how we can get people in the state of Montana to pump their tanks a little bit more. We’re finding in different places people are not pumping their tanks. In Ravalli County a few months ago, we had a rebate coupon to a grant to get people in certain areas to pump their tanks for groundwater protection. One thing we’ve talked about is education, whether it be through newspaper ads, TV commercials, wherever it might be, but they all cost a whole bunch of money and people don’t pay attention to them, typically. PBS is free, but how many people here watch PBS? In different states, they’ve got mandatory pumping. Montana’s one of those states where people say, ‘Don’t tell me what I’ve got to do, show me an incentive first.’ What Harold mentioned is a really good idea is to have a rebate program on their taxes or whatever it might be. You could send them a certain portion of what their bill would be and they send it in every year, and in three to five years when they have their tank pumped, they can bring that receipt in and they pay their taxes, or when they get their tanks pumped, they get that rebate back as an incentive. We haven’t seen the proper maintenance that we’re needing, especially here in western Montana where subdivisions are coming faster and faster. A lot of times the layouts of the subdivisions aren’t what they should be; Harold was telling us his subdivision near Helena, the well to the septic leach field distance was fine, but his neighbor’s wasn’t, so he had to move his well so it was safe. We’re seeing things like that. Another thing you need to start thinking about is where to put all this waste when the subdivisions start coming in. These are just a couple things we’ve been thinking at DEQ. As a committee, we realized there was a need for more education and more training with the pumpers. I don’t know of any other groups that went out and actually raised licensing fees to try to get this through. We’re trying to be proactive and do what’s best for the state of Montana. We know there are places in eastern Montana where it’s not going to be an issue like it is in western Montana.

Appreciation Resolution

Cynthia Johnson, President

President Johnson read the following Appreciation Resolution:

Resolution of Appreciation

Whereas, the 2008 Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties is the 99th such meeting; and

Whereas, attendance of member counties marks its success; and

Whereas, the fine facilities in Hamilton make us all feel welcome.

Now therefore be it resolved that the 99th Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties express its sincere appreciation for the sponsorship of this conference to the Ravalli County Commissioners, spouses, and staff, including:

  • Greg and Vickie Chilcott
  • Alan and Patricia Thompson
  • Kathleen Driscoll
  • Carlotta Grandstaff and Dennis McIntyre
  • Jim and Lori Rokosch

A motion to pass the Resolution of Appreciation was made and seconded. It passed unanimously.

Election of Past President

Carol Brooker, Sanders County, Public Lands Committee Chair

Commission Brooker, former MACo President (2002-2004), conducted the election of Past President by asking for a motion for the reaffirmation of Cynthia Johnson for Past President. A motion was made, seconded, and passed by unanimous consent.

Reaffirmation of President, 1st Vice President, and 2nd Vice President

Cyndi Johnson, President

President Johnson announced the following officers would be reaffirmed to the positions of MACo President, 1st Vice President, and 2nd Vice President:

  • President – Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County
  • 1st Vice President – Carl Seilstad, Fergus County
  • 2nd Vice President – John Ostlund, Yellowstone County
  • Fiscal Officer – Allan Underdal, Toole County

Motions were made, seconded, and passed by unanimous consent.

Nominations and Election for 2nd Vice President

Cynthia Johnson, President

President Johnson introduced the following nominees for MACo 2nd Vice President:

  • Alan Thompson, Ravalli County
  • John Ostlund, Yellowstone County

Each nominee gave a short speech. Votes, by a show of hands, were counted and John Ostlund was elected MACo 2nd Vice President.

99th Annual MACo Conference

2010 Conference Location

Cynthia Johnson, President

President Johnson asked for representatives of Missoula and Yellowstone counties to make presentations about their respective potential sites for MACo’s 2010 conference. Jean Curtiss, Missoula County, played a DVD featuring Missoula, and said her county would be honored to host the convention. John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, and MACo 2nd Vice President, reaffirmed his county’s desire to host the convention but mentioned some scheduling issues. MACo Executive Director Harold Blattie explained in detail about scheduling, meeting space, and hotel rooms for the convention at the four facilities (two each in Missoula and Yellowstone counties) under consideration. Votes, by a show of hands, were counted and Yellowstone County was chosen to be the site of the 2010 MACo conference by a vote of 29-13.

2007 Annual Conference Minutes

Cynthia Johnson, President

President Johnson asked for a motion to approve the minutes from MACo’s 2007 annual conference. A motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve the minutes.

2008 Proposed Bylaw Amendments

Cynthia Johnson, President

President Johnson asked for discussion on the following four proposed bylaw amendments:

Amendment 1

Article IV – Board of Directors

Section 1. Members

a) The Board shall consist of the four elected officers, the Past President, the Class 1A Representative and the elected chairperson from each of the twelve regional districts specified in Article VIII.

b) In addition to the members identified in Subsection (a), other county elected official associations with no fewer than 29 county members may each designate a member to serve as a non-voting representative members on the Board.

This amendment would allow county elected official association representatives

to be voting members on the MACo Board of Directors.

Amendment 2

Article IV – Board of Directors

Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities

k) function as the nominating committee and select at least two candidates each for the office of Second Vice President and Fiscal Officer. No candidate can be nominated and run for two offices simultaneously. Nominations may be made at district meetings of county commissioners and submitted to the Board;

This amendment would eliminate the requirement that there be a minimum of two candidates nominated for the offices of Second Vice President and Fiscal Officer.

Amendment 3

Article VI – Standing Committees

Section 2. Tax, Budget and Finance Committee

The Tax, Budget and Finance Committee shall consist of at least five members. Members shall be appointed by the President subject to the approval of the Board of Directors.

This amendment would incorporate the work the Committee does in reviewing and recommending legislative tax policy issues.

Amendment 4

Article IX – Annual Conference and Procedures

Section 7. Effective Date

This proposed amendment would incorporate the date of adoption of the most recent amendments to the bylaws.

These by–laws having been duly amended by a majority vote of the members cast at the 97th 99th Annual Conference, held in Bozeman, MT on September 28, 2006. Hamilton, MT on September 25, 2008, These by-laws will be effective upon the adjourning of the annual confer­ence with all provisions for compliance in regard to the elected officers of the Association having been provided for by action on the floor of the Association.

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director, briefly discussed the amendments. Todd Devlin, Prairie County Commissioner, spoke against Amendment 1, as did Vic Miller, Blaine County Commissioner, Joe Briggs, Cascade County Commissioner, Maureen Davey, Stillwater County Commissioner, and Donald Reiger, Fallon County Commissioner. Sandra Boardman, Blaine County Clerk & Recorder, spoke for Amendment 1.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, MACo President, called for a vote on Amendment 1; votes, by a show of hands, were counted and the amendment failed.

Jamie Doggett, Meagher County Commissioner, spoke in favor of Amendment 2. Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, MACo President, called for a vote on Amendment 2; votes, by a show of hands, were counted and the amendment passed. She then called for a vote on Amendment 3; votes, by a show of hands, were counted and it passed. President Johnson then called for a vote on Amendment 4; votes, by show of hands, were counted and it passed.


Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County, Resolutions Committee Chair

Commissioner Murray reviewed the following non-segregated resolutions and asked the membership to indicate which resolutions should be segregated:

  • 2008-01: Absence of County Officers from State
  • 2008-02: Aging Services Funding
  • 2008-03: Airport Authority Appointment Rights
  • 2008-06: Buffer Zone
  • 2008-07: Chemical Dependency
  • 2008-08: Clarify 76-3-511, MCA
  • 2008-10: Compensated Absences Fund
  • 2008-11: Condo Statute Clarification
  • 2008-12: Decouple Deputy Salary
  • 2008-13: DEQ Permitting
  • 2008-15: Election Funding
  • 2008-16: Employee Incentives
  • 2008-17: EPA Environmental Finance Center
  • 2008-18: Final Plat Bonding
  • 2008-19: Food Service Inspection Fee
  • 2008-22: Inmate Medical
  • 2008-23: Interim Zoning
  • 2008-24: University Levy
  • 2008-25: Mail Ballot Election
  • 2008-27: Mosquito Districts
  • 2008-28: Obsolete Statutes
  • 2008-29: Opencut Mining
  • 2008-30: Part 1 Zoning
  • 2008-31: Short Term Investment Pool
  • 2008-32: Soil Conservation District Levy
  • 2008-34: Special Purpose Districts
  • 2008-35: State PILT
  • 2008-37: Subdivision Environmental Assessments
  • 2008-38: Subsequent Hearing
  • 2008-39: Technology Districts
  • 2008-40: Wind Farm & Turbine Permitting
  • 2008-41: Youth District Funding
  • 2008-42: School District Boundary Adjustment

It was requested that resolutions 2008-19 and 2008-31 were requested to be segregated. Commissioner Murray then read the resolutions that had already been segregated:

  • 2008-04: Bison Management
  • 2008-05: Bonding for Improvements
  • 2008-09: Clean Water Restoration Act
  • 2008-14: Drug Testing
  • 2008-19: Food Service Inspection Fees
  • 2008-20: Four Day Work Week
  • 2008-21: Impact Fees
  • 2008-26: Metal Mines
  • 2008-31: Short Term Investment Pool
  • 2008-33: Southern Route Amtrak
  • 2008-36: Statewide Cost Allocation Plan

Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County, made a motion to withdraw her request for segregation of 2008-26. It was seconded and passed unanimously. Commissioner Jamie Doggett made a motion to approve the non-segregated resolutions; it was seconded and passed unanimously.

Commissioner Murray then invited discussion on each of the non-segregated resolutions.

Commissioner Troy Blunt, Phillips County Commissioner, spoke in favor of resolution 2008-04 and made a motion to do pass as amended; it was seconded and passed unanimously.

A motion was made and seconded to remove resolution 2008-05 because it duplicated 2008-18; the motion passed unanimously.

A motion was made to do pass resolution 2008-09 as amended; it was seconded and passed unanimously.

A motion was made to do pass resolution 2008-14 as amended; it was seconded and passed unanimously.

Paddy Trusler, Lake County Commissioner, spoke about amendments to resolution 2008-19 and made a motion to approve the amendments; the motion was seconded and it passed unanimously. A motion was then made to approve the resolution as amended; it was seconded and passed unanimously.

A motion was made to remove resolution 2008-20. Discussion, both in favor and opposed, followed. A vote was called and the motion was passed, 25-14.

Commissioner Murray clarified the reason resolution 2008-21 was segregated (it had various levels of priority among two MACo committees); a motion was made, and seconded, to approve the resolution as amended (with a high priority). Discussion in favor of the resolution followed and the motion passed unanimously.

A motion was made, and seconded, to remove resolution 2008-31; after discussion both in favor of and against it, the motion failed. A motion to approve the resolution as amended was made and seconded; following discussion, the motion failed. A motion to approve the resolution without amendments was made and seconded; the motion passed.

A motion was made and seconded to amend resolution 2008-33; the motion passed. A motion to approve the resolution as amended was made and seconded; after discussion, the motion passed.

Commissioner Murray then recognized Betty Lund, a former Ravalli County commissioner, for providing conference table decorations.

A motion was made and seconded to approve resolution 2008-36 as amended; it was approved unanimously.

Commissioner Murray then discussed the four resolutions carried forward from previous years.

A motion was made and seconded to approve resolution 2000-25: Detention Costs for Department of Corrections Inmates; it passed unanimously.

A motion was made and seconded to approve resolution 2006-37: Presumptive Eligibility; it passed unanimously.

A motion was made and seconded to approve resolution 2007-04: Noxious Weeds on DNRC Lands as amended; the motion passed unanimously.

A motion was made and seconded to approve resolution 2007-05: Wilderness Study Area as amended; the motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Murray then asked for a motion to approve the following non-segregated, carryover resolutions:

  • 2004-11: Clarify the Status of Fences Attached to Bridges
  • 2004-15: Equitable PILT Distribution
  • 2004-27: Delisting the Gray Wolf in Montana
  • 2004-28: Uniform Penalties for Violations of Zoning Regulations
  • 2006-07: Exempt Threshold for Solid Waste Sites
  • 2006-14: Summer Youth Employment
  • 2007-01: FSA Office Closures
  • 2007-02: Montana “Split State”

A motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously.

Commissioner Murray then addressed the resolution regarding the Court Security Fund; a motion was made to suspend the rules and accept the resolution for discussion. It passed unanimously. Discussion followed, then a motion was made and seconded to approve the resolution; it passed unanimously.

Commissioner Murray asked for a motion to suspend the rules and discuss the resolution regarding Mill Levy Rounding Accuracy. No motion was made and the resolution was not considered by the membership.

Commissioner Murray asked for a motion to suspend the rules and discuss the resolution regarding the Indoor Clean Air Act. Following discussion, as the Health & Human Services Committee decided to put the resolution’s wording into its policy statement; no motion was made and the resolution was not considered by the membership.

Commissioner Murray asked for a motion to suspend the rules and discuss the resolution regarding the Federal Mineral Royalties for Special Districts, noting it was recommended not to introduce it to the membership. No motion was made and the resolution was not considered by the membership.

 99th Annual MACo Conference 

Other Business

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director

Harold reminded everyone to complete their conference evaluation forms to be entered into the door prize drawing. He then gave an update on the actions in Washington on the SRS reauthorization and PILT payments.

There being no further business to come before the membership, the 2008 Annual Conference was adjourned.