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101st Annual MACo Conference Minutes


Opening General Session - Monday, September 27, 2010

Billings, Montana

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, MACo President

The 101st Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties opened at 8:30 a.m. President Carl Seilstad introduced the head table:

  • Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, President
  • John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, 1st Vice President
  • Connie Eissinger, McCone County, 2nd Vice President
  • Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, Past President
  • Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, Fiscal Officer
  • John Prinkki, Carbon County, Parliamentarian

The Eugene Sara Detachment Marine Corps League presented the Colors for the Pledge of Allegiance.  The National Anthem was sung by Kristie Ostlund, and Pastor Tim Moullet conducted the Invocation.  The MACo Members were then welcomed to the 101st Annual Conference in Billings, Montana:

  • Bill Kennedy, Yellowstone County Commissioner, welcomed everyone.
  • Tom Hanel, Billings Mayor, welcomed and thanked everyone for coming to Billings.
  • Host County Representatives, Mike Kilby, Musselshell County Commissioner; John Prinkki, Carbon County Commissioner; and Maureen Davey, Stillwater County Commissioner, welcomed everyone.
  • John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, MACo 1st Vice President, also welcomed everyone to Billings.

Roll Call

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, Fiscal Officer

After Roll call was taken, Cynthia Johnson announced a quorum was present to conduct business.

Resolution in Memoriam

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, MACo 1st Vice President

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 those County Commissioners has rendered innumerable public services 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 Billings, Montana, this 27th day of September, 2010, the Association does hereby pay tribute to the memory of Commissioners:

  • Robert Miller, Beaverhead County
  • C. William “Bill” Tande, Daniels County
  • Kenneth H. Kruger, Flathead County
  • Ray White, Gallatin County
  • Don Marble, Liberty County
  • Charles Bernard “Bernie” Lucas, Meagher County
  • Roy W. "Bill" McCaffree, Musselshell County
  • Henry T. Johnson, Richland County
  • Harold “Hank” Laws, Sanders County
  • Ted Keating, Stillwater County
  • Earl Daley, Valley County

And on behalf of its members and the citizens of the State of Montana, the Montana Association of Counties does hereby express gratitude for their achievements and contributions to the public good of their counties and to Montana.

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

Approval of the 2009 Minutes - 100th Annual Conference

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, made a motion to approve the 2009 Annual Conference minutes. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

Nominations Committee Report

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, President

The Board of Directors,  acting as the Nominations Committee,  brings forth to you the candidates for the 2011 year as follows:

  • Office of Past President:  Carl Seilstad, Fergus County
  • Office of President:  John Ostlund, Yellowstone County
  • Office of 1st Vice President:  Connie Eissinger, McCone County
  • Office of 2nd Vice President:  Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County
  • Office of Fiscal Officer:  Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County

President Seilstad asked for any other nominations and noted nominations would remain open until the Wednesday General Session.  Greg Chilcott came forward to introduce himself.

2012 Conference Bids

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, President

Gallatin County Commissioner, Bill Murdoch, gave a description of the upcoming 2011 Annual Conference that will be held in Bozeman, Montana and hosted by Gallatin County.

One bid was presented for the 2012 Annual Conference:  Great Falls, Cascade County.  Joe Briggs, Cascade County Commissioner, came forward to give a description of the conference to be held in Great Falls.

Proposed Resolutions

Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County

Please take a look at the Policy Booklet that was included in your packet, as well as the booklet of resolutions.  At the start beginning, there is a list that includes the recommendations of the Resolutions Committee.  On Wednesday each resolution will be reviewed, and voting will commence.

The Resolutions Committee, which is comprised of each MACo committee chair, recommends that we no longer utilize the priority section. The reasoning behind this recommendation is that any time one of our resolutions is before a legislative body; it’s a high priority to us. We expect staff and the proposer of the resolution to be there to testify.

The Resolutions Committee reviewed the following five resolutions:

  • 2008-23, Mail Ballot Elections, was blended into 2010-11, Mail Ballot Object for Federal Elections.
    • 2008-23 was deleted since it was blended in to 2010-11.
  • 2010-16, Protect County Funding & Oppose Cost Shifting, was recommended as a “Do Pass.”
  • Proposed Resolution, Public Safety Dispatchers Retirement, was recommended as a “Do Not Pass.”
  • Proposed Resolution, Veteran’s Interment Allowance, was recommended as a “Do Not Pass.”
    • We do not believe the state is going to increase funding to local government. Right now there is a statute in place that allows us to bury veterans, which allows $250 interment allowance and $70 for the marker/headstone.

On Tuesday there are several committees meeting.  If you are not on a committee but see one in which you are interested, please go the committee meeting and participate.  This will help you understand the resolutions in which the committees are dealing.  Everyone is welcome to attend a committee meeting.

Questions/Comments/Discussion

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County: Proposed Resolution 2010-15, which is to be discussed later in the session.  No other resolutions were proposed.

Cynthia Johnson made a motion to suspend the priority section of the by-laws and allow the elimination of setting priorities for the resolutions. Greg Chilcott seconded the motion.  The vote on the motion was unanimous. 

Cynthia Johnson explained the results of this action:

By suspending the by-laws, committees are not required to establish a priority for their assigned resolution(s).  These identifiers—high, medium, low—can often work against MACo during the Legislative Session. Generally a “high priority” resolution means that it impacts a great number of counties; “medium priority” impacts fewer counties; and “low priority” impacts just one county (however, it could impact that county seriously).  Often a committee disregards a resolution with a “low priority,” or it is not given the attention required. This is the reasoning behind eliminating the priority system.

Parliamentarian, John Prinkki, explained that because the By-Laws had been suspended, they now needed to be amended to eliminate the priority system.

Allan Underdal, Toole County, moved to a amend Section VI removing “and recommend priorities” from the last line in the first paragraph.  Mike Wendland, Hill County, seconded the motion.  The vote on the motion was unanimous.

President’s Report

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, President

Everybody asks me, “Are you glad your term is coming to the end?”  I would not have traded this for anything.  I have really enjoyed the year; it has been a very rewarding experience for me. 

People have said that I did a good job; my response is, “When you surround yourself with good people—the staff, all the committee members, the membership—it makes you looks good.”  I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I am going to pass it off to John, and I know he is going to feel the same way. However, with the Legislative Session coming up, he is going to have a little tougher time than me. I did confirm with him that I will be there to help him as much as possible.

The other thing I would like to mention is that I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Tande back in 2001, when I was first elected.  Mr. Vern Peterson introduced me to Bill; right off the bat you just like Bill—he was that kind of a guy.  After our district meeting in Baker, I drove to Scoby and had the honor to get to visit Bill.  He passed away the following day . . . I was very glad I got to do that.

One of the things that always impressed me about Bill was that fact that he served for 31 years as Commissioner. To have the trust of your constituents for 31 years has to say something for you as a County Commissioner.  It was an honor knowing him and the others who have passed away.

I really enjoy my experience as President.  MACo is a great organization, and I look forward to participating as much as possible in the future.

Fiscal Officer’s Report

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, Fiscal Officer

This morning we had hoped to have an audit to discuss with you but the staff, try as they may, was not able to complete that process. Our Financial Officer’s, Tom Swindle’s, father passed away just recently, and he was gone for a couple weeks.  During the exit interview there were many unanswered questions, and the staff felt that it was not prudent to move forward to complete the audit without Tom’s presence.  I talked to Tom this morning, and he indicated that once the audit is complete and submitted to the Board of Directors—and approved by the Board of Directors—then any one of you who would like a copy or would like to see that information is more than welcome to do so.

I can tell you that MACo has finished the year in very fine shape. They have an excellent debt-to-asset ratio.  Lastly, MACo’s Trusts are moving forward strong and will continue on in the future.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, President

One thing that was brought up in the Board of Directors meeting yesterday; was the idea of starting a Legal Fund within the MACo organization.  The Idaho Association of Counties has one, and what they do is an assessment of those who want to participate.  They do an assessment on their PILT, and they have built a fund that is somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million right now.

The Board of Directors felt like we should pursue the idea and bring it up to the membership.  At some point in the near future, we’d like a few committees to come up with some ideas.  We figure that Public Lands, Forest Counties, and Oil & Gas Counties will discuss the idea of a litigation fund for MACo in their respective committee meetings. 

There will be several things to talk about, for example, funding.  (We have a set of by-laws from the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) for evaluation; IAC has a committee for their fund.)  If a county—or several counties— gets into litigation, the fund would help pay for attorney fees; if there is a settlement, the money would go back into the MACo fund. 

A litigation fund is something that we wanted to throw out to the general membership and pursue to bring back to you at a later date.  If you wanted in the fund, it would be strictly voluntary, similar to our insurance pool; you would sign up, and we would start the process from there. 

I’m glad to answer any questions.

Executive Director’s Report

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director

Just to start, with Commissioner Tande’s passing, Wheatland County Commissioner, Dave Miller, is the longest serving County Commissioner in the state.  His service is well over 20 years; I’m thinking about 26 years.  I know there are going to be some of you who are high in the ranks for the longest service commissioner, as well.

This year really has been and interesting year. I say “interesting” because this has been the year that interim legislative committees have been more active and more productive than they ever have been before.  The Law & Justice committee alone turned out more than 20 bill drafts, which has taken a lot staff time. 

One unfulfilled objective that we have been trying to work on for several years is an investment committee. We all know what has happened to the state investment pool and to the very close-to-zero return rate it is paying now.  We have met with other state associations on two different occasions, and our leadership has directed that we should go ahead with exploring an investment pool at out Midwinter meeting.  We have a number of Treasurers in there, and they are interested in joining the discussion. We know that we don’t need new legislation, as we have sufficient statutory authority to proceed.  It’s just a matter of getting it done. 

On Thursday we will be talking to the new Board of Directors about trying to proceed with this project.

We have been working with the Weed Control Association, trying to rewrite the noxious weed act.  We worked with Senator Esp last session and did pass legislation that shorted up the notification period.  The biggest problem was by the time you realized that you had to report, you already had a noxious weed problem; when you got through the process it was fall.

We also worked with a group on the “school budgeting bill,” as it’s come to be called.  Last session Senator Lewis carried a bill under the request of the County Superintendents of Schools that changed some of the dates.  The only problem with the bill was that it had the schools giving you their levy requirement on a date after you set all the mill levies.  It didn’t work.  Once we explained the problems with the bill, Senator Lewis went on to the floor and asked the Senate to kill the bill, which they readily did.  We have worked over the interim on a bill—which will come out as an interim bill—and it would shorten some time frames up.

What we have is a situation where the date of certification to the mailing of the past bills.  We have X number of days, and the objective was to try to fairly and equitably report a portion of these days, and I think we have accomplished that.  One of the things that will catch your attention—other than 45 days—is after the certified letter you are going to have 30 days. The thing is, when we were talking to some clerks, we found out that they are waiting until you have a certified value before they ever publish noticeable means in your budget; you should be doing that in June or July. What you need to do is put a preliminary budget together based on last year’s taxable value, and then when you get the final values, you finish the process.  You are going to make some adjustments:  Taxable value is going to go up, and then you can put a little more in reserves; if it goes down then you maybe pull a little bit out of reserves, and you make those final decisions on expenditures.  It is the only way to get the process done. 

The education interim committee really rolled up their sleeves and spent a lot of time looking at this; the bill is a good compromise. 

These bills are a couple examples of the things that we spend a lot of time on.

At this point the pre-legislative session is a little behind, as far as bill draft requests are concerned.  Two years ago, September 23, 2009, there were 550 bill draft request submitted to legislative services; right now there are 446, which is good news.

Other than that, the Association thanks you very much for an increased response in filling out the online Association Evaluation Survey.  All in all, the comments are right along the same line as they have always been.  We had very good returns from elected officials:  of the106 people who responded, there were 35 Commissioners who represented themselves, 8 who represented their commission, 14 Clerk & Recorders, 9 Treasurers, 1 Attorney, 6 Clerks of Court, 5 Superintendents of Schools, 6 Sheriffs, and 9 Justices of the Peace. 

There was one comment that MACo is an organization of commissioners.  The other elected officials really don’t feel like they are a part of MACo.  That doesn’t slow them down from sending emails, making phone calls, and asking questions.  We really do need to extend more effort to try to work with the other organizations. We are now realizing that most of them have their own lobbyist, and we try to respect that and not step on the other organizations toes by any means.  Because of this, we are maybe a little more reactive than proactive in working with them—we don’t want to stick our nose in where it’s not wanted.

As Cynthia Johnson indicated, the finances of the Association continue to improve. We continue to increase our cash net reserves. We have had our auditors do a long term look at how we were handling our designated reserves, particularly termination liability reserves.  We are fully funding all of our termination liability as of the 30th of each year, based on July 1 salary.  In other words, we have enough funding so that if every employee left, we would have enough money to pay them all.

In the past we have transferred money from the Pools to the Association for building reserves. As stated, this is for building, for taking care of long term renovations that we will need to do some day, such as replacing carpets ($50-75,000) and other things like that. 

For vehicles we have annually repeated the practice of transferring an amount of money that is generally about a quarter of the value of replacing a vehicle.  Yesterday, the Board of Directors and the Trustees of the Pools made the decision that we should keep the building reserve with the respected entities and only transfer at such time money is needed for purchase.  I think that is a good, sound, policy decision.

The only other thing I would like to address is staffing. We have had two new staff members join us.  Recently, we had a situation where our Communication Officer position went vacant at the same time as our Administrative Assistant position.  This gave us the opportunity to restructure both of those positions.  In doing so the Administrative Assistant position has assumed some of the duties that the Communications Officer used to encompass therefore freeing up time for the Communications Officer to now become the Legislative Coordinator and provide some help to us during the legislative process.  As the Executive Director, if I was to point out a place where we have not done as good of a job as we should, it is communication during the legislative session.  The reason for this is because we are so busy at the Capitol that we don’t have time to tell you about it.  We now have the great fortune of having a former employee returning, Shantil Siaperas.  You will be hearing from her, as she will be the main line of communication with you during the legislative session.

Also joining us is Sharon Wilson, our new administrative assistant. She has done great at everything.

NACo Report

Paul Beddoe

It is great to be here in Montana. It definitely doesn’t require any arm twisting for me to get out here. I really appreciate the invitation from Harold.  It’s great to see friends from when I staffed NACo’s Western Interstate Region and Public Lands Committee.

This morning I have just a few things greeting to bring from our NACo officers, in particularly our new president, Tarrant County Judge, Glen Whitley from Texas.  I’d like to share some of his priorities and things he is working on.
I think you guys understand that this kind of an association is very important. You all are here because you understand that you all need to work together to make sure your voices are heard in the Legislature, when decisions are being made that are going to affect the way you do business and affect lives of your citizens.  Likewise, it’s NACo’s job, role, and mission to be a connection for you in Washington and speak for you, to make sure the county voices are heard.

One of the great things about MACo is that you have continued to be a 100% state.  You send very sharp leaders to our deliberations. Every one of our committees has a Montana county official sitting on it representing you. You take your engagement very seriously. I'm always very impressed by the fact that you are NACo committee members that communicate and report back. I hope that the broad membership takes this seriously.

We are thankful f or the board members that you send to NACo to guide and oversee our operations. Cynthia Johnson and Commissioner McGinley are doing a great job, and we are very appreciative of their involvement and input during the year. Of course I have to say thanks to Harold; he is a friend and colleague and always very easy to reach. We talk often and I appreciate his partnership.

Some of the things that Judge Whitley wants to do and prioritize during his years as NACo president is to not only be a voice in Washington but to be a choice for Washington. We want DC lawmakers to see that our way of doing business works. We want them to see that there is another way to address policy issues without getting too political or too personal. That is how you do business on the county level, and we want to try to carry that model to DC.  Judge Whitley’s pledge to you as president is to pursue an agenda in Washington that will strengthen NACo and benefit our country.

His first goal is to raise public awareness as to how county government works. We want more people to know who we are and what we do. We want to remind policy makers in Washington that county government is where the rubber meets the road. In fact the county government is the one whousually builds the road. We need to brand our organization and our counties so that everyone knows what county government is all about. We are working hard on that initiative.

The second goal is to always push hard to be at the tables. We want policy makers to know that they may make laws but the local government is the one who implements them. Everything in Washington impacts us for better or for worse. This afternoon when we have a little more extended conversation about health reform, I will talk about some of the ways we are doing just that as we seek to implement the new health reform law in a way that will be beneficial and not harmful to county government. It’s about having a seat at the table and being engaged in the process to make that happen. As they say, if you are not at the table you are on the menu.

Third, we will push to restore the partnership. Up until 1994 a national commission on intergovernmental relations existed that gave us venue for weighing in on federal policy debates. It’s time that the commission came back. This will give us a platform for which to oppose unfunded mandates, to support transportation, and to promote county priorities and any economic recovery legislation. We have legislation that is calling for a new intergovernmental commission.

Fourth, we will continue to focus on immigration. This is a federal responsibility but a local reality. We are the ones that deal with the failures of Washington. To resolves this issue we will push for solutions that will preserves our status as a land of immigrants and also a nation of laws.

Fifth, we will find ways to welcome home our veterans and watch over their families while they are away. The transition from a warzone to a neighborhood and a job is a hard one. These heroes have done so much for us; the least we can do is help them return home successfully. When we send 0troops in to war we give them a battle plan. We should do the same thing when we bring them home. To further that need, Judge Whitley has organized a task that will look for a way to help our veterans find jobs as well as the medical support they may need. While they fight for our rights overseas, we will protect their rights at home. No one serving in combat should face the loss of a job or a home while they are on active duty. Judge Whitley will do everything he can for those who are doing everything they can to protect us. Let’s serve those who have served us.

Finally, we are working with the counties that have been affected by the gulf petroleum spill. This is a unique disaster; we have never seen anything like it. None of us know how it is going to unfold. Counties along the gulf coast are facing not only terrible economic challenges but because of the economic challenges in their communities, they are facing huge revenue short falls. NACo is working with the state associations in those states and the counties directly to interact with the federal government to try to remediate some of those problems.

Judge Whitley’s agenda for NACo is to raise public awareness for counties; create a stronger presence at the policy table in Washington; create more intergovernmental coordination; and better the focus on immigration, a heart for our veterans, and a hand for the gulf coast counties.

Special Message from U.S. Senator Max Baucus

This letter was read aloud and is attached.

Resolutions & Policy Statements Announcement

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director

In your packets you should have a 2009-2011 draft policy booklet. This is something somewhat new to the association. For those of you who were at Midwinter, we had a discussion about our resolutions and policy statements.  In this document it says “the policies have received the members’ endorsement at the conventions.”  How many of you in the last five years have voted to adopt this? We have been remiss; this has not been brought before the body. The committees would meet and review their policy statements, but the body has not voted on these policies. We would run into a situation where members were not happy with our decision on a certain bill, and then they were surprised when we said that is the policy. They had never seen it. These situations got us thinking that maybe we need to revisit our process.

Secondly, we have probably 60 resolutions right now. I remember 10-15 years ago this body started out with 10 or 12 resolutions. Now look at the legislative packet for the association; it has grown exponentially. This resulted in us—at the capital—trying to carry 50 bills as well as monitor the work of all the committees and bills. With this upcoming session we all know the state fiscal position. We are going to talk about legislation Wednesday afternoon. I urge all of you to be here for that. There are some really scary things coming up in the next 6 months.

Our focus really needs to be on fiscal position of the counties, protecting county funding, and opposing cause-shifting. We are seeing a number of areas where they have proposed to reduce or eliminate funding for programs and services and shift that burden back to you. You will still be required to provide service for your constituencies, but there won’t be any funding to assist you with that.

We looked at old resolutions and are carrying forward a number of resolutions, for example, detention cost. We have had a resolution on the books since 2000 to urge the state to reimburse counties for the detention costs of prisoners for the time frame between conviction and sentencing. We tried four different bills for eight years, and can’t get legislation passed. This session we are not going to bring a bill. We aren’t going after the state for $26 million this time, because we know it’s not going to happen.

What we have discussed with the committees is that if we do not intend to carry a bill, if we do not intend to find a sponsor, work with a drafter, and carry a bill from birth to death, then it should be a policy statement. With the detention costs, we know we are not going to have a bill. The Justice & Public Safety Committee has recommended that we eliminate this particular resolution and place a statement in the policy statement that counties support the state reimbursing that funding.

In the policy statement book—if we start in the font with agriculture—there lines 8-12 are underlined. These are old resolutions that have been placed into the policy statement. It lists the number of the resolution and also the committee that it was assigned to.

So, number 8, MACo supports the de-listing of the grey wolf as an endangered species. We are not going to carry a bill, but we have a policy that should that come up statewide or nationally that we can use as a platform to support that. It used to be Resolution 2004-27, and it was in the Public Lands committee. The committees have decided this should be in the agriculture policy statement. The committees will be reviewing the policy statements this week, and there will be amendments; we already have some. Wednesday afternoon we will present the amendments to you.

The resolutions book is broken into four sections and is color coded. The first section is “Reaffirmed Resolutions.” There is one resolution in this section—Subsequent Hearing—that has been put forth for reaffirmation, because the Land Use Committee did not made a decision on it in February.

After the committee meeting tomorrow, the resolution may go into the policy statement, or it may be get “Do Not Pass” recommendation.

The second section is “Do Pass Resolutions.”  You will notice that some of them are numbered 2010-5b, 2010-19a, 19b, 19c; all of those resolutions have to do with taxation and finance districts.  Our Economic Development Committee will be meeting tomorrow morning. Their discussion from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. will be those five resolutions.  We will have a recommendation on Wednesday from the committee as to what they have decided should be done with these resolutions.

A little further back, there is a green page that says “Do Pass as Amended.” There is only one resolution that has to do with controlling speed limits. The last section has the resolutions that have been incorporated into policy statements.

Resolution 2008-23 (the mail ballot resolution) was carried forward from the last annual meeting; it is based on an interim study bill that came out for a pilot project for mail ballots in which only certain counties could participate. There was another bill that came later in the session, which did not come out of committee. Another bill was introduced for all counties, but this membership did not vote on that. A resolution was brought forward, Resolution 2010-11, that went through committee as a Do Pass with the recommendation to drop the old resolution, bring in the new one, and blend some of the language together. The resolution states that this body will support the option of the counties conducting federal elections by mail ballot. Since the committee meetings there has been a change. Originally, the bill stated that counties had the “option.”  That bill has been withdrawn at the request of the Clerk & Recorders Association. The Secretary of State is meeting with all the stakeholders. As you know, there were a number of opponents to mail balloting, because they were concerned about disenfranchising voters. The Secretary of State has been working with a collaborative group and intends on bringing a consensus bill. It should address everyone’s concerns and help us find a resolve to this election process, where we are doing three elections of once.

The resolutions committee will be amending the resolution to remove the option. The Secretary of State’s Office feels that by making it optional violates the Eco Protection Act; therefore, the legislation coming forward will require that all counties to conduct elections by mail ballot. We need to make a policy decision as to whether your county agrees with that mandate or not.  This will be coming before you on Wednesday afternoon.

There is a view shift in the way we do business, but I think it will make us better if we have the policy statements and resolutions completed in this way. It will give us better guidance as to your wishes and minimize the number of resolutions that are being used against us at the Capitol.

Western Interstate Region (WIR) Board Retreat

Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County

The Annual Retreat for WIR will be Montana from October 12th to October 14th.  The 12th is a travel day; the 13th, thanks to Cascade County, will be a tour day. We are planning to tour the missile site location at Malmstrom Air Force base and then spend the rest of the day at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. We are especially thankful to Joe Briggs, who is on a first-hand basis with Colonel Cotton, who is allowing us on the air force base.  We are also thankful to new Cascade County Commissioner, Jane Weber, who used to run the Interpretive Center and has allowed us an “in” there.

The 14th will be a business day. Any of you that happen to be in Helena are welcome to come. If you are interested in specific topic, you can find the agenda on MACo’s website.

Policy Booklet/Resolutions Discussion

Policy Booklet

Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County:  If you will turn to page four of your policy booklet, there is a section called “Intergovernmental Affairs & Local Determination.” The Resolution Committee recommends that there be a name change and that it be called “Resolutions & Legislative.” This is something else you will be dealing with on Wednesday.

Veteran’s Interment Allowance

Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County:  During the break we had some committee members recommend that we discuss Veteran’s Interment Allowance, under the “Do Not Pass Incorporate into Policy Statement” section of the Policy Booklet. I am going to call on Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County, to discuss this item.  He would like to amend the resolution to drop everything dealing with the State of Montana, and the only thing he would like to leave are the two “Whereas” statements.

Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County:  Our veterans have come to us and asked us to raise the allowance. We felt that $70 for a headstone and $250 interment allowance is not enough, and we can help the veterans out a little more. I would like to see this amended to increase the rules.

Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  Motion made to segregate the resolution. Gary Macdonald seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Interim Study of Interoperability

Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County:  Staff also asked me to discuss the Interoperability resolution (2010-08) in the “Do Pass” section of your program. 

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Motion made to segregate the resolution.  Kathy Bessette seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Mail Ballot Option for Federal Elections

Sandra Broesder, Pondera County:  All of the groups that opposed the mail ballot bill, including the Clerk & Recorder Association as well as Secretary of State Linda McCulloch have formed a board to work together and come up with a good mail ballot bill. I am on this board.  I have to leave Wednesday because we are meeting again on Thursday morning.  Are there any questions from the body regarding this?

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  What is the issue concerning a county having the option to have or not have mail ballot elections?

Sandra Broesder, Pondera County:  It would be illegal and probably cause a lawsuit. For instance, in a house district where it is between Blaine and Hill County, and Hill County did a mail ballot option and Blaine County did a poll election. Hill County might have a wonderful voter turnout and Blaine might have a very poor turnout. The losing candidate could come back and say this was the cause of their loss and it turns into a legal issue. That is why the county option is a problem.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  What is the difference between what we offered last time and the pilot project?

Sandra Broesder, Pondera County:  There was a pilot project and that bill was pulled. Then there was a mail ballot bill and that had the county option in it. Our association does not want to do the pilot project. We want to go through and make a bill.

Allan Underdal, Toole County:  This group that you are in, are they going to support a bill for mail ballots without an option?

Sandra Broesder, Pondera County:  Yes. We also did a poll of all the counties, and the results are that all of the counties are in favor. You will still have the election administration, and with a mail ballot election the ballots are mailed out to all active voters. You would no longer be doing a poll election.  It would make it easier for us, as our problems are at the polls.  The Clerk & Recorders Association, Missoula County, and I talked to other states about their mail ballot process. We would be able to manage the problems that came up on Election Day. Someone with late registration would still be able to vote. They would come to the Clerk & Recorder’s Office, reregister to vote, and then vote. 

The question, “How do you guarantee the person who mailed the ballot has voted?”  It’s the same as with our current absentee ballots. When a person votes, there is an envelope that he/she signs. That signature is the same as their voter registration card.

We’ve also heard comments the polling places being the only place to give a truly secret ballot, as you don’t have anyone that could be telling you how to mark your ballot.  We’ve checked with other states, and they have not had any problems with fraud. We do check the signatures. I think a lot of people were surprised at how well we check the signatures.

Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County:  Does your association ask that we pull the resolution we have?

Sandra Broesder, Pondera County:  No, we would like to remove the county option.

Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County:  Motioned made to segregate the resolution. Allan Underdal seconded the motion.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Exempt Permissive Levies from TIF Distribution & Exempt Group Benefits Levy from TIF Distribution

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I would like to know the thought process behind the bill that would take out our group health insurance and emergency levies?

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director:  Current law requires that you set mill levies.  With the permissive health insurance levy, you have a very strict formula in statute to calculate the increase from the premiums in 1999 to the present. You go through and calculate that permissive amount and levy that against all the taxable properties in the county. The tax bills come in, and the portion that is assessed—the increment of the tip—is pulled out of the permissive health insurance levy and goes to the tip, leaving the permissive levy for money to pay the premium.

Right now we are working with the Department of Administration, and I am going to try to talk to Dan Schwarz, the Deputy County Attorney here in Yellowstone County, because in reading things very closely it appears to me that the statute does not say that you have to use the full value in doing that calculation. If we can have a friendly County Attorney that would say, “No when doing that calculation, you use the taxable value less the increment.” That way you would calculate based on the reduced value. What would happen is the permissive health levy would be kept whole and that incremental value would get their money too.

After Joe Briggs and I attended met in Missoula last week, we agreed to kill both of these resolutions, because the tax and finance people are scared to death to open that statue up. It is going to be real easy for legislators to slip 95 mills in and exempt the 95 mills that the state gets in levies, which would totally destroy taxation and finance. That is one of those deals where we saw the problem and legislatively there is a way of fixing it; however, you need to be careful what you ask for—you may cause a worse wreck as a result. That is why our recommendation is a Do Not Pass.

The reason we did two resolutions is because one of them is just related to permissive health levy and the other would have exempted all the permissive levies, which includes judgment levy and protest and tax levy.

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Last week Harold asked me to join him in Missoula for a meeting on taxation and finance. I hope everyone in the room understands what that translates to. (There is usually a lot of misunderstanding about that.)

At the taxation and finance meeting, we considered the current value of a parcel of land within the TIF district.  All of those funds get distributed between all the different government agencies. We get some, the city gets some, and the state gets a huge chunk (about 25% depending on your county). So all of those funds go where they normally go, but in a TIF district any addition to the property values, which is the increment between what it was when the tax increment was created and what it is today, pay for the infrastructure that helps develop that new tax base. That is the concept; it is a tool that mainly Cities—most counties don’t use this tool often—have used for many years.

Meeting last week with League of Cities and Towns, people from the planning conference that was going on in Missoula, and the TIF administrators from Great Falls, Billings, Missoula, Helena, and Butte-Silver Bow, we found a commonality that is the most important thing to talk about. The resolutions we are working on in my committee are going to establish a broader range of tax increment finance tools for counties. We only have specific ones whereas the City has a more general pallet. The City can’t do anything they are not forbidden to do, and we can only do those things that we are given specific instruction and empowerment to do.

We have a couple of problems; I’ll pick on Pondera County for example.  I don’t know if they are actually doing this, but I’ll use it because it is a smaller county. If you wanted to do a tax increment district for technology operation, you would have to create one type of TIF district that has a defined boundary on the ground. If you also want to do an industrial district, that also has to have a defined boundary. They cannot overlap.

Now in a bigger county, like Cascade or Yellowstone, you could probably put those districts side by side. The question that comes up in smaller communities is, “Why would I want to run two sets of infrastructure? I need these things to overlap so that either a technology company or an industrial company could move into that TIF district.” Those are the kind of changes we are proposing in our resolutions. We want to broaden the TIF district definitions to be any type of business that will classify under the implementation laws. To qualify for TIF, financing can go into the same physical boundaries rather than having a technology district, an industrial district, and an aerospace district.

Remarkably enough, the League of Cities and Towns works on that, which was very surprising, and something that I was happy to hear. The reason they work on this is because in their membership the interest is coming from smaller and smaller communities. The larger cities already have the structure in place and use the TIF and don’t need any new ones. Where they are getting their queries is from the smaller communities where the same issues that impact counties impact them.

We are going to have to support the League of Cities and Towns on that type of legislation.  That’s our goal tomorrow morning with the TIF legislation, to crack those down. Harold told you that we have 5; we want to combine those down into one.

The other big thing is the protection of the 95 mills. Right now we can do a TIF district and you have that increment in there, and all the increment goes to pay for infrastructure. There is a rule for the state to keep its part, which is about 25% of most taxing jurisdictions. If you have to run water and sewer, an internet connection, or whatever is necessary to make the increment grow and make that tax district work, then you lose 25% of revenue right off the top, you either need to extend the bond period or you have to scale back the infrastructure. It’s important that we defend that. Once again that is a common point for Cities and Towns. They won’t assist us in that.

The only problem we have is those two resolutions that MACo staff put forth, and I think we all can agree that technically they are correct.  It would be nice to not have to have that problem of doing the calculation only to find out it does not leave us with enough money to pay the difference on the mill. We are very much afraid of the idea of having to say that the state can’t get out of it, but we can get ourselves out of it. In my committee meeting tomorrow, I am going make a motion that we scrap those two resolutions and seek the administrative route that Harold is already working on.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  Point of order, this is not a business session where we are able to take action on any of the resolutions. This is just a discussion period where we talk about the resolutions. Each of these committees will address their resolutions in their committees meetings Tuesday morning. Then in the general session, all of the resolutions will be discussed and voted on. At that time, it will be appropriate to segregate any resolution for separate action.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  As far as the segregation of resolutions, if we know ahead of time, it would move us along. We are going to have a list of resolutions after this discussion that we want to segregate. I think we can say that we want to segregate these resolutions out. Any member can ask that a resolution be segregated. This will give us a step up, because we will know right off the bat which resolutions are segregated.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  It is very helpful for Staff to know if you intent to segregate a resolution, so they can be prepared.

Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County:  Are there any other resolutions you would like segregated? There appear to be none at the moment.

USDA Rural Development

Matt Jones, Montana State Director for Rural Development

We have about 52 employees in the state of Montana. How many of you know what USDA Rural Development is? We have been to a lot of meeting trying to get the word out about Rural Development. We are probably the single largest economic entity in the state of Montana. USDA Rural Development has supported over $300 million of economic activity in Montana--last year was over $300 million and this year it will be over $300 million. We have existing projects in every county and every reservation in Montana. USDA Rural Development can be put in to 4 categories:

1.  Housing loans:  We have done 1,200 housing loans. We have been the guarantor or the direct lender. There is not a signal county that does not qualify for our programs.

2.  Business loans:  USDA Rural Development guarantees business loans very similar to the small business administration, but we can do much bigger loans.

3.  Utility programs:  A very important part of our program in the state of Montana is waste water projects. Those are for communities with a population under 10,000. We have projects in 14 counties, $133 million in loans, and $110 million in grants.

4.  Community Facilities:  We can do guarantee loans and direct loans and grants for government facilities and government equipment. We are non-profit so we do everything from a county road grader, to a non-profit food bank, day care facilities, health care facilities, and hospitals.

If there is a project going on in your community, please don’t wait to contact us. We want to be involved in the planning process. If our programs are not a good fit, we can refer you to another organization that might be able to help.

We are different from other service agencies; we only have a few offices. There is one in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Missoula, and Kalispell. We also have a small office in Helena. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

General Session - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Special Message from U.S. Senator Jon Tester

This letter was read aloud and is attached.

Call Before You Dig

Michelle Slyder, Montana Utility Coordinating Council & MLGPA

Our goal is to make a system where we can enforce fines and penalties to utilities and excavators that refuse to follow the law to make them safe for everyone.

One of the reasons we structured it like we have—with a committee—is we don’t want create any bureaucracy or any overhead/fees associated with it. We figured a volunteer committee would be the best way to do that with a multi-state representation on that committee. We don’t know where that is going to go at this point.

Also, we need to have an executive director to oversee the program and collect fees and damages and what not. We already have a position that is being paid for through fees and utilities. One question we have is “How are you going to fund an executive director?” The structure is available for us fund the position; therefore, we will not need a fiscal note, assuming we can get the committee structures to do that.

We want everyone on board. This is not a bill that is in there for the gain of one group or another. Please provide us with comments or concerns. We are going to do the best job we can to put the best bill we can on the table.

We have made no changes to the exemption law for the counties. With what went on just recently in California with the big explosion, there is legislation in Washington D.C. to make states safe. We would like to get the bill through this year, and then if we have to deal with that we will.

Also, Counties are in the excavating business. It might be grading roads, digging out culverts, etc. I sincerely hope that Commissioner Ostlund and Mr. Blattie are involved with the legislation and comment period, because it affects all of us.

One other thing I would like to explain is this committee structure. There are positions on the board for a county, a city, and an excavator position. There are also floating positions on the committee.

General Session - Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Creating a Climate for Economic Prosperity

Dore Schwinden, Director, Department of Commerce

The Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP) is a competitive grant program in which applications from local governments are ranked according to statutory criteria. The projects are ranked as follows:  the degree of threat to the public health and safety; the applicants’ relative financial needs; and the soundness of the technical design of the project.

TSEP has partnered with hundreds of Montana communities to provide critical infrastructure projects. Local communities rely on TSEP funds and federal funds to complete projects.

Governor Schweitzer challenged me to find ways to increase our efficiency to better serve Montana’s tax payers.  I’m committed to streamlining the operations of our agency and improving the efficiency of our programs. You are our customer and I’m seeking your guidance. Help us energize Montana’s economy. Help us make government work for you and our communities.

Department of Labor:  Workers’ Compensation Reform

Diana Ferriter, Workers’ Compensation Claims Assistance Bureau Chief

I’m pleased to be here and talk with you about the efforts that the Labor Management Advisory Council on Workers’ Compensation has made over the past years and to give you some highlights of proposals that they have recommended to the Economic Affairs Interim Committee; the committee has endorsed their recommendations and drafted legislation. I also invited one of our advisory council members to participate and help answer questions; Annett Hoffman is in the Workers’ Compensation program with St. Vincent’s Health Care here in Billings.

I am going to discuss some of the cost drivers that the Department and Advisory Council have studied, and why employers are experience high premiums. Because of said factors, the department formed a Labor Management Advisory Council.  The council is made up of Labor and Management Representatives.  Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger chairs the council. The reason it consist only of employee and employer Representatives is because the original Workers’ Compensation law was a compromise between Labor and Management.

The goals of the Advisory Council include making sure that Montana employers are competitive with neighboring states so that we can keep jobs in Montana. The other goal is to protect our workers from being injured.

I am going to discuss our high premiums. The Labor Board’s concerns are that they have low benefits. Our studies show that Montana’s benefits are average among the nation. The Oregon Office of Consumer and Business Affairs completes a study every 2 years. It is considered a national benchmark for states to compare premiums. In 2006 Montana ranked 5th highest premiums in the nation. In 2008 we became 2nd. In the next couple weeks they are going to be issuing their report for 2010. We are now number 1.

The department contracted with the Worker’s Compensation Research Institute. We asked them to prepare an administrative inventory in Montana. They identified four major cost drivers.

First is frequency of claims, Montana has the highest incident rate in the nation. It’s about 50% above the national average. If we could bring our incident rate down to the national average, we could save $140 million a year.

The second is the duration that injured workers are off work. We are discovering that we have to work with medical providers and educate them that even if someone is injured, they probably still have some abilities. If the employers could accommodate those, then it’s in the best interest to everyone to return those workers to work.

We have sky-rocketing medical costs. What that means to Montana for the workers’ compensation system is that $.72 of every benefit dollar goes to medical costs/medical providers.

The fourth cost driver is Montana has more open claims—that last longer—than other states. When someone has an occupational disease, currently, their claim is open forever.  Most other states have some kind of statutory closure period. The LMAC is trying to address the closure of claims.

So what has been happening to adjust the frequency of claims? The LMAC authorized Work Safe Montana, which is a public-private partnership that is designed to start educating Montanans, making them aware of our high incident rate, what injuries do, and what harm they do to a worker and the impact to employers.

One solution is to support Work Safe Montana. It is also important to note that Work Safe Montana and this department are doing everything they can to bring the awareness of the need to reduce and prevent injuries in Montana.

Two years ago we held what was called 60 Summits in Montana. Some of you may have been able to participate, as it was held in various locations in Montana. The purpose was to promote the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Guidelines for stay-at-work/return-to-work. They have published guideline to help employers understand that not all injuries result in the need for being away from work; if a worker can’t perform his/her regular job; maybe he/she can do modified work. Work Safe Montana has established a stay-at-work/return-to-work committee that is trying to bring awareness to how important it is for employers to modify jobs.

Now I’ll talk about the legislative package. There is currently a bill draft that is sponsored by Representative Chuck Hunter that has full support from the Economic Committee. I will summarize some of the proposals. For the duration issue and trying to reduce the number of days a worker is off work, Section 1- 13 of the bill draft focuses on return-to-work from the first day of the injury to the close of the claim. There is going to be a change in the emphasis of using vocational rehabilitation providers, who are not waiting until the medical doctor has determined if the injured worker has reached that need.

Another change in these sections of the bill talks about when a worker receives Total Temporary Disability (TTD) benefits or Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits. Currently, there is a huge process.  A vocational rehabilitation provider has to do a lot of work with a medical provider before we can terminate these TTD benefits. This adjusts the criteria for when we can terminate these benefits. If someone returns to work, these benefits are terminated right away; if they reach maximum medical improvement, and they have an impairment rating of 0 or greater, then 0 these benefits can be terminated.

We are also going to try to address some of the changes of benefit structure, and these are the sections of the law that have to do with Payment of Permanent Partial Disability. We are changing the formula on how those benefits are calculated. It removes a necessity for vocational rehabilitation at that point. It also removes some major friction points that cause litigation. We hope these changes help the worker decide that he/she can go back to work, maybe not doing the same job as before, but doing something.

Section 28 deals with some of the medical costs, which required the department to establish treatment guidelines. In order to do that we formed a medical provider group that was made up of 14 divisions across Montana that deal with workers’ compensation. We have found that in other states, workers who are treated based on guidelines get back to work sooner.

We have entered into a contract with American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) to blend their guidelines with the Colorado guidelines, so we have comprehensive guidelines to cover all medical procedures.  We will also prepare a web tool so that anyone can access the guidelines and see what the best treatment for a condition is.

The other proposal recommendation from LMAC was the department’s fee schedule, the level of reimbursement to medical provides for treating injured workers. We are proposing that it be 150% of the Medicare rate. This has brought a lot of opposition from medical providers. Because of that opposition, Representative Hunter is setting up some meeting with representatives from LMAC, the Montana Hospital Association, and the Montana Medical Association to see if we can reach a payment level that is acceptable to them.

Section 14 deals mainly with claim closure. What it proposes is a statutory closure. If an injured worker has not received any medical benefits or wage loss benefits on their claim for a period of three years, by law, that claim is closed. Then there is a two year window after the closure that if the worker can prove they are having continuing problems, and it’s resulting from their injury, then it can be reopened.

In the past there have been issues over clarifying course and scope in employment when someone was injured during a recreational event that the employer sponsors or if someone is injured on a paid break, and they leave the premises. There was a bill introduced during the 2009 session that helped clarify that and indicated that if you are injured in a recreational activity, it is only compensable under the work comp law if they employer asked you to do some specific task related to that event. If you are just there—you were invited and were participating—then it is not covered. Regarding paid breaks, if you are injured off the premises, and you are only performing personal activities, it is not covered. That bill passed the 2009 session but was vetoed by the Governor. The LMAC looked at the bill and came up with some language that was acceptable to both Labor and Management.

Currently, future medical benefits, when someone settles their wage loss benefits, their future medical benefits are always reserved.  This means they can go in forever, unless there is a dispute over if the future medical is related to the injury or if there is conflicting medical information about their need. The new draft language allows the settlement of future medical benefits, if the parties agree. There are some criteria. It is going to make it easier for employers and employees to settle out benefits and close claims.

There were some requests of Labor for improved benefits. The Advisory Council members worked out a compromise on these issues. Currently the law requires the insurance company to accept or deny a claim within 30 days. That could mean it could take 6 weeks before an injured worker gets any benefits. Labor requested that be shortened to 21 days. Currently there is a 4-day waiting period, meaning that when someone is injured, he/she does not get paid for the first 4 days. They may get paid by their employer if they have vacation for sick leave. The language allows for retroactive payment of those days if the time off work goes past those 21 days. If the employer has already paid vacation or sick leave for those days, there is language in there to help the employer get their leave payments.

There are a lot of cases where only the few involved in the claim have to do with medical treatment. A lot of those disputes go to mediation and then Workers’ Compensation court. When that happens many times its hard for injured workers to find an attorney. Attorneys spent a lot of time working on these disputes. Then when they go to court, the court says, “Yes Insurer, you should have paid these medical benefits. We are ordering you to pay them.” Currently the parties that end up paying for these are the medical providers. These sections of the proposed bill states that if a worker has to hire an attorney to go to court to get those benefits and they prevail, the insurance company has to pay the attorney fee for the amount of the award.

Then for Permanent Partial Disability benefits, no worker earns more than 50% of the state average weekly wage. That is about $306. If you have a high-wage worker, and he/she has a Permanent Partial Disability and hasn’t returned to work, then their benefit is capped. Labor was concerned that most workers can’t live on that amount. They have agreed that by July 1, 2011, the cap will be raised to 75% of the average weekly wage. There was an agreement that they would add some language to this proposal that they have some delay improvements that would begin on July 1, 2013. The number of weeks of permanent partial disability award would change from the current 375 weeks to 400 weeks. The reason these are delayed improvements is because the LMAC agreed if they delayed, it would give the Legislature 2 years of experience to see if the estimated cost savings would really result in the estimation given. If not, the Legislature would have a say in whether to make those improvements.

As far as incident rate, local government isn’t doing any better than private industry. One of the interesting statistics from the Labor statistics is that when we talk about incident rates people thought it had to do with our industry, our high hazardous industry. When we looked at those we saw health care and education were higher than national standards.

The difference between plan 1, 2 and 3 are as follows:

  • Plan 1:  Self-insured employers/large employers that can pool their own premium and pay their own workers’ compensation benefits. They can apply to the department to be approved to do so.
  • Plan 2:  Private insurance companies. If any employer applies to them for coverage, they can choose to deny coverage for that employer.
  • Plan 3:  Montana State Fund, a quasi-governmental agency. They have to provide coverage to any employer that applies to them. They can’t deny coverage unless there is some outstanding premium.

We have the Montana Safety Culture Act which requires all employers to have a safety program. The department has a Safety and Health Bureau; they only have the authority to enforce safety in public entities.

Overall, these proposals could save as much as $240 million for the cost to employers.

Department of Revenue

Dan Bucks, Director

The department of revenue feels very strongly about our responsibility to serve all of our citizens, as well as local governments.

I want to begin by introducing Ed Caplis. He is the Director of Tax Policy Research and is here to answer any questions on newly taxable property.

In a reappraisal year, the Legislature allows us to relax dates. In the spring of 2009 we committed to county and city and school districts that we would certify values, but it would be late by about three weeks. We would make it by the end of August. I didn’t realize at the time that Harold Blattie told me he always doubted that time (the pledge of the end of August), and if he had talked to me in late July I would have probably joined him in skepticism. Because the then administrator of the PropertyAssessment Division came to me and said they would get it done by mid-November. And I said, “No, we will get it done by the date we promised.) We finished 95% of the job by the end of August. That was easy for me to stand firm and say we are going to keep that pledge. It was hard for the Property Assessment Division and the Tax Policy Research staff to keep that promise.

This year is not a reappraisal year.  Every county but three was delivered on the due date, then there were two counties delivered the next morning, and the last one was delivered in the afternoon.

Another bit of good news is that the certified values increased by 2.9% last year, which is a little less than the average since 2005. The average has been about 4%. That is a dramatic pace for growth in certified values. The certified value before 2005 was pretty much flat. They grew at a tenth of a percent a year between 1995 and 2005.

Speaking of certification of values, there was a bill that was studied by the Interim Education and Local Government Committee that is well-intentioned, but right now it’s leading in the wrong direction. In its current form it won’t work. It won’t work for the tax payers; it risks all the tax bills, delays tax bills, and delays collections for local government, as it reduces tax flow. Some people think it’s just the Department of Revenue fussing around about this. The Department of Revenue will survive the problems, and we will survive the criticism. The real concern is the tax payers of Montana and all of you as local governments.

What is this bill? This bill is one that adjusts all of the budgeting bits to fit the changes of certified value dates that have occurred in 2003. I wasn’t here in 2003 but I understand the history. The department sought those changes in 2003, because we were certifying part of the values in July and the rest in August. The department went to the Legislature. We would do the process twice, and double the work. In the 2003 Legislature all of if got moved to August, which is when the final numbers were coming out. Some local governments were willing to work on the preliminary numbers, and others waited for the final numbers.

The problem is that it moved back a bunch of the budget process. For the schools the date set in law didn’t work with the certification value. They argue that the current certification date doesn’t work with their budget requirements. What the bill does is give the time period after the budget is set when the department of revenue gathers all the levy information and the special assessment and fee information from the Clerk and Recorder and puts it into the individual tax billing information. Some people don’t realize this, but the Department of Revenue calculates every tax bill for every property tax payment. We provide that information on a schedule to the County Treasurers. They depend on us for that information.  They then import the information and process it through the local county system. After they process it, they send the bills out.

We understand that we need to squeeze the amount of time that we take to do that work. We are willing to virtually cut our time in half, if we can be guaranteed that we have all the levy information on the due date. Much of our time is spent waiting for delayed information, working with the local officials to sort out and double check the information then move it back and forth and make sure it’s correct.

The problem is there are over 1000 local government jurisdictions. This is a complex operation requiring lots of calculations in the Department of Revenue’s computers and a lot of manual double-checking with the counties.

Working with the committee that Kathy Bassett Chairs, we came up with a suggestion for the Education and Local Government Committee. The idea is that the County Commissioners be empowered to submit according to a definite formula. One district can hold up an entire county. The idea is if a district does not have their information to the county on time, the County Commission would be authorized to submit the prior year’s budget less some modest amount.  That would get their attention. We would get the number, and the formula would be calculated, so you wouldn’t be using digression. That way there is some accountability for all of the thousands of districts.

On October 13, Commissioner Bessette’s advisory group is going to meet to discuss this issue. We were unsuccessful in convincing the Education and Local Government Committee that this was necessary. We made the point that it is not about us; we don’t want to make mistakes on the billing information that we give to the County Treasurers, and they don’t want us to make mistakes. Tax payers deserve to have accurate tax bills the first time. If we are waiting for counties and trying to correct mistakes, we don’t want to delay the information to the County Treasures and miss the regular cycle for November payments.

The bill well-intentioned and it is needed. The Department of Revenue is willing to cut its time in half; we just need a little help. The help we need is some kind of mechanism that guarantees that in this schedule we get the information on time.

Here is the ugly part: Some of you may have received the reports about your county classification and bonding numbers for 2009. This is not your tax base; this is the classification number. We are all acquainted with Montana boom and bust cycles. A number of Oil and Natural Gas Counties have seen their numbers decline dramatically. Part of the problem here is timing. The calendar year 2009 was a tough year. When you spread that over 2 fiscal years the declines are not the same. What’s the culprit here? It is the drop in the price of natural gas. 2008 was a record year at $7.36 per MCF. The year before, it was $5.64. In 2009 the average price fell from $7.36 to $3.07. The good news is the average has bounced back in 2010; right now the average is over $4.27.

Oil followed a similar pattern. Oil spiked, in 2007 to $64 a barrel; in 2008 the average was almost $90. In 2009 it declined to $52.61, but it has bounced back. The cause in the natural gas market is the revival of large production in the Eastern part of United States. What has caused this is the adaptation of the new technology.  There is some bounce back this year. We expect some improvement in the near future, but that improvement will not be as strong as the original rise.

You know that under this administration and the current leadership of the Department of Revenue, we have worked very hard to ensure that all parts of our economy pay a fair share of what should be paid. In the property tax realm, we have been willing to defend centrally-assessed and industrial values that we think are fair. We have been willing to defend those in court. Asking everyone to pay their fair share h as also meant asking out-of-state individuals who come here and use our services to earn income. In 2002 the Department of Revenue produced only $20 million in audit revenues. This last year we were just $900,000 short of hitting $80 million—almost 4 times as much. You might wonder what this has to do with you in local government. You all understand that it is better as a local government to have a state government with a good general fund.

How to Effectively Communicate with Legislators from Home: Before and During the Session with Ronda Wiggers, Lobbyist, Senator Dan McGee, and Senator Kim Gillan

Ronda Wiggers

MACo is co-sponsoring an Exempt Well Workshop for ground water that is going to be in the middle of October. Some of you are registered. It is with the National Water Systems Council. They asked MACo to be one of the local sponsors. They gave us 10 scholarships to give out to County Commissioners. There is a $50 registration fee. The way those will be given out is the next 10 counties to be funded by Montana Bureau of Ground Water Study. If you are not going to use that, let me know so I can offer it to other counties.

There are two ways to get your information heard by public officials. You can come from out of state and bring a briefcase, or you can build relationships with people. As County Commissioners I think you know that if someone comes into one of your meetings who you have never seen before, and they offer testimony that doesn’t match what other people are saying, it’s hard for you to give that testimony any reference. You have to build those relationships not only when you need something but from the beginning. Ideally you should have already met with all your legislative candidates, but in really large counties I have noticed that Commissioners and County Treasures don’t go to those meetings. They are running a campaign outside of what we are running for legislative campaigns. Two different committees and they don’t seem to cross paths.

On the opposite side, in eastern Montana you may have one legislator for five counties. It’s really important to meet with those people before the session. They are swamped once they get elected. The day after they get elected they start getting into all kinds of things state-wide. You need to pick up the phone and visit with them.

One bad assumption is that your legislators know what you want. You have to help them really know what the issues are. Let them know what the most important things are. Tell them how many jobs you lost, what programs you need—tell them why. Give them some speaking points. Make sure they are factual. There is nothing worse than giving legislators information that can be proven wrong on the floor. They will never use your information again. We all make mistakes, so when you do, speak up.

When you go to visit legislators—the same as when you are making a sells pitch—offer to buy them dinner, and they will be willing to visit with you. Build a relationship with that legislator. Take them around and introduce them to people. While you are talking to them, find out how they want to be contacted in Helena; every one of them has a different method. Some of them like to be emailed and will check their email daily.  There are other legislators who want you to call them on their cell phones. Also let them know how to contact you, because they get information in Helena that they may need to verify at home. Please do not give them your office phone number only. They go in at 7:30 a.m. and they are on the floor until 5:30 at night. They need to call you in the evenings.

When you are talking to them about MACo’s policy, if you can work into the conversation how we make decisions at MACo that is not a bad thing. There are 56 counties with elected officials in them. Some of them may come up with ideas that are a little bit different than what MACo is going to vote on today. When the legislators are in Helena, it’s a tough spot to be when Harold is standing up there saying this is MACo’s position, and I come in and say that the Treasures agree with MACo, and then someone else comes in behind and says the Clerk and Recorders are on with MACo, but then someone says, “My County Commissioner called and that is not what they said MACo’s position is.” It happens every session. If you can talk about how we all bring our ideas to the convention and we hash them out and then vote on them, and the things that get the majority vote are brought to the Legislature. Then when a Commissioner picks up the phone and says, “This is MACo’s position,” and the senator says, “Did this go through MACo? Did you make a resolution?” Then they have a little more clarity.

During session do not send long letters. They don’t have time to read them. Also do not call and say, “Vote ‘no’ on House Bill 642.” They don’t know if you have read it, and they don’t know if you know what they are voting on. Those phone calls are only used to irritate. Know a little bit about the bill and don’t leave them a term paper.

When the session ends, please continue to speak to these people. Not speaking to them will undo everything you have done. Talk to them, keep them included. Bring them in on issues that you think the Legislature will be able to help the county with. Say thank you. Think about how nice it would be if someone said thank you for all the work you do.

Senator Kim Gillan

I want to add to what Ronda said. I would like to reinforce what she said about starting early and starting a relationship now. Then you can have a better understanding about where that person is coming from. We are not always going to agree on everything.

I am going to touch on contacting legislators through the state website. I think that it is okay, but I it is likely more worthwhile to make a contact with your legislator—either one of the two House members and/or the Senator—in advance to see if they are going to be using a state email or in my case their own. The challenge about a state email address is that all that information is public. Some legislators prefer to use their own email that way they don’t really have to monitor how they respond. The other challenge is, you get emails about 10 minutes after you’ve already voted. If it’s a couple days in advance, it’s okay to use the website. The other thing is to find out—before people go to Helena—the best way to stay involved. Most legislators these days have blackberries. For some of them, texting might be a key way to do it. Most people take computers on the floor now, because there is a big push for paperless activities, which means they can check their email.

Concerning term limits, good or bad, whether you agree or disagree, we are losing some excellent expertise. Senator McGee probably knows more about subdivisions and flagging and surveying than anyone else. Senator Kelly Denhart has termed out. He was a former County Commissioner. I was on two committees with him:  Senate Tax and Senate Local Government. We have Harold and Ronda and the other people to help us but among our own ranks, I just wonder who is going to know about local government. I think that is why it is important to have a conversation before the session. It takes a lot of time to absorb the information. We are fortunate in Yellowstone County, because right after the election, starting on Monday 6:30 a.m., the whole delegation, regardless of party affiliation, starts meeting. We have people come in to talk to us for about 20 minutes. These discussions help us firm up the details and understand what some of the major concerns are.

The other challenge is that MACo only has two official lobbyists, and there are 150 of us running in 100 different directions. That is why you have to take ownership of your own county issues. They can’t do it all. Related to that, Ronda made a reference to House Bill 124; I don’t think there are very many people left at the Legislature who even know what House Bill 124 is. Not because they are stupid, but because the House turns over 30% every session. You would be hard pressed to find people who present in 2001, when House Bill 124 came up. If you are concerned about something, say what the common title is. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a message that says, “Vote ‘no’ on Senate Bill 222,” if you haven’t been on that committee.  Unless it’s a marquee bill, chances are a legislator is not going to know a lot about that bill.

The other things is, I know these are strong issues, and we all feel very strong about them, but try to watch the tone of your email. I think we all get along well, but by the end of the session there is enough anger out there, that it doesn’t do any good for you to throw a grenade. Be mindful of what you say in an email or phone call.

When leaving a message, just leave a 30-second snippet as to what your concern is. The reason I say this is because we get a lot of phone calls. I think the biggest challenge for us is the urban/rural divide. That is where you are going to have some major issues in local government. Most of us aren’t really sure what is going to be happening in the budget. Also, if you are up there, even if you don’t have an item on your agenda that you want to talk to your legislator about, talk to them.  Some of the legislators don’t get to go home on the weekends, and it’s really nice when someone from your home town stops by to say hi. Sometimes I think we get overwhelmed with the politics of the situation, and it’s nice to know that once the session ends there is life beyond the craziness of those 90 days.

I don’t have much more to add. The challenge is there are some people who don’t understand local governments. Your challenge is to make sure they get a better understanding.

Senator Dan McGee

One thing Senator Gillan was talking about that I would like to touch on is that you need to get to know your legislator. For example, a phone call and a message is the best way to get a hold of me. On marquee-type legislation, you can sometimes get 400 emails a day. There is no way to read through 400 emails. For me, the personal phone calls that I get from my County Commissioners—or from any Commissioners—are important because I don’t always know the situation in other counties. Those things are very precious for a guy like me. I encourage you to pick up the phone and leave a message.

I am going to bring one issue back to your attention:  the Public Defender Act. When we tried to do the Public Defender Act, we worked long and hard trying to create a system that would provide adequate defensive council throughout the state. Over the last four years, some of our vision was met; although, some things have gotten high jacked, confused, and off track. We were told by an attorney to not put an attorney in charge. That is exactly what we did. Attorneys are great at what they do, but this isn’t one of those things. If I had it to do over again, there would be training all over the state. It took us 3 years to put the bill draft together, so I don’t know how long it will take to fix it. I would not be surprised if it comes back to you. I don’t know how to change the direction it has taken.

We are a Citizen Legislature. We all have jobs. There is no way for us to know everything about every issue that is going to come up. If my commissioners call and tell me that an issue should go this direction and the other commissioners say that should go in the other direction, it is still good that I hear from them. If I don’t hear from them, I will never get that perspective. I served in three senate committees and those are the ones I hear about. Don’t only target the people in the committee; look at the other people as well.

Questions/Comments

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director:  Every legislator cannot possibly know about all of the bills. So they have to trust someone. They have to rely upon someone. A lot of legislators, when they don’t know anything about a bill, they have another member in that house who they know has some knowledge, and they trust their judgment and will follow their lead in the vote. Don’t ever criticize a Legislator for doing that. It is impossible to understand every bill.

Senator Dan McGee:  Let me just say something about this man right here (Harold Blattie). I knew this man before I was a legislator and when he was a County Commissioner. He was an okay guy then. He is still a great guy. I don’t know what we would have done over the last couple years without Harold.

Here, is how I test a lobbyist, I ask them the other side. If I get a straight answer from that person, I know that wherever their argument is coming from I am much more attuned to that position. If they try to lie to me or diminish what it is that the other side is trying to say, then I am go into skeptic mode; the chances of me listening to them are pretty slim.

Maureen Davey, Stillwater County:  What is the best way to send a message to a committee if you don’t have your local legislator on that committee?

Senator Dan McGee:  My suggestion would be to contact the committee secretary.

Ronda Wiggers:  The answer to that question is prep work. You need to know what committees; you need to be in ahead of time. Contact Harold or Sheryl ahead of time, because part of what you pay us to do is know the contact information for everybody in local government.

Senator Kim Gillan:  Let’s say that a county doesn’t have someone that represents them on a specific committee, tax for example.  Talk to your Senator or Representative and say that there is a tax bill coming up, and ask if he/she knows anyone on the Tax Committee.  Ask if he/she would you go over and speak with them, and sometimes a he/she will.

Jim Reno, Yellowstone County:  When do you like to be left alone?

Senator Dan McGee:  When I come home for break. There is just enough of me left to crawl into bed and lay down for three days, then get back in the car and drive back to Helena. Some people are more energized; you just need to get to know your person.

Closing General Session

Roll Call

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, Fiscal Officer

After Roll call was taken, Cynthia Johnson announced a quorum was present to conduct business.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, President

Is there any unfinished business? Seeing none, we will move on.

Resolution of Appreciation

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, President

Whereas, the 2010 Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties 101st such meeting; and

Whereas, attendance of member counties marks its success; and

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

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the 101st Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties expresses its sincere appreciation for the sponsorship of this conference to the Yellowstone County Commissioners, Stillwater County Commissioners, Carbon County Commissioners, Musselshell County Commissioners, and spouses and staff including:

  • James & Peg Reno
  • William & Mary Kennedy
  • John & Kristie Ostlund
  • Mike & Cheri Kilby
  • Sue Olson
  • Larry & Karen Lekse
  • John & Carla Prinkki
  • David & Sherry Davidson
  • Doug & Roxanne Tucker
  • Maureen & Mike Davey
  • Dennis & Cathy Hoyem
  • Dennis Shupak

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

Election of Officers

Past President

Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County:  The nomination committee puts forth the nomination for MACo Past President Carl Seilstad. Are there any other nominations? Nominations have been closed.

A motion was made by Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County, seconded by Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, and passed by unanimous consent to elect Carl Seilstad as MACo Past President.

President

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  I would like to open the nominations up for office of MACo President. The nomination committee puts forth the nomination of John Ostlund for MACo President. Are there any other nominations? Nominations have been closed.

A motion was made by John Prinkki, Carbon County, seconded by Marty Malone, Park County, and passed by unanimous consent to elect John Ostlund as MACo President.

1st Vice President

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  I would like to open the nominations up for office of MACo 1st Vice President. The nomination committee puts forth the nomination of Connie Eissinger for MACo 1st Vice President. Are there any other nominations? Nominations have been closed.

A motion was made by Troy Blunt, Phillips County, seconded by John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, and passed by unanimous consent to elect Connie Eissinger as MACo 1st Vice President.

2nd Vice President

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  I would like to open the nominations up for office of MACo 2nd Vice President. The nomination committee puts forth the nomination of Greg Chilcott for MACo 2nd Vice President. Are there any other nominations? Nominations have been closed.

A motion was made by Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, seconded by Daniel Watson, Rosebud County, and passed by unanimous consent to elect Greg Chilcott as MACo 2nd Vice President.

2012 Conference Location

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Cascade County has been nominated for the 2012 Annual Conference location. Are there any other nominations? Nominations have been closed. 

A motion was made by Allan Underdal, Toole County, seconded by Maureen Davey, Stillwater County, and passed by unanimous consent.

Resolutions

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director

On the front of the resolutions packet is a sheet.  On this sheet we have categorized the resolutions based on the recommendations from the committee chairs. The first section contains those resolutions that have been brought to you as “Do Not Pass”:

  • 2008-20, Inmate Medical
  • 2008-23, Mail Ballot Elections
  • 2008-38, Technology Districts

The second block includes resolutions that have been recommended as “Do Not Pass, Incorporate into Policy Statement”:

  • 2000-25, Detention Cost – This resolution has been incorporated into the Justice & Public Safety Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2004-15, Equitable PILT Distribution – This resolution has been incorporated into the Public Lands Committee Policy Statement
  • 2004-27, Delisting the Gray Wolf in Montana – This resolution has been incorporated into the Agriculture Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2006-07, Exempt Threshold for Solid Waste Site – This resolution has been incorporated into the Health & Human Services Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2006-14, Summer Youth Employment – This resolution has been incorporated into the Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2007-01, FSA Office Closure – This resolution has been incorporated into the Agriculture Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2007-02, Montana “Split-State” – This resolution has been incorporated into the Agriculture Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2007-04, Noxious Weeds on DNCR Lands – This resolution has been incorporated into the Public Lands committee policy statement.
  • 2007-05, Wilderness Study Area – This resolution has been incorporated into the Public Lands committee policy statement.
  • 2008-02, Aging Services Funding – This resolution has been incorporated into the Health & Human Services Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-04, Bison Management – This resolution has been incorporated into the Agriculture Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-05, Buffer Zone – This resolution has been incorporated into the Agriculture Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-06, Chemical Dependency Funding – This resolution has been incorporated into the Health & Human Services Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-08, Clean Water Restoration Act – This resolution has been incorporated into the Public Lands Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-12, DEQ Permitting – This resolution has been incorporated into the Energy Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-13, Drug Testing – This resolution has been incorporated into the Justice & Public Safety Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-14, Election Funding – This resolution has been incorporated into the Tax, Finance & Budget Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-18, Food Service Inspection Fee – This resolution has been incorporated into the Health & Human Services Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-19, Impact Fees – This resolution has been incorporated into the Tax, Finance & Budget Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-34, State PILT – This resolution has been incorporated into the Tax, Finance & Budget Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-35, Statewide Cost Allocation Plan – This resolution has been incorporated into the Community Economic Development & Labor Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-39, Wind Farm & Turbine Permitting – This resolution has been incorporated into the Energy Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2008-40, Youth Detention Funding – This resolution has been incorporated into the Justice  & Public Safety Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2009-01, Grazing on the CMR – This resolution has been incorporated into the Public Lands Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2009-02, Climate Change – This resolution has been incorporated into the Public Lands Committee Policy Statement.
  • 2010-XX, Local Public Health Department Accreditation – This resolution has been incorporated into the Health & Human Services Committee Policy Statement.

At the bottom of the are the resolutions that have been recommended as “Do Pass”:

  • 2010-07, Historic road right of way deed purchase extension has a do pass recommendation.
  • 2010-10, Limits use of county roads/right of way has a do pass recommendation.
  • 2010-12, Military affected area has a do pass recommendation.
  • 2010-13, Mobile home disposal has a do pass recommendation.
  • 2010-14, Movement of bison across county lines has a do pass recommendation.
  • 2010-15, Municipal incorporation has a do pass recommendation.
  • 2010-21, Zoning definition & clarity has a do pass recommendation.

The second page includes resolutions that have been segregated.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Motioned made to segregate Resolution 2010-21.  Motion seconded by Steve White, Gallatin County. With no other discussion, the motion passed unanimously.

Leslie Robinson, Phillips County:  Motioned made to approve the front page except for Resolution 2010-21, which was just segregated. Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  Motion made to segregate Resolution 2010-21 as well as those Resolutions segregated by earlier recommendation. Tom Rice, Beaverhead County, seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous consent.

2010-21, Zoning Definition & Clarity

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  This is a resolution we brought forth in regard to a recent Supreme Court decision that went against Cascade County in terms of zoning. We created an industrial zone area out in an agricultural zoned district. In the process of doing that, we went through all the procedures. We did not receive any challenges on the procedures. We went to district court, and it ruled that we were correct in our zoning. Then it went to the Supreme Court where it was a 4-3 decision. The Supreme Court overruled us. The basis of the overruling was “spot zoning.” This is an old section of land; this is not 40 or 60 acres; this is an entire section of land. In their decision they sited that it was surrounded on three sides by agricultural property; therefore, the inclusion of an industrial area was incongruent with the existing land use.

I think most of us would have trouble ever doing anything in our counties that wasn’t surrounded on three sides by agricultural property. The courts did not specifically mention that it was industrial, just that the land use was different and incompatible with the surrounding property. There is concern that this ruling means that you cannot only create industrial areas within agricultural, but you can’t change agricultural into anything. The problem is “flat zoning,” which is a term that has been derived by the courts, not by the Legislature.  If you look for that phrase in the Montana Code Annotated, you won’t find it. The court of the last few years has been through a series of decisions justifying what their definition is. There is no consistency in it. This is one of those deals where if you have 7 attorneys in the same room to discuss this issue, you get 9 different opinions, because two of them won’t even agree with themselves. We all agree that the best place for these decisions is to be made in county government; however, the courts have taken this on. The only remedy is to have the Legislature step in and place some definitions on it. The purpose of this resolution is to call for that, Legislation that will allow the elected officials to create some boundaries in what can and cannot be determined. Until then every zoning decision you make will be subject to the interpretation of judges. We went before 8 judges; 4 said we were right; 4 said we were wrong. The 4 who said we were wrong were at the Supreme Court level. The end project was the project had to be heavily modified. We were ordered to rescind the summary.  We really can’t alter zoning because of any situation where someone objects and is willing to take it to court; we will lose.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  We don’t have a lot of zoning in Missoula. The thinking is what will happen there in the future. It will probably be mixed use. I understand that in Cascade County they were looking at a square mile. I’m not looking at that at all; I’m looking at smaller. I’m just afraid that having them define parameters associated with it and saying the size of that portion would limit Missoula County in the future.

Motion made to amend:

Remove the last phrase in the last paragraph “…define spot parameters associated with the term “spot” zoning.” 

Gail Vennes, Broadwater County, seconded the motion.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  I have some concerns about that language. This is a very broad resolution. We are voting on a resolution to vote on the size, but we might have different ideas of what the size should be. For that reason maybe that language shouldn’t be in there. I think spot zoning is like herding cats; it’s a situation where the courts have made a lot of different decisions. I’m concerned that even if it’s put in to the statute, it could be challenged again.

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  I would ask you to vote against the motion to modify the resolution, at the risk of making a bad joke; size does matter. That is the given basis of what spot zoning is. If we don’t address the size issue, if we don’t put some parameters in place, then the sky is the limit. I ask that you vote against the amendment.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  Being painfully aware of the issue in Cascade County for all the reasons Joe Briggs just stated, I also would not support the motion to amend the resolution. The Supreme Court made a decision, whether you agree with it or not; it turned 30 years of previous Supreme Court decisions right on their heads. I think it’s appropriate to make this effort to allow the Legislature the opportunity to address the issue that is fading to the Supreme Court. I support Cascade County’s resolution.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County: With no further discussion the motion fails with only 5 aye votes.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 2010-21. Daniel Watson, Rosebud County, seconded the motion.

Joe Brenneman, Flathead County:  I have concerns about a very specific issue here. I sympathize with Cascade County, but I wonder if they chose the best option available? We have found the definition defined by the courts to work to our benefit in Flathead County. I see this as muddying the waters.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County: With no further discussion, the motion carries by a majority vote.

2006-37, Presumptive Eligibility

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2006-37 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Not Pass. It was referred to the Health & Human Services Committee; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into the Policy Statement.

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  The Health & Human Services Committee made its recommendation, because the presumptive eligibility is a tool that our committee felt we need to preserve, and that by putting it into the policy statement, MACo would be saying that we support this and want it to continue if money is available. 

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  Motion made to approve Resolution 2006-37 as a Do Not Pass, Incorporate into Policy Statement.  Tony Berget, Lincoln County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County: With no further discussion, the motion carries by unanimous consent.

2008-07 Clarifying 76-3-511 MCA

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2009-07 comes before you segregated.  The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a do not pass. It was referred to the Land Use Committee; their recommendation is a Do Pass.

Maureen Conner, Granite County:  The leadership from the Land Use Committee is not here, so I will tell you what I know. This resolution is to address whether within the subdivision planning act, counties can ask for more than the subdivision requires with respect to sanitation. If my county asked our planning board if they could require a builder to do a specific plan for Granite County, the planner would have a huge fight. This resolution calls for that issue to be clarified. The answer is yes you can, but you can’t just randomly do it; you have to support it with studies and mapping. It leaves it discretionary; it does not require the counties to do that. I was at the water quality interim committee meeting and DEQ brought a resolution that they were supporting. As a member of a small confused county I suggest this does need clarification.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  If is ok, Missoula County’s lobbyist Linda Stoll is here. She can explain this.

Linda Stoll, Missoula County Lobbyist:  There is a lot of confusion to whether or not 5-11 applies to more than sanitation. I want to tell you what 5-11 says; some of you will have run across it in either the Sanitation & Subdivisions Act or the Subdivision & Planning Act. I am a former Lewis & Clark County Commissioner; in addition to lobbying for Missoula County, I also lobby for the Planners. Section 5-11 basically says that if you do something more stringent than the State Rules & Regulations, you must go through a process. We refer to that as “the 5-11 process.” Among other things it is not a hard process—it requires a public hearing, etc., until you get to the part that says pure reference studies. My experience with pure reference studies is that scientists are like attorneys and are paid to argue with one another. This has created some confusion for a number of places. I will also tell you that this same language is in the Subdivisions & Sanitation Act, and it’s clear—in that case it applies to sanitation. For some reason the language also got put into the Subdivision & Planning Act (two different acts, two different parts of the law).   Right away you have this problem of whether it can apply or not because it doesn’t make any sense in the context of subdivisions regulations.

Joe Brenneman, Flathead County:  We have been sued over this very thing. This has been a problem.  Motion made to carry Resolution 2008-07 on as a Do Pass.  Jean Curtiss, Missoula County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County: With no further discussion, the motion carries by unanimous consent.

2008-11 Court Security Fund

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2008-11 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Not Pass. It was referred to the Justice & Public Safety Committee; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement. The Tax, Finance & Budget Committee agrees with the Resolutions Committee as a Do Not Pass.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  This resolution came out of our committee, Tax Finance & Budget as a Do Not Pass, because of the fee function to be added to civil proceedings. The counties would be responsible for collection and forwarding these fees to the state, in order to provide court security. After what you have heard this morning, the Legislature is trying to give you back the public defender process. Why open the door to say, “Yes, we are a partner in the process.” Don’t pass this, just let it go away. Court security is a function of District Court, and District Court is a function of the state of Montana. That is why we sent it forward with this recommendation.

Tony Berget, Lincoln County:  Motion made to approve Resolution 2008-11 as a Do Not Pass, Incorporate into Policy Statement.  Ken Ronish, Fergus County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  If you will look at the Justice & Public Safety Policy Statement, the state has been taken out: “MACo supports funding a court security in district county court as appropriate, which in part should come from those creating the threat to the judicial system and those participating in it.”

Ken Ronish, Fergus County:  The reason we put it in the policy statement is because if we get it into the policy statement, and it gets to the Legislature, we can go either direction.   

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County: With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2008-37, Subsequent Hearing

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2008-37 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Land Use Committee; their recommendation is a Do Pass as Amended.

Gail Vennes, Broadwater County:  I am a member of the Land Use Planning & Development Committee.  It was a hard decision, but the last portion of this resolution needs changing in regard to the relieving the governing body of the burden of determining whether new information is new and shifting it to the claimant. The problem we see is that anyone from the public could address the Planning Board or the Commission with a claim of new information and say that this is new information and needs to be incorporated into the process. We felt it was taking away the Commission’s ability to address an issue and not be inhibited with the public coming in with so called “new information.” We felt it should be left up to the Commission whether the information is new.

Gail Vennes, Broadwater County:  Motion made to amend Resolution 2008-37.  Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion the motion carries with unanimous consent.

Maureen Conner, Granite County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 2008-37 as amended. Gail Vennes, Broadwater County seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2009-03 MERLIN

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2009-03  comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Not Pass. It was referred to the Justice & Public Safety Committee; their recommendation is Do Not Pass. It was also referred to the Information Technology Committee; their recommendation is Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Sandra Broesder, Pondera County:  I’m not sure the IT committee understood how this was going to work. We want this as part of our policy statement. We want agencies to be aware of the impact of the MERLIN software on the counties. We took the general thought, broadened the scope of it, and put that in our policy.

Sandra Broesder, Pondera County:  Motion made to approve Resolution 2009-03 as a Do Not Pass, Incorporate into Policy Statement.  Allan Underdal, Toole County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-01, Amending the IBMP

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-01 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Agriculture Committee; their recommendation is a Do Pass as Amended.

Marty Malone, Park County:  This resolution came out of Park County and basically it is a reaction to the federal state government’s running of local governments. They are doing many things to the IBMP agency. There are bison all over the bottom end of Park County; they are in the school yard with kids, chasing them off the football field—we have fences going all over. Basically, it came out of committee to insert the words “any agreement to involve local government.”

Marty Malone, Park County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 2010-01 as amended.  Steve White, Gallatin County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-02, County Tax Appeal Boards

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-02 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Urban Counties; their recommendation is a Do Pass as Amended.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  My concern is, in Missoula County, we were in need of a new person for out Tax Appeal Board this year. We have to beg, borrow, and whatever to even get someone to apply. We have 3 people who work 2 full days per week. They were having trouble keeping their jobs. The amendment is to increase the number of people allowed to serve on the Tax Appeal Board.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Motion made to amend Resolution 2010-02 to add the words “number of members available to serve on.”  Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 2010-02. Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-03, Dust Control Speed Limits

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-03 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass as Amended. It was referred to the Transportation Committee as well as Urban Counties; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass.

Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  Ravalli County submitted this resolution hoping to use it as a tool to help with air quality issues. We took it to the Transportation Committee as well as the Urban Counties.

Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  Motion made to not pass Resolution 2010-03. Mike Anderson, Hill County, seconded the motion.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  I think a lot of discussion centered on traffic control devices.  There is no language in the resolution to control the speed limits around dust.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-04, EMT- First Responder Certification

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-04  comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Agriculture Committee; their recommendation is a Do Pass.  The resolution was also referred to the Health & Human Services Committee; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  This resolution was brought from Districts 4 & 5, because their first responders were not able to test in their own localities, and there was a lag time between when they took their training and when they took the test. I believe Liberty County would be okay with us moving it from a resolution straight into policy statement.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Also, it was discussed that by moving it to the policy statement, that gives Staff the opportunity to work with the Department of Public Health & Human Services on Rule Making.

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  The Health & Human Services Committee recommended we do not pass this resolution and incorporate it into the policy statement. The policy of MACo encourages the Board of Medical Examiners to provide first responders to be tested, then to complete testing and certification requirements in a responsible time frame, with minimal travel expense to them.

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  Motion made to not pass Resolution 2010-04 and incorporate it into policy statement.  Susan Mosness, Sweet Grass County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-03, Dust Control Speed Limits [Reconsideration]

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Motion made to reconsider Resolution 2010-03.  John Prinkki, Carbon County, seconded the motion. 

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  After some discussion with Harold Blattie on this, I think speed limits for dust control could be a difficult issue; however, there are some statues (7-14-2113 & 61-8-310) that allow us to set speed limits and allow commissioners to alter speed limits down to 35 miles per hour. Harold believes we could alter them down to 25 miles per hour with just a small change and give commissioners authority under public safety to move forward with this.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 2010-03 as amended. Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, seconded the motion.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  I’m very sorry about this. All three Gallatin County Commissioners are firmly against this. I understand why you want it. We have a road superintendent that is always being requested to change speed limits, and when you have people moving into the county, the best thing they can do is have a speed limit of 25 miles per hour on every county road, and maybe it’s covered by not being able to go down that far because of statutes. This opens the door to, I’m a believer of the 85th percentile, and if you want to go below that you are going to have to ramp up enforcement to accomplish it. Our sheriff says he doesn’t have enough money to do what he is doing. We are against it.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  The biggest part of our discussion is when a citizen asks us to do this they expect it to be enforced. I think enforcement is a huge issue. I think if we have the authority it might be nice, but it isn’t going to be enforced in our county.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:   Do we create a liability if we have the opportunity to create the speed limit, but we don’t have the guarantee of enforcement?

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  I think that is up to each County Commissioner. If you don’t think you can enforce it, you don’t have to create it.

Allan Underdal, Toole County:  As Harold stated, we already have to ability to do this. Maybe not down to 25, but we are able to do it to 35.

Don Swenson, Blaine County:  In our county when you have 20 or 30 miles of county road, do we sign every house? That is a big cost.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  That is a big cost. This is probably geared more towards urban counties than rural development.

Maureen Conner, Granite County:  I am from a rural county. We have a lot of recreational travel, such as fisherman anxious to get to the trout along gravel roads. I agree that enforcement is an issue, but I agree with this as a tool and would like to note that it is discretionary.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  The motion on the floor is to amend the resolution from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour speed limit.

Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County:  I have a quick question, the way I see this is to reduce dust?

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  All we are trying to do is take the discretion level from 35 to 25.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I think the resolve and the intent match, but the “whereas” statements do not. I think we should change the title—change it to “county speed limits.”

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Motion made to amend the title. John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  A show of hands for the vote.  Motion carried by a majority vote.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Now we vote on the resolution with the amendments. There is a motion on the floor and a second. Show of hands of for passing the resolution as amended.

Carol Brooker, Sanders County:  Point of Order—this is a whole different resolution that does not require a 2/3 vote to be considered.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  I think we have the amendment voted on, does that cover it?

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Just to clarify, given the parliamentarian’s rule, does that mean we can introduce any new topic and not have to suspend the rules?

Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  We did not change the intent of the resolution.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  With all due respect, I think you did, because it has gone from a specific circumstance, to overall change in code, to change our ability to set speed limits down to 25 from 35 miles per hour. This is then in conflict with other sections of the code specifying when we can set those down to 25.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  I disagree. I think that if you look at the intent, and the “now, therefore, be it resolved” pieces, those are the meat of the resolution. We did not amend those sections. We amended the title, and the “whereas” sections will be changed to remove the reference to dust control being the only right. What we have been talking about is statutory authority for counties to have the discretion to lower the speed limits to 25 miles per hour.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  I respectfully disagree. I agree with Mr. Briggs. If you look at this page here, it has the title on it. It you change it here then you change it on the list. The indication here is we are trying to do something to control dust with speed limits, and the Legislature is extremely sensitive to titles within their bills. I guess we are trying to do the same thing. By broadening it to speed limits, you have removed the original intent, which was dust control. I think you have changed the intent of the resolution.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  We do have a motion on the floor with a second. But we have to go back if it’s a Point of Order—if we need a 2/3 vote. Can I go forward with the motion?

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  Since we have not changed the body of the resolution the intent has not been changed.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  We have a motion and a second on the floor, I would like to do a roll call vote in favor of passing Resolution 2010-03 as amended. Motion fails.

2010-05a & 2010-05b Exempt Permission Levies from TIF Distribution & Exempt Group Benefits Levy from TIF Distribution

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  There were a bundle of five resolutions that contained tax increment financing that come before you segregated. They were labeled 2010-05a, 2010-05-b, 2010-19a, 2010-19b, 2010-19c.  These resolutions have been referred to the Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee; their recommendation for 2010-05a and 2010-05-b is Do Not Pass.  We will address the 2010-19’s momentarily.

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  The reason that we are recommending a Do Not Pass is this is a legitimate problem with being able to pay your permissive levies if you have TIF districts. We believe there is an administrative recourse to this, and we can fix this problem without legislation. Second, the type of legislation that would be required to exempt this from the TIF districts would be an equally good tool to exempt the state’s 95 mils. We thought it would be very hard for us to argue that the state should not be exempt from the mils but we should.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  The Tax, Finance & Budget Committee also supports the Do Not Pass recommendation. We believe administrative resolution is a better route.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to approve Resolutions 2010-05 & 2010-05b as a Do Not Pass.  John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-19a, 2010-19b & 2010-19c:  TIF Resolutions

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  2010-19a, 2010-19b, and 2010-19c were referred to the Community Economic Development & Labor Committee; their recommendation is as follows: Do Not Pass Resolution 2010-19a; Do Pass Resolution 2010-19b. Do Not Pass Resolution 2010-19c. The suggestion is that that 2010-19b be renumbered to 2010-19 and get rid of the “a, b, c” altogether, then incorporate language from all three, leaving one resolution 2010-19.

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  We felt there was a need to move Resolution 2010-19b forward as a campaign to the combined resolution. All we are doing is merging all of the resolutions together. The “b” version deals with the requirement for a technology district, and they have to do 50% of their business outside the state of Montana. The committee felt that should be brought forward separately with a Do Pass along with a Do Pass for the new master version of it:  2010-19.

2010-19a

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Motion made to not pass Resolution 20I0-19a. Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-19b

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 20I0-19b. Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-19c

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Motion made to not pass Resolution 20I0-19c. Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-22

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  2010-19b is now renamed 2010-22.

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 20I0-22. Mike Anderson, Hill County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-06, Extend Sunset of Enhanced 9-1-1 Fund Distribution

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-06 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Justice & Public Safety Committee; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Mike Anderson, Hill County:  The reason we did not agree with the Resolutions Committee is that we are not going to carry the legislation on this. We agree with the premise and would agree to put it into the policy statement.

Mike Anderson, Hill County:  Motion made to approve Resolution 2010-06 as a Do Not Pass, Incorporate into Policy Statement.  Ken Ronish, Fergus County, seconded the motion.

Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  In the urban counties we have had some problems with dispatch retirement. Does this have anything to do with that?

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  No.  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-08, Interim Study of Interoperability

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-08 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Interoperability Committee as well as the Justice & Public Safety Committee.  The Interoperability Committee recommended a Do Pass. The Justice & Public Safety Committee recommended a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Mike Anderson, Hill County:  This is basically the same as the last bill. We are not going to carry the legislation on this, but we do support it in a policy statement.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  The reason we brought this forth as a resolution is to make sure County Commissioners and sheriffs are at the table when funding sources are being talked about for Interoperability. If we move it into a policy statement, and they move it forward, there may be the chance that we may not be at the table when funding issues are being resolved.

Joe Brenneman, Flathead County:  Motion made to not pass Resolution 2010-08 and incorporate it into policy statement.  Ken Ronish, Fergus County, seconded the motion.

Joe Brenneman, Flathead County:  Some of us commissioners have been working very hard on Interoperability Montana.  We have a large commitment now. Incorporating this as a policy statement allows us to move forward with what needs to be done.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

2010-09, Interim Zoning

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-09 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Agriculture Committee, the Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee, and the Land Use Planning & Development Committee.  The Agriculture Committee recommends a Do Pass. The Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee has no recommendation. The Land Use Planning & Development Committee has no recommendation.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  I am going to abstain from voting on this. Our three commissioners have different view points on this. I want to make a point for my fellow commissioners. When you are dealing with interim zoning, you are dealing with basically police power. It’s the one section of statute that has no protest. Currently, interim zoning requires that you follow the interim zoning and a growth plan that you are attempting to follow, that you are not just putting a zone on a piece of land without future plans. If we take away that, we open the door for the Legislature to possibly allow you to do interim zoning just to do it. There is no protest. You are putting regulations on people’s land that they have no opportunity to protest. I don’t know where this is going to go, or what it means, but I'm not going to vote on it out of respect for my fellow commissioners who are not here.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Let me go over one of the issues that we have with the resolution that didn’t get attached. In the bottom of the bill where it says “certain criteria will have to be met,” this is more of a private property rights issue. They use interim zoning to try to correct some things that are wrong. Recently many cities and towns across Montana have seen a lot of retro zoning to restrict or prohibit development. It will usually go like this:  a person builds residential housing in a non-zoned or residentially-zoned area but adjacent to non-zoned or non-residentially-zoned property. As soon as the residentially-zoned property gets wind that nonresidential development is about to begin, residents feel the impacts are not desirable. Residents apply to the local governing body for interim zoning. If the interim zoning is granted, development delays occur to the detriment of the developer.

Aside from the philosophical statements or the private property rights, the delay can potentially have severe economic impacts to the developers. It’s my proposition to submit the following amendments:
Interim zoning may not be adopted by any governing body in the state of Montana if the following criteria are met:

1.    The proposed land use is subject, either in whole or in part, to regulation and approval by any state or federal agency and such agency has approved the proposed use;  and
2.    The proposed use is consistent with existing zoning or that the use will take place on property that has no current designated zoning.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 2010-09. Todd Devlin, Prairie County, seconded the motion.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  As a County Commissioner who has used interim zoning, I speak against this resolution. The reason is you are only to use interim zoning if interim is a solution. We already have the authority to make decisions on land use in our county based on the things that John talked about. Every time we open up and try to get the Legislature to fix something, it doesn’t work. I would recommend that we do not pass this.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  We are talking about traffic issues and traffic issues with interim zoning. I was born on an old farm in North Dakota. My grandparents homesteaded there. My mom and dad starved on that land, and the only way they made any money on it was oil. There are farm families that are all starving to death—cash wise—but they have lots of land value; they have surface mineral rights. We are using interim zoning to stop the development of surface mineral rights, and that is why I want this legislation.

Maureen Davey, Stillwater County:  At the District 6 & 7 meeting I think the same thing was brought up about agriculture and property rights. Stillwater County is in favor of passing this.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I think that as long as DEQ and MDOT are doing their job in a timely manner the law doesn’t need to be changed.

Tom Rice, Beaverhead County:  I would urge you to pass this resolution. Our family has had land for 100 years, as well as the land and the gravel under the land, is a family asset.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  When I read this, what I see is that zoning regulations/boundaries need not be followed pursuant to the other sections of law, and if you take that out then you could pass an interim zoning district without any consideration for future zoning to be put together. Basically, can you just do it, and all you have to do is the 48-hour notice and hearing?

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  The 48-hour notice was just left in. This is a resolution that was brought forward two years ago, and we just attached to it. That is my county attorney that did not do a thorough job. The intent is simply to change the interim zoning laws to allow a certain criteria to be met in that you can’t use interim zoning to restrict anything that is legal use by a state agency.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to amend Resolution 2010-09 to remove the “now, therefore, be it resolved” and change it to the last sentence “that certain criteria must be met before the governing body may proceed with the adoption of interim zoning . . .” John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, seconded the motion.

Joe Brenneman, Flathead County:  We are not considering adopting a resolution that doesn’t specify what certain criteria are?

J.R. Iman, Ravalli County:  In our committee, we struggled with the fact that when you have operations of different use and the discussion did come up about what we need to do to protect Ag land, but what about the people who live in the subdivision. One of the problems is that in most subdivisions you have to put in a clause that says if there are public services that come in, you cannot object. Basically, the situation is that we are trying to establish a level of equal protection where one doesn’t exist today.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion to expand amendment to include the criteria submitted by John Ostlund.  John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries with unanimous consent.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Now we move on to the resolution. A motion has been made by John Ostlund, Yellowstone County to approve the resolution as amended, which was seconded by Tom Rice, Beaverhead County. With no further discussion, the motion carries.

2010-11, Mail Ballot Option for Federal Elections

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-11 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was originally a Do Pass. It was re-referred to the Resolutions Committee; upon further review, the committee recommends a Do Pass as Amended.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  The Resolutions Committee recommended this as a Do Pass, but based on information from Clerk & Recorders that to create an option would not be equal protection of the right to vote, the Resolutions Committee amended the Resolution 2010-11.  The Clerk & Recorders felt that the Secretary of State would not support an “option;” it needs to be all or nothing.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I am fine with the resolution except it should say “adopt a statewide system of not from” in the last whereas. I still think we need to keep the whereas that says that we need to work together with the Secretary of State and the groups that represent the voters to find ways to address their constituents.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:   Motion made to pass the amendments to Resolution 2010-11.  Allan Underdal, Toole County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:   Motion made to pass Resolution 2010-11 as amended.  Mike Anderson, Hill County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

2010-16, Protect Counties from Reduced Funding & Cost Shifting from State to County Government

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-16 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to all committees for review; all of the committees recommended a Do Pass, except the Justice & Public Safety Committee, who recommended a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Mike Anderson, Hill County:  We looked at this resolution and decided it was somewhat vague. It has meaning, but is vague because it doesn’t apply to any given legislation. What makes more sense, and would make it easier on our lobbying group, is to put a statement to the same effect in the policy statement and not have a resolution.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  In all due respect, I do believe this resolution deals with any and all legislation in this section. I believe this is a strong statement that says, “Stop, leave us alone; we are fine without your help.” I think it’s critical that we have both a resolution and a policy statement to back it up. This is a real and current event. So many lobbyist and legislators take out resolutions in their hands and use them to support their positions. This is a strong statement that says, “Don’t go there.”

Mike Anderson, Hill County:  Although I agree with you Cyndi, there may be an instance where there is a piece of legislation we want that will cost us some money. This resolution will tie the hands of our lobbyists.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I agree with Cyndi.  It’s stronger to do both, and while this doesn’t have any specific legislation, by the way, I appreciate the way we have done things this time. I think we all know this will be a big year and the thing that all of us are going to be working on the hardest.   It was mentioned yesterday that it’s not about House Bill 124. We might want to strike it all places.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Motion made to amend Resolution 2010-16 to strike “House Bill 124 and HB 124” in all locations except the fifth “Whereas” and insert “Entitlement Share.”  In the fifth “whereas” statement, insert “Entitlement Share” before “HB 124.” Kathy Bessette, Hill County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Allan Underdal, Toole County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 2010-16 as amended.  Jean Curtiss, Missoula County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

2010-17, Food Safety Compliance

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-17 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement. It was referred to the Health & Human Services Committee; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Money is being sent to these rural schools and they are not being treated equally. The hands of the sanitarian are being tied, because money keeps being sent to them. With respect to the Health & Human Services Committee, I think the resolution needs to come forward, and I also think a policy statement is appropriate.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to pass Resolution 2010-17 as well as incorporate it into the policy statement.  Kathy Bessette, Hill County, seconded the motion.

Kathy Bessette, Hill County:  This is an issue that we addressed on the committee that I serve on at NACo. We were going to pass a resolution, but there needed to be some further discussion. We found that the regulations used for public school lunches are less stringent than McDonalds and KFC, so we are doing more investigation. There will be a resolution at the national level very similar to this one.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

2010-18, Social Host Ordinance

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-18 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Health & Human Services Committee as well as the Justice & Public Safety Committee; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County & Mike Anderson, Hill County:  There was broad support for the counties having the authority to enact social ordinances if they choose.

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  Motion made to not pass the resolution and incorporate it into policy statement. Ken Ronish, Fergus County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

2010-20, Workforce Development

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-20 comes before you segregated. The recommendation from the Resolutions Committee was a Do Pass. It was referred to the Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Motion made to not pass Resolution 2010-20 and incorporate it into policy statement. Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

2010-XX, Public Safety Dispatchers Retirement

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-XX comes before you segregated.  This resolution is not assigned a number as it is a proposed resolution and the Resolutions Committee recommended a Do Not Pass. It was referred to the Justice & Public Safety Committee; their recommendation is a Do Not Pass and Incorporate into Policy Statement.

Mike Anderson, Hill County:  We took a look at this and agree with the Resolutions Committee, but we would like to add it to our policy statement.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I brought this resolution forward for the Montana Association of Public Dispatchers. Out in our larger counties, the Public Safety Dispatchers play a critical role in the safety of responders and the public. We count on them to be first on the scene, as they are getting the information from the people who are calling in, and they are setting up how the responders are going to get there. It is very hard to keep people in this position. In Missoula County, we have about 9 months of training before they are allowed to be there dispatching on their own. The turnover is high. This proposal will cost money—to put them in a 20-year retirement plan instead of a 30-year—but it will likely even out, as we wouldn’t have to pay the cost of continually training people for this high-stress job.  We have added our Detention Officers to a 20-year plan, and there are some dispatchers in the state that are in the program. I’m here to support a “Do Not Pass” as long as it’s incorporated into the policy statement.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  Though I have the greatest regard for the Dispatchers, we just built a multimillion dollar 911 center. The County Commissioners haven’t discussed this, and a concern I would raise, and I think all three Commissioner would agree, is that you wrote them in with the Deputies at 20 years. I don’t know what kind of end result it will be for our county. I would like to go on record saying that Gallatin County is going to sustain from voting on this just because we have not discussed it.

Joe Brigs, Cascade County:  From the standpoint of Cascade County, we are literally still trying to figure out how to pay for moving the Deputies and the Detention Officers from 30 years to 20 years. It’s a huge fiscal impact. I have all nothing but respect for these people, but they are not the people who are out in harm’s way; it’s a different kind of stress. I would submit to you that it is no different than the stress we have for the people who work at the front desk when MERLIN doesn’t work. In the Resolutions Committee we talked about this at great length, and the reason we called for a Do Not Pass and not including it in the policy statement was the fiscal note. I would rise in opposition to having this in policy.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  I agree with the Cascade County, because of the fiscal note we rise in opposition on this. If it would impact a really rich county like Cascade County, imagine what it would do to a small county.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to not pass Resolution 2010-XX (Public Safety Dispatchers Retirement) and not incorporate it in policy statement. Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, seconded the motion.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I would ask that we separate the motion. So that we vote on the resolution and then vote on if it should be in the policy statement when we get to the policy statements.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  We will address the policy statement piece when we review all of the policy statements.  With no further discussion, the motion carries to not pass as a resolution.

2010-XX, Veteran’s Interment Allowance

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Resolution 2010-XX comes before you segregated.  This resolution is not assigned a number as it is a proposed resolution and the Resolutions Committee recommended a Do Not Pass. It was referred back to the Resolutions Committee. Their recommendation is a Do Not Pass; however Roosevelt County has asked that it be reintroduced as a Do Pass as Amended.

Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County:  We are asking that this be reintroduced, because our Veterans came to us and said they are no longer able to get headstone put down for $70. They asked us for an increase for the burial costs, and we were in favor of it until we ran into the law. I visited with Senator Frank Smith about the law, and he is going to carry a bill that addresses it. We are asking that MACo pass this resolution so we can support Senator Smith. He hasn’t told me what the dollar amount will be yet. We talked to the Resolutions Committee about not assigning a dollar amount, but Senator Smith strongly suggests assigning a dollar amount. If you go into the Legislature with a bill open like that, then the sky is the limit. We are asking for support.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  I understand what Roosevelt County is talking about. I feel that this will dramatically change the resolution and the original intent. Perhaps rather than amending this resolution, we should create a policy statement where MACo would support the maximum limit that is paid to Veterans.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to not pass Resolution 2010-XX (Veteran’s Interment Allowance) and revisit it as a policy statement.  Daniel Watson, Rosebud County, seconded the motion.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I agree with Pondera County. This totally changes the resolution. My concern is that in Missoula County it is very hard to budget for how many Veterans are going to die. This is a huge fiscal impact on our county, and I don’t think it was ever intended to pay for a Veteran’s death or headstone; it was to help the family out. I am definitely supportive of veterans, but I don’t think it is the County’s job to pay the full bill. I support the do not pass.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  I agree with that. The county looks at this as you can up to $250 and I would hate to have the Legislature come in and say you will pay $400.

Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County:  I know that Senator Smith only intends to change the amount you can go up to.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Policy Statements

Agriculture Committee

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Before you is the proposed policy statement for the Agriculture Committee.  If you go to item number 8, you will see the appropriate language from resolution 2004-27. If you go down, you will see the other resolution language that was added upon the recommendation of “Do Not Pass, Incorporate into Policy Statement.” The last one, number 13, includes the recommended amendments provided by the committee after the review of their policy statements. The Agriculture Committee has recommended a change to the last item: remove the words “seven county” and add the word “existing.”

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to adopt the Agriculture Policy Statement. Troy Blunt, Phillips County, seconded the motion.

Kathy Bessette, Hill County:  I just wanted to explain number 13. At one point there were seven targeted counties that were to lose their Farm Service Agency Offices. We want to keep what we have as long as we need them.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Before you is the proposed policy statement for the Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee. The amendments include adding statement 9, the summer youth employment resolution; statement 10, partnership programs, which incorporates two resolutions; and there is statement12, which incorporates a resolution that was assigned to both the Transportation and Economic Development Committees.

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  In addition to those, there is also some wording adjusted in this section, including education; it does not change the substance.

Joe Briggs, Cascade County:  Motion made to adopt the Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee policy statement. Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, seconded the motion.

Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County:  I would like to bring up item 10; this is where we listed the actual partners, SWIB, State Workforce Investment Board, and CDBG. The SWIB is one of our true partners that spend about $7500 a year toward our participation at the national level. We want to get the partners in the policy statement, so we calm show MACo’s sponsorship.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Energy Committee

Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director:  Before you is the proposed policy statement for the Energy Committee. Item 13 is the incorporation of Resolution 2008-39, and item number 14 is the incorporation of Resolution 2008-12.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  As chairman of the Energy Committee I need to let the members know how we came up with this policy. The policy that we had before here was the Energy Policy that was adopted by NACo. Within that policy are some issues you may want to pay close attention to. I support the Energy Policy except for a few items. Item 6, “MACo seeks a comprehensive and integrated approach to an energy policy that preserves and protects ecologically unique areas.”

I would suggest that within the state of Montana there is not an area that is not ecologically unique. When I make a motion to accept the policy, it will be that this be removed.

Also I think we need to consider item 16, “MACo supports a national policy promoting lower pollution vehicles, such as alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), hybrids and high efficiency vehicles (HEVs), and advanced technology vehicles.

I do not have a personal problem with that, but it does mean electrical fuel plug-ins.

Also, let’s consider item 19, “MACo supports the Department of Energy’s efforts to decrease reliance on oil by focusing on alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol, compressed natural gas, electricity, and biodiesel, among other agents. The ethanol used in E-85 is a renewable fuel that provides benefits to American farmers and rural areas of the country.”

Since this policy was adopted by NACo, there have been reports come from the Department of Energy.  These reports suggest that alternative fuels actually increase the carbon footprint because of the cost to make those fuels. Some of these suggestions are being backed away from, but it doesn’t mean that we need to adjust it in our policy.

Item 20 is something I also ask to be eliminated: “MACo supports increased fuel economy standards for trucks and cars to reduce fuel costs and air pollution.”

This happens by changing the café rules, which could have a huge impact on the trucking industry. The cost to comply with that could be $20,000 a truck. We need to consider how that would affect our own fleets.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  Motion made to adopt the Energy Policy Statement as presented, eliminating items 6 and 20. Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  I have a problem with the wording in item 19.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  Motion made to add the word “foreign” before “oil” in item 19—as well as strike items 6 and 20.  Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, seconded the motion.

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  I have a question/comment about item 20. I share some of your concerns, but there may be other technology/methods for improving fuel economy and decreasing air pollution. I don’t know if we need to totally strike out the item. I think it’s a good goal.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  I don’t disagree with you, but I’m not sure I'm comfortable with the federal government’s approach about how we do that.

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  I don’t know if our policy is describing the federal government’s methods. We are saying that we would like to shoot for increased fuel economy.

Jim Rokosch, Ravalli County:  I ask that we reconsider striking item 6. What we are trying to do is recognize that there are specific concerns, and that it wouldn’t necessarily preclude energy development. We need to protect those unique areas. Those areas have significant value and long term economic value.

Laura Obert, Broadwater County:  I also think that we should keep items 6 and 20 in the policy statement. This is general policy; this is generally how we stand on the issues. I think we should support preserving and protecting our ecology and fuel economy as well as reduce fuel costs. We can address specific issues later on.

Jane Weber, Cascade County:  I also think that we should keep items 6 and 20. I agree that we should support preserving ecological areas, and I think we would be remiss with item 20 being removed. We need be more economical.

Maureen Davey, Stillwater County:  As Commissioner Prinkki mentioned, these statements came from NACo policy. All of the others have come from our resolutions that we have passed for several years. I feel uneasy, as these are very broad statements—just a reminder that we can always change these a year from now if we want.

Todd Devlin, Prairie County:  I’m concerned with item 20.  Could we put in the words “economically feasible” and strike the word “standards?”

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  I would accept that as a friendly amendment.

David Paugh, Golden County:  I think the policy statement it is too broad. I agree with Maureen.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  We have a motion on the floor and a second. The amendments are to strike item 6, put the word “foreign” in front of the word “oil” in item 19, strike the word “standards” in item 20, and last add “that are economically feasible” to the end of item 20. With no further discussion, motion carries.

Health & Human Services Committee

Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County:  Motion made to adopt the Health & Human Services Committee Policy Statement as presented. Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, seconded the motion.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  I have a concern with item 8, the threshold for solid waste disposal from 5 acres to 160. In Gallatin County, we have a large solid waste district, and we just acquired some more land. I don’t know if we would have been able to comply with that.

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director:  That is moving resolution into policy. Under current law, any land owner that has a parcel of property more than 5 acres can have their own solid waste site.  For every 5-acre lot, the owner could have their own solid waste site. We had the bill 2 sessions ago. We had it through one house, but because of some broad language related to agricultural operation and manure being solid waste the bill died in the second house.

Jim Rokosch, Ravalli County:  Does the definition of solid waste include seepage from septic tanks? If it does, then that is a big problem. Ravalli County just got notice that the Missoula County sewage plant will not accept seepage. We have no treatment plant in Ravalli County. Most of those sites are smaller than 160 acres.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  I don’t think that septic is solid waste. Septic has its own regulations. While we look that up, are there any other concerns?

Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  I’m just curious about the rationale behind going from 5 acres to 160; it seems like a huge leap. Is there any data to support that need?

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  I'm not sure about that. I know it was a Do Pass resolution back at the MACo Annual Conference in Bozeman, September 2006 and again in 2008; however, I don’t know why 160 acres became the number.

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director:  The 160 comes from the Subdivision Planning Act.  “Solid waste” means garbage, rubbage, refuse, ashes, sludge, construction and demolition waste, dead animals, discarded home appliances, and wood products. Solid waste does not mean municipal sewage, industrial waste water, and mining waste—in other words, household waste.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  There is a motion and a second on the floor to pass the Health & Human Services policy statement as presented. With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Interoperability Committee

Joe Brenneman, Flathead County:  Motion made to accept the Interoperability Committee Policy Statement as presented. Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Is there any further discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Information Technology Committee

Sandra Broesder, Pondera County:  Motion made to accept the Information Technology Policy Statement with the amendment that item 6 replace item 7. Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Is there any further discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Justice & Public Safety Committee

Mike Anderson, Hill County:  Motion made to accept the Justice & Public Safety Committee Policy Statement as presented.  Ken Ronish, Fergus County, seconded the motion.

Tony Berget, Lincoln County:  I have a question on number 17. MACo supports allowing Montana’s Public Safety Dispatchers to join the Sheriff’s Retirement System. Wasn’t there some discussion on this earlier?

Mike Wendland, Hill County:  Motion made to amend the motion and strike item 17 from the Justice & Public Safety Committee Policy Statement. Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Is there any further discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Mike Anderson, Hill County:  I am concerned with striking item 17. I think everyone is thinking this is a cost issue, but I think you need to consider the overall cost of replacing these people. We supported the Detention Officers going to the 20-year retirement, because it helps with turnover. I think if you compare the cost of training multiple times compared to the 3% on their wage, you will see this is worth it. I recommend that we do not go with the amendment.

Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  I agree with everything Commissioner Anderson said. I know this is a cost, but there is a big cost in retaining multiple times.

John Prinkki, Carbon County:  I am in favor of the amendment. I would suggest that retirement has nothing to do with retention; I think it is has to do with how much we pay them to begin with.

Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County:  I speak in opposition to this amendment. Dispatchers are one of the few employees that work shift work; they are 24/7 over the holidays as well.  That is one reason that they should be put in the 20-year retirement program.

J.R. Iman, Ravalli County:  Motion made to stop debate.  Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  All those in favor of ending the debate say, “Aye,” opposed the same. Motion carried. The debate ends.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  We will now continue with a vote on the amendment to strike item 17. Motion carries. Item 17 is stricken.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Now we need to vote in the whole policy. There is a motion and second on the floor. Motion carries.

Land Use Planning & Development Committee

Gail Vennes, Broadwater County:  As a member of the committee I would like to point out to you the added language to item 22.

Gail Vennes, Broadwater County:  Motion made to accept the Land Use Planning & Development Committee Policy Statement as presented. Bob Lee, Rosebud County, seconded the motion.

Steve White, Gallatin County:  What is the meaning of this is; is it that we believe in private property unless we want to regulate the land? I know there needs to be some balance. I know in Gallatin County we get in to a lot of property rights and land use issues, but I don’t know what message we are trying to send to the Legislature. Is there equal balance?

Maureen Conner, Granite County:  This was an attempt by the Land Use Committee to recognize that there is always a balance, and it is our job as Commissioners to identify the balancing point.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Is there any further discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Public Lands Committee

Todd Devlin, Prairie County:  Motion made to accept the Public Lands Policy Statement as presented.  Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, seconded the motion.

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Is there any discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Resolutions & Legislative Committee

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  We adjusted the name of the committee so that it fits with the MACo By-Laws.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to accept the Resolutions & Legislative Committee Policy Statement as presented.  Susan Mosness, Sweet Grass County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Is there any discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Taxation, Finance & Budget Committee

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to accept the Taxation, Finance & Budget Committee Policy Statement as presented, tentatively (the reason behind “tentatively” adopting the policy statement, is because the other policy statements will be adopted, and then the entire book will be adopted).  Allan Underdal, Toole County, seconded the motion.

Tony Berget, Lincoln County:  Concerning item 9, are we going to adjust it to say that we are going to protect all funding?

Steve White, Gallatin County:  Motion made to strike “the unanimous vote requirement” in item 7 of the Taxation, Finance & Budget Committee Policy Statement. Jean Curtiss, Missoula County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Is there any discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  Motion made to replace item 9, in the Taxation, Finance & Budget Committee Policy Statement, with the intent of Resolution 2008-34, verbatim. Tony Berget, Lincoln County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  There is a motion and a second on the floor to amend the Taxation, Finance & Budget Committee Policy Statement.  Is there any discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  There is a motion and a second on the floor to adopt the Taxation, Finance & Budget Committee Policy Statement as amended. With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Transportation Committee

John Ostlund, Yellowstone County:  Motion made to accept the Transportation Committee Policy Statement as presented. Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Is there any discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Other Point of Business Concerning Policy Statements

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  There is one other item of business:  incorporating the Veteran’s Interment into a policy statement.

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to add “MACo supports legislation that would increase the maximum veteran’s interment allowances” to the Health & Human Services Committee Policy Statement.  Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County, seconded the motion.

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Is there any discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

MACo Policy Statements (All)

Cynthia Johnson, Pondera County:  Motion made to approve the 2010 MACo Policy Statements.  Maureen Connor, Granite County, seconded the motion. 

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Is there any discussion? With no further discussion, the motion carries.

Other Business

Susan Mosness, Sweet Grass County:  I would like to have everyone give Shantil a round of applause.

Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director:  Thank you for recognizing what Shantil has been doing. All of that information didn’t just pop up there the way it needed to be. Sheryl and Shantil put in a very late night last night getting all of it ready. You should have seen what Sheryl has been doing up here; we really need to express our gratitude to her.

Also, Certified Values and County Classifications are finally here. I received the last bit of information on Friday and now have the spreadsheet complete. There are a number of counties that went down because of what Director Bucks told you. This brings me to the point that the MACo Board has directed me to look at: What it would take to remove county classification from the statute. I don’t know where it serves a place anymore, but I will do the research and find out.

I do want to make a reminder:  Under the terms of HB 645, all local government infrastructure grant funds must be spent by September 30, 2010.

Closing

Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  The General Session of the MACo 101st Annual Conference is closed.