104th Annual MACo Conference Minutes (2013)

Opening General Session – Monday, September 23, 2013

Helena, Montana

Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, MACo President

The 104th Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties opened at 8:30 a.m. President Greg Chilcott introduced the head table:

  • Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, President
  • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, 1st Vice President
  • Commissioner Dave Schulz, Madison County, 2nd Vice President
  • Commissioner Connie Eissinger, McCone County, Past President
  • Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, Fiscal Officer
  • Commissioner John Prinkki, Carbon County, Parliamentarian

The Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Department presented the Colors for the Pledge of Allegiance.  The National Anthem was sung by Dan Hunthausen, Montana Native Singer/Songwriter & Performer and Youngest Brother of Lewis & Clark County Commissioner, Andy Hunthausen, and Steve  Bostrom, Pastor-at-Large, Presbyterian Church of America, conducted the Invocation.  The MACo Members were then welcomed to the 104th Annual Conference in Helena, Montana:

  • Jim Smith, Mayor of Helena, welcomed everyone.
  • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo 1st Vice President, responded with thanks for welcoming MACo to Helena and mentioned that the relationship with Mayor Smith is more—Montana Sheriffs & Peace Officers’ Association as well as at the Capitol.

Roll Call

Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, MACo Fiscal Officer

After Roll call was taken, Commissioner McGinley announced a quorum was present to conduct business (see attachment).

Approval of the 2012 Minutes – 103rd Annual Conference

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, made a motion to approve the 2012 Annual Conference minutes. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Ken Ronish, Fergus County, and passed unanimously.

Resolution in Memoriam

Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County

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 Helena, Montana, this 23rd day of September, 2013, that the Association does hereby pay tribute to the memory of Commissioners:

  • William “Willie” Duffield, Fallon County
  • Kenneth Duncan, Pondera County
  • Arden Reed Nichols, Valley County
  • Mona Nutting, Carbon County
  • Steve Powell, Ravalli County
  • Lyle Quick, McCone County
  • Wilfred “Fritz” Thibodeau, Missoula County
  • Myron “Tony” Wheeler, Teton 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.

The assembly was asked if there were additional names to be added to the Memorial Resolution, at which time it was announced that Paul Johnson, Liberty County, needed to be added.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Jane Weber, Cascade County, made a motion to adopt the Memorial Resolution.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County, and passed unanimously.


Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, MACo President

  • Turn in your Commissioner Bio sheet for committee appointments; it also helps put together the MACo Directory.
  • Visit with exhibitors and get your sheet signed.

Nominations Committee Report

Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, MACo President

The Board of Directors, acting as the Nominations Committee, brings forth the candidates for the 2014 year as follows:

  • Office of Immediate Past President:   Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County
  • Office of President: Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County
  • Office of 1st Vice President: Commissioner Dave Schulz, Madison County
  • Office of 2nd Vice President: Commissioner Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County
  • Office of 2nd Vice President: Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County
  • Office of 2nd Vice President: Commissioner Ron Stoltz, Ravalli County
  • Office of Fiscal Officer:  Mike Commissioner McGinley , Beaverhead County

President Chilcott asked for any other nominations and noted that nominations would remain open until the Wednesday General Session. No further nominations were made, and President Chilcott invited the nominees forward to speak:

  • Commissioner Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County, Office of 2nd Vice President
    • Friendly opponents; great candidates
    • MACo involvement: member of the MACo Executive Committee, graduate of the MACo Elected Officials Training, member of the MACo Health and Human Services Committee, served on the Justice Committee, been elected twice to serve as the Urban Counties representative to the MACo Board of Directors, elected to serve as the District 8 Chairman
    • Currently serving a 2nd appointment on the Montana Mental Health Advisory Council
    • Graduate of the 2008 NACo-County Leadership Institute
    • Leadership Montana 2010 graduate
    • Graduate of Rocky Mountain Leadership program in Colorado
  • Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County, Office of 2nd Vice President
    • Honored and prepared
    • Serving as a commissioner for 10 years—reelected last fall
    • MACo involvement:  District 7 Chair for eight years, Board of Directors for eight years, Member of the Agriculture Committee for ten years, Co-Chair of the Agriculture Committee for five years, Hard Rock Mining Counties Chair for two years, served on the MACo Conference Planning Committee and Resolutions Committee, Annual Conference Golf Tournament-Chair, and completed the Commissioners Certification program
    • Two other commissioners in Stillwater County—have support and confidence
  • Commissioner Ron Stoltz, Ravalli County, Office of 2nd Vice President
    • Thanks to all for showing up and serving the people
    • MACo Experience: member of MACo Agriculture Committee and Vice Chair of the Large Predator Subcommittee
    • Written many policies and resolutions

2015 Conference Bids

Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, MACo President

There were no bids in on time for the 2015 Annual Conference, so it will go through a different process.  Interested parties include the following:

  • Big Sky:  Madison County and Gallatin County would cosponsor if chosen;
  • Missoula:  Holiday Inn

2014 Annual Conference:  Kalispell

  • Commissioner Pam Holmquist, Flathead County:  Hilton Garden Inn

Presentation of Proposed Resolutions

Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County, Resolutions & Legislative Committee Chair

There were no proposed resolutions.

President’s Report

Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, MACo President

MACo President, Greg Chilcott, spoke to the MACo Membership about the past year:

  • Took much time looking at committees and making assignments
  • Legislative year, new administration, incredible learning experience, worked with Governor’s Office on PERS issue and established a new relationship
  • Hosted Council of County Officials’ Meeting—shared legislative agendas
  • Hosted Newly Elected Officials’ Training—40 registered (newly elected and currently serving)
  • February Midwinter Conference—Cyber security/liability; JPA and JPIA Membership Meetings and elections of Trustees
  • June District Meetings:  Legislative recap, preliminary budge, nomination of MACo Officers
  • June:  Adopt FY 2014 Operations Budget
  • Begin Defined Departure Succession Planning:  Aging workforce—5 to 7 years before we will be seeing transitions, and this is a complex organization; need one more position in MACo staff to help
  • Presidents & Execs’ Meeting, NACo Annual Conference, NACo Legislative Conference, NACo WIR Conference:  Opportunity to learn and network—get our message to policy makers
  • JPIA (Property & Casualty Liability):  Valuations Northwest, Jail Advisory Group, Model Position Descriptions & Model Handbook, Model Personnel Policy
  • JPA (Workers’ Compensation):  Continued loss control efforts to reduce claims and working to stabilize a rate
  • Health Care Trust: Minimal rate increase (well below trend); Plan changes to implement the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act; implemented new Retiree Medicare Plan; Successful Annual “Pool Party” at Midwinter

Fiscal Officer’s Report

Commissioner Mike McGinley, Commissioner, Beaverhead County, MACo Fiscal Officer

MACo Fiscal Officer, Mike McGinley, spoke to the MACo Membership about the past year:

  • MACo Finance Officer, Tom Swindle retired
  • New Finance Director/CFO:  Kathy Johnson—begins October 1
  • Budget:  On point, where it’s supposed to be—took in $35,000 more than planned and didn’t spend $67,000 that was in the budget
  • Thanks Sara McGowan, MACo Accounting Technician:  Excellent job

Executive Director’s Report

Harold Blattie, Executive Director, Montana Association of Counties

  • 63rd Legislative Session (2013)
    • Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director, assigned to retirement, which was the biggest issue of the session
    • Hired Maureen Connor, previous Granite County Commissioner, for the duration of the session
    • Shantil Siaperas, MACo Legislative Coordinator assisted with lobbying
    • President Chilcott was present several days a week, as well as 1st Vice President Briggs and other MACo Officers
    • MACo Members are key component in reaching out interacting with legislators before, during, and after the session
    • One of the most successful sessions in getting our resolutions passed
  • Annual Performance Evaluation
    • Two dominant themes: 1) More budget training; 2) Feeling amongst other elected officials that MACo is an association of commissioners not of counties—we do our best to work with their lobbyists and officers; we share information with other elected officials
  • NACo Involvement
    • Extraordinary amount of influence—NACo reaches out to us
    • National Council of County Association Executives (NCCAE):  Will be president next month

Montana Joining Community Forces Initiative

Jeff Ireland, Colonel, Army National Guard Headquarters, Department of Military Affairs
(Unable to Attend: Matt Quinn, Major General Director, Department of Military Affairs)

  • The goal for Montana Joining Community Forces (JCF) is to build a statewide network of County Military Support Coalitions who are actively serving their Service Members, Veterans, and Families (SMVF) through collaborative and comprehensive support services and community involvement.
  • Montana JCF is based on several different military community support models, but specifically named after the national Joining Community Forces initiative.
  • The statewide network will help to maximize support delivery efficiency and enhance communication through community partnerships to better serve SMVF throughout Montana.
  • It is about taking care of those in Montana who have served and continue to serve, by starting at the local level.
  • Reasons to Create a County Military Support Coalition:
    • Montana is home to well over 100,000 Veterans, with roughly 27% of them living in communities with less than 15,000 people.
    • Montana ranks 2nd only to Alaska in Veterans per capita nationwide.
    • Developing partnerships at the local level can ensure that each community has adequate access to the support services that are available through a formal support network.
  • Regional Support:
    • The state has been broken down into ten regions in order to maximize support services delivery at the county level. Each region has a “resource hub” that increases the availability of resources and training/education opportunities closer to where it is needed.
    • Each regional “resource hub” has the ability to network with the counties in its own region to help influence the success of that region’s coalition.
  • Key Service Areas: Behavioral/Physical Health; Family/Youth; Education/Career; Faith-Based; Financial Wellness; Legal; Crisis Response.
  • Steps to Get Started:
    • Obtain a copy of the MT JCF Toolkit at: www.montanaveteranconnection.org;
    • Meet with county stakeholders/leaders to share concept;
    • Conduct Information and Resource Assessment;
    • Identify Leadership Team and Key Service Area Organizations to begin Action Plan;
    • Plan the Community Covenant to show public support for SMVF in your county.
  • SMVF services, information, support, advocacy, resources, and more can be found at: www.montanaveteranconnection.
  • Reach Montana Joining Community Forces by email at montanajcf@gmail.com or contact 1LT Ryan Luchau at 406.324.3907 or ryan.w.luchau.mil@mail.mil.


Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo 1st Vice President

Montana Defense Alliance:  September 24 at 4:30 p.m. in Suite 248 (Red Lion Colonial Hotel)

Commissioner Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County, MACo Urban Counties Representative

Welcome—In the agenda there is information about Lewis & Clark County as well as many sites and descriptions.  Thanks goes out to Mayor Smith.

Mary Craigle, Bureau Chief, Census and Economic Information Center (CEIC)
Leslie Zolman, Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP)

  • Website:  Interactive maps
  • ArcGIS Online:  Do your own map
  • Population Projections
  • http://ceic.mt.gov/

Jail Standards/Advisory Group, MACo Update & Panel Discussion

Dennis McCave, Retired Sergeant, Yellowstone County Detention Facility
Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo 1st Vice President
Glen Meier, Sheriff, Valley County
Jim Muskovich, Loss Control Specialist, Montana Association of Counties
Commissioner Bill Barron, Lake County Commissioner
Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County Commissioner

Montana Jail Standards Update

  • History (1977 – First published Standards by ACA for Local Facilities)
    • 1978 First Standards process begun in Montana by Sheriff Pete Howard, Teton County
    • 1980/81 $35,000 Grant through NIC awarded
    • 1981 First Standards completed
    • 1986 Jail Recodification Task Force created by MBCC
    • 1993 Standards Revision
    • 1998 Standards updated (NIC Grant)
    • 2000 Standards Third Edition
    • 2006 Montana Detention/Jail Standards Reviewed/Updated/Revised (NIC Grant)
    • 2012 Montana Jail Standards were Reviewed/Updated/Revised
  • Standards (Key Feature of Standards)
    • The term “mandatory standard” may also take on significance within a set of standards as well.  Some sets of standards, including the ACA and the BIA standards, have a core set of individual standards that are regarded as mandatory.  These are standards where compliance is viewed as critical.  To achieve accreditation with such standards, the facility has to demonstrate compliance with all of the mandatory standards as well as a certain percentage of the remaining standards.
    • Administering Agency – Organizational Options:
    • In discussing where the standards and inspection should reside, the participants were reluctant to consider options involving state government entities.  The option preferred by the participants was to have the program administered jointly by the MSPOA and MACO.
  • Montana Jail Mission Statement
    • “The mission of the Jail Standards Advisory Committee is to review, revise, and maintain standards for all local Detention Facilities. The Committee will establish a program to provide education, evaluation, and support to assist facilities in achieving adherence with the standards.”
  • Review (Inspection) Process
    • 1998 “Mock” Inspections done at three (3) Jails
    • 2008 “Peer Reviewer” Training conducted at MLEA (16 participants)
    • “Trial” Peer Review of three (3) Jails
    • 2009 thru 2011 Nine (9) Jails in Montana had Peer Reviews done
    • 2013 Peer Review of Roosevelt County Jail conducted—following ACLU letter
  • 07.12 All security perimeter entrances, cell block doors, and doors opening into a corridor within the security perimeter are kept secured except when in use. Doors to vacant and unoccupied cells in housing units, and in storage units are secured at all times.
  • 07.13, The facility’s security, life safety, and communications systems are monitored continuously from a secure location.
    • 1-CORE-2A-01
      • (Ref. 4-) ALDF-2A-01, The facility’s security, life safety, and communications systems are monitored continuously from a secure location.
  •  07.14 The facility administrator or designee conducts at least weekly inspections of all living and activity areas as well as other security equipment. The date, time, and results of these inspections are recorded on a checklist or log. The facility administrator promptly corrects any identified problems.
    • I-CORE -2A-03
      • (Ref. 4-ALDF-2A-O5, 2A-06), Personal contact and interaction between staff and inmates is required. The facility administrator or designee visits the facility’s living and activity areas at least weekly.
  • Would like support of the standards

Congressman Steve Daines

  1. Farm Bill
    1. Passed nutrition part of Farm Bill in the House
    2. Senate passed a Farm Bil
    3. Need to get a 5-year Farm Bill
    4. It will now go to conference committee
  2. Keystone Pipeline


General Session – Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pension Updates

Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, Public Employees Retirement Board Member
Sheryl Wood, Associate Director, Montana Association of Counties

Overview of the decisions of the Montana Public Employees Retirement Board regarding the implementation of HB 454—the PERS funding bill—and information on the Board’s decisions regarding actuarial valuations and assumptions, and what they will mean to county budgets in the future.

  • HB 454, Provide funding for PERS defined benefit plan, revise GABA:  Sponsored By Bill McChesney, HD 40
    • Contributions:
      • Employer:  The percentage of compensation to be contributed is 1.27% for fiscal year 2014 and increases by 0.1% each fiscal year through fiscal year 2024. For fiscal years beginning after June 30, 2024, the percentage of compensation to be contributed is 2.27%.
        • The board must now annually review the additional employer contribution and recommend adjustments to the legislature as needed to maintain the amortization schedule set by the board for payment of the system’s unfunded liabilities.
        • The employer contribution terminates on January 1 following the board’s receipt of the system’s actuarial valuation if: the actuarial valuation determines that terminating the additional employer contribution and reducing the employee contribution would not cause the amortization period to exceed 25 years.
      • Employee: Each member’s contribution must be reduced to 6.9% on January 1 following the system’s annual actuarial valuation if the valuation determines that reducing the employee contribution pursuant to this subsection and reducing the employer contribution would not cause the system’s amortization period to exceed 25 years.
    • Guaranteed Annual Benefit Adjustment (GABA):  Cut in half (from 3% to 1.5%)—litigation
  • HB 105, Generally revise MPERA retirement system laws concerning plan administration, Sponsored by Tom Steenberg, HD 95
    • MPERA slipped “contract employee” into their “General Revisions” bill:  Now employment covered by the retirement system include not only work performed by a retiree through a professional employer arrangement, an employee leasing arrangement, or a temporary service contractor, BUT ALSO services performed by a retiree as an independent contractor for an employer participating in the system.

SB 144:  Department of Ag Noxious Weed Funding Legislation

Greg Ames, Administrator, MT Department of Agriculture

This presentation summarized the Montana Department of Agriculture’s administration of the Noxious Weed Trust Fund Program and the Noxious Weed Seed Forage Program as well as the impacts of recent legislation for each of these programs and the Department’s future plans to address these impacts.

  • Grant Applications:  200 grants administered at any given time
  • Funding for weed program is in statute
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Blueprint
    • Aquatic weeds management moved from Department of Agriculture to Fish, Wildlife & Parks
  • SB 144, Generally revise noxious weed trust fund laws, sponsored by Jon Sesso, SD 37
    • Sweeps the amount to exceed $10 million from the noxious weed management trust fund to be used for future grant awards.
    • In fiscal year 2015 and in each succeeding fiscal year, the funds used by the department for administering the program, including but not limited to personal services costs, operating costs, and other administrative and program costs attributable to the program, may not exceed 12% of the total amount expended through grants and contracts.  No additional administrative or other costs may be taken by the department on reverted funds used for future grant awards.
  • Results:  Budget cut in half; funding reductions mean less statewide weed coordination and several other things; will continue to manage the trust fund program

EMPG Grant Update – Question & Answer Session

Ed Tinsley, Director, MT Disaster and Emergency Services

Questions asked and answered regarding the Emergency Management Performance Grants and the state and federal requirements associated with the grant.

  • 24/7 Phone Number 406.324.4777
  • We’re trying to get information to everyone by June
  • Reimbursement is faster than in the past, and turnaround is faster
  • Need full information
  • Department of Emergency Services (DES) is going to coordinate with MACo to participate in Midwinter like in the past.

How a Strong Mental Health Local  Advisory Council (LAC) Can Save Your County Money and Improve Mental Health Services

Commissioner Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County, MACo Representative, MT Mental Health Oversight Advisory Council

Local Advisory Councils (LACs) are designed to assist counties in assessing needs and setting priorities for mental health service in your communities.  By creating an LAC as a county advisory council, commissioners can appoint members, give direction, and keep abreast of how and what mental health services are being delivered in your county.

  • The Montana Mental Health Oversight Advisory Council (MHOAC) is made up of consumers, providers, advocates, and community leaders from a variety of sectors.   A main focus of the Council’s mission is to provide the Department of Health & Human Services recommendations for setting priorities for mental health funding and programming.  In addition, MHOAC makes efforts to listen to the needs of local communities and then assist them in solving local issues around providing quality mental health services.
  • Through the MHOAC discussions with local communities it has become evident that many are struggling to develop and maintain functional and effective Mental Health Local Advisory Councils (LAC).  The LACs are essential for a community to come together to discuss and plan for comprehensive mental health care. Those LAVs that are seeing some success in community planning and implementation of mental health care have done so with the help of their county government.
  • High functioning LACs thrive due to the involvement and partnership with the host county commission.  The presence of local elected officials at the LAC meetings makes a difference in communities and transmits the urgency of mental health issues that are often ignored until a tragedy occurs.
  • Gallatin County and Lewis & Clark County made the LAC a working council of the county with the members being appointed by the county commission.  The county also provided direction by establishing bylaws and criteria for the membership.
  • Contact Commissioner Hunthausen, ahunthausen@lccountymt.gov, for further information.


General Session – Wednesday Morning, September 25, 2013

MACo Committee Reports

MACo Agriculture Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County

  • Updates
    • Commissioner Bob Lee, Rosebud County, member of the Governor’s Sage Grouse Council gave an update on the meetings the council has held since April 2013.
    • Errol Rice, MT Stockgrowers Association Vice-President, introduced Tucker Hughes, President of the MT Stockgrowers Assn. Board and then talked about current agriculture issues.  He discussed the new Farm Bill that has been extended every year since 2008—it is currently in conference committee.  COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) was also discussed.  Other issues that the Montana Stockgrowers Association has been addressing are property rights, corner crossing, efforts to preserve senior water rights, bison relocation, brucellosis, sage grouse, board appointments under the new State administration.
    • Commissioner Dan Happel, Madison County, updated the committee about the Large Predator Working Group—a sub-committee of the MACo Agriculture Committee established a year ago to develop a large predator policy.
    • Chairwoman Davey reported on the Yellowstone Eco-System Sub-Committee (YES)–sub-committee with members from Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, FWP, and BLM.  The grizzly bear has been relisted on the endangered species list.  The next meeting will be in Bozeman in November.  Maureen asked if there was anyone who would be interested in taking her place on this sub-committee.
    • Chairwoman Davey attended the NACo Ag & Rural Affairs Committee meetings in July.  She asked the committee members to read the NACo Agriculture and Rural Affairs policies the next MACo Agriculture Committee meeting at the Midwinter Conference to recommend incorporating any of the NACo policies into our MACo Agriculture policies.
  • Speaker:  John Steuber, USDA Wildlife Services, discussed Predator Control issues including funding.
  • Legislative Updates:
    • Lesley Robinson – Bison Relocation.
    • Kirby Campbell-Rierson, Sen. Baucus representative – Farm Bill and the possibility of it passing and also some possible funding to the MT Department of Agriculture.
    • Jessica Flint, Rep. Daines representative – Farm Bill, natural resources, and sage grouse.

NACo Agriculture & Rural Affairs Steering Committee
Committee Member, Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County

  • First NACo Annual Conference as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Steering Committee The committee addresses Agriculture issues including the Farm Bill Re-authorization, Family Farming, Environment, Pest Management, Farm workers, Property Rights, Renewable Energy, Drought and Natural Disasters, and International Trade.
  • The Rural Affairs side of this committee addresses Rural Housing, Rural Poverty, and Outmigration.
  • The committee voted on two platform changes both of which passed:
    • Renewable Energy added “While NACo is supportive of efforts like incentives to increase usage and reliance on renewable energy sources, it opposes mandates that will result in undue fiscal hardship to rural and agriculture users.”
    • The Farm Bill Reauthorization platform supports “The definition of biomass from Titles I & II of the 2008 Farm Act for federal lands and non-federal lands.”
  • Resolutions passed in the committee were titled: Technical Assistance for Local Foods Producers, Local Food Systems in the Farm Bill, and Railroad Freight Equity.
    • Stillwater County sponsored the Railroad Freight Equity resolution which supported competitive freight rail system. This resolution can be seen on the MACo website.
    • A resolution titled “Healthy Food Financing Initiative” failed with a lively discussion and only a few voting in favor.
  • There was a good variety of workshops to choose from. I attended workshops covering new jails, Supreme Court decisions and counties, state association and county commissioner communications, mineral development booms and county IT.
  • It was good to meet other counties with similar issues and learn their solutions. Relationships go a long way. I’m looking forward to the future in NACo and becoming more active on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Steering Committee to keep Montana’s foot in the door.

MACo Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County

  • Legislative Update:  Chairman Briggs updated the committee on the informational session regarding SB 239 – Improvement of Tax Increment Financing (TIF).
  • Speakers:
    • Rick Edwards, MEDA Legislative Committee Chair, presented an overview of MEDA activities and suggested that MEDA and MACo agree to collaborate early and often in regards to the legislative process to avoid redundancy.  MEDA’s 2015 focus will be on economic tools and policy.
    • Jim Davison, Anaconda Local Development Corp. shared a brochure with the audience that listed state economic development programs and discussed the importance of CRDC’s in bringing programs into small communities.
    • Dr. Chris Shove, Executive Director of Montana Business Assistance Connection, shared projects underway or recently completed within Broadwater, Meagher, Jefferson, and Lewis and Clark Counties. Chris talked about the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Regional Input-Output Modeling System Rims II, a tool to assist with retention and expansion of local businesses and recruitment of out-of-state companies.
    • Tony Preite, MT State Director for USDA Rural Development began his presentation with an encouragement of increased collaboration between MEDA and MACo, as an expanded partnership would be beneficial to all.  Tony also talked about the value of EDD’s and CRDC’s.  He urged people to contact EDD’s or CRDC’s and utilize the professionals who are trained to help smaller communities.  USDA Rural Dev. (www.rurdev.usda.gov/mt) provides assistance to rural communities and expended nearly 340 million dollars last year.
  • Updates:  Commissioners from Roosevelt, Ravalli, Custer and Flathead reviewed projects within their respective counties.

NACo Telecommunications & Technology Steering Committee
Committee Member, Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County

  • We focused on two NACo Resolutions and one of the most important of our ongoing efforts, FirstNet.
  • Resolutions:
    • Supporting Deployment of Next Gen 911: Issue – Allowing 911 call centers to receive Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates along with text messages.
      • Proposed Policy: NACo opposes efforts to impose unfunded mandates on local governments, but supports the voluntary use of text messaging to 911 and encourages the sending of GPS coordinates with text and SMS messaging when using 911.
    • Resolution Supporting Local Authority in Installing Antennas on Public Property: Issue – Limits on local government authorities regarding antennas on public property
      • Proposed Policy: NACo opposes efforts to impose limits on local authorities to determine the installation of antennas on public property.
  • FirstNet was created to provide emergency responders with the first high-speed, nationwide network dedicated to public safety.  Simple concept, but implementation of such a system is immensely complex—massive and expensive undertaking (concerns with having the same the issues we had with Interoperability Montana).  The Committee will continue to monitor that. Had some great presenters.  There are members on the committee who serve on subcommittees of the authority that is developing FirstNet.  There will be a detailed written report in MACo News.

NACo Community & Economic Development Steering Committee
Committee Member, Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County

  • Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, will discuss this further in his report, which is next.
  • One thing to add:  Items dealt with don’t have much to do with us.  Talk a lot about federal housing money, which is important, but it isn’t the end-all be-all.

NACo Labor & Employment Steering Committee
Committee Member, Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County

  • Deals with Public Pensions, which goes well with new appointment on the Public Employees Retirement Board.
    • NACo is going to take pensions out and put them in the Finance & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee—will attend this also but won’t be able to vote.
  • Was one of the smallest committees at the national level; new Executive Director Matt Chase changed that and combined the Community & Economic Development Steering Committee with Labor & Employment Steering Committee—to be called the “Community & Economic Development Steering Committee”
    • Good—these two go hand-in-hand; now it matches how it’s done in Montana.
  • Department of Labor (Statewide Workforce Investment Board) has contract with MACo to send a delegate to the national conferences two times every year—costs that MACo doesn’t have to come up with.

MACo Energy Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner John Prinkki, Carbon County

  • Mark Baker, Denbury Resources, discussed technology of CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery
  • Tom Kaiserski, Montana Department of Commerce, Energy Development
    • Big Sky Partnerships is working on sequestration of CO2 and Clean Coal at Keiven Dome (test bed).  Magellan Petroleum is working in the Poplar Dome.  Cola Strip is working on Coal Gasification, it is easier to isolate CO2 when gasified then ship to Canada – same process as Denbury is using.
    • Trends and what’s coming – oil is up 10.6% in 2013.
    • Coal ports – Longview WA and Pendleton OR trying to develop ports, Korea and Asian markets requesting 40 million tons
    • Wind – 650MW on line in MT, at capacity with transmission lines – recession and Natural Gas lessened electrical needs.  Growing interest – new and expanding tax credits and wind impact fees are options for counties.
    • Data centers – 40-50MW- growing demand and MT trying to attract – power exporter with numerous renewable power options
    • Right of Way and Permitting – environmental groups are stopping, MSTI shelved with $23million written down, MSTI Review Project consisted of 5 environmental groups charged with siting.
  • Bud Anderson, Transcanada discussed pipeline from Canada Oil Sands to Texas Gulf Coast- project was split (Canada to NE, NE to TX). MACo and NACo Energy Committees have actively supported.
  • Barb Skelton, Montana Energy Forum, is involved in pursuing Keystone, regulations require oil be refined- if not, keystone oil will go to China (terrible emissions), National Security issue.
  • Kirby from Senator Baucus and Jessica from Congressman Daines read letters.
  • NACo Cap & Trade

NACo Environment, Energy & Land Use Steering Committee (EELU)
Committee Member, Commissioner John Prinkki, Carbon County

  • EELU had several contentious resolutions and policy changes to discuss.
    • Resolutions that passed:
      • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 Permit Program: Issue – Administration of Clean Water Act (CWA) §404 Permit Program for routine maintenance
      • Reduction and Cleanup of Marine Debris: Issue – Encourage clean-up of marine debris.
      • Exempting Renewable Biomass Emissions from the EPA’s Tailoring Rule: Issue – Renewable Biomass Emissions and the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule
      • Keystone XL Pipeline; (This resolution was sponsored by Commissioner Richard Dunbar, Philips County, Montana.): Issue – Allowing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline
      • Opposing Delay in Issuance of Oil and Gas Drilling Permits:  Issue – Issuance of drilling permits
    • Attended the Solutions for Shale Impacted Counties Educational Forum
    • Attended a seminar on the Affordable Healthcare Reform Act and the effect on county employees.
    • The NACo Board met to hear the various committee reports and vote on the resolutions and platform changes that each committee had adopted. The NACo Board voted positively to support each committee report and adopted the resolutions and policy changes that came from those committees.
    • As it has been stated many times, those that show up make the rules, it was all the more made evident in the EELU committee once again. I strongly believe in the investment that MACo makes for the involvement in the National Association of Counties. We do make a difference, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to represent the Montana Association of Counties on the NACo Board and the EELU Committee.

MACo Health & Human Services Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County

  • County Sanitarians
    • Jane Smilie and Jim Murphy from Department of Health & Human Services (DPHHS) provided an overview on the role of county sanitarians and department’s role in licensing establishments.
    • Senator Terry Murphy, SD 39, spoke about his concerns regarding the differences in ordinances and regulations county to county—expressed that Montana needs a consistent understanding of the law, while maintaining the flexibility of the local governments.
  • Medicaid Match Discussion
    • DPHHS contracts for mental health services, and the funding for community mental health centers—2003 counties agreed to send $1 per capita to the state; the state would use the dollars for Medicaid match and return money to the community mental health centers.
    • Recent Years:  Disagreements developed over funding and distribution of dollars. Funding for mental health services has declined; need for services increased, leading to financial losses for community mental health centers.  There have been reductions in plan contracts, and there are concerns regarding the short-term contracts and inability to budget for service.
      • MACo Subcommittee Appointed:  Made up of commissioners representing mental health centers around the state—will be meeting with Governor’s Office and DPHHS to begin discussions.
  • Montana Public Health Officers
    • Erin McGowan, Montana Public Health Officers  gave a report regarding the association’s activities—expressed thanks to MACo for help during the legislative session regarding funding issues. The association is working on leadership issues and like MACo to be involved in future leadership forums.
  • Medicaid Coverage for Pre-adjudicated Inmates
    • Sheryl Wood, MACo Associate Director, reported on a potential resolution to “suspend” Medicaid coverage for pre-adjudicated inmates, rather than terminating coverage.
  • Commissioner Jane Weber, Cascade County, noted that they are disposing of prescription drugs by incinerating them, but have run into a problem with DEQ regarding the qualifications of the incineration facilities for this purpose.

NACo Human Services & Education Steering Committee
Committee Member, Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County

  • First half of our meeting was held jointly with the Justice and Public Safety Committee:  Human Trafficking; NACo has partnered with Homeland Security in combating Human Trafficking; approximately 27 million victims; estimated to be a 32 billion dollar industry; the Blue Campaign
  • Resolutions Passed:
    • Re-authorizing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant. This grant expires at the end of this fiscal year.
    • Resolution on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This is a carryover resolution that was passed last year that urges congress to come up with Immigration reform.
    • Resolution in support for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors.
    • Resolution in support of the Community Services Block Grant.  This program has been targeted for serious cuts and program changes. The resolution supports full funding as well as the programs formula grant structure.
    • Resolution in support of the Social Services Block Grant. This resolution had the same intent as the one I listed in #4.
    • Resolution in support of the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. The Aging population growth is increasing the demand for services to older Americans. The resolution asks for strengthen the Act through additional funding.
    • Resolution to Strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The SNAP program is up for reauthorization this year.
    • Resolution Supporting the Recognition of Prostituted Children and Youth as Victims of Sexual Exploitation. This resolution would recognize youth who are victims of sexual exploitation as children in need of protective services.
    • Resolution on the Reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant. NACo supports this reauthorization which will include enhanced program flexibility, and increase access to quality and safe child care.
    • Resolution in support of the International Collection of Child Support Obligations. This resolution would support legislation to streamline and make more uniform the process for collecting child support obligations from non-custodial parents living outside the US.
  • Good conference; however it seems that our requests keep getting longer as money becomes tighter:  example is the older Americans Act; aging population leads to need for more money for services.
  • The people we have representing us on our entire committees do an outstanding job of looking out for the best interest for those at home. I would like to take the opportunity to thank MACo for allowing me to sit on one of these committees.

MACo Justice & Public Safety Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Bill Barron, Lake County

  • Brook Marshall, Board of Crime Control
    • 2 grants available:  Jail Suicide Prevention; Prescription Drug Registry
    • Prison Rape Elimination Act:  Must be fully implemented by November 2014 or be penalized; under-funded, could affect Drug Task Force Funding; counties must implement if holding state inmates
    • Working with Jail Advisory Committee on Jail Standards
    • 10% funding cut because state doesn’t comply with Sex Offender Registry guidelines
    • Invited to Crime Control Conference October 10th
  • Jim Smith, Montana Sheriffs’ & Peace Officers’ Association:  Association Update
    • will be working on Jail Standards, Jail Reviews, ACLU & PREA
    • Sheriff retirement system given until 2015 to find funding fix
    • Working on issues regarding guns & the mentally ill [reporting]
    • General funding issues i.e.; Academy & Crime Lab
  • Mark Murphy, County Attorneys’ Association:  Association Update
    • Had all their crime prevention bills defeated
    • Human Trafficing Bill passed with no funding source
    • 5 bills to improve Child Abuse Prosecution ie; DUI with kids in car
    • Mental Health Issues:  funding,   L.E. frontline in dealing with, Gun rights & crimes, acquittals due to mentally ill, SB 11, increased L.E. ability to hold mentally ill, gave $2000 to parole board for training, dealt with drugs & alcohol relationship to mental health for prosecution
    • Drones:  Bills restricting L.E. use passed; bills restricting private use failed; private use is very high in state
    • Worked on numerous Pension issues; pensions have been out of whack since 1993
  • Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director:  Make sure your daily jail rate is in place. There have been changes at corrections that are causing some confusion.
  • James Muskovich, MACo JPA/JPIA
    • Sheriff Offices have highest losses across the state
    • Each county will receive list of issues to work on:  Animals vs vehicles, bad backs, slips and falls
    • Jails:  revised standards have been adopted; Dennis McCave will develop template for implementation by mid-winter; N.I.C will provide 3 free trainings for the counties; Commissioners & Sheriffs need to work together on this

NACo Justice & Public Safety Steering Committee
Committee Member, Commissioner Bill Barron, Lake County

  • 9 Items Presented & Voted On
    • To request congress amend or revise Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act & FEMA mapping procedures to account for all flood reducing structures to reduce dramatic insurance increases due to inaccurate flood maps.
    • Promote prevention efforts related to community violence
    • Request the Federal Single Audit Requirements dollar amount be raised from $500,000 to $2,000,000; this would simplify reporting requirements, save compliance costs & provide an exemption for disasters.
    • Support legislation providing mitigation funds for areas affected by wildfires:  put wildfires on parity with all natural disasters; counties would apply for funds through state; could be used for post-fire flood mitigation & pre-fire mitigation to reduce severity of fires.
    • Support recognizing elected county commissioners & supervisors that manage              transportation infrastructure as First Responders. This authority would aid us during disasters securing roads & bridges.
    • Support the Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2013: would be enforced by both federal and state A.G.’s; scrap dealers must keep accurate records for 2 years; be made available to L.E. when requested; scrap over $100.00 must be paid by cash for tracking purposes; seller must have written documentation to sell scrap.
    • Support Stopping Tax Offenders, Prosecuting I.D. Theft Act & similar laws: In 2011, 938,664 fraudulent returns resulting in $6.5 billion related to I.D. theft;   Dept. of Justice would create a task force coordinating with state & local L.E. to reduce crimes & misuse of taxpayer I.D.; increase penalties.
    • Support restructuring Homeland Security Grants:  NACo opposes the Secretary’s Homeland Security Grant Vision for 2012 & 2013; NACo proposes consolidating all funding into 2 programs — 1) A National Preparedness Program & 2) An Urban Area Security Initiative. Grants would be based on realistic risks to each state.
    • Support the Emergency Management Grants (EPMG):  Secretary wants to include with all terrorism grants; NACo proposes EMPG stays in a separate program from terrorism grants; Minimum 70% of funds be passed to local government; maximum 50% match

Land Use & Development Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Joe Skinner, Gallatin County

  • Updates, Tara DePuy, MACo Land Use Attorney
    • Buildings for Rent or Lease: The 2013 legislature took language about Subdivision by rent or lease out  of the Subdivision and Platting section of law and put it under a new section of law (76-8). This new section of law went into effect Sept. 1, 2013 so counties need to approve new regulations addressing this new section of law if they have not already done so.
    • DNRC “combined appropriations” “exempt well” issue. The 2013 legislature passed the Stream Depletion Zone bill and also the Combined Appropriations bill which defined combined appropriations, but this bill was later vetoed by the Governor. The DNRC now has a proposed rule which would restrict two or more wells from a combined source at 10 acre ft/year and would restrict a tract of record of 40 acres to 10 acre ft/year. These rules are obscure and difficult to understand. There are several attempts to prevent DNRC from adopting these rules. This issue may need to be addressed once again at the 2015 legislature.
    • Williams vs. Missoula Part 2 Zoning decision by Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the Part 2 zoning protest petition established in law (76-2-205)(6) is unconstitutional. If Part 2 zoning is adopted currently it will need to be done without protest provision and should be done with careful counsel from County Attorneys until this is addressed in the 2015 legislature.
    • There is a trend in several counties to use Court ordered exemptions as a way around and a possible evasion of subdivision.
    • 2013 Draft Floodplain Model Regulations are available. Public comment will be taken on these model regulations until Oct 31, 2013. A warning was given to counties of limited jurisdiction that any new regulations must be adopted through resolution and not by ordinance as provided in the model regulations.
  • Updates, Kelly Lynch, Montana Department of Commerce
    • Koontz Supreme Court decision:  This decision upheld that Nolan/Dollan test must be applied which tests governmental takings, analyzing nexus and rough proportionality on all county issued land use permits and approvals. County Planning Departments need to be trained and proficient in applying these analyses.

Public Lands Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Lesley Robinson, Phillips County

  • PILT Fly-In, Commissioner Carol Brooker, Sanders County:  Congressional members are supportive
  • NACo Public Lands Committee Update, Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County:  Resolutions passed in July 2013 available on NACo news Sept. 2013
  • ESA Hearing Update, Commissioner Lesley Robinson, Phillips County
  • Report on Doc Hastings bill (1526), Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County:  Forest timber projection; request county feedback on impact to individual counties
  • Speakers
    • Jamie Connell BLM State Director:   Gave background; unsure budgets had forced BLM not to fill vacancies; for every $1 spent brings back $5 in revenue to feds, state, and local
      • GSG/BLM Draft Plans:  Public Comment probably done.  Federal judge ruling that USFWS makes decision on status of GSG in 2015.  BLM trying to implement GSG management plans that satisfy USFWS.
      • Fire and forest:  15 timbers sales opened; bids on all of them; emphasis on fuel reduction;
      • Website has State Directors “top ten” goals.
      • Raven Issues
      • Director agrees that predators are an issue; significant agreement that predators are a major issue.
    •  Lauri Hanauska-Brown, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
      • Bison issues: They think they need a state wide Bison plan; upcoming Lewistown Bison Meeting on Sept. 26; concerns about comment and public input meetings on Bison; concern that equal footing for comments; comments are not a vote
    • John Hagengruber, United States Forest Service, Northern Region
      • Issues:  Fire, fuels, and emergency response; landscape-level challenges, landscape-level tools; water; litigation & appeals/objections; 122 board feet sold in 2012; 165 projected board feet in 2013

NACo Public Lands Steering Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County
Committee Vice Chair, Commissioner Lesley Robinson, Phillips County

  • PILT Fly-in; Looking for something long term
  • Over 30 Resolutions (they are online—won’t go through all of them) and 3 amendments to the American County Platform; approved 28 proposed policy resolutions and 2 changes to the Public Lands Chapter of the American County Platform.
    • The resolutions were the major focus of the meetings and required more than five hours of debate over two days to complete.
  • Western Interstate Region meeting was held at the Annual NACo conference. We approved a bylaw amendment adding the NACo Western Region Representative to the WIR Board of Directors. This ensures that the Rep is aware of the issues discussed at our WIR meetings.
  • One of the speakers was Matthew A Cronin, Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ School of National Resources and Agriculture Sciences. He spoke to the committee about endangered species and his scientific views. Currently the law is being based on predictions as to if they will be considered endangered. The Endangered Species Act now allows possible future endangerment predicted with models. He was an interesting speaker. He also talked about subspecies being listed when genetically they vary very little.
  • Kate Lighthall, Program director for Project Wildfire, spoke about restoring insect, disease and fire-resilient landscapes is the most important goal.
  • Cynthia Moses Nedd, BLM liaison was able to attend our conference, due in large part to the commissioners and NACo urging BLM to let her attend. Randy Phillips, USFS liaison was also at the conference.
  • The WIR fall board meeting will be held October 2nd through the 4th in Grand Junction Colorado.
  • Commissioner Robinson will be President of the Western Interstate Region (WIR) next spring.
  • Four MACo members on the Public Lands Committee: Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County; Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County; Commissioner Mike Murray, and Lesley Robinson

Transportation Committee
Committee Chair, Commissioner John Ostlund, Yellowstone County

  • Eric asked how we can work with MDOT to reduce the possibility of accidents on county road approaches that are gravel adjoining asphalt.
    • Wayne will recommend we pave back an asphalt approach when scheduled overlays take place.  This should include RR approaches to reduce grader/train/vehicle accidents.
  • Discussion: County vs. public roads around regulatory signs
  • Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director, provided an update from DEQ on uses of recycled asphalt.
  • Harold Blattie also briefed the committee on SB 332, the limited open-cut forms. DEQ may look (next time) at the 10,000 yard option.
    • DEQ has also worked on the full permit operation form to help improve the application.

NACo Transportation Steering Committee
Committee Member, Commissioner John Ostlund, Yellowstone County

  • MAP 21 Expires September 30, 2014
  • Each year NACo supports additional gas tax, with much discussion about how to backfill the shortage created by money set aside for alternative transportation, bike and walking trails, and hybrid/electric cars.
  • Next on the horizon: compressed natural gas trucks

Finance & Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee
Subcommittee Chair, (County & Tribal Government Relationships)
Commissioner Sidney Fitzpatrick, Bighorn County

  • Offered position to serve; took it
  • Subcommittee:  County Tribal & Governmental Relationships – Appointed Chair
  • Every tribe is unique
  • Casino issues across the country
  • Montana is ordered under contracts of the Taverns Association
  • Salish & Forth Belknap tribal leaders came in and spoke
  • My third year as a commissioner, hope I can help

Happenings on the Hill

Deborah Cox, NACo Legislative Director
Arthur Scott, Associate Leg. Director, NACo Ag & Rural Affairs Committee

  • Snapshot of Key County Issues
    • White House/OMB and Federal Agency Regulatory Review
    • PILT and Secure Rural Schools Funding and Extension
    • Affordable Care Act and Impact on Counties
    • FY2014 Federal Appropriations Aid to State & Local Governments
    • Immigration Reform and County Impact
    • Multi-Year Farm Bill Reauthorization
    • Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Reauthorization
    • MAP-21 Highway and Transit Reauthorization
  • Key Issues and Timelines
    • Sequestration in Effect: Across-the-Board Cuts (Began March 1, 2013)
    • FY2013 Federal Appropriations: Process Completed for FY2013
    • President’s FY2014 Budget: Release was Delayed Until April 10, 2013
    • FY2014 Appropriations Process: Congress has made little progress
    • End of Fiscal Year 2013: On September 30, 2013
    • Federal Debt Ceiling: Needs to be raised by mid-October
    • Tax and Entitlement Reform: Congressional Hearings have Started
  • Triple Threat of Issues Facing Counties
    • Entitlement Reform
  • Medicaid cuts and cost shifts to states and counties
  • Tax Reform
  • Elimination/reforms to tax-exempt municipal bonds
  • Elimination of state and local property, income and sales tax deductions on federal income tax forms
  • Sequestration and Annual Appropriations
  • Federal aid cuts to state and local governments
  • Entitlements Are Still on the Menu
    • Health care spending has slowed BUT entitlement spending is still driver of deficit and debt
  • Proposals to Alter the Tax-Exempt Status of Municipal Bonds Continue to Remain a Threat to County Government
  • Payment in Lieu of Taxes
    • The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act provided 5 years of mandatory funding for PILT (FY2008-FY2012)
    • In 2012, Congress included mandatory funding for PILT in MAP-21—for FY2013
    • Unless Congress acts, counties will have received their last fully funded PILT disbursement in June of 2013.  Without additional mandatory funding, PILT will revert to a discretionary program subject to the annual appropriations process
    • There was an attempt to include in the Senate Farm bill but it was ruled out of order
    • What’s it going to take? Senior leaders looking for right vehicle and right timing
  • Secure Rural Schools
    • Current Status
      • In July of 2012, MAP-21 was signed into law and included mandatory funding for SRS in FY2012
      • Counties received their last payment under the SRS program in January 2013
      • Needs to be reauthorized before October 1
    • Options Moving Forward
      • Stand alone in House for FY2015 (HR 1526)
        • Senate does not want; President has issued veto threat; would need vehicle
    • Helium Bill (looks to mitigate a helium shortage by allowing BLM to sell crude helium from the federal helium reserve)
      • House passed helium bill in April with no SRS funding
      • Last week Senate passed their version that included an extension of SRS for an additional year (5% below last year’s level)
      • UPDATE: House may consider Senate version with SRS section intact. To be successful, it would need to be passed by the House (again) and then go to the Senate (again)
  • Farm Bill
    • Conference Committee:  As soon as the House assigns conferees, we will be able to target

Why 457 for your employees?

Harold Blattie, Executive Director, Montana Association of Counties
Sheryl Wood, Associate Director, Montana Association of Counties
Margaret Volpe-Rodgers, Sr. Retirement Specialist, Nationwide Retirement Solutions

Whether it’s three years or thirty years away, retirement matters now.  Contributing to the Nationwide 457 plan is the first step to help your employees “pay themselves first.”  Because 457 deferred compensation plans are available only to state and local government employees, they have features designed specifically for your employees.

  • Tool for employees
  • Revenue tool for MACo
  • Number one deferred compensation provider in the country
  • Average tenure with a client is 18 years—98% retention—typically stay a long time
  • 1900 counties participate
  • 100th largest company in the United States
  • American-based company; money stays in the U.S.
  • 457 Roth


Closing General Session – Wednesday Afternoon, September 25, 2013

Roll Call

Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, MACo Fiscal Officer

After Roll call was taken, Mike McGinley announced a quorum was present to conduct business (see attachment).

Resolution of Appreciation

Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County, MACo President

Whereas, the 2013 Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties 104th such meeting; and

Whereas, attendance of member counties marks its success; and

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the 104th Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties expresses its sincere appreciation for the sponsorship of this conference to the Lewis & Clark County Commissioners and staff:

  • Mike Murray
  • Andy Hunthausen
  • Susan Geise

Motion/Vote:  A motion to pass the Resolution of Appreciation was made by Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, and seconded by Commissioner Dave Schulz, Madison County. The motion passed unanimously.

Election of Officers

Immediate Past President, President & 1st Vice President

  • Commissioner Connie Eissinger, McCone County:  The nomination for MACo Immediate Past President is Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County. There were no further nominations.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner John Prinkki, Carbon County, motioned to close nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Commissioner Chilcott as MACo Past President.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Gary MacDonald, Roosevelt County, motioned to close all nominations and cast a unanimous ballot in favor of the nominations report.  The motion was seconded Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent, thereby electing Commissioner Briggs, Cascade County as MACo President and Commissioner Schulz, Madison County, as MACo 1st Vice President.

2nd Vice President

  • Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  The nominations for MACo 2nd Vice President are Commissioner Andy Hunthausen, Lewis & Clark County; Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County; and Commissioner Ron Stoltz, Ravalli County.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner Gary MacDonald, Roosevelt County, motioned to close nominations and cast ballots. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Dennis Shupak, Stillwater County.  The motion passed by unanimous consent, and the ballots were issued.

  • The candidates gave short speeches while the ballots were being cast.
  • Harold Blattie, MACo Executive Director:  MACo Bylaws—Winning Candidate must have the majority of the votes (23).

Vote: Commissioner Maureen Davey, Stillwater County, was elected MACo 2nd Vice President by majority.

2015 Conference Location

  • Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  The 2015 Annual Conference location cannot be voted on today, as the proposals were in late.  The MACo Executive Committee and Board of Directors will review this further. Recap:  Madison County and Gallatin County would cosponsor if Big Sky is chosen, and Missoula County offered to host at the Holiday Inn in Missoula.

Motion:  Commissioner Gary MacDonald, Roosevelt County, motioned to defer the vote until the Midwinter Conference. Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County, seconded the motion.

  • Discussion:
    • Karen Houston, Meeting Planner, MACo:  It could affect the conference planning, because we usually book two years out.
    • Commissioner Jean Curtiss, Missoula County:  Postponement is bad for planning and booking venues.  We need to have confidence in our staff and Executive Committee.
    • Commissioner Lesley Robinson, Phillips County:  Change the date of the conference?
    • Harold Blattie, Executive Director, MACo:  Hard to move—one week earlier or later runs into other conferences.
    • Commissioner Pam Holmquist, Flathead County:  Email vote?
    • Harold Blattie:  Nothing says you can’t suspend the rules, but the problem is, some may vote three times and some may not vote at all.
    • Commissioner Jane Weber, Cascade County:  Let the Board of Directors do it.
    • Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County:  Board of Directors, Executive Committee, or Conference Planning Committee?
    • Commissioner Greg Chilcott:  Planning Committee would make the recommendation to the Executive Committee and then the Executive Committee would make the recommendation to the Board?
    • Commissioner Bill Barron, Lake County:  Not timely, let the Executive Committee and Board make the decision—trust the Board.
    • Commissioner Dave Kirsch, Jefferson County:  Decide now—if Big Sky can’t we’ll go to Missoula
    • Commissioner Tony Sitzmann, Glacier County:  Can others offer, or is it limited to these two?
    • Harold Blattie:  It’s wide open—fair game.

Voice Vote: Motion fails by majority.

Motion/Vote:  Commissioner John Ostlund, Yellowstone County, motioned to delegate authority to recommend the location for the 2015 MACo Annual Conference to the Conference Planning Committee, who would make their recommendation to the Executive Committee, who would make their recommendation to the Board of Directors, who would have the authority to make the final decision on the location of the 2015 MACo Annual Conference.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Susie Mosness, Sweet Grass County. The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Proposed By-Law Amendment(s)

Commissioner Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County

To be presented next year:  Meetings rotate through the Urban Counties – Lewis & Clark, Yellowstone, Cascade, Gallatin, Missoula, etc.

Congressional Report

Senator John Tester

A video was provided and played.

Other Business

Motion:  Commissioner Tony Cox, Sanders County, motioned to put Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County, in charge of organizing something regarding the Natural Resources Litigation Fund Committee by the Midwinter Conference.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County.

  • Discussion
    • Commissioner Carl Seilstad:  Started then dropped—follow Idaho program—Commissioner Connie Eissinger, McCone County, picked it up.
    • Harold Blattie, Executive Director, MACo:  Funding will always be the crux of the problem (having an attorney do just federal lands stuff)
    • Commissioner Carl Seilstad:  Glad to be a part of that committee and would be happy if the President would reestablish it.
    • Commissioner Joe Briggs, Cascade County, MACo President:  I would be happy to create a task force to develop a whitepaper and bring it back at the next annual conference discerning the feasibility and how it would work.  Email me if you’re interested in serving on the task force.

Motion Withdrawn


Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County:  The General Session of the MACo 104th Annual Conference is closed.