111th Annual MACo Conference (2020)

September 29- October 1, 2020

Preface

Given the then status of the COVID-19 pandemic, MACo was unable to host a full on-site conference and comply with social distancing requirements.  Therefore, the 111th Annual Conference was held virtually from September 29 through October 1, 2020.

The focus of the conference centered around electing MACo’s officers for the 2020-2021 term as well adopting MACo’s legislative package for the 2021 legislative session. Committee chairs, Trustees, the Board of Directors, and 2nd Vice President Candidates were invited to come to Helena in-person for the purpose of conducting the virtual meetings. All other participants were asked to participate remotely.

What follows is a summary of the conference happenings as well as supporting documents.

Commencement of Conference

MACo Committee Meetings

MACo’s 111th Annual Conference began on September 29, 2020, with MACo committee meetings, which met through the morning of October 1st. The committees convened with the primary purpose of reviewing and vetting the proposed resolutions as well as finalizing amendments to their policy statements.

Adopted resolutions and policy statements would embody MACo’s 2021 legislative package: Resolutions become pieces of legislation that MACo helps usher through the legislative session. Policy statements guide the actions of MACo Staff on other pieces of legislation/issues impacting local government.

Prior to the conference, all MACo members were emailed the proposed resolutions and policy statements and encouraged to virtually attend MACo’s committee meetings regardless of holding a position on the committee.

MACo’s Legislative Process:  Resolutions originate from either MACo committees or counties during their district meetings. The Resolutions & Legislative Committee then assigns the resolutions to specific committees for in-depth review. Each committee is tasked with vetting the resolutions and making recommendations to the full membership, after which the members decide what to adopt. This action effectively sets MACo’s Policy Platform for the upcoming Legislative Session.

MACo’s committees presented their recommendations during the membership meeting on the final day of the 111th Annual Conference, October 1, 2020.

Opening of MACo Membership Business Meeting

Presided by Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County, MACo President

President Gorder called the business meeting of the 111th Annual Conference of the Montana Association of Counties to order at 11:30 a.m. and commenced with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Conducted by Jason Rittal, MACo Deputy Director

Director Rittal called the roll and announced that a quorum was present to conduct business (see roll call attachment on page 15 for members present).

Approval of the 2019 Minutes – 110th Annual Conference

2019 Minutes

Commissioner Jim Hart, Madison County, made a motion to approve the minutes, which was seconded by Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County.  The motion passed unanimously.

Announcement, Acceptance & Closing of Nominations for MACo Officers

Presided by Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County, MACo President

President Gorder announced that the Board of Directors, acting as the Nominations Committee, bring forth the candidates for the 2020-2021 term as follows:

  • Office of Immediate Past President: Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County
  • Office of President: Commissioner Doug Martens, Rosebud County
  • Office of 1st Vice President: Commissioner Jason Strouf, Custer County
  • Office of 2nd Vice President: Commissioners Sidney Fitzpatrick, Big Horn County; Dennis Zander, Dawson County; and Roman Zylawy, Mineral County
  • Office of Fiscal Officer: Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County

President Gorder asked if there were further nominations for the office of MACo 2nd Vice President and/or Fiscal Officer, to which there were none. Nominations were closed, and the 2nd Vice President candidates were invited forward to speak to the membership.

2nd Vice-President Candidate Speeches

Commissioners Sidney Fitzpatrick, Big Horn County; Dennis Zander, Dawson County; and Roman Zylawy, Mineral County

Commissioner Fitzpatrick said that he would work to bring diversity and cooperation with other counties to ensure integrity in the 2nd Vice President position.  Commissioner Zander expressed that he would represent at the local and state level, serving all of Montana Counties.  Commissioner Zylawy stated his desire to help bridge Montana’s East and West issues and help commissioners have a larger voice at higher levels of government while the discussion is happening and before the decisions are made.

Election of MACo Officers

MACo 2nd Vice President & Fiscal Officer

Because there were no further nominations for MACo Fiscal Officer, the ballot included only the 2nd Vice President candidates. Counties were instructed by MACo Staff to submit their county’s collective vote (one vote per county) via email or text. Details of both communication options were announced, and the counties commenced casting their virtual ballots until the close of the election later in the day.

Convention Site 2021

Invited by Flathead County Commissioners

President Gorder invited the Flathead County Commissioners to speak to the membership, at which time Commissioners Pam Holmquist and Randy Brodehl announced that MACo 112th Annual Conference in 2021 would be held in Kalispell at the Hilton Garden Inn. They stated that they are looking forward to seeing everyone in person.

President's Report

Reported by Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County, MACo President

President Gorder thanked the MACo Staff and expressed his gratitude for their support. He also thanked everyone for the opportunity to have served as MACo’s President, which he said has truly been an honor and a year he won’t forget.

Due to the pandemic, MACo’s tour around the state for district meetings was cancelled, and the meetings were conducted virtually instead. President Gorder was disappointed that he was unable to visit with folks and discover more about their respective areas, but he is grateful for the other opportunities of which he was able to represent Montana’s counties.

President Gorder then spoke about his presidential initiative: All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety. He presented a resolution, in honor of his son Brodie, whose life was taken in an ATV accident. The resolution promotes ATV safety across Montana, as every county in Montana has a story about the loss of a life in their area. President Gorder stated that it is his goal to see every county adopt the resolution and help raise awareness to addressing this important issue.

Fiscal Officer's Report

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

Commissioner McGinley spoke to the MACo Membership about the recent MACo audit from JPS. He stated that it was a clean audit that anyone could review upon request.

Executive Director's Report

Reported by Eric Bryson, MACo Executive Director

Director Bryson thanked the membership for being actively involved in MACo’s first virtual conference and began his report with an operations update. MACo reorganized due to a decrease in revenue from the workers’ compensation program, which resulted in a 25% reduction in MACo Staff.

Regarding the pandemic, MACo became more virtual but lost little in terms of productivity, because the systems were already in place. The office is closed to the public, but staff are allowed inside the building. He stated that if members would like to stop by, just contact Staff prior.

Director Bryson emphasized that MACo is a member services organization and that our priority is being responsive to the needs of our membership. He would like members to let us know if we’re not meeting their needs and/or expectations.

MACo Committee Reports

Reported by Committee Chairs/Vice Chairs

Committee Chairs were invited to report on the actions of their committees and their recommendations to the membership.

Agriculture Committee

Reported by Commissioner Larry Hendrickson, Liberty County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair Hendrickson reported on the resolution assigned to the Agriculture Committee: Revise Definition of Wild Buffalo & Wild Bison, which is a previous resolution from 2018, and is sponsored by Garfield County (District 2). The intent is to clarify that to be considered wild bison or wild buffalo means to never have been subject to livestock tax. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”

Regarding policy statements, Chair Hendrickson informed the membership that the committee made no updates.

MACo Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee

Reported by Commissioner Nicole Borner, Musselshell County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair Borner reported on the two resolutions assigned to the Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee:

  1. Establishing a More Equitable Number & Geographical Distribution of Dispatch Cities, sponsored by the committee (originating from Custer & Richland Counties): The purpose of the resolution is to seek legislation to mitigate or eliminate the arbitrary adverse impacts to local capital project costs in some areas of Montana as a result of the designation of, location of, and number of currently designated dispatch cities. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  2. Leasing of County Property, sponsored by Missoula County (District 11): The purpose of the resolution is to allow for leasing greater than 10 years. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.” This resolution was also assigned to the Land Use, Planning & Development Committee for review.

Regarding their policy statements, Chair Borner informed the membership that the committee added one item:

# 16 – MACo supports requiring county participation in any decisions surrounding abatement of county property taxes or other county taxes. Tax abatements can be a critical tool in attracting investment into counties, but tax abatements and the projects requesting them have varying impacts at the local level and thereby local officials should be integral in the decisions surrounding them.

MACo Energy Committee

Reported by Commissioner Doug Martens, Rosebud County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair Martens reported that the Energy committee was assigned no resolutions, so they primarily worked on their policy statements, amending two:

#8 – MACo supports the siting and permitting regulations of new wind RENEWABLE/ALTERNATIVE ENERGY projects to remain at the county level of government.

#9 – MACo supports legislative and/or budgetary relief that speeds the permitting and siting process for new transmission lines, pipelines, coal mines, oil wells, and other natural resource development through REGULATORY AGENCIES the Department of Environmental Quality, in cooperation and coordination with impacted counties.

MACo Health & Human Services Committee

Reported by Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair Seilstad reported on the resolution assigned to the Health & Human Services Committee that came with a “Do Not Pass” recommendation from the Resolutions & Legislative Committee:  Allow for 72 Hours of Temporary Detention, sponsored by Gallatin County (District 9).

MACo Executive Director, Eric Bryson, provided an explanation for the original “Do Not Pass” recommendation: The resolution was not presented to the Resolutions & Legislative Committee in a way that explained the intent of the resolution. This resolution is in no way intended to incarcerate those with mental health issues. It’s about custodial care 72-hours prior to the formal petition process and precommitment diversion opportunities, and it’s intended to be optional.

Chair Seilstad then stated that the committee recommended that Staff draft amendments to reflect the intent—it could then be segregated and presented for discussion at the membership meeting. The resolution was also assigned to the Justice & Public Safety Committee for review.

Regarding their policy statements, Chair Seilstad informed the membership that the committee reviewed every statement and made several amendments and one addition:

  #4 – MACo supports local public health departments in their efforts to improve and protect the health of every community by advancing strategies that strengthen the foundation, quality, and performance of local public health departments, and for the State to provide adequate state funding for public health services that do not reduce county revenue sources.

  #5 – MACo supports the Montana Indoor Clean Air Act, AND VAPING SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE DEFINITION.

  #7MACo supports the need for the Legislature to define serious mental illness in conjunction with the detention custody of the mentally ill.  Further, there is an urgent need for the Legislature to provide financial assistance relative to the detention of to the seriously mentally ill.

#10 – MACo supports providing adequate funding to chemical dependency treatment programs and drug treatment courts throughout the state and in the jail and prison systems.

#16 MACo supports Medicaid Expansion as long as there is sufficient federal and state funding to support the expansion with adequate means test in order to be eligible, and basic coverage only.

#17 – MACo supports providing adequate state funding for comprehensive community-based Mental Behavioral Health Services.

#25 – MACo supports the continuation of Medicare/Medicaid benefits for detention center inmates prior to trial.

MACo Justice & Public Safety Committee

Reported by Commissioner Kevin Krausz, Custer County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Vice Chair Krausz reported on the three resolutions assigned to the Justice & Public Safety Committee:

  1. Allow for 72 Hours of Temporary Detention, sponsored by Gallatin County (District 9): The purpose was previously explained by Director Bryson during the Health & Human Services Committee update. The JPS committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  2. Physical Presence in Involuntary Commitment Proceedings, sponsored by Gallatin County (District 9): The purpose is to allow two-way audio-video appearances by all parties, because it can avoid unnecessary transport of individuals in mental health crises, protecting the health and safety of law enforcement officers and individual respondents. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  3. Setting Deputy Sheriff Salaries, sponsored by Missoula County (District 11): The purpose is to allow local governments more freedom to set salaries for deputy sheriffs covered by collective bargaining agreements.  The committee recommended a “Do Not Pass; Incorporate into Policy Statements” (see #22 below).

Regarding their policy statements, Vice Chair Krausz informed the membership that the committee made several amendments and one addition to reflect their recommendation on the Deputy Sheriff Salaries resolution (#22):

#2 – MACo believes that detention center reimbursement rates should reflect actual costs for services.

#3 – MACo believes mental evaluations should be conducted in locally mental health treatment facilities, when available.

 #13 – MACo supports a permanent and stable governance structure and funding for the administration of the public safety communications system in Montana.

#14 – MACo supports the statewide public safety communications system being based on current federal and state communications standards in which local, tribal, state, and Federal public safety and emergency management representatives can operate autonomously and transition seamlessly, to communicate effectively in an all-hazard emergency mission role.

#15 – MACo supports the statewide public safety communications system as a voluntary coalition of participating county governments, tribal nations and state agencies.

#18 – MACo supports the state’s funding of additional resources for the crime labs.

#19 – MACo supports the state’s funding of diversion programs, specifically family courts, drug courts, PRETRIAL SERVICES, and youth courts.

#20 – MACo supports the state’s funding of Drug Task Forces.

#21 – MACo supports the state’s funding of Victim Advocacy Programs.

#22 – MACO SUPPORTS ALLOWING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS MORE FREEDOM TO SET SALARIES FOR DEPUTY SHERIFFS.

MACo Land Use, Planning & Development Committee

Reported by Commissioner Jeff Burrows, Ravalli County

Agenda   |  Memo Regarding Proposed Resolution  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair Burrows reported on the three resolutions assigned to the Land Use, Planning & Development Committee:

  1. Leasing of County Property, sponsored by Missoula County (District 11): The purpose is to allow for leasing for greater than 10 years.  The committee amended the resolution to be up to 40 years and recommended a “Do Pass as Amended.” As stated previously, the resolution was also assigned to the Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee, and they recommended a “Do Pass.”
  2. Local Government Authority over Conservation Easements, sponsored by Valley County (District 1): The purpose of the resolution is to authorize local governments in Montana to restrict conservation easements within their jurisdiction. The sponsor withdrew the resolution, so no recommendation was necessary.
  3. Public Notice & Participation Criteria for Requests for Extension of Subdivision Preliminary Plat Approvals, sponsored by the LUPD Committee (originated in Ravalli County): The purpose is to amend the Montana Subdivision and Platting Act to include public notice and public participation criteria for requests for extension of subdivision preliminary plat approvals. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”

Regarding their policy statements, Chair Burrows informed the membership that the committee made two amendments:

#18 – MACo believes that the State Department of Commerce should be the agency to coordinate planning among state, federal, regional, and local levels.

#23 – MACo supports water policy that continues to allow the de minimis use of exempt well water for agriculture, homes, and small businesses without the burden of the water right permitting process; and opposes changes to water policy that would unnecessarily increase the cost associated with accessing water; changes to water policy that limit the county’s ability to properly plan, zone for growth, or review and condition subdivision applications; changes to water policy that would negatively affect the county’s ability to meet Wildland Urban Interface requirements; and changes to water policy that may create added weed infestation in Montana.

Lastly, Tara DePuy, MACo Land Use Attorney, provided the committee with an update on the part 1 zoning—citizen-initiated zoning—litigation in Stillwater County. The debate is over what “affected real property owners” means. Stillwater county was arguing that it must include the subsurface mineral interest holders. The district court decided that “affected real property owners” means only the surface owners. Therefore, counties don’t have to include subsurface mineral interest holders in the petition process.

MACo Public Lands Committee

Reported by Commissioner Greg Chilcott, Ravalli County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair Chilcott reported on the two resolutions assigned to the Public Lands Committee:

  1. Local Government Special District Revenue, sponsored by Prairie County (District 2): The purpose is to allow dedicated federal revenues to be directed towards special districts by a governing body. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  2. Public Land Use Sustainability, sponsored by Daniels County (District 1): The purpose is to authorize the State to reimburse counties for lost property taxes as a result of the acquisition of real property or property held in trust by either the State or Federal government. The committee’s “Do Pass” recommendation failed on a 7-10 vote, thereby making the resolution a “Do Not Pass” recommendation.

Regarding their policy statements, Chair Chilcott informed the membership that the committee made several amendments:

   #1 – MACo believes the most basic principle that must be followed in all actions by state and federal agencies is early consultation, cooperation, and coordination with local county officials, as well as municipal and tribal officials, who have been elected to represent the concerns of those directly affected by public land management decisions WITHIN EACH OFFICIAL JURISDICTION.

   #2 – MACo believes that environmentAL issues must be balanced with socioeconomic issues to achieve a policy, which allows not only a high degree of environmental protection, but also preserves and enhances local community sustainability. County officials and their constituents are keenly aware of the historical, economic, and aesthetic values of their local environment and they are certain of the need to prepare for a sustainable future to assure the viability of their communities. Therefore, it is imperative that the federal and state governments work cooperatively with county and other local governments on such policies.

#25 – MACo supports the reorganization of Forest Service Management to reduce the layers upon layers of the organizational structure from four to three and supports clearly defining the Forest Service mission to get ENCOURAGE more “boots on the ground” projects.

 

#36 – MACo calls for full funding of federal payments for Secure Rural Schools (SRS), Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT), Taylor Grazing, and Refuge Revenue Sharing programs to counties.

#37 – MACo supports the full funding of the PILT program and Refuge Revenue Sharing at its yearly authorized level and believes that all federal holdings should be included in the program.

#38 – MACo believes that shared natural resource payments to counties from activities such as timber sales, mineral leasing, grazing, and others are absolutely vital to county and school budgets.

#39 – MACo strongly opposes any effort to reallocate federal land payments to schools or the State of Montana as has been proposed in previous state legislation.

#40 – MACo supports “round table” discussions between Montana’s Congressional Delegation, Montana Counties, and the National Association of Counties to review the current PILT formula and to propose changes to the PILT formula that would benefit Montana counties in a more equitable fashion.

#36 – MACO SUPPORTS, ON A BASIS EQUITABLE TO BOTH THE FEDERAL AND LOCAL TAXPAYER, TO PROVIDE FOR PAYMENTS TO COMPENSATE STATES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS FOR BURDENS CREATED AS A RESULT OF THE IMMUNITY OF FEDERAL LANDS FROM STATE AND LOCAL TAXATION; EXAMPLES OF PAYMENT PROGRAMS INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO REFUGE REVENUE SHARING, SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS (SRS), PAYMENT-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILT), TAYLOR GRAZING, BANKHEAD-JONES, AND THE TAYLOR GRAZING ACT.

#37 – MACO BELIEVES THAT ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS SHOULD BE MADE TO COUNTIES FOR FEDERAL NATURAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION AND USE DUE TO ADDITIONAL IMPACTS ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE.  FURTHERMORE, MACO SUPPORTS MONETARY COMPENSATION TO COUNTIES FOR THE LACK OF NATURAL RESOURCE USE OR EXTRACTION WHEN DEMAND FOR THE RESOURCE EXISTS.

MACo Resolutions & Legislative Committee

Reported by Commissioner Doug Martens, Rosebud County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair Martens reported on the two resolutions assigned to the Resolutions & Legislative Committee:

  1. Allow County Officers Office Locations to be Determined by Resolution, sponsored by Flathead County (District 10): The purpose is to allow county offices for county officers to be determined by resolution of the county commission. Currently all officers, except justices of the peace are required to keep their offices at the county seat.  The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  2. Allow Tax Assessment for Collecting Fees for Operation Expenses Related to Water & Sanitary RSIDs and MSSDs, sponsored by Dawson County (District 2): The purpose is to clarify that counties may assess operational costs incurred or billed to counties via tax assessments for water and sanitary RSIDs and MSSDs. This Resolution only applies to operations for water and sanitary RSIDs and MSSDs.  Other types of RSIDs may still assess for building, constructing, acquiring by purchase and maintenance of RSIDs pursuant to 7-12-2101 and 7-12-2108.  Operations are direct costs to the county such as wages, supplies and materials incurred by the county. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”

Regarding their policy statements, Chair Martens informed the membership that the committee added two items:

#5 – MACO SUPPORTS REQUIRING BALLOTS BE RECEIVED BY 8 P.M. ON ELECTION DAY.

#10 – MACo supports county governments being able to use cooperative purchasing contracts let by a public procurement unit or joint or multiparty contracts between public procurement units.

MACo Tax, Budget & Finance Committee

Reported by Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair McGinley reported on the five resolutions assigned to the Tax, Budget & Finance Committee:

  1. 30-day Comment Period Prior to Exempt Status, sponsored by Lake County (District 10): The purpose is to require a 30-day comment period by the affected county prior to a property being moved to exempt status by the Montana Department of Revenue.  The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  2. Collection of Centrally Assessed Coal Gross Proceeds Taxes, sponsored by Big Horn County (District 7): The purpose is to authorize the collection of centrally assessed gross proceed taxes upon the State of Montana and the payment of the anticipated proceeds of those taxes by the State of Montana to the local entities who would receive them.  The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  3. Define Small or Utility Scale Solar Farm, sponsored by Beaverhead Co. (District 12): The purpose is to clarify the definition of a “small power production facility” and specify that said facilities shall be classified taxable as Class 13 property.  The Committee amended the “Now, therefore be it resolved” paragraph to remove verbiage regarding including a minimum of 1 mile separation between individual facilities. They then recommended a “Do Pass as Amended.”
  4. Disposal of Property at Public Auction, sponsored by Dawson County (District 2): The purpose is to establish legislation to remove the minimum appraised value provision for properties that failed at tax deed sale and enable the County Commission to determine or negotiate a sales price.  The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  5. Local Option Motor Fuel Excise Tax, sponsored by Gallatin County (District 9): The purpose is to allow local governments to implement the local option motor fuel excise tax at the distributor rather than retail level. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”

Regarding their policy statements, Chair McGinley informed the membership that the committee added one item:

#18 – MACO SUPPORTS ALLOWING COUNTIES TO BE INVOLVED IN DETERMINING TAX CLASSIFICATION FOR NEW AND EXPANDING INDUSTRIES IN MONTANA.

MACo Transportation Committee

Reported by Commissioner John Ostlund, Yellowstone County

Agenda  |  Membership Work Packet

Chair Ostlund reported on the two resolutions assigned to the Transportation Committee.

  1. Dissolution of Rural Special Improvement Districts, sponsored by Lewis & Clark Co. (District 8): The purpose is to provide for a clear and clean mechanism for dissolution of rural special improvement districts.  The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”
  2. Setting Speed Limits, which is similar to the 2018 resolution and is sponsored by Missoula County (District 11): The purpose is to allow counties to set speeds at less than 35 MPH on paved roads in suburban subdivisions when warranted by an engineering investigation. The committee recommended a “Do Pass.”

Regarding their policy statements, Chair Ostlund informed the membership that the committee added one item:

#12 – MACO SUPPORTS THE REASONABLE DEVELOPMENT AND LONG-TERM AVAILABILITY OF SITES FOR PUBLIC SOURCE MATERIALS FOR USE IN PUBLIC PROJECTS.

Review & Adoption of MACo Proposed Resolutions & Policy Statements

Presided by Commissioner Doug Martens, Rosebud County, Chair of the Resolutions & Legislative Committee

Committee Chairs were invited to report on the actions of their committees and their recommendations to the membership.

MACo resolutions were voted on in blocks based on the recommendations they were given by the respective committees to which they were assigned: “Do Pass,” “Do Pass as Amended,” “Do Not Pass,” and “Do Not Pass—Incorporate into Policy Statements.” MACo policy statements were voted on in their own block.

Members were permitted to segregate individual resolutions from any category as well as any policy statements for further discussion and reconsideration.

Proposed Resolutions

Chair Martens began by calling for a motion to adopt President Gorder’s Resolution regarding ATV Safety. Commissioner Larry Hendrickson, Liberty County, made the motion, and it was seconded by Commissioner Tom Rice, Beaverhead County. Motion passed unanimously.

Do Pass

Segregated for Further Discussion and Reconsideration:

  1. Disposal of Property at Public Auction was segregated by Commissioner Pam Holmquist, Flathead County.

Remaining Resolutions in “Do Pass” Category:

A motion to approve of the committee recommendations of the remaining resolutions with “Do Pass” recommendations—thereby adopting these resolutions—was made by Commissioner John Ostlund, Yellowstone County. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County. Motion passed unanimously.

Do Pass as Amended

Segregated for Further Discussion and Reconsideration:

  1. Allow for 72 Hours of Temporary Detention was segregated by Commissioner Carl Seilstad, Fergus County.

Remaining Resolutions in “Do Pass as Amended” Category:

A motion to approve of the committee recommendations of the remaining resolutions with “Do Pass as Amended” recommendations—thereby adopting these resolutions as amended—was made by Commissioner McGinley. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Denis Pitman, Yellowstone County.  Motion passed unanimously.

Do Not Pass

Segregated for Further Discussion and Reconsideration:

  1. Public Land Use Sustainability was segregated by Commissioner Mikel Lund, Daniels County.

There were no other resolutions that came out of committee with a “Do Not Pass” recommendation.

Do Not Pass -- Incorporate into Policy Statements

The one resolution in this category—Setting Deputy Sheriff Salaries—was not segregated.

A motion to approve of the committee recommendation to not pass the resolution and instead incorporate language into the Justice & Public Safety Committee’s Policy Statements was made by Commissioner Kevin Krausz, Custer County. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County. Motion passed unanimously.

Segregated Resolutions

Segregated Resolutions

After completing their action on the resolutions that were not separated for further review, the membership moved on to discuss and reconsider the segregated resolutions.

1.  Disposal of Property at Public Auction

Commissioner Holmquist requested the membership consider adding other assets from the county into the resolution.

MACo Executive Director, Eric Bryson, responded that in the 2013 or 2015 Legislative Session, the Legislature made a conscious effort to separate out the disposal of personal property versus real property, and that this resolution deals with real property in the way the legislature prescribed. Counties’ flexibility on personal property is found in MCA 7-8-2211, and the restrictions aren’t as stringent. Counties can sell personal property for less than an appraised value at a public auction.

Commissioner Holmquist withdrew her request.

A motion to pass the resolution—thereby adopting it—was made by Commissioner Seilstad. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Jerry Collins, Garfield County. Motion passed unanimously.

2.  Allow for 72 Hours of Temporary Detention

Commissioner Seilstad stated that even with the amendments Staff brought forward, he still had concerns. Amendments included changing “detention” to “hold” throughout the resolution and adding language regarding holding “in an appropriate crisis stabilization facility.” He asked that safeguards be added for the counties that don’t have crisis facilities, as they are responsible for the transport. He also had questions about who makes the decision.

Director Bryson clarified the intent is that this would be a pre-court determination, requiring a mental health professional to make a recommendation and then an arresting agency to place the individual for 72 hours. He stated that it is currently required that—if ordered by the court—the Sheriff’s Office must transport the individual and that in-custody supervision is mandatory if the mental health professional has the individual in a hospital for evaluation purposes.

Commissioner Joe Skinner, Gallatin County, made a motion to amend the resolution to show that this was just an available option and not a requirement and that the county would have to pass a resolution to utilize this option. Commissioner Pitman seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Don Seifert, Gallatin County, made a motion to pass the resolution as amended. Commissioner Larry Hendrickson, Liberty County, seconded the motion. Motion passed with one county voting no.

3.  Public Land Use Sustainability

Commissioner Lund stated that he was unable to be present for the meeting when this resolution was presented. He segregated it to speak to the resolution and respectfully ask for reconsideration by the membership. Commissioner Lund believes a policy statement in the Tax, Budget & Finance section is applicable Daniels County’s situation and is applicable to what the resolution is addressing:  #8: MACo supports state reimbursement to counties for lost property taxes as a result of the state’s acquisition of real property. Commissioner Lund explained that the intent of the resolution is to create a new program that would support the impacted counties.

There were several members concerned about potential impacts to other funds. After much discussion, it was offered forward that if other funds became part of the conversation, then MACo Staff would be able to withdraw.

Commissioner Lund made a motion to pass the resolution with the aforementioned caveat, and Commissioner Todd Devlin, Prairie County, seconded the motion.  The motion passed on a 21-15 vote.

Proposed Amendments to Policy Statements

Upon completion of the resolution portion of the afternoon, Chair Martens asked if there were any policy statement segregation requests.

Segregated Policy Statements

Health & Human Services Policy Statements

1.  Commissioner Pitman segregated #23:

#23 – MACo supports language to protect public health regarding the sale of raw milk and raw milk products for human consumption.

Commissioner Brodehl made a motion to strike #23 from the Health & Human Services Policy Statements. Commissioner Don Jones, Yellowstone County, seconded the motion.

The discussion revolved around raw milk being a very contentious issue at the Legislature and that MACo shouldn’t be involved. Motion passed unanimously.

2.  Commissioner Seilstad segregated #25:

#25 – MACo supports the continuation of Medicare/Medicaid benefits for detention center inmates prior to trial adjudication.

Commissioner Seilstad made a motion to amend #25, replacing “trial” with “adjudication.” Commissioner Krausz seconded the amendment. Motion passed unanimously.

No other policy statements were segregated.

Remaining Policy Statements

Commissioner Carol Brooker, Sanders County, made a motion to accept the remaining policy statements. Commissioner Hart seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Results of Election for MACo Officers

Presided by Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County, MACo President

MACo President, First Vice President, Immediate Past President, and Fiscal Officer

Commissioner Richard Dunbar, Phillips County, made a motion to cast a unanimous ballot to move forward Commissioner Doug Martens, Rosebud County, as MACo President; Commissioner Jason Strouf as 1st Vice President; Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County as Immediate Past President; and Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, as Fiscal Officer. Commissioner Gary MacDonald, Roosevelt County, seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

MACo 2nd Vice President

Upon the close of the election for MACo’s 2nd Vice President, the votes were tallied. MACo’s Bylaws state that the elections are governed by the rule of majority: The winning candidate must receive over 50% of the entire votes cast. It was announced that regarding the Office of 2nd Vice President, no candidate received this majority, so following MACo’s Bylaws, a second election was conducted with the nominee receiving the lowest number of votes being removed from the ballot. The second virtual ballot included Commissioner Fitzpatrick and Commissioner Zylawy, with Commissioner Zander having been removed.

Upon completion of the second election, the votes were tallied, and President Gorder announced that Commissioner Zylawy was elected as MACo’s 2nd Vice President for 2020-2021.

Installation of Officers

Conducted by Commissioners Shane Gorder, Richland County, MACo President; and Jim Hart, Madison County, MACo Immediate Past President

President Gorder conducted the swearing-in for Commissioner Doug Martens, Rosebud County, as MACo’s President for the 2020-2021 term.

Past President Hart thanked President Gorder for his service, also acknowledging the recent challenges brought about by the pandemic. He then proceeded to swear in MACo’s 2020-2021 Officers:

  • MACo Immediate Past President, Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County
  • MACo 1st Vice President, Commissioner Jason Strouf, Custer County
  • MACo 2nd Vice President, Commissioner, Roman Zylawy, Mineral County
  • MACo Fiscal Officer, Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County

Conclusion

Presided by Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County, MACo President

MACo President, First Vice President, Immediate Past President, and Fiscal Officer

Commissioner Richard Dunbar, Phillips County, made a motion to cast a unanimous ballot to move forward Commissioner Doug Martens, Rosebud County, as MACo President; Commissioner Jason Strouf as 1st Vice President; Commissioner Shane Gorder, Richland County as Immediate Past President; and Commissioner Mike McGinley, Beaverhead County, as Fiscal Officer. Commissioner Gary MacDonald, Roosevelt County, seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

Other Business

The membership had no further business.

Adjournment

MACo’s 111th Annual Conference adjourned.