PMC wants a say in trustee selection

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
   Mark Jones, CEO of the Pondera Medical Center (PMC) was on hand Wednesday morning at the regular meeting of the county commissioners to discuss a change in selection of hospital trustees.
   Presently when a vacancy for the board comes up, the commissioners advertise in The Independent-Observer, interview the prospective individuals and then make a selection to the hospital board.
   Jones presented a proposed change to the PMC articles of incorporation which, if adopted, would change how the appointment process of board members to the hospital is made.
   Jones noted the PMC wanted to work in unison with the county for a board member.
   He also mentioned that the hospital was advised by their attorney that they had a say in selection and this hasn’t happened in the past. “We are asking for a collaborative process, it doesn’t matter who provides the list,” he said,
   There was discussion that ensued on the status of both the PMC corporation which is the managing entity and the county which is the owner and the land and buildings the hospital sits on. Commissioner Sandy Broesder noted that the county provides $330,000 in taxpayer support to the hospital.
   Admittedly Jones noted, “We need and require the county, we just want a little say so in board selection and to follow our articles of incorporation.”
   No action was taken. Broesder said the commissioners would request County Attorney MaryAnn Ries to review the proposed change and the impact, if any, on the general obligation bond currently in place to pay for the latest building project.
   In other business, David Hinds, a communications project manager at Malmstrom AFB was on hand to talk about the contract with the Air Force for continued service access from the Belgian Hill communication site through June 30, 2014.
   The site is on the Richard and Carole DeBoo property and they have executed a similar contract with the Air Force in the event the county abandons the site. The commissioners approved the lease agreement.
   The commissioners also set Aug. 26, 7 p.m. in the courtroom at the courthouse for a public hearing to gain input for the distribution of money to the libraries in Conrad and Valier.
   They also approved an approach agreement with Mike Miller on the Conrad-Dupuyer road for the purpose of installing an approach.
   Cheryl Curry from the Regional Port authority was on hand as well, giving a report on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
   Under the program, through the Montana Department of Commerce (MODoC), the P.A. can acquire foreclosed or abandoned residential properties, fix them up and offer the property for purchase to low-income applicants.
   Those individuals with incomes at or below the 120 percent area median income may qualify. There is an emphasis on families earning less the 50 percent area median income.
   Curry told the commissioners that at the present there is one house in Brady that meets the program standards. The P.A. pays the expenses through its revolving fund and costs are reimbursable through the program.
   She is also looking at a broadband Internet grant which might be available for financial help on the new Community Center.
   On a related topic with Curry, Clerk and Recorder Janis Hoppes requested approval to delete Curry and to designate the three commissioners and the Clerk and Recorder as authorized signers on the CDBG checking account at Stockman Bank. A motion was made and passed.
   Jeanne Moon, county treasurer reported that the county has investments with RBC Wealth Management, Wells Fargo Bank, Stockman Bank, Montana Board of Investments and Salomon Smith Barney.
   The commissioners moved to appoint Wayne Ashworth and re-appoint Vicki Newmiller to the county health board, each for a three-year tour of duty. This is also retroactive to July 1.
   A task order with the County Board of Health was also approved. It covers the county’s master contract for the Immunization Action Program (IAP).
   The county will receive $2,860 for immunization services by the CHD for the period of Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.
   The commissioners approved two draw downs for the Brady County Water and Sewer District Project CDBG funds. One is for $16,500 and the other for $305,500, The amount granted to the project was $322,000 and the two draws complete the funding.
   A prior draw from March was retracted. The MODoC Community Development Block Grant had approved a budget change in the Brady Water district project and there was a request for $128,849.18 from the CDBG program.
   The budget changes and draw down request were approved, however, the draw down approved in March was erroneously prepared by the project manager and was never paid out.
   The prior draw approval was retracted on a 3-0 vote by commissioners.
   The commission meets every Wednesday at 10 a.m. in their office at the courthouse. The public is always encouraged to attend these meetings.