Contractors not responsible for results of road use

   At the last regular meeting of the commissioners, Chairman Sandy Broesder and Joe Christians along with John Stokes, county road supervisor, met with Mitch Kellogg in regards to road damages to Healy Springs Road and the intersection at West Valley Road.
   It appears contactors, hauling gravel from the Midway Colony pit, have caused road damages and are not practicing dust mitigation and causing a safety issue.
   Commissioner Broesder explained that regulations can be imposed by the county if the project is a county project, however, commissioners have no control over other contracts in the county.
   The concerns of Kellogg and other residents have been discussed with County Attorney Mary Ann Ries, who is of the opinion that any regulations and or enforcement issued would need to be included in the contracts, not imposed after the project is underway.
   Ries indicated to the I-O on Monday that the trucks are running legal weight and staying within the speed limit.
   Ries is looking at provisions used by the state and/or other local governments regarding these issues. She affirmed her opinion that the issues will need to be addressed during the pre-contract state of projects and included in contact language.
   In the meantime, the commissioners will continue working with the county attorney for a resolution of the concerns of Kellogg. Nevertheless, apparently, the contractors do not have to be responsible for the results of their road use if they don’t overload and stay within the speed limit.
   In another matter, Ries advised the commissioners that the animal ordinance needs to be re-done to include language that would make it unlawful to harbor a vicious dog.
   She also requested a department head meeting to finalize the revisions to the county personnel manual. A meeting has been set for Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in the commissioner’s office to adopt the revised manual at their regular meeting on Dec. 16.
   On a non-related matter, Jo Stone, county superintendent of schools advised the commissioners that she would be absent from the state for 19 days, from Nov. 20 to Dec. 5.
   An approach agreement was approved, requested by George Stoltz, to install an approach on the north side of Buffalo Ridge Road was approved.
   Three abatements have been approved for Triangle Rental, Inc., Pondera County, and Tom and Barb Shephard.
   Resolution 10 was passed which authorizes a budget amendment with WIC, the Women, Infants and Children Program grant. The old amount was for $22,371 and the new amount will be $31,984.69.
   A public hearing was held at the commissioners’ regular meeting on Wednesday and no objections were voiced.
   Resolution 11 was also passed that will authorize the state auditor’s office to assist (the county) in the collection of delinquent personal property taxes at the request of the county.
   The county will charge an additional 12 percent collection fee above the property tax, to be paid to the state auditor’s office in exchange for collection services.
   And a third resolution number 12, was also passed, granting the commissioners the power and authority to amend the budget during the fiscal year by having public hearings at regular meetings and to appropriate money received from the federal or state government, regardless of the time the money was received.
   This came about when the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services notified the commissioners of additional grant funding for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response program.
   The old amount went from $100,000 to $139,701for 2010 and for a BioT grant, originally set at $43,258, to $82,959.
   In a report from Jeanne Moon, county treasurer, it was reported that the Short Term Investment Pool interest rate was at .13 percent and she has taken the majority of money from the program and invested it with Stockman Bank at 1.43 percent.
   Other investments are with various money market funds and a CD deposit at 2.01 percent.
   The county commissioners meet every Wednesday at 10 a.m. for a regular business meeting. The public is always welcome to attend these meetings.