22_1484nnALL THE RIGHT COLORS  — Rita VanDyke, who lives on the Sollid Road, took this photo of Old Glory behind a rainbow after a recent rainstorm passed through the area.  Photo for the I-O courtesy of Rita VanDyke





“We didn’t make too many changes, we needed to keep our belt tight and budget conservatively,” said Commissioner Cynthia Johnson as the budget for Pondera County was passed on Wednesday morning.

Clerk and Recorder Janis Hoppes added, “Everybody took a cut in every department.”

Levied funds totaled $5,705,734 and non-levied funds were at $3,361,303 for a bottom line total of $9,067,037.

In the resolution of passage, it was noted that the final budget may be amended from time to time throughout the years as, provided by MCA codes.

Overall, the budget increased from last year by $432,711, however, the increase came from non-levied funds such as grants, not from tax revenue.

Johnson also noted that the expenditure requests from the departments are generally the same as last year, allowing for a one percent salary increase.

Expenditures for liability insurance and workers’ comp will increase over last year.

Money in the capital improvement funds will be used to purchase equipment, complete the I-15 interchange connecting road and purchase vehicles for the sheriff’s department.

The county will use money in the ambulance capital improvement funds to pay for a portion of the cost of the new ambulance.

Late last fiscal year, the county received grants for the community and senior center which are reflected in the budget for FY2010-11.

These grants are the ARRA Energy Grant ($200,000) and the Community Development Block Grant ($450,000).

The budget for the last fiscal year included a HB-645 grant of $147,656 and the Brady County Water and Sewer District CDBG grant of $322,000.

The HB-645 grant will be completed by Sept. 30 and the water and sewer district grant funding was spent during the previous year.

Tax revenues are calculated, using the formula authorized under Montana laws, and taxpayers will notice a slight increase in the county portion of their tax bill.

Some of the budgeted expenditures include the general fund $1,394,346, public safety $1,061,843, workmans’ comp insurance $237,521 and county hospital $250,000. The Extension office $101,321, retirement $178,054, group health $192,165, bridge fund $351,020, weed funds $119,411, a voted levy for the libraries $99,852 and hospital debt service $200,000.

In other business conducted by the county, it was moved and approved to purchase walk-in cooler components, with a new compressor from Vern and Myrna Monroe of Valier at a cost not to exceed $1,000.

The cooler will be used at the community center which is currently being remodeled.

Commissioners moved to compile a list and offer it to the Dutton-Brady School district to purchase various items from a kitchen equipment sale from the Brady campus.

The district has agreed to sell the items for use in the community and senior center that is being remodeled.

No prices were set by the district for the items, but it was requested the county present them with an offer for each item to be considered.

The commissioners approved a contract amendment for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, (NSP) which expands the ending date of the program to March 19, 2013 and providing funding for the 16 N. Virginia (Conrad) project.

In addition, they also approved a contract amendment to the NSP program, which provides additional funding to complete the 219 1st Ave. NE project in Brady.

The county commissioners meet every Wednesday morning, at 10 a.m. in their office at the courthouse to conduct business.

The public or interested individuals are always welcome to see their elected officials at work.