Well agreement with Valier and county OK’ed

At their regular business meeting on Wednesday, County Commissioners Cynthia Johnson, Sandy Broesder and Joe Christiaens, along with John Stokes, county road supervisor, met with Valier Mayor McKenzie Graye, Roger Skogen of the Valier Public Works Department and Paul Montgomery of Anderson Montgomery Consulting Engineers of Helena.

The purpose of the meeting was to seek a memorandum between the town and the county regarding the proposed drilling of a water well within the town limits but on county-owned property.

Discussion was on possible sites for well(s) and the advantages and disadvantages of each location.

Mayor Graye also presented a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for consideration by the commission.

Commissioner Christiaens made the motion to approve the MoU pending the approval by County Attorney MaryAnn Ries and a FAA engineer, to set the arrangement for future cooperation between the county and the Town of Valier regarding the drilling if a water well  within the towns’ limits on county property.

In addition, the Town of Valier would like permission to explore and drill for water on either of two sites located on the east side of town or the southeast side of town on land owned by the county.

In the event potable water is found, both parties will consummate the appropriate legal agreements allowing Valier to have a production well and use of the water found.

Broesder seconded the motion and it passed 3-0.

In a “good news” announcement, Johnson announced that the commission was notified that the “Hub and Spoke” recycling grant has been approved.

The actual award will come at a later date, however, the grant is good for $100,000.

Conrad will receive $25,000, Shelby $25,000 and the Northern Montana Joint Refuse Disposal District will receive $50,000 for the purchase of equipment.

DES Director LeAnn Hermance and Sanitarian Corrine Rose worked on and completed the grant application for this project.

In a not-so-good-news-item, the commissioners have been advised by Northern Montana Insurance Services that since the county has no ownership interest in the building owned by the Pondera Shooting Sports Club, the building cannot be covered under the county’s liability policy as previously allowed.

The building has been deleted from the county’s policy and the Pondera Shooting Sports organization has been notified.

In other action, it was noted that Pondera County receives an allocation from the Federal Aviation Administration that can be used for capital improvements on the Conrad airport.

County chairman Johnson said the county is not scheduled for improvements until 2013 and in the meantime has banked its’ funds until such time as they are needed.

However, the Conrad Airport will lose access to the 2008 funds if not used or transferred temporarily to another airport.

Keeping that in mind, the City of Livingston and Park County have requested that Pondera County loan three years worth of non-primary entitlements to the Livingston Airport, to be paid back in a timely manner prior to the need of Pondera County.

Commissioner Broesder moved to loan three years ($427,000) of the county’s non-primary entitlements to the Livingston and Park County, to be paid back for use by the county when its capital opportunities arise. After a second from Christiaens, it passed on a 3-0 vote.

The FAA actually holds the allocated funds so, unfortunately, there is no interest earned, just a build-up of reserves for when a project is started.

A similar request from the airport in Havre has been paid back to the county allocation, however, the West Yellowstone airport still needs to transfer back to the Conrad Airport $281,491.

The commissioners meet every Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in their office to conduct business. The public is always welcome to attend and comment on or view their government in action.