County to help PMC in fixing up parking lot

Dave Doran, CFO of the Pondera Medical Center (PMC) and John Ringdahl, the plant operation manager at the PMC were on hand Wednesday morning to discuss needed maintenance and repairs of the parking lot to the east side of the PMC.

The county owns the property and Ringdahl noted that the parking lot has several large pot holes and there is a break-up of the clay surface.

He noted they would like to begin work on the project around Nov. 5-6.

The hospital requested the county fill in the pot holes and fix the clay surface to which the county has verbally agreed to do.

However, the county insurance carrier and county attorney have both advised the commissioners they need to have an agreement in place prior to doing any work.

“We’ll work with you,” commented commission chairman, Cynthia Johnson.


The agreement would outline the responsibilities and liabilities of the county and the hospital as well as the compensation to the county for the requested work.


Doran said he will pursue getting such an agreement in place and provide it to the commissioners for review by Attorney Mary Ann Ries and the commissioners.

There were two tax abatements, one for $86.76 and the other of $98.91. Both were approved on a motion by Joe Christiaens with a second from Sandy Broesder.

A task order to approve the master contract for Emergency Preparedness and Training Grant was approved. The county will receive $25,653 for emergency health services.

The commissioners approved an approach agreement requested by Primary Petroleum Co. to encroach on the county right of way described as the Conrad-Dupuyer Road.

It is for installing an approach on the north side of the road with a 16-inch culvert.

Cheryl Curry from the Port Authority (PA) was also on hand to present the commissioners with a report of activities of the PA for fiscal year 2010-11.

No action was needed and she will follow-up with a request of the loan from the county to the annual rental payment for the Blue Sky Villa from the City of Conrad in the amount of $14,962.50.

The commission moved to approve Draw #3 under the terms of the loan agreement with the Board of Investments’ InterCap Loan for the Community Center in the amount of $28,280, to pay for Heartland Mechanical for work done at the Community Center.

Pat Greany of Northern Montana  Insurance Services visited with the commissioners about the insurance agency’s parking area on the south side of the Community Center building.

People who park in the area have complained of sharp metal objects in the lot from the remodeling project at the building.

Commissioner Johnson stated that, ”Even though the county doesn’t own the parking area, Ron Moon went through the area with a heavy duty magnet to pick up any metal objects and that the Road Department will put in gravel.”

The county will also install concrete barriers alongside the building, but only as a protection to the building.

Greany will have an agreement drawn up by their attorneys stating the liability and maintenance obligations of both the county and the insurance agency and bring it in for the commissioners to sign, after review by County Attorney Ries.

A proposal was received for construction work on the weed shop building from Corey Townsend Construction.

The proposal is to fix and repair leaks around the pipes on the roof, replace all clear skylights on the roof, repair holes on the west side of the building, fix and screw trim on the east side of the building, tear out the ceiling tiles in the office, replace sheet rock and mud and tape all seams and screws, including all materials and labor for $1,500.

The proposal was approved, contingent upon proof of the contractor’s workers’ compensation status.

A request from the Port of Northern Montana (Shelby) to write a letter of support for the Ports Multimodal Hub Center Tiger III grant application was approved.

The Port has applied for $9,998,910 in Tiger III grant funding to build a multimodal facility for the export of Ag commodities and manufactured products for export delivery to world markets.

Commissioner Broesder moved to write the letter of support, noting “The project would be beneficial for the entire area.” On a second by Christiaens, the motion carried.

In other business, the county commissioners moved to rescind a policy that was adopted in 1992 which allowed for loading gravel for non-county use by private individuals at gravel pits where county gravel loading operations are in progress.

They went on to approve and adopt the Montana DEQ regulations and policies regarding opencut mining (gravel) as the Pondera County policy.

Since Steve Becker left county employment at the end of February, no one has been hired to do the airport management portion of his position.

Since March 1, Sheriff Deputy Ed Erickson has performed the duties.

The commissioners moved to pay him $1,000 for his services from March 1 – Oct. 19. This is the same compensation that Becker would have received for the same time period.

The commissioners also met with Damon Carroll, owner of Pheasant Run Builders and Dale Nelson and Mark Blom of Nelson Architects to discuss the final payment to Pheasant Run for construction work at the community center.

Pheasant Run had sub-contracted the priming and painting portion of the job. However, the paint is not sticking to the walls, requiring the job to be repainted.

Carroll stated he could do the repainting at a cost of $26,268 minus a credit of $5,500 for a door that was not needed or $20,768.

It was later brought to the attention of the commissioners that there was no credit of $5,500 available as previously thought.

Commissioner Broesder moved to pay Pheasant Run one-half of the $20,768 or $10,384 for repainting the center. That motion carried.

And, it was noted that in 2008, the county along with several other area counties contracted for alcohol and substance abuse rehab services with Hi-Line Recovery.

Due to an error by Hi-Line Recovery, the contractor received duplicate Medicaid payments in error which had to be paid back.

Due to the inability of the contractor to repay the funds (which had been spent by the contactor) the contractor filed for bankruptcy.

Toole County, one of the participating counties, paid the liability from their county funds with the expectation that they would be reimbursed a proportionate amount by the other counties. Broesder moved to pay our county’s prorated share in the amount o $13,000 to Toole County from the county’s discretionary cash in the State Allocated Federal Mineral Royalties Fund. The motion carried.

The commissioners meet every Wednesday at 10 a.m. for a regular business meeting.

The public is always encouraged and invited to attend and see their government at work.