Commissioners authorize cost of living salary increases

22_fire_3444A MILLION VOLTS  — Dr. Dean Ortner, on Wednesday evening, has a million volts of electricity go through his body for the grand finale of his Wonders of Science program held at the Conrad Mission Church. The voltage caused wood he was holding to catch fire and have sparks come out of the other hand.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler




With  recommendation of the county compensation board, the commissioners authorized up to  2.5 percent COLA (cost-of-living) increase at their regular business meeting on Wednesday morning.

The county will pay a COLA adjustment of two percent for elected officials based on the Clerk and Recorder’s base salary (equal to 39-cents per hour) to be added to the salaries of Pondera County elected officials; that part-time elected officials (Superintendent of Schools) will receive the pro-rated amount of 50 percent of the salary.

Additional compensation of $2,000 annually is set for the commissioners, sheriff and $200 for part-time Superintendent of Schools.

Also, $2,000 was approved for the Clerk and Recorder who serves as Election Officer and $2,000 for the Treasurer.

The Treasurer, Clerk and Recorder and Clerk of Court will receive a salary of $41,159.37 each.

The county commissioners will be paid $42,159.37 plus $2,000 additional compensation required by statute.

The Sheriff/Coroner will be paid $44,475.60 which includes $2,000 per year required by statute.

The County Attorney will receive $80,604.32. The state will reimburse the county for the salary at a rate set by statute.

The Justice of the Peace will also receive $41,159.37, based on eight hour days. Her office will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1-4 p.m. with the additional two hours per day to be available for administrative duties and call backs.

In addition, the commissioners set the base wages for deputies to elected officials and sheriff’s deputies at 95 percent for the undersheriff, 90 percent for the chief sheriff’s deputy and 86 percent for all other deputies.

The COLA increase for hourly full-time and regular part-time employees was set at an increase of 39-cents per hour.

The Road/Bridge Department supervisor will receive a COLA increase to his monthly salary at the same rate as elected officials.

In other business, commissioners approved an amendment to the Montana Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention program to extend a deadline to complete tasks to Oct. 31.

County school levies were passed for the school districts in the county as presented by Jo Stone, superintendent of schools.

Jeanne Moon, county treasurer, requested permission to cancel personal property taxes on four properties that are delinquent for more than five years. Commissioners approved the cancel parcels which were for $210.53, $202.52, $237.31 and $12.25.

Resolution R-5, a resolution to prohibit irrigation water on county roads was adopted. The second reading will be on Oct. 3 with public hearings and comment time set for 8 a.m. at the Valier Civic Center, 514 Montana St. and in the county courtroom in Conrad at 20 4th Ave. S.W. at 7 p.m.

If the resolution is enacted, it will become effective on Nov. 9.

Also on Oct. 3 there will be a public hearing for the proposed closing of county offices on the day after Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve.

The commissioners met with Joe Smith, a valuation expert from Valuations Northwest, representing the county’s liability insurance carrier; Montana Associating of Counties Joint Powers Insurance Authority.

He has been visiting the buildings owned by the county for valuation purposes in the event of a loss.

The commissioners meet every Wednesday at 10 a.m. for go over business and meet with the public.

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