County holds hearing for preliminary budget

SUPER FISH  —   Don Moore, a former graduate of CHS, now living in Florida, caught this 240 pound Halibut Whaley’s Cove, Alaska. It took 40 minutes to get the fish along side the boat and then it took three men to bring it on board. Nice catch!  Photo courtesy of Bob Moore



The county commissioners held a hearing on the preliminary budgetand an auction and in doing so pushed their regular Wednesday meeting a day back to Tuesday.

At the budget hearing, the commissioners, on a 3-0, moved to a cost of living allowance (COLA) of 2.1 percent for county employees and also a 2.1 percent increase for elected officials.

County Attorney Mary Ann Ries’ request for a salary increase to be more in line with other county attorneys was added to the budget. The increase of $3,000 plus a 2.1 percent COLA increase brings her salary to $85,359.

The Road Supervisor’s salary, John Stokes, was raised to $48,090.The commissioners agreed to give $3,000 to CASA from discretionary funds and pay Sweetgrass Development dues of $2,000. After some discussion, the commissioners decided they would like to visit with the Port Authority before finalizing any county contributions.

Roof and door repairs will be budgeted at $110,000 and vehicle purchases for the Extension Service and Weed Department will be discussed further with the department heads.

Salaries for elected officials will look like this for the coming year; The commissioners, Joe Christiaens, Janice Hoppes and Sandy Broesder will receive $44,066 each, the Clerk and Recorder Kody Farkell $42,024; The Treasurer, Jeanne Moon $42,024; Clerk of Court Laurie Eisenzimer $42,024; Sheriff Tom Kuka $42,024, Justice of the Peace Audrey Brown, $42,024 (81.25 percent of full-time) and Superintendent of Schools, Jo Stone, $21,216(50 percent of full time plus $200).

The Clerk and Recorder and Treasurer also receive an additional $2,000 from bills passes in the legislature.

The hearing will continue from day-to-day until the budget is passed.

In other business, there was an auction for property lots in Valier held on the front steps of the courthouse.

The county deemed the lots as surplus property that they didn’t need and would not use.

Lots one through five and 12 through 16 were valued at $15,500 each and lots six through eight and nine to 11 were valued to $10,650 each.

There were no bids made or received for the properties.

By law, if no bid is made or received for any of the properties offered for sale at a public auction, the commissioners may, at any time after the auction, sell the property(s) at a private sale and may accept as the purchase price an amount not less than 70 percent of the appraised value of the property.

A written offer of $13,950 was received from Sydney Kincaid for parcel 496400, lots 1-5.

The commissioners moved, on a 3-0 vote, to sell the Valier parcel, lots 1-5 to Kincaid for 90 percent of the appraised value, which totaled $13,950.

In other action, it was announced that the Lewistown field office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is beginning a land-use planning effort.

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be developed to provide future direction in managing BLM lands.

The BLM has asked for interagency cooperation in preparing the EIS to better reflect polices, needs and conditions of the citizens they represent.

Commissioner Broesder moved for the county to become a cooperator with the BLM for creating a land-use plan.