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County Commissioners Back GNDC In Grant Application

At a regular meeting, Oct. 31, the Roosevelt County Commissioners met with Tori Matejovsky of Great Northern Development Corp., to discuss support for a Brownfields Environmental Protection Agency grant for hazardous site cleanup.
Matejovsky said that GNDC was applying for about $600,000 in funding from the EPA. She said that they missed the grant by just a few points the last two years and are hoping the third time is the charm.
The reason she brought this to the Roosevelt County Commissioners is because the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation allows a county or other governmental agencies to sponsor groups like GNDC when applying for federal funds for clean-up projects.
Matejovsky told the commissioners that the cost to hire someone to write a grant application on behalf of GNDC would be $5,000. She said that, if they applied for and received the grant, then GNDC would commit to the clean-up project.
All three commissioners voted in support of funding the GNDC grant application.
No specific information was given on what sites would be targeted for clean-up.
At the regular public meeting Nov. 7, Undersheriff John Summers attended to meeting to get the commissioners to approve Police One online training for the department.
The cost of the training is $2,992 per year. Summers said the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office has been discussing the training with a Police One trainer recently.
The program is recognized and accredited through the Montana State Police Academy, so deputies who complete Police One training classes will receive additional certifications.
Classes include things such as drug training, community policing and officer safety. Summers suggested that the officers can complete these training courses when their shifts are slow. The training can be paused if they are dispatched while taking courses.
Summers said that this could potentially save money on travel. He said between overtime, travel, food and hotel stays when officers travel, this online training, which requires officers to go nowhere, would ultimately save the county money.
Commissioner Gordon Oelkers said that he likes the idea of the training, but feels that it should maybe wait until the next budget year so that travel funds could be distributed to pay for it.
Commissioner Gary Macdonald said that he believed the county should try it and said if the deputies stop traveling, it would save the county money.
The commissioners eventually approved the proposal.
An update was given on the Culbertson airport and the acquisition project. The project, which started in 2012, is to secure land around the airport so no tall structures can be built and fences to keep wildlife away from the airport can be erected and maintained.
Rick Knick, who works at the Culbertson airport, said that the land around the airport has been appraised and they are currently in negotiations with the Schuetze Foundation for a plot of land to the north of the airport.
Oelkers said, in order to move those negotiations along, the airport should offer a 10 percent premium on the appraised value of the land upon Federal Aviation Administration approval and coverage.
The other commissioners agreed and the motion was passed.
At the regular meeting Nov. 7, the commissioners voted to pay for a phone line and internet service for the All Weather Observation System at the Culbertson airport. The bill will be a 50/50 split between Roosevelt County and Town of Culbertson.
Oelkers gave an update on the AWOS system saying that according to the Town of Circle, which has the same system, the system, which was initially free, will cost between $6,000 and $7,000 per year in maintenance.
Oelkers said that a fee will need to be charged to the air ambulance when they depart to cover the maintenance costs. This fee will likely be around $150. However, this is a future resolution which the commissioners will need to pass.
At the meeting Oct. 31, Bill Juve, a Roosevelt County resident, asked the commissioners about the new Roosevelt County Detention Center housing prisoners from other counties. He asked if the money generated from this would go towards paying off the jail.
Duane Nygaard, presiding officer, and Gary Macdonald, commissioner, said that it wouldn’t because the taxpayers already voted to pay off the jail via the bonds taken to fund the jail project.
Macdonald said that the money earned would instead go towards operations for the next budget year.
“This year is kind of a guess,” said Macdonald, noting that the county doesn’t know what exactly they will generate by taking in other prisoners until the next budget year.
At the Nov. 7 meeting, Renee Rassmunssen brought some slippery roads to the attention of the commissioners. On bus route #1, there is little gravel and a bus nearly slipped off the road and toppled recently. The commissioners said that this issue will be addressed and that the county is distributing gravel at regular intervals.
Other items approved at these two meetings include:
•Purchase of a 2018 Ram diesel crew cab pickup for the weed department in the amount of $41,520. This was the lowest bid received. The pickup will be purchased from Northern Prairie Auto Sales.
•Claims for Oct. 26 in the amount of $197,786.54.
•Minutes for the Oct. 17 meeting.
•Pay raise for Tonetta Cantrell at the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office.
•The Town of Brockton’s water tank will be inspected soon. The commissioners reminded everyone in Brockton to pay their bills. The water is free, but the distribution system, sewer distribution and garbage pick up are not free.
•Minutes for Oct. 31 and the month of October.