Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pre-disaster plan contractor approved

Tetra Tech Consulting will be working with Stillwater County Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) to update the county’s pre-disaster mitigation plan under an agreement approved by the Stillwater County Commissioners at the Feb. 17 meeting.
DES Coordinator Carol Arkell said she recommended Tetra Tech Consulting over other contractors because the company gave the most information and submitted the most complete application. The plan update should be completed by December.
A grant from the Montana DES office was awarded in September to fund the plan update. The grant will cover the cost of the update, but does require a soft match from Stillwater County and the Town of Columbus.

Courthouse Project
The commissioners recently received three letters from citizens about the courthouse facilities update project. All of the letters addressed the facilities options and alternatives.

Airport Project
The commissioners received a letter from the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Aeronautics Division concerning a grant application for a project at the Columbus Airport. The county and town had requested a grant of $8,333 for a project that was estimated to cost $16,666.
MDT received grant requests totaling more than $1 million, but had only $325,000 available in grant funds. Many requests were not funded or were funded only partially, according to the letter. The request for funding from Stillwater County was denied.

Oil and Gas Tax Distribution
Stillwater County will receive $35,602.85 for the third quarter distribution of Oil and Natural Gas Production Tax. The funds are divided between local government and school districts with $16,192.17 being allocated for local government and the remainder being allocated to school districts in Stillwater County.

Benbow Road Project
The commissioners approved an agreement with Great West Engineering to install an 84-inch by 60-foot metal culvert on Benbow Road at a cost of $8,970.
Commissioner Gerald Dell said the culvert is part of a TSEP project that was awarded earlier. This part of the project is just now being finished.
The road will be down to one lane while the work is being done, Commissioner Chairman Dennis Shupak said.

Responder Reply System
An agreement with Emergency Marketing Corp. for a Responder Reply System was approved. This system is already used by Columbus, Absarokee, and Park City fire departments. The system has an annual cost of $300.
Sheriff Cliff Brophy said the program used by dispatchers sends an e-mail to the company where the e-mail is converted to a text message that is sent to emergency responders. The system will help search and rescue responders because they are too spread out to rely on a single radio page, he said.
“This will help out our search and rescue, I believe,” Brophy said.
The system has already been tried with a free, two-month subscription.

Solid Waste
An agreement with Big Sky Septic to service the portable toilets at county solid waste sites was approved. The cost averages approximately $150 per month with summer rates being slightly lower than winter rates.
Legislative Session Update
Davey said the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) website has a section that lists legislative bills that affect local governments. The MACo website address is

Local 3877
Tonya House has been appointed to serve on the local arbitration board. Bruce Nielsen is the union representative while Dell is the representative for the commissioners.

Fees Collected
The following departments reported fees collected during the month of January:
- Justice Court - $9,938.12
- Clerk and Recorder - $6,272.10
- Sheriff’s Office - $300