CS Masthead

Commissioners Consider Bainville Fire District Request

The Board of County Commissioners considered a request by the Bainville Fire District for a loan of up to $280,000 to finish the interior of the fire department building while the fire department tried to sell property by sealed bid Tuesday, April 29.
Chuck Hyatt, representing the fire district, said the district hopes to sell the property by June 15.
The commissioners delayed a decision at least until Tuesday, May 13.
The commissioners appointed Hyatt to the city and county planning boards.
In other business, the commissioners delayed a decision on merging the Poplar branch of the Roosevelt County Library with the Fort Peck Tribal Library.
With the county librarian in Poplar is due to retire and the lack of space in the current county library that is attached to the fire station in Poplar, commissioners are considering a request by the Fort Peck tribes to merge the libraries into the larger library on the Fort Peck Community College campus.
The commissioners are likely to revisit the issue Tuesday, May 13.

Bakken Development Aid Package Announced By Governor In Culbertson


Gov. Steve Bullock (left) chats with Culbertson Mayor Gordon Oelkers after proposing an aid package for eastern Montana communities that have been impacted by the Bakken Oilfield development during a meeting in Culbertson Thursday, April 17.   (Photo by John Plestina)

Gov. Steve Bullock proposed a state bond proceeds-financed $45 million grant program that would address impacts from the Bakken Oilfield development on eastern Montana cities, tribal governments and water and sewer districts while in Culbertson Thursday, April 17.
The program and its bonding component will require legislative approval during the 2015 session.
Bullock announced the proposed Eastern Montana Impact and Infrastructure Project at the Culbertson Town Office. He later made the same announcement in Sidney, Glendive and Billings.
The program would include three main initiatives: an immediate reduction of State Revolving Fund interest rates from 3 to 1.25 percent for construction projects; a “Rapid Response Team” state technical assistance program for land use planning, affordable housing, and grant application processing; and the $45 million grant program.
Bullock said that while the Bakken development is creating new jobs and economic opportunities in eastern Montana, “it is also posing challenges to local communities that we could not have imagined even a decade ago.”
In a prepared statement, Bullock cited, “soaring prices, inadequate infrastructure and a massive influx of new residents vexing local governments like never before.
“As Governor, I am committed to helping impacted communities deal with these challenges,” he said.
“[The proposed program] actually impacts 13 oil and gas impacted counties,” Bullock said.
He said Wolf Point and Poplar are probably eligible for the aid package.
Bullock explained that the tiered proposal includes three levels of impacts. Tier 1 is oil and gas development in the immediate area. The second tier is for communities located close enough to the development area to feel the impacts and Tier 3 is for communities located farther from the development area but along U.S. Hwy. 2 in an impacted county.
While Bainville and Culbertson are likely included in Tier 1, it was not clear into which tier Wolf Point and Poplar would fall.
A large part of the benefits of the program would be for water and sewer infrastructure, Bullock said.
He said the program would not benefit school districts, law enforcement or courts.
Bullock called the proposed program a long-term investment for Montana.
He said the proposed SRF interest rate reduction is projected to save local governments millions of dollars in interest payments.
Several people attending the meeting with Bullock in Cul-
bertson said $45 million is not enough to cover future impacts.
A man who said he is from Bainville said that community has experienced a 300 percent increase in population because of the Bakken development, but Bainville is not getting the financial help it needs.
Culbertson resident Allen Bowker said the $45 million is not enough. He suggested looking at the oil and gas industry impacts on Williston and other western North Dakota communities.
Bowker called what is happening in Williston and throughout western North Dakota a “train wreck.”
Bullock responded that he is committed to helping communities that are impacted by the oil and gas boom.
“The ultimate goal is to really do all we can for our communities, so that we are not like Williston or other places that are, after the fact, trying to chase and fix problems by throwing money at it. But really, the more we can do upfront to address the infrastructure needs, the better the longterm growth will be for our state,” Bullock said.
“The reason we see more of the impacts and less of the oil is we’re on the shallow end of the pool,” he said.

Strong At Academic Olympics

A team of five Culbertson High School students recently competed at the Academic Olympics in Glasgow and took home a first-place trophy for the written tests and second in the oral tournament. Team members were (left to right) Cameron Lambert, Hannah Bawden, Renee Oelkers, Courtney Sorteberg and Joey Bawden. Oelkers placed seventh in math and 10th in social studies. Hannah Bawden placed third in English and seventh in math. Lambert took fifth in math and science. Joey Bawden placed 10th in English and was the top freshman.

Broadway Construction Continues


The ongoing street, curb and gutter, and sewer project in Culbertson has several blocks of Broadway Avenue torn up and closed to traffic. Next will be the replacement of the city’s 80-year-old water main, which is a $400,000 project.   (Photo by John Plestina)

Culbertson School Election Polling To Be Held At School Only

The polling site at Mona Hall is being discontinued, leaving the Culbertson School gymnasium the sole place for voters to cast ballots in the May 6 school district election.
School trustees approved absentee ballots Monday, April 21, for people who would have voted at Mona Hall and requested the ballots.
In other business, the school board accepted a resignation from business teacher Deanne Weeks.
The trustees also approved the 2014-15 school year teacher assignments, which are the same as they are for the current year.
In another matter, the board approved the $113,341 technology budget for the 2014-15 school year that will fund a new computer lab with 30 computers in the school. The funding includes maintenance.
The board also approved the school calendar for 2014-15.
In other business, the trustees renewed the MUST Insurance Cooperative for employee health insurance for the next school year.
The board also approved a contract with Interquest Detection Canines a dog drug search service for two random drug searches next year.
In another matter, the board approved MHSA athletic activities for the next school year.
The trustees also discussed facility updates including bus storage and teacher housing. Those issues will be referred to a committee.