CS Masthead

Commissioners Ponder Stipend Incentive Bonus For All County Employees As A Means To Retain Workers

Roosevelt County Commissioners delayed a final decision for one week after discussing offering all county employees a stipend between $200 and $300 monthly — above and beyond their salaries — as an incentive to remain on the job during the weekly commission meeting.
“What we’re looking at is it’s been real tough to keep employees, especially on the east end of the county,” commission presiding officer Duane Nygaard said.
He added that it is difficult to compete with oil industry salaries and very low unemployment in the Culbertson, Bainville and Froid areas.
The proposal is to offer the monthly stipends as bonuses to all employees, working in all departments and in all parts of the county. Fourteen people work for the county on the east end, including sheriff’s deputies. The stipend for part-time workers would be prorated.
Oil and gas severance revenue would fund the stipends.
“If that [severance funding] goes away, this would go away,” commissioner Gary Macdonald said.
“If our oil and gas revenue drops below a certain point, the stipend would go away,” Nygaard said, adding that if that happened the oil boom would be over and the stipends might not be necessary in that event.
In response to a question about county employees in the Wolf Point area, Nygaard said, “We have several positions that are open on this end of the county, too.”
Nygaard responded to a question that the commissioners would also receive the stipend.
“We based this on what the Culbertson School District has done with their employees,” he said.
Tina Bets His Medicine, a Sheriff’s Office employee, said a deputy employed on the east end of the county had to move because a rental house was sold and an affordable rental cannot be found. That deputy has four children.
“A deputy’s salary is not going to be enough,” Bets His Medicine said. “It’s $2,800 a month for a house [on the east end].”
The commissioners will make a decision Tuesday, July 22.
In other business, the commissioners approved a Fair Board request to accept the lowest bid to build a new wash bay for animals at the fairgrounds in Culbertson.
Bainville Concrete Construction submitted the low bid of $5,650, with the understanding that volunteer labor would help. The highest bid was $9,500.
The commissioners also approved a planning department request to life agricultural only restrictions on the Lodahl property near Froid.
The commissioners must approve lifting agriculture only restrictions every time such a property is slated for development.

Froid Fund Drive


Froid held a kiddie parade down Main Street Saturday, July 12, and then sold a meal of burgers or hot dogs with all the fixings, a beer garden, a mini donuts stand and a dance later from 5 to 9 p.m., with music from Exit 53 at the Froid Community Center. All money raised went to the purchase of replacement playground equipment for the Northern Lights Park. Some pieces have been in the park since the 1960s. Established in 2008, Northern Lights Park and the committee has steadfastly devoted themselves to preserving the atmosphere of the city park. The purpose of this fund is to give the children a safe and exciting outdoor area that promotes wellness and creativity. Donations may be sent to Northern Lights Park, 3681 Hwy. 344 East, Froid, MT, to the attention of Shonny Stentoft, or at http://www.gofundme.com/.
(Photo by Nancy Mahan)

Roosevelt County Jail Roster For July 17

(Editor’s Note: The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office distributes an inmate roster each week with charges and communities of residence to The Herald-News and The Searchlight to illustrate that the jail has been dealing with overcrowding issues in the 17-bed facility.)
Last week, the RCSO reported the jail roster at 18 inmates. Three were released or moved to other facilities and five new inmates were admitted to the RCJ bringing the roster to 19.
The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail as of Monday, July 14: Adam Alonzo, Williston, N.D./San Bernadino, Calif.; criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to sell; Joel Campos, Las Cruses, N.M., criminal possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia; Dale Cooper, Bremerton, Wash., criminal possession of dangerous drugs; William Debbs, Casper, Wyo., probation violation; Beau Ferris, Rudyard, failure to appear, contempt of court; Jarrett Frazer, Evansville, Wyo., criminal possession of drug paraphernalia; April Frost, Evansville, Wyo.,  criminal possession of dangerous drugs; Jesse Gottschalk, Algonac, Mich.,  criminal possession of dangerous drugs; Gary Jones, Mesa, Ariz.; assault on a peace officer with injury; Jason Knight, Spokane, Wash., criminal possession of drug paraphernalia; Jason Knight, Spokane, Wash.; criminal possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia; Darryl Lewis, Powell, Wyo., criminal possession of drug paraphernalia; Esteban Luna, Fairview, contempt of court, failure to make payments; Nicholas Marino, Williston, N.D., carrying a concealed weapon, possession of dangerous drugs, firearm possession by convicted felon, sale of dangerous drugs; Kandace Poole, Williston, N.D., out-of-county warrant; Shelby Rider, Algonac, Mich., criminal possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia; Jeremy Sepanski, Plentywood, forgery, theft, obstruction of a peace officer; Kyle Stevens, Tomball, Texas, felony theft; Amber Taylor, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs; and Hilrio Velasquez, Riverside, Calif., possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.

MDT Proposes Reconstruction Of Hwy. 2 Through Culbertson


Culbertson residents no longer have to dance their way around Broadway. Construction has finished on the main drag in Culbertson, finishing close to the scheduled deadline. Sidewalks and other finishing touches are still in progress.  (Photos by Nancy Mahan)


The Montana Department of Transportation is seeking comments on a proposal to reconstruct about 1.3 miles of U.S. Hwy. 2 in Culbertson.
The project would begin at the RV park on the west end of town near Centennial Drive, and extend east, ending just west of the Clover Creek Bridge.
The proposed work includes a wider concrete surfacing, curb and gutter, sidewalk, storm drain, signing and pavement markings.
The Culbertson City Council discussed the state construction plan during the monthly council meeting, Monday, July 7.
The project is tentatively scheduled for construction on completion of all project development activities and availability of funding.
New right-of-way and relocation of utilities would be required in some locations.
MDT staff will contact all affected landowners prior to survey work on their land. MDT will again contact landowners prior to construction regarding property acquisition and temporary construction permits.
For additional information about this project, contact MDT Glendive District Administrator Shane Mintz at 345-8212 or project design engineer Kevin Gilbert at 444 6230.
The public may submit written comments about the project to the Montana Department of Transportation Glendive office at P.O. Box 890, Glendive, MT  59330-0890.

Industrial Park Site Purchased For New Development

The Culbertson City Council was informed Monday, July 7, that the industrial park lawsuit was recently settled and the land has been purchased by an unnamed individual for an undisclosed business development.
The site is on Montana Hwy. 60, across the road from Dry Prairie Rural Water, one-half mile north of Culbertson.
In other business, the council discussed the governmental review that voters passed by one vote, 74-73, in the June 3 election. Voters in other communities in Roosevelt County rejected similar measures. A county governmental review also failed at the polls.
“We are going to have to do a two year process. We need to find three volunteers to be on the study commission,” Mayor Gordon Oelkers said.
The town has budgeted $5,000 for the review.
In another matter, the council approved the recommendation from a recent speed study of traffic entering Culbertson.
The speed limit for traffic entering on U.S. Hwy. 2 from the east will decrease from 35 to 25 mph. Traffic entering from the south will be slowed in increments that include 55 mph between existing 35 and 70 mph increments. There will be no change for traffic entering from the north.
The council also discussed plans for the city to replace storm lines, three blocks of water line and new sidewalk curb and gutter when the Montana Department of Transportation reconstructs about 1.3 miles of U.S. Hwy. 2 through Culbertson.
The state portion of the project would include wider concrete surfacing, new signing and pavement markings.
The council also discussed Phase 2 of the water treatment project, which is on track to begin during spring 2015. It includes new lagoons and wastewater discharge.