Wolf Point Herald

Commissioners Ponder Stipend Bonus For All County Employees As Retention Measure

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 ‘about 100’, 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 approve a planning department request to life agricultural only restrictions on the Lodahl property near Froid.
The commissioners must approval lifting agriculture only restrictions every time such a property is slated for development.

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Commissioners OK Salary Hikes For Themselves, Department Heads

Roosevelt County Commissioners approved a resolution, Tuesday, July 15, that increases salaries for all county department heads.
That includes the board of commissioners, who have been earning $48,000. Their increase will put their compensation at $53,000.
The commissioners acted on recommendations from the Roosevelt County Compensation Board.
All raises are effective July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year, and will include retroactive pay from July 1.
“They [Compensation Board] didn’t do a percentage. They don’t like to do percentages. They passed a motion to give clerk and recorder a $1,500 raise,” commission administrative assistant Brenda Redfield said.
The new salaries were set at: clerk and recorder/public administration, $53,000; clerk of the district court, county superintendent of schools, $54,000; treasurer/assessor, $53,000; sheriff/coroner, $56,000; justice of the peace [posts No. 1 and 2], $38,250 for their three-quarter-time position.
The commissioners approved second resolution setting the county attorney’s salary at $101,053 for Fiscal Year 2014-2015. The deputy county attorney will receive $85,895.

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County Seeking Bids To Fix Long-Rutted McCabe Road

After repairs to McCabe Road north of Culbertson had been put off for about 20 years, the Board of County Commissioners voted, Tuesday, July 15, to call for bids to make the road once again
Commission presiding officer Duane Nygaard said the road should be saved. It remains open, but in poor condition.
The plan is to use recent technology where a milling machine would grind removed pavement, emulsions would be added and it would be put back on the roadway. A chip seal would be needed.
The commissioners said this could be an affordable solution to a problem the county otherwise couldn’t afford to fix.
There is heavy truck traffic on the already damaged road and new oil wells are going to be drilled in the area.
There was also discussion of a weight limit and, according to Culbertson area residents who were at the meeting, weight limit signs have been removed.
“We need to get out to bid right away. The longer we put it off, the less likely we are to get it done this year,” commissioner Gary Macdonald said.

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Lawmen Report Few Stampede Arrests

With packed bars, people drinking outdoors in the downtown area, a street dance and three nights of dances in the Elks Club parking lot during the Wild Horse Stampede, police reported fewer incidents than during previous Stampedes and few arrests.
That might be in part due to a high presence of police uniforms and marked vehicles on the downtown streets all three nights of Stampede. The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Peck Department of Law and Justice and Poplar Police all provided officers to assist Wolf Point police.
WPPD Sgt. Ryan Michaelsen said much of what officers did was disperse crowds and remove intoxicated individuals and juveniles from areas of the outdoor dances.
Marvin Brookman Stadium and the carnival were outside the city limits.
Undersheriff John Summers said RCSO deputies had minimal problems to address. They did, he said, remove several intoxicated individuals from the rodeo grounds and assisted children who had gotten separated from their parents at the carnival.
“We assisted the city police downtown,” Summers said.
“It was one of the most peaceful Stampedes that I can remember,” he said.

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Rodeo Announcer Recognized

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The Stampede Committee recognized rodeo announcer Randy Schmutz for 20 years of service to the Stampede with the presentation of a star quilt to Randy and Amber Schmutz.   (Photo by John Plestina)

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