Wolf Point Herald

Commissioners Change Meeting Times, Formalize Jail Bond For November Ballot

The Roosevelt County Commissioners voted, Tuesday, Aug. 28, to change their weekly meeting time from 1 p.m. to 11 a.m., but the meeting day will continue to be Tuesdays.
The commissioners also approved a resolution formally placing the jail bond question on the November ballot. The commissioners approved moving forward with the measure earlier this month.
The jail bond questioned passed with a majority in June, but failed because not enough registered voters cast ballots.

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Commissioners Unsure About County Employee Travel Pay To Work Sites

The Roosevelt County Commissioners rescinded a motion to not allow county employees to be paid for travel to work sites, Tuesday, Aug. 26, pending finding the best way to address staffing needs on the east end of the county.
Six days earlier, commissioner Gary Macdonald said he wanted to keep all county departments in compliance with an existing policy and shields the county from a potential of employees asking for pay to job sites if other workers receive that compensation.
At issue is an employee who lives in Wolf Point receiving pay for time traveled to operate a machine in Bainville.
Macdonald said the machine in Bainville is the job site.
Commission chairman Duane Nygaard said he was not opposed to compensation for employee between Wolf Point and
“It’s one way to keep up with Bainville roads,” Nygaard said Wednesday, Aug. 20. “Now, we’re not going to be able to do that.”
Revisiting the issue this week at Nygaard’s request, the commissioners discussed a grader the county is leasing and keeping on the east end for use in the Culbertson and Bainville areas, but that the grader is not getting used more than six hours per day, therefore the county is losing money on the lease for the grader.
The other side of the issue is that the roads on the east end are getting graded.
An operator who would work full-time on the east end is slated to start work Tuesday, Sept. 2.

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Commissioners OK Stipend For Themselves, Other Elected Officials

The Roosevelt County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a resolution, Wednesday, Aug. 20, that gives themselves and other elected officials the $300 monthly stipend they recently approved for all permanent non-elected county employees. It amounts to the second pay raise for elected officials in five weeks.
The commissioners approved a resolution, Tuesday, July 15, that increased annual salaries for themselves and all county department heads. With a $1,500 raise, each commissioners now receives $51,000 before the stipend, which amounts to $3,600.
When the commissioners approved the stipend for permanent non-elected employees, Tuesday, July 22, they excluded elected officials following a complaint by Wolf Point resident Bill Juve, who said roads need repair.
The stipends are above and beyond salaries and were intended as an incentive for employees to remain on the job.
The county has had difficulty retaining sheriff’s deputies and employees of other departments, especially on the east end of the county where the cost of housing is high.
“What does retaining employees have to do with elected officials?” Juve asked the commissioners Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Juve said July 22 that if the commissioners and other elected officials receive the stipends, the county’s compensation board should approve the stipends before the commissioners vote on them.
The compensation board has since met and recommended approval.
Eight of 10 compensation board members are elected officials. Two members of the public are on the board. While there could be as many as four, there were no responses when the county recently advertised for board members.
All three county commissioners, Gary Macdonald, Duane Nygaard and Jim Shanks, serve on the compensation board. The other elected officials who serve on the board are: Freedom Crawford, sheriff; Cheryl Hansen, clerk and recorder; Tracy Harada, justice of the peace; Jim Patch, county attorney; and Betty Romo, treasurer. The two citizen members are: Zane Panasuk of Culbertson and Dave Wemmer of Wolf Point.
Juve said the overwhelming majority of the members of the compensation board are elected officials and that they are giving themselves raises.
The stipends are tied to oil industry severance revenue the county receives quarterly. If the county’s revenue from the oil severance tax drops below an average of $400,000 per quarter, the stipend will cease.

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Commissioners Nix Lifting Fire Restrictions

The Roosevelt County Commissioners decided to keep Stage 1 fire restrictions in place, Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Roosevelt is currently one of two Montana counties with Stage 1 restrictions.
“Were No. 1 in the state for fires, all caused by machinery [used for harvesting] and cigarettes,” commissioner Gary Macdonald said.
The commissioners issued the restrictions, Thursday, July 24, and set them to remain in place until further notice.
The following are prohibited until the restrictions are lifted: building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except within a recreation area; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren or cleared area at least three feet in diameter.
All land within the city limits is exempted from the restrictions.
Other exceptions include: persons with a permit authorizing an otherwise prohibited act; those using liquid petroleum or LPG fuel devices that can be turned on and off; where otherwise prohibited activities are posted as allowed; and wildlife or law enforcement officers, firefighters or rescue workers in the performance of an official duty.
Other restriction or exemptions could be posted.
The county commissioners will continue to review the restrictions.

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Man Stabbed In Wolf Point Dispute

Wolf Point Police reported that an 18-year-old Wolf Point male was stabbed and sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries, Tuesday, Aug. 19.
Officers responded to the 100 block of Benton Street for a report of a disturbance that was reported at 10:37 p.m.
He was transported by ambulance to Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus.
“It was some sort of a dispute between these two people,” Sgt. Ryan Michaelsen said.
The suspect, a 35-year-old Wolf Point male, left the scene prior to police arrival.
“He took off and we have not been able to find him,” Michaelsen said Monday, Aug. 25.
He said charges are pending. Police did not disclose the victim’s name or the extent of his injuries.

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