The Teton County Commissioners, meeting Jan. 7, welcomed Sam Carlson of Fairfield as the new commissioner representing District 1 and elected Joe Dellwo of Bynum as the chairman of the board.
In the annual reorganization, they also elected Dick Snellman of Power as the vice chairman. Carlson will take over as the county commissioner liaison for all the boards that former Commissioner Jim Hodgskiss previously served on.
Dellwo noted that the county is continuing to talk with Benefis Teton Medical Center in Choteau about options for providing more space at the hospital for the growing Teton County Health Department, which can no longer house all of its employees in the small office suite attached to the south side of the hospital-clinic building.
He said he has talked with BTMC President Louie King and TCHD Director Melissa Moyer and all agree that staying in the same location is “the best place for them.”
He said as the talks develop into proposals, the commissioners will announce what is being considered during their regular public meetings.
The commissioners also approved amending the TCHD budget for 2020-21 to allow the department to accept a $10,000 Partnerships for Health System Improvement grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The commissioners awarded a two-year county legal notice and printing contract to the Choteau Acantha weekly newspaper, the only bidder. Newspapers of general circulation, published 52 weeks a year, within Teton County are eligible to bid on this
contract for the purpose of publishing legal notices and printing all forms the county uses except those printed by the county itself.
The state sets the maximum newspapers can charge most government entities for legal
notices at $13 per 100 words the first time a legal notice is published and $11 per 100 words the second and subsequent times legal notices are published.
The Choteau Acantha with a circulation of approximately 1,543 households total (1,021
in county), had the county printing contract for Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2020, at $8.25 per 100 words for the first insertion and $7 per 100 words for the second and subsequent insertions. The Acantha bid the new contract for Jan. 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2022, at $9.50 per 100 words for the first insertion and $8 per 100 words for each subsequent insertion.
Under this contract, all county offices are required to order printed materials from the Choteau Acantha, except for forms printed in-house by the county itself and general and primary election ballots.
Chairman Dellwo reviewed the county’s printing and advertising expenses with the Choteau Acantha and the other newspaper in the county, the Fairfield Sun Times, over the past three years.
In 2018, the county paid the Acantha $17,445.23 for advertising and printing, and $5,195.60 to the Sun Times for advertising. In 2019, the county paid the Acantha $15,290.92 for advertising and printing and $3,356.40 to the Sun Times for
advertising. In 2020 (an election year), the county paid $23,902.40 to the Acantha for printing and advertising and $5,195.60 to the Sun Times for advertising.
Dellwo said the commissioners appreciate having to great newspapers in the county and having a good relationship with the owners of both.
In other action at the short meeting, the commissioners took actions on a variety of “housekeeping” items — measures that have to be done once a year at the board’s first meeting in January.
•Set the county fire season from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021. During this time, those wanting to set any kind of fire have to apply for and receive a valid county burn permit. People who set fi res without burn permits can be charged with a misdemeanor offense and if convicted be fined up to $500 or imprisoned in the county jail for up to six months. Further, people who set fires without proper burn permits or who fail to supervise their fires may be subject to civil litigation for property damage and the costs of fighting such fires.
•Set the county commissioners’ regular meeting date and time on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 10 a.m. in the courthouse. If this meeting time conflicts with a legal holiday the meeting will be canceled, and the board will notify the public of the cancellation or of any rescheduling of a regular meeting.
•Set the hours of the county sheriff, clerk and recorder, clerk of District Court, treasurer and county attorney offices to be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except that the District clerk of court may be closed from noon to 1 p.m. daily.
•Provided that the Clerk and Recorder’s Office may be open extra hours as needed for primary and general elections.
•Renewed the county’s public posting designation as the bulletin board on the second floor of the courthouse and the enclosed bulletin board located in the main lobby at the Choteau Post Office. A copy of meeting notices will also be available at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
•Set the salary for the county justice of the peace at 95% of the county’s uniform salary (that of the clerk and recorder) and set the justice of the peace’s office hours at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
•Changed the county’s reimbursement for mileage (when a county vehicle is not available), to comply with current IRS approved rates of $.56 per mile for the first 1,000 miles of travel within each month (down from $.575) and at $.53 per mile for each mile over 1,000 miles per month (down from $.545). The state lodging reimbursement rate will be $94 per day and the meal per diem rates are $7.50 for breakfast, $8.50 for lunch and $14.50 for supper for a total of $30.50. (The per diem rates are unchanged from 2020.)
Commissioner Snellman said the commissioners hope everyone in Teton County has a happy and prosperous new year in 2021.