Hill County officials met Wednesday to discuss a number of internal county issues, including departmental credit card spending limits, use of American Rescue Plan Act funds and updates on departmental activities.
Hill County Commissioner Diane McLean said departments have submitted applications indicating how high they think spending limits on their department’s credit cards should be.
Hill County Commissioner Mark Peterson said he wondered if many should be as high as they are.
Department heads had been asking for several years that their departments be given cards they could use on expenses instead of paying out of pocket and asking for reimbursement, especially for out-of-town travel.
Commissioners agreed in April to get a map for the county under Hill County Auditor Kathy Olson, with plans to eventually approve others.
Since then, the commission has implemented policies for more cards for each department.
Departments have requested limits between $600 and $5,000, and Peterson said unless some of those requests are reduced, the county will likely have to negotiate some terms with Independence Bank. He therefore asked certain departments to reduce their demands.
Hill County Auditor Kathy Olson said the county will also have a card with $50,000 tied to the general fund that can also be used.
Mosquito district supervisor and weed district coordinator Terry Turner, who requested $5,000 for the two departments he oversees, said it’s very possible he’ll never use the $5,000 $, but he would love to have that capability, especially with the costs rising.
“I had up to 1,600 balances on my credit card, and I don’t need it. My wife can come and tell you that,” he said.
McLean said his intention was to have the number approved so they could get the departments credit cards as soon as possible, as it is clearly no longer viable for employees to personally make emergency purchases.
The group also discussed a request from Hill County Building Manager Joe Smith regarding the county’s problematic paper surplus.
McLean said Smith, who couldn’t be there due to an emergency, is increasingly irritated by the ever-growing stockpile of paper in the county, which is quickly becoming a storage problem he wants to solve. .
Peterson said more and more work in the county is being done digitally, but people are still ordering the same amount of paper out of habit, which is leading to this problem and he would like to put a moratorium on buying paper until until the stock is reduced. to a more manageable level.
After some discussion and wrangling over the logistics of such a thing, Montana State University Hill County Extension Officer Kati Purkett said they should just put together a list where people register the quantity of paper taken from the stock to monitor its use.
“It shouldn’t be difficult,” Purkett said.
McLean said there have been issues before with some departments objecting to the use of paper purchased by other departments, but at this point she thinks they need to put that aside and settle the issue. problem in question.
County officials also heard an update from Hill County Attorney Lacey Lincoln on updates to their job posting procedures.
Lincoln said progress is being made on the new policy and asked the department for input on the policy.
Turner said he was concerned about how the change would affect the application process for seasonal workers, who tend to jump at the first good job opportunity and aren’t always inclined to wait for a long job application process. hiring.
Lincoln said conversations about this issue are ongoing and the solution could be as simple as posting job openings earlier to speed up the process, but they can still meet and discuss the issue in more detail.
Regarding county operations, Peterson said work on the RSID 21 lift station is being tendered and construction will begin in the fall, assuming they can get the parts. on time.
He said RSID 29 and 30 lift stations are also expected to launch an offer soon.
He also said the US Army Corps of Engineers should come in September to inspect the Milk River levee, but that is a tentative date.
McLean said the commission is also working on funding for the American Recovery Plan Act and final plans are finalized by September.
Regarding ARPA-funded projects, McLean said progress is underway on the Hill County Courthouse’s new HVAC system and they hope to secure a final price for the project soon.
She also said she received three applications for the position of director of the Hill County Council on Aging and hopes for more.
McLean also encouraged people to come to the Camp Kiwanis Beaver Lodge Open House for an open house on Labor Day weekend about the condition of the structure and its needs.
On the ballot for this year’s general election there will be a question about a levy to be paid for the replacement of the building and McLean encouraged people to go hear about the issue.
Turner said his department is working to finish eradicating Phragmites in the county, and will be heading to Blaine County soon to help.
Regarding mosquitoes, he said the numbers in Hill County were quite low, but Broadwater County had recently received a case of equine encephalitis, which is quite concerning.
Purkett said his department is currently fielding numerous calls about the drought and its effects, and is conducting nitrate testing across the county.
She said they had also received questions about flea beetles, which have become much more common in the area since grasshoppers, one of their food sources, took hold.
She said they are also setting up community education classes in October.