Chairwoman Mary Jo Bremner began the Aug. 10 Glacier County Commissioner meeting in Browning relating a call she’d received complaining about trash accumulating behind the county-owned Merc building in Cut Bank.
“I want to solve the trash problem,” Bremner said. “I don’t know why people think they can just dump trash there,” adding the county was prevented from putting in a permanent fence due to gas lines passing through.
Commissioner John Overcast said this is no longer the case, to which Bremner replied, Maintenance Director Shannon Pepion would be looking into installing a permanent fence.
Chairwoman Bremner also mentioned having received a letter from the Cut Bank Area Chamber of Commerce asking about getting funding back to the Port Authority. She said that nothing was ever done on the project and none of the funding was spent.
“The plans changed, but we did promise money to the Chamber and Port Authority,” Commissioner Michael DesRosier said. “Like I said, we should give them the deed [to the Merc] and title, or take the $10,000 and put it toward demolition, and the quicker the better.”
Commissioner DesRos-ier said the building’s façade would be left in place to support a neighboring structure, and Bremner added an engineer had looked the situation over for the feasibility of demolition.
“We need knowledgeable people to get it done,” she said, “and if it takes $10,000, that’s okay because now it’s a fire hazard.”
Moving on to the West End Cemetery District agenda item, Bremner said, “They just voted in a new board member, but we need to talk to them about the budget. Last July they were over budget…and most of that was overtime so we need to set times…there’s a lot of things for the board to address because the board is now whole.”
Commissioner DesRos-ier suggested the Com-missioners set up a “working session” with the board to explore their bylaws and plan of operation. “We should start with a clean slate,” he said.
Bremner discussed the backhoe situation at the West End District. While the current machine might be welded back together, she said it wouldn’t be able to move as it did before. Currently, she said, Blackfeet Housing has been allowing the District to use its backhoe, but for now she said Roads Supervisor John Evans promised to leave the county’s backhoe in the Browning garage where the Cemetery Sextant can access it for funerals.
“So the problem is semi-solved,” she said.
Acting West End Cemetery Sextant Nick Whitcomb arrived he told the Commissioners, “I want to find out about the equipment.” Whitcomb pointed out everything he works with is old and worn out. His big mower, called a Grasshopper, is overheating, and he noted his having to borrow a backhoe from Blackfeet Housing.
“I need a couple loads of black dirt,” he said. “That would probably satisfy a lot of people.”
Whitcomb said Board Chair Tony Gilham told him they need Weed and Seed every year, but this year he received only nine bags compared to 16 last year.
Asked when his equipment was last serviced, Whitcomb smiled and said, “It’s been a long time.”
The Chairwoman noted the county is working with a new budget and expressed hope that in meeting with the Cemetery Board his equipment might be serviced. In the meantime, she suggested having the existing backhoe welded for another couple months’ use while having access to the Roads Department backhoe if needed.
Responding to a question, County Human Resources Director Mike Kittson said he’d found CARES Act funding may not be used for cemetery operations, just for individual funeral expenses. He said he is looking into whether ARPA funding might be used to assist the Cemetery District in the future.