The Glacier County Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution 2018-07, “Discorporation of the Town of Browning,” at their meeting on April 16. Glacier County Attorney Terryl Matt had the resolution, which was not available at the meeting where it was approved. The commissioners said they would make the resolution available once they receive it from Matt. The copy was still not available at the commissioners meeting on Thursday, April 19.
In essence, the resolution means the Town of Browning “won’t exist in its official capacity,” explained Commission chairman Mike DesRosier. County officials are currently negotiating with the Blackfeet Tribe on how the county can assist with funding the volunteer fire department, which formerly was under the Town of Browning, he added.
Glacier County received some good news when it comes to the county’s health insurance plan for its employees and elected officials. The Montana Association of County Health Care Trust’s renewal rates for the FY 2018-19 actually decreased. Instead of paying a monthly premium of $912 per employee, Glacier County will only be billed $872, reported Human Resources Director Mike Kittson and Payroll Clerk Carolyn Popelka. The decrease amounts to annual savings of approximately $47,000, said Kittson.
Commissioner Ron Rides At The Door said he favored staying with the present plan and having the county see some cost savings, rather than paying a $932 monthly premium and changing to a plan with a $1,500 deductible. The current plan has a $2,000 deductible, and includes dental and vision coverage.
“Until we find out for sure where we are financially,” Commissioner Tom McKay said he wanted to see the county keep the same plan and offer the same benefits.
Kittson pointed out that unlike many counties, Glacier County does not levy an extra mill levy to pay for the county employees’ and elected officials’ health coverage.
Glacier County’s approximate cost for the health insurance coverage, or an estimated 101 employees, will be $1,056,864.00 for FY 2018-19.
In the only other business at the April 16 meeting, the commissioners approved the Intergovernment Transfer (IGT) participation agreement to assist the Glacier Care Center. The supplemental payment for State Medicaid/Medicare Reimbursement will be $408,761.64, based on the county’s payment of $309,414.90. The commissioners stipulated in their motion to approve the agreement, the funds must come directly to Glacier County and not go directly to Glacier Care Center, noting the county and Lantis/Welcov have yet to reach a lease renewal agreement. The payment will be held in an escrow account until a lease is signed.
According to officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, however, the IGT payment will be made to Glacier Care Center as in year’s past. DPHHS did not receive a formal request to change the payee in a timely fashion and “all payee change requests received are evaluated for legal and contractual compliance.”
At the commissioners’ meeting on April 19, Jerilee Johnson Elliott was appointed to the Compensation Board to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of David Jacobson.
After some discussion, members of the Glacier County Compensation Board voted to table any decision on setting the salaries of elected officials and county employees for FY 2018-19 until the commissioners received updated information on the county’s financial position.
A Consumer Price Index increase of 2.1 percent would raise Glacier County’s annual payroll to an estimated $6,215,165.00 for FY 2018-19, which is an increase of $127,838.00, said Clerk and Recorder Glenda Hall.
Members of the Compensation Board include Hall, Clerk of Court Janine Scott, all three County Commissioners, the County Attorney, Treasurer (currently vacant) and citizen representatives Johnson, Ken Hoyt and Dean Oscar, Jr.
The Commissioners also approved six months of corrected cash reports, from July through December 2017. The cash reports for January, February and March 2018 are still delinquent, but the commissioners hope to approve them prior to their meeting on May 3.
Kittson informed the commissioners he will be working on cross-training the employees in the Treasurer’s Office and, as not to “taint” the upcoming treasurer’s election, no one will be appointed as the day-to-day supervisor. Hall will continue to supervise the office’s “operational” duties and he will supervise personnel, he said.
Kittson added he would still like to see the county consider hiring an in-house Chief Financial Officer, he said.
Kittson also discussed with the commissioners the need for a Glacier County Veterans Officer and how it would positively impact the county. He will continue his research into the position and will be back in approximately three weeks to update the commissioners on his proposed plan and seek permission to advertise nationally for the new position.