Document Sample
					                                                                   Vol. 34 No. 4           APRIL 2005

        Page 3
 MACo BOARD MINUTES                       APRIL 10-16
        Page 4                       Honoring County Heroes
        Page 5
          Page 6             GO TO WASHINGTON DC for NACo
      I. D. CARDS                              by MACo President Bill Kennedy
        Page 7                  Fourteen Montana county          zation of the Workforce Investment
    COUNTY NEWS         commissioners attended the NACo          Act, as did Sue Mohr, Montana Job
        Page 8          Legislative Conference in Washing-       Training Partnership.
  G.I.S. IN THE WEST    ton, DC. The major topics of discus-             Commissioner Gary Fjelstad
                        sion were cuts in the President’s        and Yellowstone County Sheriff
        Page 9          budget to critical county programs.      Chuck Maxwell attended the Justice
   LOCAL CONTROL        Our delegation sported NACo but-         and Public Safety Committee meet-
       Page 11          tons saying, “Save CDBG Grants           ing. Commissioner Art Kleinjan rep-
 UNFUNDED MANDATES      and Restore This Funding Back to         resented the Oil, Gas and Coal
                        States and Counties”. We all under-      counties on the Energy Steering
 NACo PUBLICATIONS      stand that these grants have helped      Committee. Commissioners Alan
       Page 12          rural counties for many years.           Thompson and Allan Underdal repre-
   CENSUS / SURVEY              MACo President Bill Kennedy      sented Montana counties in the Pub-
                        attended the Health Steering Com-        lic Lands and Intergovernmental Af-
                        mittee meetings with the discussion      fairs Committees. NACo WIR Presi-
                        centering on Medicare and intergov-      dent Connie Eissinger, along with
  ADVERTISERS           ernmental transfers for rural counties   Commissioner Mike Murray, brought
        Page 3          and states. MACo 1st Vice-President      up issues on public lands at the WIR
    KADRMAS, LEE        Doug Kaercher attended the Health        Board meeting. (Congratulations to
    AND JACKSON         & Human Services discussion on           Connie as WIR President for all her
        Page 4          reauthorization of the TANF pro-         hard work in keeping Montana repre-
NITTANY GRANTWORKS      gram. MACo 2nd Vice-President            sented.) Lewis & Clark County Com-
                        John Prinkki initiated a resolution on   missioner Anita Varone represented
        Page 5
                        railroad transportation and with the     us at the Housing & Economic Steer-
                        help of Commissioners Kathy Bes-         ing Committee meetings.
                        sette, Peggy Beltrone and Jamie                  On Tuesday morning, the
        Page 6          Doggett, the resolution was adopted      commissioners had breakfast with
   ROBERT PECCIA        by the NACo Board. Commissioner          Montana congressmen, US Senator
   AND ASSOCIATES       Carol Brooker worked on reauthori-                 continued on next page
                    continue from front page
Max Baucus, US Representative Dennis Rehberg                                    MARK YOUR CALENDAR
and representatives from Senator Conrad Burns’                         April 6    MACo Board of Directors; MACo; noon
office. The group expressed concerns for the                           April 7    JPA Trustee Meeting
CDBG program and reauthorization of the Na-                            April 8    JPIA Trustee Meeting-Renewals
tional Highway Bill. Senator Baucus is taking the                      April 10-16 COUNTY GOVERNMENT WEEK
                                                                       April 23   Last day of legislative session
key role with the highway bill. Representative                         April 27   MACo Tax, Finance Budget Committee; 10:00
Rehberg told us of his new position on the House
Appropriations Committee. I would like to thank                        UPCOMING EVENTS
our congressional delegation for meeting with the                      May 2        Districts 10, 11          Polson
                                                                       May 4        Districts 8, 9, 12        Helena
commissioners throughout the week.                                     May 6        Myra Shults’ Roundtable; MACo Conference Room
        I would also like to thank all of the com-                     May 11       Districts 1, 2, 3         Forsyth or Miles City
                                                                       May 12       Districts 6, 7            Harlowton
missioners for taking their time to go to Washing-                     May 13       Districts 4, 5            Fort Benton
ton, DC to represent us.                                               May 15-18    County Coroners Convention; Whitefish
                                                                       May 25-27    WIR Conference; Tacoma WA

                                                                       June 14-17   MSPOA Convention; Bozeman
                                                                       June 10      MACo Board of Directors; MACo; 10:00 am
                                                                       June 17      JPA / JPIA Defense Counsel Retreat
                                                                       June 20-23   District Court Clerk Convention; Scobey

                                                                               BLM seeks nominations
                                                                           to Resource Advisory Councils
                                                                       Western Montana: two openings for elected
                                                                              officials, state agency and public-at-large
L - R: Allan Underdal, Toole County; Jamie Doggett, Meagher            Central Montana: two openings for elected
County; Alan Thompson, Ravalli County; John Prinkki, Carbon
County; Carol Brooker, Sanders County; Mike Murray, Lewis &
                                                                              officials, state agency and public-at-large
Clark County; US Senator Max Baucus; Connie Eissinger, McCone          Eastern Montana: two openings for elected
County; Doug Kaercher, Hill County; Kathy Bessette, Hill County;              officials, state agency and public-at-large
Art Kleinjan, Blaine County; US Representative Dennis Rehberg;
Anita Varone, Lewis & Clark County; Peggy Beltrone, Cascade            Nominations are due to the appropriate BLM field
County; Bill Kennedy, Yellowstone County                               manager by April 19. Nominations should in-
                                                                       clude background information and letters of refer-
                                                                       ences. Current terms expire in September.

                 IN MEMORIAM                                                             IN MEMORIAM

               JOANN HUFFSMITH                                                     MALCOLM JOHN McCRAE
          Granite County Commissioner                                           Rosebud County Commissioner
                    2001-2005                                                               1977-1987
        During her battle with cancer,                                         Mac combined his gifts for business
        Joann kept the county health sys-                                      (his hardware store), for conversa-
        tem as her major goal. She was a                                       tion, and his wealth of knowledge
        primary supporter of the county                                        from ranching in his service to
        hospital and nursing home. She is                                      Rosebud County. He is survived
        survived by husband, Richard, and                                      by his wife, Pat, four children and
        her daughter and family.                                               eight grandchildren.

                                MACo BOARD OF DIRECTORS
                      Selections from Minutes of February 16, 2005 Meeting
Budget Report: Bill Nyby, MACo Fiscal Officer,             Executive Session: Discussion centered
reported on the status of MACo’s budget through            around the actions needed to be taken toward
January 2005. Revenue collections are at 72% of            Executive Director retirement
anticipated while expenditures are at 53% of
what was budgeted. Nyby noted that revenue                 Other Business:
from conferences was up, interest revenue was                        President Kennedy noted that the Asso-
down and member expense was over budget.                   ciation would be recruiting for an Executive Direc-
President Kennedy asked that the Committee                 tor through an open promotion. A committee of 8
chairs estimate their expenditure requests for             board members, chaired by 1st VP Kaercher has
FY 06 and provide justification. He also re-               been appointed to review the job descriptions
quested that expenses for each committee be                and make recommendations to the Board at a
reported. Health insurance appeared to be over             meeting to be scheduled in late April or May.
expended, which might be driven the reporting                        Board member Davey thanked the Execu-
the 4th quarter of the prior year (FY 04) in the cur-      tive Committee, Board members and the counties
rent year. Fiscal Officer Nyby also requested that         in general for supporting the resolution request-
the Board provide direction to the Budget Com-             ing the Governor to take steps necessary to pro-
mittee in budgeting for a retirement in FY 06.             tect the health and safety of Montana cattle herds
                                                           from BSE.
                                                                     President Kennedy reported to the Board
Legislative Report: Gordon Morris, MACo Ex-                that Executive Committee members have been
ecutive Director, and Harold Blattie, MACo Assis-          very active in this first half of the session. He
tant Director, provided briefs on significant legis-       specifically thanked Doug Kaercher and John
lation. The Local Option Tax bill (SB 184) and             Prinkki. Kennedy closed by noting how important
the appropriations for county attorney salaries at         it is in terms of telling “our story” to have commis-
a true 50% were discussed. A status sheet of               sioners present. President Kennedy closed by
MACo bills and selected sections from the Public           thanking Gordon and Harold for doing an excel-
Defender bill (SB 146) were given. The Sheriffs            lent job.
and Peace Officers were seeking to add deten-                        Board member Schulz noted that Repre-
tion officers to the Sheriffs’ Retirement System.          sentative Barrett is not going to attempt to get
The Executive Committee has recommended                    HB 133 off the table in Local Government. The
MACo not take a position on the bill.                      Bill had become a political football absent of com-
                                                           mon sense. Madison County accepts that deci-
                                                           sion and recommends letting it go.

             May 11 Miles City or Forsyth
             May 13            Fort Benton
             May 12            Harlowton
DISTRICTS 8, 9, 12
             May 4             Helena
            May 2              Polson

               New                                                       LOCAL
  Temporary Vehicle Registrations                               FIRE PROTECTION MONEY
          Hit the Road                                                 AVAILABLE
          A new motor vehicle temporary registra-                  The Montana Department of Natural Re-
tion permit (TRP) process is being tested by              sources and Conservation (DNRC) announced
automobile dealers. Starting March 14, the test-          today that applications for the 2005 VFA/RFA
ing process began at Taylor’s Automax in Great            Grant Program are now being accepted. Applica-
Falls, Archie Cochrane Motors, Inc., in Billings,         tions for matching funds through the federally
and Placer Motors, Grimes Buick GMC, Inc., and            funded, Title II & IV, Volunteer Fire Assistance
Kev’s Auto Sales in Helena. By next year, some-           (VFA) program (U.S. Forest Service) and the Ru-
one who buys a car from a private party will be           ral Fire Assistance (RFA) program (U.S. Depart-
able to go online, get a temporary permit and             ment of Interior agencies - Bureau of Land Man-
print it, even on the weekend or after-hours.             agement, Fish & Wildlife Service and Bureau of
          The temporary registration permit (TRP),        Indian Affairs) are due April 25, 2005. The cost
generated online, can be printed out on regular           share money is being made available to defray
paper, which has two parts. The larger section is         up to ninety-percent of the cost of improving local
inserted into a weatherproof, plastic sleeve,             fire protection.
which is then attached in the rear license plate                   According to Michael Wiederhold, Rural
holder (rather than being taped to the rear win-          Fire Program Coordinator with DNRC's Forestry
dow). The remaining section—the vehicle regis-            Division, single applications representing county-
tration—can be slipped into the glove box for             wide fire organizations are required. Eligible ap-
safekeeping.                                              plicants to be included are: fire departments, rural
          The temporary registration permit service       fire districts, fire service areas, volunteer fire
is supported by the Montana Department of Jus-            companies or other fire service organizations in
tice, the Montana Department of Administration            communities with populations of 10,000 or less.
Information Services Division and Montana Inter-          The maximum grant amount for a single applicant
active, a subsidiary of NIC.                              is $20,000. The single applications for a group of
          NIC manages more e-Government ser-              communities, i.e., countywide fire councils, coun-
vices than any provider in the world. NIC pro-            tywide fire departments, etc., may have a total
vides e-Government solutions for 1,500 state              population of over 10,000.
and local agencies that serve more than 51 mil-                    The funding for the year 2005 VFA and
lion people. Additional information on their e-           RFA program is anticipated to be approximately
government services is available at                       $1,000,000 and applications can be submitted for
                                  projects such as department or district organiza-
                                                          tion and planning, fire prevention, fire training and
                                                          fire equipment.
PLEASE SUPPORT MACo SUPPORTERS                                     In 2004, this grant program received 74
                                                          applications requesting $2.2 million dollars in
                                                          funding. Seventy-four grants were awarded, total-
                                                          ing the $1.2 million received from the Forest Ser-
                                                          vice and Interior agencies. Construction or im-
     Grant Writing Services & Project Development         provement of fire stations for housing fire equip-
    for Government Entities & Nonprofit Agencies          ment, normal operational expenses and mainte-
                                                          nance do not qualify for VFA/RFA funds.
               LORI BENNER
                                                          Details are available by contacting your local
      PO Box 1821  Livingston MT 59047
                                                          DNRC office, by calling (406) 542-4206, or on the
                                                          Internet at:

                       RURAL HOSPITAL ERGONOMICS
                                  By Emelia McEwen, MACo Assistant Risk Manager
         Hospitals and other medical institutions             patient transfers.
that provide nursing care are at particularly high                     The mechanical lifts cost around $1,500
risk for injury and loss rates from back injuries.            to $3,500 per machine, but that was nothing com-
Whether they are repetitive stress injuries (RSIs)            pared to one $100,000 claim for a back injury.
from patient lifting and handling or the result of a          Workers were trained in the proper use of the lifts
single traumatic incident, such as a fall or break-           and each worker attended “back safe” training to
ing a patient’s fall, a back injury can cost                  learn, practice and reinforce safe lifting tech-
$100,000 or more.                                             niques.
         In many instances, a health-care worker                       Administrative staff attended the training
who has suffered back trauma from patient han-                because employees that see the administrative
dling cannot return to full duty without strict limita-       staff attending the training understand that every-
tions. Some never return at all and claim perma-              one is in this together.
nent disability. Back injuries are the most com-                       The office staff had a separate “Sit Safe”
pensated injuries in the country and account for              and office ergonomics training. Employees were
thousands of claims each year.                                encouraged to team up and evaluate each oth-
         The Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH) in                ers’ workstations on a regular basis and to keep
Willits, California, provides services and 25 beds            a sharp eye out for risky behaviors or postures.
to a rural community. In the last three years, the                     The average cost was around $50,000
hospital provided an excellent worker safety and              per worker and $50,000 for assistive equipment
ergonomics program that reduced loss rates from               and mechanical patient lifts. Follow-up training Is
$377,000 to $12,800.                                          annual and the cost is around $30 per worker.
         The program stressed adherence to a                           As costs and injury rates decreased, the
safety program as a long-term benefit to their                hospital experienced growth in many areas:
health, and as a means to make their workplace,                        The number of employees increased.
the hospital, a safer place to work.                                   Employee turnover decreased.
         The Hospital always had an active safety                      Employees expressed satisfaction with
committee with a flexible budget for providing                                 the work and the workplace.
abatements and repairing or removing any safety                        HMH plans to share the success story
hazards. However, the main problem was con-                   with other hospitals to encourage them to imple-
trolling how workers physically interacted with               ment effective ergonomics training programs and
their environment on a day-to-day basis. Per-                 to encourage them not to fear the initial setup
forming a heavy patient lift single-handedly could            costs.
easily happen if a worker was in a rush and no
help was immediately available. The usual RSIs                 PLEASE SUPPORT MACo SUPPORTERS
tended to crop up among office workers if correct
posture and safe equipment use was not rein-                      ROSCOE STEEL & CULVERT
         In addition to having a proactive in-house
                                                                  The Most Reliable Source of Products
safety committee, HMH liked the idea of bringing                   Required for County Road Projects
an objective third party to provide ergonomics                  406 / 656-2253
training. The contractor provided an extensive                  2847 Hesper Road
walk-through in all areas to identify ergonomic                 Billings, MT 59102
risk factors and work tasks that presented a high               406 / 542-0345
injury potential. Patient lifting was targeted as a             5405 Momont Road
high-risk area, and the hospital was advised to                 Missoula, MT 59802
purchase mechanical lifts to assist the staff with

COUNTIES SEEK PERSONNEL                                                           COUNTY
             DAWSON COUNTY
                                                                       PHOTO ID CARDS
             DAWSON COUNTY

    FOR INFORMATION CALL 406-377-3562
                                                                      FRONT                         BACK
           FLATHEAD COUNTY                                    County Identification Cards are being produced
          PLANNING DIRECTOR                                   by the MACo office. Seven counties have re-
                                                              ceived ID cards for county employees who may
Minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s Degree in
                                                              need to present identification for various uses
county and/or city planning with a 5 years of profes-
sional experience, with 3 of those years in a supervi-        such as receiving government rates for lodging.
sory capacity. This is a contract position, salary DOE.
                                                              When a county requests, a digital camera is sent
                                                              for photos of county employees, along with infor-
            FLATHEAD COUNTY                                   mation forms for each person. When the forms
EMERGENCY SERVICES COORDINATOR                                and photos arrive back at MACo, Oline Barta pro-
This position requires knowledge of operating an              duces the ID cards. The cards feature the MACo
emergency communications system, management                   logo, the county logo or a photo of the county
practices and budgetary procedures. A bachelor’s              courthouse, photo of the employee and a water-
degree in public administration, public safety, commu-        mark of the State Seal.
nications or closely related field is desired.

For more information on either position visit:                          MCA
Submit letter of interest, resume, and completed               Guidebook for Contracting
Flathead County employment application, refer-
ences and salary history to:                                           A guidebook on the various methods of con-
      Flathead Job Service Workforce Center                   tracting for construction services has been published
                427 1st Avenue East                           by the Associated General Contractors of America.
                Kalispell, MT 59901                           The thorough research and reviews by professional
                                                              architects, engineers and project owner groups make
Deadline: 5:00 p.m. April 13, 2005                            it a comprehensive and easily-read book.
                                                                       The book explains the various methods of
PLEASE SUPPORT MACo SUPPORTERS                                securing a construction project. The traditional “low-
                                                              bid” method involves hiring a design professional to
                                                              develop construction plans, which are used to secure
                                                              bids from competing contractors. The “design-build”
                                                              method entails contracting with a single firm for the
                                                              design and construction of a project, with the design-
                                                              build contractor chosen on the basis of both qualifica-
                                                              tions and price. Methods for hiring a “construction
                                                              manager” have several variations offered.
                                                                       Each method has pros and cons. The book is
                                                              designed to assist in choosing an appropriate system
                                                              for each situation. The book is available through
                                                              MACo or from the Montana Contractors Association in
                                                              Helena at 442-4162.

                          COUNTY NEWS
      COUNTY OFFICIALS                  CARBON COUNTY has remodeled              GALLATIN COUNTY acted 1) to
ANACONDA-DEER LODGE                     its second-floor courtroom, replac-      approve building a 32-bed halfway
COUNTY appointed former Com-            ing seats, reconfiguring the jury        house for nonviolent offenders and
missioner Russ Bilodeau to the          area and constructing a witness          parolees; 2) to pledge $1 million
Commission seat vacated by the          room on the first floor.                 through the state loan program to
late Paul Beausoleil.                                                            develop a mental health facility
                                        CHOUTEAU COUNTY attorney                 next to the hospital and 3) to ac-
   COMMISSION MEETINGS                  moved to courthouse offices, leav-       cept a $2.7 million offer for county
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY con-                 ing a long-time location in a house      property which was to be used for
ducted a recent commission meet-        across the street from the court-        a new jail, but the bond levy failed.
ing with long-distance video-           house. In addition, the district judge
conferencing. Chair John Ostlund        office was moved in with the clerk of    GLACIER COUNTY has begun
was on-site in the Commission           court. Commissioner Ken Evans            construction of the new nursing
meeting room with the attending         used a backhoe to move the many          home, passed by voters in Novem-
public. Bill Kennedy and Jim Reno       law books, which are now housed in       ber.
participated from Helena through        a new secure storage unit.
the video connection.                                                            GRANITE COUNTY citizens
                                        DANIELS COUNTY response to               turned out in force to protest clo-
                                        Montana Advocacy Program survey          sure of the local hospital which has
             HEALTH                     for disability access is attempting to   been failing financially.
RAVALLI COUNTY public health            balance that with requirements to
nurse closed the motor vehicle and      maintain the original design of the      HILL COUNTY worked on three
tax departments for a Thursday and      courthouse, which is a national his-     projects: 1) a lawsuit against a
Friday because of a recent influ-       toric site. They have considered         contractor for problems on re-
enza outbreak. In addition the          shutting down the courtrooms on          construction of courthouse steps;
health office provided a no-cost im-    the second floor, holding small court    2) a donation to use as match for
munization clinic for courthouse        proceedings in the commissioners         FAA grants; and 3) a lease for new
employees.                              room and holding major trials off-       space in a shopping center for the
                                        premises.                                local museum.
of Health discussed status of a re-     DAWSON COUNTY made room for              LEWIS and CLARK COUNTY par-
cent chemical spill, proposed regu-     office space and document storage        ticipated in a partnership to install
lations on body piercing and tattoos,   by removing jail cells from the old      solar panels on the senior citizens
problems of sick deer in town and       county courthouse jail. During the       building in Augusta.
horse vaccinations for West Nile        remodeling, lead-base paint posed
disease.                                a health threat, so the county hired     PRAIRIE COUNTY Museum be-
                                        an environmental firm to do the          came county property, was ab-
                                        work.                                    sorbed into the county insurance
     COUNTY FACILITIES                                                           policy and the county pays utilities
BEAVERHEAD COUNTY negoti-               FLATHEAD COUNTY considered a             on the building and gallery.
ated a state land transfer to allow     proposal to sell two buildings flank-
the county to take ownership of a       ing the county court house to Mon-       RICHLAND COUNTY rennovated
Montana National Guard armory.          tana Department of Transportation        the courthouse dome, which was a
The armory will become a bus barn       and use the funds to construct a         two-year project, and shifted of-
for the schools.                        new office building. The county          fices to use an opening when the
                                        courthouse currently sits in the cen-    county extension agents moved to
BROADWATER COUNTY received              ter of Highway 93, which is slated       another building.
a $1 million gift endowment from a      for widening and straightening.
charitable trust. The gift will be                                               ROOSEVELT COUNTY has a new
used for the county medical health                                               county multi-purpose building paid
facility.                                                                        for with CDBG funds.

                   IN THE RURAL WEST
            by Kevin Hopkins, Editor, Government West, March/April 2004
        Sometimes we have the impression that                       62% of counties responding to the survey
the use of GIS data is restricted to state houses           agreed that GIS is currently a valuable resource
and the major metropolitan areas. However, In-              for most county governments. 96% agreed that it
terest in GIS is just as high in the rural West, with       would become a valuable resource in the future.
the vast majority of rural counties deeply involved         Of the specific benefits produced, 81% cited im-
in using GIS technologies.                                  provements in the ability to make decisions, 76%
        According to a 12-state study by Utah               listed enhancements in record-locating abilities,
State University’s Western Rural Development                and 69% cited increases in productivity.
Center (WRDC), 85% of surveyed counties with
populations of less than 50,000 were using some                  CHALLENGES FOR RURAL COUNTIES
form of GIS system. Of the remaining counties,                      The WRDC study did identify several con-
54% currently had plans to develop GIS capabili-            cerns. For example, more than four out of five
ties, and almost all were interested in doing so.           counties identified the cost of acquiring computer
                                                            hardware and software, the cost of training em-
              USES AND BENEFITS                             ployees on a GIS system, and the cost of digitiz-
         The WRDC survey revealed that rural                ing county records as significant barriers to the
counties use GIS technologies in a variety of               implementation of GIS capabilities. And almost
ways. For instance:                                         four out of five of the responding counties viewed
    ◘ 60% use GIS to maintain land ownership                their state’s support as “low or non-existent’” for
records, and 57% use it to maintain tax parcel              hiring or staffing GIS work in the counties.
information.                                                        Even in counties where there are active
    ◘ 53% employ GIS for road planning and                  GIS programs, more work remains to be done.
maintenance.                                                The study noted, for instance, that “although a
    ◘ 49% use GIS to track changes in munici-               large percentage of rural western counties identi-
pal and political boundaries, and an equivalent             fied land use planning as a priority, only one-third
percentage use it for comprehensive planning                of the counties maintain data on land use.
activities.                                                         The promise for the use of GIS in the rural
    ◘ 44% rely on GIS for help in developing                West is strong. However, “The challenge for ru-
zoning ordinances.                                          ral counties will be to find sufficient resources to
    ◘ 23% use GIS for natural resource man-                 acquire additional data and to train personnel to
agement, and 18% do so for parks and recreation             make use of GIS capabilities.”

                  MACo JPIA                                  37th GOVERNOR’S CONFERENCE
  Property and Casualty Insurance for Public Entities                  ON AGING
                                                                             MAY 17--MAY 19
        Personnel Services                                          Colonial Red Lion Motel in Helena
                                                            1. Medicare changes and its future
         Jack Holstrom                                      2.
                                                               Social Security
                                                               The White House Conference on Aging
                   Attorney at Law
                                                            4. Care-giving
             1 - 800- 471- 6304                             5. Employment opportunities
                             6. Legislative updates
                                                            7. Adult Protective Services

                                     LOCAL CONTROL
                               Time to step Up or Get Stepped On
                              by Jim Lewis, “County” Volume 16, No. 6
       When it comes up, people nod without                       But devolution has become a selective
much thought about the notion that local govern-         transfer of authority. The federal leaders, who
ments are more responsive than the state or fed-         promise more local decision-making, also pass
eral levels. To many, it is a self-evident truth that    measures that prohibit local or state initiatives,
home-grown decisions are inherently more likely          such as preventing local option taxes, sales taxes
to succeed than something decided hundreds of            on Internet transactions, local regulation of cell
miles away. It just makes sense: local decision-         phone towers or use fees for automated teller
makers are on the scene,                                                      machines. Many interest
                                 The concept of increasing local control
staring the issues straight in                                                groups for these areas have
                                 is running smack-dab into an ever-
the face. It is reassuring                                                    found it easier to be regulated
                                 increasing resistance to taxes, espe-
when citizens see their                                                       at the federal or state level
                                 cially local property taxes
county officials at church or                                                 than dealing with hundreds of
the supermarket, while members of Congress               local governments.
and the Legislature go off for long periods of time             Devolution generally has meant giving the
to the capital cities, where they live among the         counties the responsibility but no funding. Coun-
lobbyists and interest groups.                           ties have to fight very hard to keep any federal
       But there’s no question the real power in a       appropriations in the federal budget. Some fed-
federal-state-local system of government starts at eral grant programs last for three years or so and
the top, where it is presumed that the smartest,         then the counties are left holding the bag.
best-educated and best-paid people are best-                    Studies of the flow of dollars out of Wash-
suited to decide what’s best for all of us. Even         ington (with the amount of money distributed
though the concept of local control is usually           compared with the increased responsibilities) in-
traced back to Thomas Jefferson, who is fre-             dicate that 1979 was the peak of the federal gov-
quently quoted as saying, “the government clos-          ernment’s largesse.
est to the people serves the people best,” the re-                While the Reagan administration pro-
ality is that the struggle over who is really in         posed reducing the size of government, that did
charge was settled at the beginnings of the Re-          not happen. Instead, it shifted responsibilities. In
public: Washington DC writes the big rules, the          terms of the size of the federal government, the
states determine governance within their bounda- number of people really hasn’t changed much
ries and the local governments, well, they get           since the 1950’s. But the increase in mandates
their hands dirty with the day                                              to state and local government in
-to-day chores.                  So we have the “starve the beast”          recent decades has. Local
       Beginning in 1981, the    approach (cutting revenues), devolu- governments were assigned with
tide of service delivery began tion (shifting responsibilities down to developing regional solutions for
to shift. In his first State of  local levels), and TABOR (limiting         services such as transportation,
the Union address, President flexibility for local government).             solid waste disposal and/or pro-
Ronald Reagan promised                                                      viding accessible public services
that “after 50 years of taking power away from           to the disabled.
the hands of the people in their states and local               Now, however, the concept of increasing
communities, we have started returning power             local control is running smack-dab into a con-
and resources to them.” About ten years ago,             trasting development, an ever-increasing resis-
the momentum in that direction picked up more            tance to taxes, especially local property taxes.
steam when then-US House Majority Leader                         Coinciding with the onset of the devolution
Newt Gingrich announced that “devolution”--               movement in the early 1990’s was the revving up
devolving federal jobs to the state and local lev-        of the anti-tax rebellion that began in 1978, when
els--would be the new way to get things done.              California adopted caps on property taxes. The
                                                                                         continued on next page

              (continued from previous page)
tax revolt really took off in 1992 when the State of
                                                                 FLORIDA CONTINUES
Colorado passed the Taxpayers Bill of Rights                      SEARCH FOR NEW
(TABOR).                                                        GOVERNMENT REVENUE
       TABOR provides that in any given year,
state and local government revenue can exceed                     Florida’s Legislature is flush with good
the previous year’s revenue only by an amount            ideas. One proposal involves a 2¢-per-roll tax on
proportional to population growth and inflation,         toilet paper to pay for wastewater treatment and
and spending can never go up by more than 6%.            to help rural areas and small towns upgrade their
Any surplus beyond that must be returned to the          sewer systems. The lawmaker’s pay-as-you-go
taxpayers. At present, similar tax limitations are       bill has been the source of much bathroom hu-
being discussed by state legislatures in Minne-          mor, but the issue is a serious one, especially in
sota, Idaho, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Maryland,             some of the fast-growing counties.
Virginia, Maine, Kansas and Texas.                                The Republican-dominated Florida Legis-
       The original proposal in Colorado was the         lature, however, doesn’t like new taxes, and the
idea of an apartment owner upset with property           idea is likely to quickly end up in the tank.
taxes. Ironically, this man is expected to win a                  Senate President Tom Lee said he didn’t
county commissioner seat, promising to sell off          think it would get too far, but didn’t rule it out.
the county’s rodeo arena and performing arts cen-        “We’ll be getting to the bottom of it real soon,” he
ter, reduce the salaries of county administration        said.
and end financial subsidies to the county fair and                The House is skeptical as well. “We’re
the senior citizens’ center.                             not wild about tax increases,” said House
       In Texas, the proposal is to set an annual        Speaker Allan Bense. “But we’ll certainly let it go
cap on revenues for all local government entities,       through the system.”
allowing for increases limited by inflation and                   If it were to pass, the extra two pennies
population growth, with future increases approved        could generate $50 million a year.
by voters. The plan would place a 3% cap on an-                   Governor Jeb Bush, who would give final
nual appraised value increases for residences.           approval, said that if toilet paper is taxed, people
       So we have the “starve the beast” approach        might use less of it. “That’s not necessarily a
(cutting revenues), devolution (shifting responsi-       good thing,” noted the Governor.
bilities down to local levels), and TABOR (limiting
flexibility for local government).
          Dr. Beverly Cigler, Pennsylvania State Uni-
                                                                 WASHINGTON COUNTY
versity (considered a leading academic authority                LEVIES ACRONYM FINES
on county government throughout the country),
sees the struggle between state-level tax limita-                Feeling the use of acronyms has gotten
tions and local control of service delivery as a fun-    out of control, Kitsap County commissioners have
damental matter. “Different levels of government         begun an attempt to stamp them out by fining
used to have specific roles. Now we have a               offenders a dollar each time they use one during
broader set--which level of government should be         a meeting.
doing what, based on differing capabilities of dif-              Each month the money collected from the
ferent tax sources?”                                     unfortunate use of initials or shortcut words goes
       Into the mix comes the realization by coun-       to charity. In January more than $100 went to aid
ties that state legislatures and state departments       the tsunami victims. In February the fund went to
require constant education about the value of the        a local veteran’s charity.
services delivered. Often times, legislators tend to             In unexpected attention to this war on
be more conservative, tend to distrust government        words, Canadian radio stations have broadcast
and think they’re elected to dismantle or under-         the story, giving the effort international status.
mine government. Local officials should be part-                 So if you are in Washington discussing
ners in the business of addressing problems, in-         CDBG, or even your IOU, you might be digging
stead of just another interest group.                    into your pocket to pay for your gaffes ASAP.

                      NACo INFORMATION
             FEDERAL                                                            NACo
        UNFUNDED MANDATES                                         NEW PUBLICATIONS
    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act passed           SURVEYS:
the US Congress in 1995. Virginia Representa-                    2004 County Services and Operations
tive Tom Davis, Chair of the Committee on Gov-                   Wages and the Cost of Housing
ernment Reform, plans to amend the law to pro-                   Homeland Security Funding
vide more protections for state and local govern-     RESEARCH:
ments.                                                    Ethics for County Officials
    NACo President Angelo Kyle calls for the fed-         Dillon’s Rule (Limiting Government)
eral government to provide information on the             Electronic Messaging--E-mail Privacy
costs of mandates, both when they are first pro-          Employees and the Internet
posed and after they have taken effect. He                Debt Management for Counties
hopes this will focus members of Congress on              Alphabet Soup (Gov’t. Acronyms)
the burden they are imposing on state and local           Run a Meeting (pocket size)
governments.                                              Funding County Services
    NACo recently conducted a rapid response              Media Relations Guide
survey. Sixty counties responded. Those statis-       MODEL PROGRAMS / BEST PRACTICES
tics demonstrated that federal mandated costs             Rural Programs
from six programs averaged $137 per capita.               Financial Management /Tight Budgets
Projected across the entire US population, NACo           Civics and Public Education
suggested that the burden would be approxi-               Community & Economic Development
mately $40 billion.                                   BRIEFS
    Fairfax County, Virginia, reports that it pro-               Indigent Defense
vided 5% of its burden for unfunded mandates                     Sovereign Immunity
from both federal and state levels. Based on this                Writing a Request for Proposal
example, if the same were true for all counties.                 Finding a Federal Grant
the unfunded mandate costs could total as much                   Economic Development Handbook
as $800 billion.                                                 Financing Economic Development
    Some of the federal mandates came from:                      Performance Measurement in County
            Clean Air Act                                                Management
           Clean Water Act                                       State Prisoners and County Jails

           Resource Conservation and
              Recovery Act
           Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
           Help America Vote Act (HAVA)                      The National Association of Counties (NACo), in
                                                          partnership with Nationwide Retirement Solutions
           Endangered Species Act                         (NRS) and state associations of counties, provides
                                                          county employees with a Section 457 Deferred Com-
           Health Insurance Portability and               pensation Program.
              Accountability Act (HIPAA)
                                                              Since its inception in 1980, NACo's 457 Deferred
           Uncompensated Health Care                      Compensation Program has grown to become the
                                                          largest supplemental retirement income program
           Incarceration of Criminal Illegal              available to county employees. NACo’s Program as-
               Aliens                                     sets exceed $6.0 billion.

                                       U. S. CENSUS BUREAU
                            AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY
         The US Bureau of Census is modernizing               often than once every five years. Because it is
the approach to the 10-year census. The tradi-                part of the census, responding to the American
tional decennial census has had two parts: 1) the             Community Survey is required by law.
short form, which counts the population and 2)                         The process includes a pre-notice letter,
the long form, which collects demographic, hous-              followed by the questionnaire, which is to be
ing, social and economic information. Informa-                mailed back to the Census Bureau. Reminders
tion from the long form is used for administration            for non-responses are sent at 3 weeks and six
of federal programs and the distribution of billions          weeks, then followed up with telephone calls and
of federal dollars to states and counties.                    finally a personal visit.
         The American Community Survey is                              The federal law not only requires a re-
replacing the long form in future censuses. The               sponse, but it also guarantees confidentiality for
next ten-year census will return to its original pur-         the responses. Severe penalties are imposed on
pose of counting the population and will use the              Census Bureau employees who reveal individual
short form only.                                              data.
         The American Community Survey is an                           The American Community Survey
on-going process, which uses a current version                questionnaire covers subjects such as age, fam-
of the long form to update information every year.            ily relationships, grandparents responsible for
It will not count the population, but will provide            grandchildren, place of birth, citizenship. lan-
numbers that reflect what the population looks                guages, disabilities, income, travel distances to
like and how it lives.                                        work, housing costs, housing values and size of
         The US Census Bureau selects a random                housing.
sample from housing unit addresses. Any one                            The American Community Survey and
address has one chance in 480 to be selected in               the information it provides can be found at
any month. No address will be selected more          .

          MACo NEWS                             DISTRICT CHAIRS                              AFFILIATE MEMBERS
     Phone (406) 444-4380              1. Richard Dunbar, Phillips County              alternative service concepts (asc), Helena
                                       2. Mark Rehbein, Richland County
        Fax (406) 442-5238                                                             Browning Ferris Industries of Montana
                                       3. Joan Stahl, Rosebud County
 Email:          4. Art Kleinjan, Blaine County                  Employee Benefits Mgmt. Services (EBMS)
  ARTICLES ARE WELCOME                 5. Arnold Gettel, Teton County                  Great West Engineering, Inc., Helena
                                       6. Carl Seilstad, Fergus County
                                       7. Maureen Davey, Stillwater County             Life Care Services, Missoula
      EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE              8. Ed Tinsley, Lewis and Clark County           Montana Association of
President : Bill Kennedy               9. Bernie Lucas, Meagher County                       County Road Supervisors (MACRS)
        Yellowstone County            10. Paddy Trusler, Lake County                   Montana Contractors Association, Helena
                                      11. Bill Carey, Missoula County
1st Vice President : Doug Kaercher                                                     Montana Dakota Utilities
                                      12. David Schulz, Madison County
         Hill County
                                       ASSOCIATE BOARD MEMBERS                         Montana Job Training Partnership, Helena
2nd Vice President: John Prinkki     Leo Gallagher, Lewis & Clark County Attorney      Morrison-Maierle, Inc., Helena
        Carbon County                Peggy Kaatz Stemler, Madison County
                                                Clerk/Recorder                         MSU Extension Service, Bozeman
Fiscal Officer: Bill Nyby            Marilyn Hollister, Rosebud County
        Sheridan County                                                                Norman Grosfield, Attorney, Helena
                                                District Court Clerk
                                     Joseph Christiaens, Pondera County Coroner        Northland Asphalt, Fargo ND
Urban Representative: Jean Curtiss
                                     Gary Olsen, Broadwater County                     NorthWestern Energy, Helena
       Missoula County                          Justice of the Peace
Past President: Carol Brooker        Karla Christensen, Garfield County                Roscoe Steel & Culvert, Billings
                                                Superintendent of Schools
        Sanders County               Gregory Hintz, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office
                                                                                       Stahly Engineering, Helena
                                     Ron Roberts, Daniels County Treasurer             Tractor & Equipment Company, Billings


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