January 6, 2011
St. Ignatius, MT
Present: Steve Hughes, Ron Trahan, Lloyd Irvine, Leroy Dumontier, Kerry Doney, Walt Schock, Leonard Gray
Staff: Alan Mikkelsen
FIIP: Gordon Wind, Pete Plant, RaLynn Brown
Visitors: Richard Prongua, Ted Hein, Roy Lake, Paul Hunsucker, Dick Erb
The regular monthly meeting of the CME was called to order by Chairman Hughes at 1:00 pm. A roll call was ordered and established all present with the exception of Dan Emerson.
Leroy Dumontier moved for approval of the minutes as presented. Walt Schock seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
The Project report began with a 10 page hydrology report from Pete Plant. Snow pack (snow-water equivalent) ranges from 100%-175% of average. Pete said he will be adding more sites to future reports.
Gordon Wind gave the Project O&M report.
In the Camas Division, two ditchriders are laid off seasonally, as per their request. Aaron Jolma and Randy Andrews were able to clean ditch until last Tuesday. The 312 excavator has been brought back to the Mission Valley to work on brush removal from canals.
Gordon reported there is one crew working on brush and tree removal in the Mission Valley North Division, and a second crew will be added.
In the Mission Valley South Division, the precast shop at the Ninepipe Camp is working on turnouts, check structures and boxes for the Jocko siphon work and Ronan 73A. Gordon reported that he is still concerned about improving efficiency and production in the precast shop. The Project is also working on a heating system for the building. Gordon noted that the use of space heaters is not a legally viable option and he has had to stop the crews from using them several times.
Gordon noted that he and John Morigeau are very pleased with the shop mechanic. Old equipment is being worked over and put in running condition and maintenance on all equipment is much better. Gordon noted that each of the three new excavators have had 1,000 hours put on them from June-November of this year. He said they are averaging 7 hours of machine time per day, which is an excellent utilization of equipment. Approximately 108 miles of canal was cleaned in the June-November period.
The Jocko Division has two crews working, Gordon reported. One crew is working on finishing up the E Canal siphon and the other crew is working on tree and brush removal. Gordon noted that both of the projects done this fall, the Placid Creek screen and the E canal siphon have come in under the grant funding estimates. Gordon noted, however, that the CSKT financial office was collecting 27.9% of the grants for overhead costs. He said this meant that FIIP would actually have to contribute $25,000-$30,000 of the labor and machine time to the E Canal project.
A discussion took place with Lloyd Irvine questioning the level of services provided by the CSKT financial office. Alan Mikkelsen suggested that more frequent meetings with the CSKT Tribal Council may be in order, to promote better communication and cooperation. Steve Hughes noted that a regularly scheduled quarterly meeting with the Council should be coming up in February. Ron Trahan moved that the CME send a letter to Chairman Moran expressing concern about the overhead costs being withheld from grant monies used by FIIP. Lloyd Irvine seconded the motion. After discussion about whether to send a letter or meet with the Chairman in the regular Monday Chairman’s meeting, the motion carried unanimously.
Gordon Wind then discussed a possible furlough for 6-8 employees. He said the cold weather was causing people to bunch up, and in several instances, the same amount of work could be done with less people. He proposed a four week furlough for several people. Leroy Dumontier said the Project needed to make sure it was working people as efficiently and as economically as possible. He suggested that having employees each drive their own truck to a job site was not efficient. Gordon said he would ask for furlough volunteers and then solicit feedback from the O&M foreman about who to furlough. Walt Schock moved to allow Gordon to furlough as many people as he deemed necessary, for as long as he deemed necessary, due to the weather. Kerry Doney seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Gordon Wind then discussed administrative issues. There have been several tax protests filed on the basis of formerly temporarily non-assessable land (TNA) now being billed. The NIIMS reconciliation placed several of these parcels back on the tax rolls. Landowners will have to reapply for TNA status until a Project land re-designation takes place. He said he will work with the irrigation districts to determine a refund possibility. In response to a question from Walt Schock, Gordon said there was 410 acres under 11 landowners asking for inclusion into the Project and 338 acres under 40 landowners asking for exclusion.
Gordon said trees had fallen over the power line to the Flathead River Pumping Plant. Mission Valley Power should have the line up and working within the week.
Gordon reported that Mike Brown, CSKT SOD office said that Stage II work on Black Lake Dam will probably take place this fall. SOD is asking to have Black Lake as empty as possible by July 18. After discussion, Leroy Dumontier moved to ask that SOD plan on August 1, rather than July 18. Kerry Doney seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Gordon Wind noted that SOD said that Crow Dam money should be arriving any day. Gordon said as soon as he was assured it had arrived, crews would begin working on the Crow Dam spillway, removing concrete and filling voids, in preparation for pumping water over the spillway for fisheries flows, and allowing gate work. The CME expressed a desire for Mike Brown to attend the February meeting and brief the CME on current and future SOD work.
Gordon said that the Skyline Road project included a square box culvert, instead of a bridge, across the Pablo Feeder Canal. The culvert is 20’ wide and 9’ tall. It is designed for 500 cfs, with a foot of air space.
Gordon said that Quality Supply has contacted the Project and wants to put in a test gate for canal access and cattle containment. They have requested time on the agenda at the next CME meeting.
Gordon discussed and issue with MVP regarding a radio site. The deed to the land is currently held by the Flathead Irrigation District. MVP would like the land deeded to them, and are negotiating with a private party for a cell site. Gordon suggested that the land should be deeded to the CME/FIIP, with the CME securing the benefits of the proposed lease.
Gordon noted that he had misunderstood a transfer contract provision and would be getting the Project annual work plan to BIA by January 10.
Ron Trahan asked about the Claffey damage claims. Gordon said this was a BIA issue, from 1992. Alan Mikkelsen noted that there was also a claim by Lake Farms on the same canal break.
RaLynn Brown presented the FIIP financial report. With money for February payroll withdrawn, the current balance is $130,385.02. FIIP is expecting reimbursement for the work done this fall on Placid Creek and E Canal. Alan Mikkelsen explained that since tax bills in Lake County were late this year, and not due until December 15, the FJBC technically did not have the money to pay the first half O&M bills as promptly as hoped. Walt Schock said that he had requested that Niki Kent call the Lake County Treasurer to check on actual balances and then have the O&M checks drafted and ready for signature by January 10. Walt asked if the power bill on the Flathead River Pumping Plant was current. RaLynn said it was current, but a final bill was still expected.
Alan Mikkelsen presented the IC report. IC minutes were included in the meeting packet for board members. Considerable discussion then took place, regarding funding of IC initiatives. Proposals were made to involve CSKT staff in brainstorming ideas for funding options. Alan Mikkelsen noted that as well as funding IC initiatives, more attention also needed to be given to better funding the CSKT water measurement program under Seth Makepeace. Leonard Gray suggested meeting privately with the Natural Resource Department head, Clayton Matt, to discuss funding options and ideas about funding sources.
Under CME business, discussion on the personnel policy and drug policy took place. Gordon Wind noted some minor changes to the drug policy. Walt Schock moved to adopt the drug policy as corrected by Gordon. Leroy Dumontier seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Gordon Wind then presented the personnel policy with minor changes. Lloyd Irvine moved to approve the personnel policy with corrections. Kerry Doney seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. After discussion, it was unclear as to the intent of the motion. Walt Schock moved to reconsider the previous motion. Lloyd Irvine seconded the motion. Motion to reconsider carried unanimously. After considerable discussion, Leonard Gray moved to change the title on item II on Employment Procedures and eliminate item VI, Standing Lists. Ron Trahan seconded the motion. Motion failed 3-4. Leroy Dumontier moved for approval of the policy as presented, with corrections from Gordon Wind. Kerry Doney seconded the motion. Motion carried, 5-2.
A public comment session was held. Roy Lake asked about work in the Pablo Feeder Canal cement lining. Gordon Wind said the damaged lining had been removed and new lining would be installed as soon as weather permitted. Ted Hein questioned whether or not medical marijuana should have been included in the Drug Policy. Alan Mikkelsen explained that any marijuana usage under the drug policy was prohibited. Ted Hein also asked that Don Fiest, Sanders County NRCS be invited to address the CME about water concerns in the Camas Division. Gordon Wind indicated that March may be a more appropriate time, due to SOD reports in February. Richard Prongua said he believed public comment should be allowed throughout the CME meeting. Richard also asked about employee bonuses. Alan Mikkelsen said he would get him the requested information, without names.
An executive session was called at 4:30 pm to discuss personnel management issues. Open session resumed at 5:05 pm with no action items.
The policy workshop day was moved from January 11 to February 8, 2011.
The next CME meeting will be February 10, 2011.
Meeting adjourned at 5:10 pm.