Commission sets dates for ambulance district public hearings
Last updated 7/3/2020 at 11:41am
The Hill County Commission set dates for public meetings regarding the proposed creation of a county-wide ambulance district during its weekly business meeting Thursday.
One meeting will take place in Hingham at 7 p.m. July 14 in the back room of Spencer’s Hi-Way Bar, and another will be in Havre at 6:30 p.m. July 15 at 7 p.m. at the Great Northern Fair grounds Community Center.
The commission also unanimously voted for the creation of a budget for the receipt and dispersal of funds received from the CARES Act.
This budget would allow the Hill County Health Department to receive a grant of $74,000 which can be used for current and future COVID-19 response and preparedness as well as the performance of public health activities that have been disrupted or complicated by the current pandemic.
Hill County Commissioner Mike Wendland said the health department has provided the commission with a budget detailing how the funds will be utilized.
A similar resolution was unanimously passed to create a budget for the receipt and dispersal of state funds received from Department of Health and Human Services Addictive and Mental Disorder Division.
The resolution states that the purpose of the $40,000 grant this budget would allow the health department to receive was to provide funding for community based behavioral health activities to meet the mental health needs exacerbated by the pandemic.
Hill County Public Health Director Kim Larson said this is very specific funding including for obtaining personal protective equipment and the sharing of information on behavioral health resources in the county.
The commissioners discussed setting a public hearing abput the environmental impact of a project to upgrade the Hill County Detention Center’s communication system, which Bear Paw Development Corp. Community Development Director Lisa Moisey said would be required for the county to receive a $271,000 Delivering Local Assistance grant from the Department of Commerce for the project.
Moisey said the hearing could take place at one of the commission’s weekly business meetings, adding that she doesn’t expect a big crowd for it.
The commission also discussed setting another public meeting to help update their Public Community Needs Assessment which is also being worked on by Bear Paw Development.
Moisey said the commission has submitted a Treasure State Endowment Program application for Hill County Rural Special Improvement District 21, a project that included a potential grant application to the Community Development Block Grant program, and she said one of the first steps in this project is to update the county’s Community Needs Assessment requires a public meeting.
Wendland said this meeting could be done in cooperation with the City of Havre.
He also mentioned that fire restriction calls for the region will be starting Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. and will likely continue through September.
“I know things look nice and green around here but … things will burn even if they’re green in this country if you get them started,” he said.
The commission also discussed whether they wanted to keep the GoToMeeting component of their weekly business meetings going forward.
Wendland had proposed the removal of this feature in previous meetings given how little participation from the public there appears to be, but he said, the recent spike in COVID-19 cases has become important context for such a decision.
“I thought, why do it if we just don’t have the participation,” he said.
Wendland asked Larson for her opinion on the subject.
“There have been over 50 new cases today, again. And your meeting is a public meeting and I feel like, as the commissioners you are making it available to people,” Larson said, “Regardless of whether or not it’s being taken advantage of, you are being accommodating and not putting people at risk, and I think you should continue it, but that’s just my opinion.”
Wendland said her sentiments reflected the general feeling of the commission in the wake of the recent spike in cases in the state.
Hill County Commissioner Mark Peterson said participation may grow with the commission being involved in more upcoming projects, and keeping the meeting virtually attendable was the best option.