Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 1 p.m.
Broadview Community Center, Broadview, Montana

In Attendance: Dale Longfellow, Hobson, CMRWA chairman; Bill Edwards, Joel Marking, Lon Sibley, Roundup; Frank Hutton, Harlowton; Thad Bassett, Melstone; Steve Habener, Lavina; Robert Conover, Margie Conover, Jack Thoreson, Broadview; Pam Higgins, Midwest Assistance Program; Stephanie Hellekson, Bureau of Reclamation, Billings area office; Monty Sealey, Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D; Bob Church, Great West Engineering; Mark Cunnane, Western Groundwater Services; and Pat Murtaugh, Montana Engineering & Administration.

Welcome and Introductions: CMRWA’s chairman Dale Longfellow opened the meeting with a welcome and introductions.

Treasurer’s Report and Bills: In the absence of treasurer Jim Schladweiler, Monty Sealey reported a balance of $8,347.28, the same as last month, as no additional bills were presented. He noted that he needed a second signature for the two bills presented and approved for payment at the last meeting. Steve Habener made a motion, seconded by Joel Marking and unanimously approved to accept the treasurer’s report and pay the bills.

Minutes of the Dec. 13, 2006 Meeting: Joel Marking made a motion, seconded by Thad Bassett and unanimously approved, to accept the minutes of the Dec. 13, 2006, meeting in Melstone.

Status Report-Regional Water Legislation: Stephanie Hellekson of the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Billings area office attended the meeting and was asked to give a status report. She gave the group some background information on herself and her position with BOR as a project manager. She said the Rural Water Supply Act of 2006 passed Dec. 22, 2006 gives the BOR authority to carry out rural water supply programs to the point of authorization in reclamation states including Montana. However, they are under a continuing resolution until at least Feb. 15 for FY 2007, which means at this point, they have no budget for 2007 and therefore, can’t fund any projects. The Department of Defense is the only federal agency not under a continuing resolution. She added that it will likely be 2009 before grant funds would be available. Bob Church with Great West Engineering asked her if there would be any reason why CMWRA shouldn’t make another request for a Federal Appropriation for the Environmental Assessment and the final engineering report. Stephanie encouraged the group to get any additional funding they can outside of the President’s budget. Bob also asked if they should get another request in to BOR. Stephanie expressed doubt that there would be funds available, but said it wouldn’t hurt to submit a request in case funds do become available. Monty asked if there were any 2006 Drought Program funds left, and Stephanie said there is only $50,000 carry-over, which will likely be used on a couple small projects. Monty asked her about the likelihood that the 2007 budget would be passed, and Stephanie said there is a strong indication that it will not. She said that right now in the Great Plains Region alone there are $5.3 million in requests for drought funding (including the $400,000 request made by CMRWA). Typically, there is a couple million per year for the entire Bureau of Reclamation, not just our region. She also noted that there was discussion that the CMRWA request for a production well wasn’t appropriate for the Drought Program. Monty asked that BOR notify CMRWA in writing the status of its application, explaining that other funders want to know if other funding sources are being pursued. Dale Longfellow asked Stephanie to continue to help CMRWA’s efforts and invited her to continue attending the meetings.

Regional Water Legislation Status Report: On Jan. 10, Dale, Frank Hutton, Tom Horan and Monty attended a hearing on HB-11, Treasure State Endowment Appropriations. The bill is looking at appropriating money to the Department of Commerce for financial assistance to local government infrastructure projects (including regional water projects) through TSEP. Monty noted that there was also a hearing earlier today (Jan. 24) on the grant application submitted by CMRWA for a production well to DNRC’s Reclamation and Development Program. There will also be a hearing on Feb. 1 on the appropriation request for CMRWA for inclusion in the DNRC base budget and Monty will attend. Bob said that there will also be a hearing on Jan. 26 to cut the Coal Severance Tax in half, with promoters believing that it will stimulate the coal industry. However, he noted that the impact of cutting that Coal Severance Tax would hurt groups like CMRWA. He explained that the construction of the CMRWA project would be financed 75% federal money, 12.5% state and 12.5% local government. Cutting the Coal Tax Severance Fund would dramatically reduce the state contribution as well as the match for federal money. Bob added that for years there have been bills introduced to change TSEP, but none have been successful. Monty asked the board members to get their communities to write letters about the legislation being introduced that could jeopardize CMRWA funding.

Water Rights-Utica Well #1 Status Report: At the last meeting, the CMRWA board members instructed Bob to ask for an interim water right and to write a letter asking DNRC how to get through the 311 criteria and determine EA requirements. Bob said he got a phone call from Scott Irvin at the DRNC Water Rights office in Lewistown indicating that he was “95% certain” that they wouldn’t require an EA at this point, but if they do, it would be a checklist. He also said the 311 criteria is no longer an issue because of the MOU with FWP and spring inventory agreement. He said they had found out there was a well drilled in 1960 six miles east of Utica that had been plugged. There is conflicting information – their records show it is 2,800 feet, while oil and gas records show it is 2,100 feet. A water right was filed by the landowner, and now belongs to Rod Mikkelsen. Scott asked that CMRWA investigate the well and potential impacts. A one-year well impact model had been conducted by Mark Cunnane, but Scott also asked for a five-year model, which has been done. Bob said they sent information to Scott and are waiting for a response and expect that the provisional permit will be issued. The group decided to wait and see if the provisional would be issued and if it isn’t, will discuss applying for an interim permit at the next meeting.

Appraisal Report – Preliminary Presentation: Bob Church, Mark Cunnane and Pat Murtaugh presented to the group the preliminary appraisal report. Bob said a full written report will follow. He explained that in preparing the report, they followed the Rural Water Supply Act format of providing for one technical and economically feasible alternative with supporting information. The report is conservative, and is the worst case scenario for cost estimates, a fact that was emphasized throughout the meeting. The following is a basic synopsis of the presentation:
• Population: The report included a summary of design population projections of 4,614 municipal/residential in 2007; 5,318 in 2012, with another 798 for stock water connections, totaling 6,116; and 6,490 municipal in 2032, with another 974 stock water connections, totaling 7,467.
• Future Water Demands: Currently the average day demand is 153 gallons per person per day, with maximum day of 535 gallons (based on water usage in Roundup); average day in 2012 for the entire regional system is estimated to be 936,000 gallons per day or 650 gallons per minute and 3,270,000 gallons per day for maximum usage, or 2,270 gpm. In 2032, projections are 1,140,000 gallons per day on average, or 791 gpm; or 3,990,000 gallons per day or 2,770 gpm.
• Proposed Water Route, original and High Waterline: Bob noted that the original proposed route is a very good one, but with a few variations, they could cut booster station and pipe costs and save about $10 million. The first route between Utica/Hobson/Moore was very low and called for a 20-inch pipe. The alternative would be to use an 8-inch pipe from Utica/Hobson, and 6-inch from Hobson/Moore, which changes the dynamics of getting the water up the hill in the Eddie’s Corner area. (Pat had given the group a lesson in hydraulic grade, and its effect on static with different water usage scenarios). A 20-inch pipe would be zigzagged directly from Utica to the Judith Gap station, and by staying along the higher elevation route, will significantly reduce costs. Dale asked about installation of fire hydrants along the route, and the group agreed that was something that should be looked at and would be a good selling point. Pat said it would easily be accomplished.
• Wellfield Model: Mark presented the proposed computer wellfield model. The optimal wells would be those closest to the roadway, for minimum pumping lift and installations. The five wells in the model would have an estimated total capacity of 3,570 gallons per minute – 2,770 gpm without the largest well – which is more than adequate for the project’s highest demand projections. Mark said the Madison Aquifer is probably a 1,000 foot zone, and the test well is barely into the aquifer at 3,700 feet, so the production wells will likely be 4,700 feet deep to get a fully developed zone for the best flow. Mark said each well system in entirety will cost about $2.4 million. A computerized control system will monitor the entire system, including water levels, pressure flow rates, pumping ability, etc. The proposed pipeline is 300 miles.
• Total Costs: Total project costs of the original proposed route if constructed in 2007 would be $99,278,446; but the construction date is estimated to be in 2012, so with inflation, the cost estimate is $115,024,957. If the high water route is used, the total project cost in 2007 would be $90,275,518; and $104,585,777 in 2012. The group agreed the high water route would obviously be the better alternative. Bob reminded the group that these numbers are worst case scenario, with a high contingency. Discussion followed about operating and maintenance costs (about $607,000 annually beginning in 2012). The group also discussed the added power expenses for pumping at the well site because of the great depth of the well, and using wind power at the site.
• Funding Strategies: The report included two funding strategies – a USDA Rural Development loan at 4.125% with a 40-year term and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) at 4% with a 30-year term. The monthly user cost of the RD loan is estimated at $36; while the SRF is $42 (this is the estimated increase to their current water/sewer cost). Monty noted that this cost looks good for communities compared to having to install a $6 million water treatment system in each community, and still have the other expenses of individual water systems.
Project Alternatives to be Examined in PER: Future considerations for the PER were included in the report and include: updating costs from the original route scenario and High Waterline Route; costs could also be reduced by revising the current high waterline scenario by moving the first major tank to a location northwest of Judith Gap, from the proposed site southwest of Judith Gap; providing a higher tank prior to Judith Gap and eliminating the second tank and Judith Booster Station; using a lower route to the eastern towns, and determining if existing power or petroleum pipeline routes and rights-of-way could be used for CMRWA pipelines; dropping the 20-inch main to an 18-inch main if possible from Utica to Judith Gap. It was also noted that looking at developing groundwater supply at other sites could help reduce the need for the 20-inch main and pumping power costs. Examining use of a more western (lower) route to Harlowton, and potential of using an 8-inch main in place of the 10-inch main, and supplement wellfield with existing wells in Harlowton and Roundup during peak usage to reduce pipeline sizing and number of wells needed will also be discussed.

Federal Appropriations Request: There is some confusion about when the federal appropriation request is due, but the group agreed that CMRWA needs to get a request in.

Other: Pam and Carrie will work on an update of the brochure, now that they have more information from the preliminary appraisal report. They will have a draft for the next meeting.

Next Meeting and Adjournment: The next meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 14 in Roundup with a noon no-host luncheon at the Next Generation Grille with a meeting to follow at 1 p.m. With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Minutes prepared and respectfully submitted by:
Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D Assistant Coordinator

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Wednesday, February 14, 2007, 1 p.m.
Next Generation Grille, Roundup, Montana

In Attendance: Dale Longfellow, Hobson, CMRWA chairman; Jim Schladweiler, Bill Edwards, Joel Marking, Roundup; Jack Thoreson, John Wilken, Broadview; Steve Habener, Lavina; Thad Bassett, Melstone; Stephanie Hellekson and Kelly Titensor, Bureau of Reclamation, Billings area office; Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D; and Bob Church, Great West Engineering.

Welcome and Introductions: CMRWA’s chairman Dale Longfellow opened the meeting with a welcome and introductions.

Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Treasurer Jim Schladweiler reported a balance of $6,416.89. Bob Church said Great West Engineering will be presenting a fairly substantial bill for work done the last two months on the appraisal, water rights, federal appropriation requests, etc. The DNRC appropriation should be in place to cover the second phase of work. Dale asked how they bill out expenses and Bob said they bill hourly under the appraisal. Their total budget for the appraisal report was $75,000. Bob explained that there were two phases – the first for $50,000 and Phase 2 was $25,000. Phase 1 work included the analysis and reporting that has been done to date and included $10,000 for the preliminary environmental screening. Bob said that when they signed the contract, the CMRWA board gave the go-ahead to complete Phase 1 work without the environmental work. This results in a $40,000 interim budget until CMRWA is funded again through the Legislature under the DNRC appropriation. Once CMRWA has those funds this summer, the remainder of the work will be completed under the Appraisal Report, including the environmental. The DNRC Water Rights office in Lewistown will be working on the Environmental Assessment (EA) prior to issuing the provisional water right on the Utica Test Well. Bob said the work done by DNRC will help with the discussion of the environmental impacts discussion in the final appraisal report. Once the group had a quorum, Steve made a motion, seconded by Joel and unanimously approved to accept the treasurer’s report.

Minutes of the Jan. 24 meeting: Joel made a motion, seconded by Steve and unanimously approved to accept the minutes of the Jan. 24, 2007 meeting.

Regional Water Legislation Status Report: Bob updated the group on state water legislation. He said that there were no threats to the DNRC appropriation for CMRWA at this point. The request is for $145,000 per year for two years. Bob and Bill went to Helena for the hearing on the base budget for which includes conservation districts, regional water and rangeland. Dale said he received an encouraging email from Rep. Dave Kasten, HD-30, thanking him for the information about CMRWA. Dale sent an email to the legislators to keep them informed about CMRWA and its mission.

Water Rights on Utica Test Well: Bob reported that the Lewistown DNRC office is proceeding with the environmental assessment that will precede the issuing of the provisional water right. The Lewistown office is taking that task on internally and doesn’t have a lot of experience. Since there were funds designated for working on the EA with Great West, Bob said they could help if needed, and that DNRC should have that done by this summer. Steve emphasized that the group needs to keep moving ahead and not just sit and wait for the water right to be completed.

Appraisal Report Update: Great West will continue to work on the written appraisal report and should have it done by this summer. Bob said he received some feedback from BOR on ways to improve it before they finalize it and take it out to the public. They’ll have more feedback by next month’s meeting. Stephanie talked about some of those issues, but said Great West and CMRWA are on the right track. She said the report should address what level of environmental work, EA or environmental impact statement; hydrological issues, economics, etc. Bob will send the preliminary appraisal to Mike Ryan at the regional BOR office. Stephanie also introduced Kelly Titensor of the Billings area office and said she is taking the lead in working with CMRWA and Kelly is her back-up.

Federal Appropriations Request/Bureau of Reclamation Update: Since Monty Sealey is recovering from open-heart surgery, Bob has been working on the federal appropriation requests to Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Denny Rehberg. Dale said he is also trying to find out how to contact Sen. Jon Tester to submit the request. Bob asked for letters of support by early Feb. 21 from towns, chambers, senior citizens and any others the group could think of. He gave the group drafts of the request, which asks for a federal appropriation through Bureau of Reclamation based on the Rural Water Supply Act of 2006 providing funding for feasibilities studies. The request is for funds for the feasibility study, full-blown EA and a water conservation plan – all which must be completed prior to Congressional authorization for construction funding. Also included are test drilling and evaluations for water supply alternatives, which Bob said DOR will want to see included in order to get the “most bang for their buck.” Discussion followed about water supply alternatives. Stephanie discussed the Rural Water Supply Act of 2006. She said the law provides that it will fund feasibility up to 50 percent, but right now, there is no money in the budget since they are under continuing resolution. She was asked if CMRWA should just wait for the BOR to be funded, or proceed with the federal appropriation request. Stephanie agreed that CMRWA should still go ahead and apply for the federal appropriation, and is hopeful that BOR will receive a budget. Steve made a motion, seconded by Joel and unanimously approved for CMRWA to submit federal appropriation requests.

More discussion followed on BOR funding, and Stephanie said she hopes they’ll have funding available by 2008. Bob distributed the proposed route maps for the project and said the appraisal will be based on this alternative. In response to a question from Stephanie about a timeline for the appraisal, Bob said that most of the analysis is complete, but they are waiting for CMRWA to have funding in place to complete the analysis book. Stephanie also discussed the process for getting a BOR budget and eligible criteria and how they prioritize.

Other: Dale distributed copies of a Great Falls Tribune article about Montana’s congressional delegation going to bat for the state’s regional water projects, but said CMRWA wasn’t mentioned. The projects mentioned had already received funding previously. Dale emphasized the importance of getting CMRWA in the loop. Discussion followed about when a lobbyist would be needed for the project, and the consensus was after the engineering is completed. Having a few representatives go to D.C. later this spring is also a consideration.

Joel also suggested getting letters of support for the federal appropriation from Montana’s legislators.

Bob announced that Great West is merging with Montana Engineering & Administration of Billings, and they will stay under the Great West banner.

Next Meeting: The next meeting will be held Wed., March 14 in Roundup with a no-host noon lunch at the Next Generation Grille and meeting to follow at 1 p.m.

Minutes prepared and respectfully submitted by:
Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D Assistant Coordinator

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Wednesday, March 14, 2007, 1 p.m.
Next Generation Grille, Roundup, Montana

In Attendance: Dale Longfellow, Hobson, CMRWA chairman; Lon Sibley, Roundup; Jack Thoreson, Robert & Margie Conover and Ralph Brewington, Broadview; Steve Habener, Lavina; Thad Bassett, Melstone; Frank Hutton, Harlowton; Bob Church, Great West Engineering; Monty Sealey and Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D; Pam Higgins, Midwest Assistance Program; and Rick Duncan, DNRC.

Welcome and Introductions: CMRWA’s chairman Dale Longfellow opened the meeting with a welcome and introductions.

Minutes of the Feb. 14 meeting: Thad made a motion, seconded by Steve and unanimously approved to accept the minutes of the Feb. 14, 2007 meeting.

Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Treasurer Jim Schladweiler stopped in and left the checkbook with Monty, who reported a balance of $6,416.89. A bill for $30,469.88 was presented from Great West Engineering for work done the last two months on the appraisal, water rights, federal appropriation requests, etc. Bob also said that there should have been an invoice of $6,000+ from a few months ago that hadn’t been paid. There was no record that it had been presented, so Bob will follow-up with Great West’s bookkeeper. Monty said CMRWA can do another drawdown from DNRC, which should cover the invoice submitted. Steve made a motion, seconded by Ralph and unanimously approved to accept the treasurer’s report and pay the bill from Great West when the drawdown is received.

Status of Legislative Funding Requests: Monty said legislation affecting CMRWA seems to be moving forward. The appropriation through DNRC for CMRWA was with HB-2, and is now part of HB-805. The DNRC Reclamation and Development grant for $300,000 for help on the production well is in HB-7 and is headed for executive action later this week. Discussion followed about the possibility that this money will be turned back by CMRWA since it is unlikely that Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) will be able to fund the production well at this point. Bob suggested they ask to have the scope of work changed to drilling the test well deeper into the Madison Aquifer, possibly converting it into a production well. It would also benefit the entire project in that it would provide more information about the Madison for future wells. However, Monty said the word he got from DNRC on a conference call is that they will not change the scope of work on the grant request. He also said that to mobilize the drillers costs $50,000, so it would make more sense to wait until CMRWA has the funds to drill the second well, and at the same time drill the test well deeper and only pay one mobilization fee. They will speak to DNRC in Helena about the possibility, but Monty said DNRC is aware that CMRWA won’t know definitely if they’ll have to turn the grant funds back until this summer or fall. Steve also asked about the DNRC legislation that was introduced changing groundwater drilling, and Monty said those bills have been tabled or are dead.

Report of March 14 meeting with BOR: Dale and Bob met with Bureau of Reclamation staff in Billings prior to the meeting. Bob explained that they met with three BOR staff, including Dan Jewell, the Montana area office manager. Dan also spoke at the Montana Rural Water Conference and relayed what Stephanie Helleckson had said at the last few meetings – the BOR budget is extremely tight and they are not optimistic that CMRWA will receive any funds in the foreseeable future. Bob said they were told that the best chance of getting any funds is through a direct Federal Appropriation request. The Rural Water Supply Act authorizes funds, but that doesn’t mean funds will be appropriated. At best, it would still be three years before funds will be in place. Bob said the conclusion is that BOR funds through the Rural Water Supply Act would be Plan C or D for CMRWA. Bob said he has also met with Baucus and Rehberg staff to talk with them on the project.

Status of Federal Funding Request: A Federal Appropriation request of nearly $1 million for the feasibility study, environmental assessment and water conservation study were submitted to Baucus, Rehberg and Tester in the last month. Dale said they were able to get Tester’s in right before the deadline, since he didn’t have his contact information available until recently on-line. Dale said Tester is very supportive, but since he’s new to the Legislature doesn’t have the political clout that would be helpful to the project. Discussion followed about the earmark projects that have been taken out of the President’s proposed budget, but the group agreed that even if these projects aren’t funded this year, many will be put back in eventually.

Water Rights Progress, Well #1: Bob received a phone call from Sterling Sundheim with DNRC Water Rights in Lewistown and he reported that he’s making good progress on the EA, which should be the last action item before DNRC issues a provisional water right on the Utica Test Well. That should be finished within a month or two.

Appraisal Report Conclusions: Bob said Great West will put the written appraisal report on hold until the DNRC appropriation is in place in July, which means they should have it wrapped up by August. Monty said his recent surgery delayed his being able to respond to the appraisal presentation given in Broadview at the Jan. 24 meeting. He expressed concern that the estimated cost of the completed CMRWA project is way too high because the entire system specifications are based on peak demands. He was especially concerned that the per capita usage estimates are far too high. Monty said a Federal Reserve article criticized regional water projects for that very same thing. Although he is aware that Great West wants to be conservative and do a “worst case scenario” for project costs, Monty stressed that the final appraisal needs to definitively explain why those numbers are so high and also offer alternatives to keep these costs lower. Bob said what drives the peak day is the irrigation in the summer, but that the project has to be designed for those peak days because the community can’t store that much water to handle it otherwise. (A DEQ requirement). He said the peak day usages dictate how big the pipes, etc. need to be. Monty also expressed concern about the number of well fields in the preliminary presentation. Discussion followed about water conservation by the city parks, etc., and not using the CMRWA for irrigation in towns. The group talked about possibly using a dual water distribution system for municipal irrigation, noting that it would be cheaper than building the whole project for peak demands that skyrocket the project price. Bob said that these types of alternatives are why the feasibility study is needed. Monty agreed, but expressed his concern that the preliminary reports on the appraisal don’t explain that this is one alternative and that the costs could be inflated. He stressed to the group that this sort of information without a context and explanation could be very damaging to the public’s perception of the project. The group agreed not to draw any conclusions until the full appraisal report is completed later this summer. Rick, Monty and Bob also talked about other regional water projects and their per capita costs, and Bob said he doesn’t feel that the project costs and per capita estimates are outrageous based on numbers for other regional water projects. The group also discussed the 40-50 increase in construction costs in the last four or five years.

Newsletter: Monty suggested a CMRWA newsletter be sent out once Legislation relating to the project is finalizes in order to update the public and announce that the appraisal report will be finished later this summer. Carrie will work on that abd talk to Joel Marking about getting a testimonial about how much his household spends on bottled water and water softeners in Roundup.

CDBG: Dale said he had visited with SMDC Executive Director Kathie Bailey about possibly applying for CDBG funds for the production well. Monty suggested that the 50 percent match would be an issue since federal funds can’t be matched against federal; as well as the low to moderate income requirement, which would have to be regional. He said that CDBG should be used by the communities to do upgrades for their own systems. However, the group thought that applying for a CDBG planning grant (up to $15,000) could be a good fit.

Other: Rick said DNRC will be doing a quarterly newsletter and a web page about regional water and said he will be highlighting the project and communities from time to time. He said the web page will be a clearinghouse of information and a good resource. Rick also suggested that CMRWA buy a good conference phone and make sure it is available at the meeting for those who can’t attend in person.

Next Meeting: The next meeting of CMRWA will be in Broadview on Wednesday, April 11 with a noon no-host luncheon and meeting to follow at 1 p.m.

Minutes prepared and respectfully submitted by:
Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D Assistant Coordinator

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Wednesday, April 11, 2007, 1 p.m.
Community Center, Broadview, Montana

In Attendance: Frank Hutton, Harlowton; Joel Marking, Roundup; Steve Habener, Lavina; Robert Conover, John Wilken, Jack Thoreson, Ralph Brewington, John Hougardy, Ellen Doely, Broadview; Bob Church, Great West Engineering; Monty Sealey and Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D.

Welcome and Introductions: Monty Sealey welcomed everyone to the meeting in the absence of CMRWA’s chairman Dale Longfellow. There was not a quorum present, so no official business could be conducted

Treasurer’s Report and Bills: In the absence of Treasurer Jim Schladweiler, Monty reported one new bill received from Great West Engineering for $2,804.01. The total amount owed to Great West is now $39,777.85 and Monty said a draw-down has been sent to DNRC. The DNRC Appropriation should be approved by the Montana Legislature, so funds should be available by July for CMRWA.

Legislative Report: Monty said that at this point, things still look good for CMRWA to be included in the budget for CMRWA. Monty said CMRWA requested an increase of $90,000 and are in the budget for an increase of $70,000. Total amount for two years was $210,000 last time and the request is for $280,000 for the next two years. The DNRC bill for their grant funding also is looking favorable and includes the $300,000 for a production well. Discussion followed again about requesting a change for the scope of work so CMRWA could still use those grant funds. Monty said he will make the request, but doesn’t think the scope of work can be changed and the grant funds will likely go back to DNRC. Monty will talk with DNRC and make the request.

Water Rights: Bob said he visited with Scott Irvin at DNRC Water Rights office in Lewistown and the public comment period for the Environmental Assessment on the project ends April 30. There has not been any comment yet. DNRC will then decide on whether or not to grant the water right request for the Utica test well.

DRNC Response on Court Ruling: Monty presented a letter from DNRC in Helena that he had just received from Dale Longfellow that morning asking for CMRWA’s opinion on a ruling that DNRC can’t repeal its definition of “municipal water use.” Discussion followed on the threat to groundwater usage in Montana by these types of rulings and legislation and if this could be a threat to receiving the water right. Monty said he just received the materials from Dale and didn’t have time to read through the ruling, but the group decided that Attorney Jim Hubble should immediately draft a response. A response is due by April 20, so time is of the essence. The letter from DNRC asks that CMRWA (and others who could be affected) address whether the ruling on the definition of municipal water use be retroactively applied; and if the group believes that it applies to our water right application. Discussion followed about the term “municipal” and how it applies to our application. The intent is for municipal use, not irrigation, but municipal doesn’t describe allowing users along the route to connect to the line for domestic livestock or water for their homes, subdivisions or unincorporated towns. The ruling was for a closed basin (Gallatin) and this project is not in a closed basin, but the group still fears what appears to be a move towards more restrictions without differentiating between shallow and deep wells when making a correlation between surface water and groundwater. Bob and Monty will collaborate with Hubble on a response.

Federal Appropriations Requests: Requests were submitted to Baucus, Tester and Rehberg. Bob said Tester’s D.C. staffer requested more information, which he provided. The group talked about what else they could do to ask Montana’s Congressional delegation to support the project. Bob said Great West will donate his time if CMRWA will pay his expenses to go to Washington, D.C., to speak on the project’s behalf. CMRWA had decided to send several of its members to Washington, D.C., at a meeting last year, and those present believe this should be done this spring. Monty will ask DNRC about getting some sort of advance to pay to send a delegation to D.C. very soon. Monty also said that individual members of CMRWA need to mobilize and send support letters to Montana’s Congressional delegation as soon as possible. He said the letters should not be form letters and asked those present to help get the word out that those letters need to be written.

Next Meeting: The next meeting will be Wednesday, May 9 with a no-host luncheon at noon followed by a 1 p.m. meeting.

These unofficial minutes were prepared and respectfully submitted by
Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D Assistant Coordinator

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Wednesday, May 9, 2007, 1 p.m.
Community Center, Melstone, Montana

In Attendance: Dale Longfellow, Hobson, CMRWA chairman; Jim Schladweiler, Bill Edwards, Roundup; Frank Hutton, Harlowton; Jack Thoreson, Broadview; Coleen Robinson, Melstone; Rachel Stagg of Sen. Jon Tester’s office in Billings; Monty Sealey and Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D.

Welcome and Introductions: CMWRA Dale Longfellow welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.

Approval of April 11, 2007 meeting: It was noted that there was no quorum at the April 11 meeting in Broadview, but the group still accepted the unofficial minutes following a motion by Frank Hutton, seconded by Jim Schladweiler.

Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Treasurer Jim Schladweiler reported that CMRWA owes $39,777.85 to Great West Engineering; $420 to Hubble for his work in preparing a response to DNRC regarding a court ruling that doesn’t affect CMRWA; and $45.37 to Hobson Insurance for miscellaneous office expenses. Monty said there is $44,500 left in existing DNRC funds. A drawdown request is in and the funds should arrive anytime and is enough to cover the bills. Bill Edwards made a motion, seconded by Coleen Robinson and unanimously approved to pay the bills. The next budget cycle for DNRC funds begins July 1. Jim also said that it was time to bill the CMRWA entities for $1 per capita. Jim said in 2006 Harlowton, Broadview, Roundup and Hobson paid, but Melstone did not. Bill made a motion, seconded by Jim and unanimously approved to bill the municipalities for $1 per capita.

Legal Response to DNRC Letter: At the last meeting Monty presented a letter to CMRWA from DNRC asked for an opinion on a court ruling on the definition of municipal water use. The letter asked those with water right applications in to DNRC to write an opinion whether this court ruling applied to them. Monty said Jim Hubble was contacted to write a response for CMRWA and the stance was that because the ruling applied to a closed river basin, it did not affect CMRWA’s water right application. Monty said he also received word from DNRC a couple days after receiving the letter that the ruling did not have any affect on CMRWA’s water right application.

Legislative Funding Requests Status: The DNRC Reclamation and Development grant for $300,000 towards the production well has been approved and signed by the Governor, according to Monty. However, as Monty has previously explained and reiterated at the meeting, this was a match for Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) funds. Since there will be no BOR funds awarded this year, the DNRC grant funds will likely be turned back. Monty emphasized that this is not a set-back to the project, as the production wells can be drilled at a later date. There is still much work to be done including the final Environmental Review looking at water demand, water conservation plan, environmental plan, operating plan, rate structure, etc. Congressional appropriation requests were also submitted for $1 million to Senators Baucus and Tester and Rep. Rehberg. The status of these is unknown. Rachel Stagg with Sen. Tester’s Billings office said she would follow up to see about the status of the request. Rachel did recommend sending a CMRWA delegation to Washington, D.C., as soon as possible to meet with Congressional staff.

Water Right Status: Monty said the environmental assessment (EA) was due to be completed by the end of April by DNRC water rights office in Lewistown, but they haven’t heard if that has been accomplished. Dan French of Hobson has also reportedly drilled a well.

Rural Water Supply Act of 2006: Monty said the passage of the Rural Water Supply Act of 2006 in December should mean that $15 million per year is available; however he said he hasn’t seen rules available to the public yet. He asked Rachel is she could find out more information about when CMRWA could apply to Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and how soon funds would be available. BOR officials have previously said funds would likely not be available for two years, which is too long. The group also discussed when to send a delegation to Washington, D.C., and Rachel said she would find out staffer schedules and get back to the group.

Website/Newsletter: Monty suggested that CMRWA publish a website to keep the public informed and that a newsletter be sent out this summer. Carrie will contact West Wind Designs about developing a website.

Public Meetings: The group discussed having CMRWA officials visit the city councils in the near future to report on the progress of CMRWA. As a point of interest, Frank said that he helped judge a Science Fair in Harlowton and was interested to see a fifth grader’s project showing that Harlowton’s city water rusted a steel washer before water from four other sources (including well water and water from the Musselshell River.)

Next Meeting and Adjournment: The next meeting will be Wednesday, June 13 in Harlowton with a no-host noon luncheon at Cornerstone Restaurant and a meeting to follow at 1 p.m. at the library.

Minutes prepared and respectfully submitted by
Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D Assistant Coordinator

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Wednesday, July 11, 2007, 1 p.m.
Carroll Trail Inn, Judith Gap, Montana

In Attendance: Dale Longfellow, Hobson, CMRWA chairman; Jim Schladweiler, Joel Marking, Lon Sibley, Roundup; Frank Hutton, Tom Horan, Harlowton; Jack Thoreson, Broadview; Steve Habener, Lavina; Bob Church, Great West Engineering, Helena; Monty Sealey and Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D; Rick Duncan, DNRC, Helena; Stephanie Hellekson, Bureau of Reclamation, Billings; and Jim Dullenty, Lewistown News-Argus.

Welcome and Introductions: CMWRA Dale Longfellow welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.

Approval of June 13, 2007 meeting: Monty said he has not written the minutes yet, so approval was postponed.

Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Treasurer Jim Schladweiler reported that no bills were submitted to CMRWA and there is a checking account balance of $10,938.67.

Water Rights Status: CMRWA has received the water right on the Utica Test Well!

Funding Requests for New Well: The DNRC Reclamation and Development grant for $300,000 towards the production well was approved, but may have to be turned back since CMRWA has no other source of funding for the drilling. Bob Church said that they don’t have any word on the status of the Federal Appropriation request. Stephanie Hellekson said the Senate mark-ups (earmarks) are out, but CMRWA wasn’t included. The Rocky Boy and Dry Prairie projects were in the Senate markups for $6 million and $10 million respectively, but both of these already have authorization. CMRWA could still be in the House mark-ups. Once the House mark-ups are out, the two will negotiate on the final write-ins on the President’s budget. The group discussed the importance of contacting Montana’s Congressional delegation as soon as possible asking their support. Monty distributed several sample support letters Carrie had written and urged board members to get their communities to write letters and mail and fax them in. Monty said he was able to meet with Sen. Jon Tester on the 4th of July in Roundup and Monty said he was receptive about the water project. Tester urged CMRWA to keep getting them information and keep the issue in front of them. Monty said they also spoke about the importance of this project in setting precedence for groundwater. The Madison Aquifer is huge – reaching into the Dakotas and Nebraska, and the movement is to tie groundwater to surface water. The fear is that if Montana doesn’t get a stake in the Madison Aquifer groundwater now, it will be harder to do as time goes on. He compared this issue to what’s happened with Montana losing Missouri River water to southern states, and said Tester agreed.

Stephanie explained the Rural Water Supply Act and said they anticipate completion in spring 2008 and would begin accepting requests. However, the soonest requests would be funded is 2010. The group CMRWA had requested funds from the drought relief program for the production well in 2006, but that was denied. Stephanie gave the group a run-down of the BOR discussion on this project and said BOR decided it was unable to fund the production well through the drought program and because it’s a regional project, it should be requested through the Rural Water Supply Act (but there is no funding until 2010). The dynamics of this were discussed, and the conclusion was that CMRWA doesn’t want to wait that long for funding and will be pursuing other avenues.

Updated Drilling Cost Estimates: Monty said the cost of drilling the production well has gone up considerably. They were figuring $900,000 including the pump test, etc., but the latest quote from FX Drilling is $1.2 million. The increase is largely due to the skyrocketing costs of the casing.

The group agreed that CMRWA will go back to its original plan and wait on the production well, noting that it isn’t really a set-back. Monty has talked with Dan French of Hobson about the well he started about three miles from the Utica site. He will report more at the next meeting.

Appraisal Report Status: Bob said Great West should have the appraisal report by September. The preliminary presentation used high water usage, but the final will also consider less water usage scenarios. Bob said the report will discuss at least 15 alternatives that will reduce project costs. He said the report will discuss the technical and financial feasibility of the project. Tetra Tech has sub-contracted to do the environmental screening.

Other Business: Rick said CMRWA needs to have an audit done before they can disburse any of the $298,000 from the DNRC budget for the next biennium. Monty will contact Loren Randall, CPA, from Missoula who will also be doing the Central Montana RC&D and SMDC audits this summer. Joel made a motion, seconded by Tom and unanimously approved to have Loren conduct the audit.

Next Meeting: The next meeting will be held Wednesday, August 8 in Hobson. With no other business, the meeting was adjourned.

Minutes prepared and respectfully submitted by
Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D Assistant Coordinator

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Wednesday, August 8, 2007, 1 p.m.
Judith River Senior Center, Hobson, Montana

In Attendance: Dale Longfellow, CMRWA chairman, Ron Peavey, Darlene White, Hobson; Cody McDonald, Judith Basin County Commissioner; Jim Schladweiler, Lon Sibley, Roundup; Tom Horan, Harlowton; Jack Thoreson, Ralph Brewington, Broadview; Steve Habener, Lavina; Bob Church, Great West Engineering, Helena; Monty Sealey and Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D; Rep. Ed Butcher, HD-29; and Jim Dullenty, Lewistown News-Argus.

Welcome and Introductions: CMWRA Dale Longfellow welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.

Approval of July 11, 2007 meeting: Jim noted that the July 11, 2007, minutes need to say “Judith Gap” for location, and made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Steve and unanimously approved.

Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Treasurer Jim Schladweiler reported a $5 service charge to the bank and bills from Great West Engineering for $5,527.74 and $25 from Judith River Senior Center for use of the building. Tom made a motion, seconded by Ron and unanimously approved to pay the bills and accept the treasurer’s report.

CMRWA has a signed contract with DNRC for $298,000 over the next biennium, however, until the audit is completed no draw down can be made. Monty said Loren Randall, CPA, will conduct Central Montana RC&D’s audit by the end of September and will do CMRWA at the same time. Monty will also see if the audit can be part of RC&D’s, and at least at a reduced cost. Tom asked that the auditor also do tax preparation and Ed Butcher suggested that the auditor be paid at an hourly rate, no flat fee since it will be a simple audit.

2008 Grant Request: CMRWA reportedly did not receive any federal Appropriation. Northcentral and Dry Prairie’s projects were both funded in the mark-ups, but they are both already authorized. Monty told the group that they need to be ready to reapply in February 2008, but also to keep the project in front of the legislators and staffers. He reminded the group to email and write letters of support. Ed noted that the most effective letters are hand-written from individuals, not form letters. Monty distributed information about the budget process. In the meantime, he also noted that CMRWA needs to seek out grant funding for the rest of the studies including preliminary engineering, water conservation report, an extensive Environmental Assessment, etc. All of these must take place before the project is authorized by Congress.

Political Strategies: The group discussed hiring a “support services” staffer (lobbyist). Both Northcentral and Dry Prairie have full-time lobbyists and had lobbyist before they were authorized. The scope of work with DNRC includes support services. Ed said the important work item by a lobbyist is coordination – lining up meetings with the right people to hear about the project. Discussion also followed on the possible confusion in D.C. between Northcentral and Central’s projects and the need to differentiate by using Musselshell or another landmark in the title of the Appropriation request. There will be a conference call in September with DNRC’s Rick Duncan and Ray Beck and CMRWA officials. The group also discussed having communities write a letter of intent to participate financially in the costs of the CMRWA project. The group emphasized the importance of keeping the momentum going between now and February when they reapply and to keep reminding legislators and staffers about the project.

Appraisal Report Status: Great West Engineering is hoping to complete the appraisal report by September, but Bob said it will likely be October. When it’s ready, Bob said they will do another slideshow presentation.

Other: Monty has visited with FX Drilling, who drilled Dan French’s well. Monty has also been trying to reach Dan. The well is reportedly very deep and has 12-1/2” casing to 2,000 feet and 7” casing below that. Monty had reported the cost of a production well had shot up, but FX told him that this well was so expensive because of the large casing. FX will refigure the cost of the well with smaller casing. Monty will talk with Dan about his intentions of finishing the well and future usage.

Next Meeting: The next meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the Broadview Community Center with a no-host lunch at noon and 1 p.m. meeting. With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Minutes prepared and respectfully submitted by
Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D Assistant Coordinator

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 1 p.m.
Harlowton Library
Harlowton, Montana

In Attendance: Dale Longfellow, CMRWA chairman, Frank Hutton, Harry Klock, Harlowton; Jack Thoreson, Robert & Margaret Conover, Broadview; Steve Habener, Lavina; Bob Church, Great West Engineering, Helena; Monty Sealey and Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D; Jim Hubble, attorney; Rick Duncan, DNRC, Helena; Mike Volesky, Montana Governor’s Office; Cheryl MacArthur of Sen. Jon Tester’s Great Falls office; and Steve Wade and Aimee Grmoljez of Browning, Kalezyc, Berry and Hoven Law Firm in Helena.

Welcome and Introductions: CMWRA Dale Longfellow welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.

Approval of Aug. 8, 2007 meeting: There wasn’t a quorum at the Sept. 12 meeting in Broadview. Minutes of the Aug. 8 meeting in Hobson were approved following a motion by Frank Hutton, seconded by Steve Habener and unanimously approved.

Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Treasurer Jim Schladweiler was unable to attend the meeting, so Monty presented his report. There is $7,380.93 in checking. Bills include $16,000 invoice from Great West Engineering and $20.78 and $35 from Hobson Insurance for office supplies, etc. for CMRWA business. Monty said the audit will be conducted in November, and as previously reported to CMRWA, there needs to be an audit before the DNRC money can be drawn. Rick Duncan said that as long as DNRC has a letter that the audit will be conducted, money could probably be drawn down before the audit is completed. Bob Church said waiting isn’t a problem. Steve made a motion, seconded by Frank and unanimously approved to accept the treasurer’s report.

Historical Review of the Project: For the benefit of the guests, Monty and Bob gave a brief history of the CMRWA project to date. The idea was hatched following a discussion with a former Lewistown city manager about the possibility of Lewistown selling water to Roundup. An informal group decided to pursue a regional water project and the water authority was formed several years later. They stressed the tremendous need for clean, good, plentiful water and said this regional water project can provide that.

Steps Yet to Be Completed: Monty and Bob said the steps that need to be completed are to keep working on a Federal Appropriation for funding feasibility, environmental assessment and water conservation plan; then get a Federal Authorization and construction. Construction is still years down the road.

Funding Requests: CMRWA will submit a third request for a Federal Appropriation in early 2008. Dale circulated a letter he received from Peggy Jones of Roundup. She and a couple other Roundup residents have started a petition supporting CMRWA’s project. They plan to send their letter and petition to Montana’s Congressional delegation to emphasize the great need for a good water source in the region. The letter talks about the money Washington has spent wastefully on pork barrel projects for special interests, and makes a plea that they fund this legitimate project for water.

Cheryl MacArthur works in Sen. Jon Tester’s Great Falls office and she talked about the limited funds and number of regional water projects. Discussion followed that there are about 10 projects in the Dakotas and four in Montana. She assured the group that they recognize the need for the project. She recommended the CMRWA keep the project in front of Sen. Tester and the other legislators, and told the group to “stay the course.” She thinks sending a delegation to Washington, D.C. to promote the project would be advantageous and said the contact in Tester’s D.C. office is Matt Jennings.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s Natural Resources Policy Advisor Mike Volesky said that funding of CMRWA and other regional water projects will be a priority at the next legislative session and that they will likely be “packaged” into one request. Rick Duncan talked about how cost indexing dramatically inflates project costs over the years it takes to get the project completed. In order to combat this, they are going to ask that funds be set aside now from the Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP) for regional water projects. There will be a telephone conference call next week to discuss this request. Rep. Harry Klock (HD-83) from Harlowton said he thinks there will be a surplus of funds again because of the increase in oil and gas, etc.

Discussion also followed on Bureau of Reclamation funding. The internal rules should be done by next summer, but it would still be 2010 before funding could be received as part of the Rural Water Supply Act and the group doesn’t want to wait that long.

Legislative Assistance: The group discussed the merits of having representation in D.C. A few years ago, the Governor tried to get one lobbyist from Montana for all Montana projects, but the request was denied by the Montana Legislature. Montana is one of just a few states without representation. Steve Wade and Aimee Grmoljez of Browning, Kalezyc, Berry and Hoven Law Firm in Helena told the group about their experience in lobbying. The group discussed advertising for a lobbyist soon.

Meeting Time Change: Joel Marking had sent out an email asking that CMRWA consider an evening meeting so more people could attend. The group decided to hold next month’s meeting at 5:30 p.m. The group also discussed conducting some of the meetings via Interactive Television. Monty and Steve will check into this.

Public Meeting in Roundup: Monty said he’d like to hold a public meeting in Roundup in order to give a historical review of the project, where it’s at today and steps left to be taken.

Project Name Change: As discussed previously, Central Montana and North Central’s water projects are easily confused because of the similarity of the names. The group discussed changing the name of the project (but not the official name of the authority). Project names discussed were Musselshell/Judith Regional Water Project and Mid-Montana Regional Water Project. The group was asked to bring ideas to the next meeting.

Appraisal Report Draft: Bob Church distributed copies of the draft Appraisal Report. Board members were asked to read it and be ready to comment at the next meeting.

Next Meeting: The next meeting of CMRWA will be held Wed., Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m. in Roundup at a location to be announced.

Minutes prepared and respectfully submitted by
Carrie Mantooth, Central Montana RC&D Assistant Coordinator

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
November 14, 2007
Ambulance Building Conference Rm., Roundup

In Attendance: Thad Bassett, Melstone; Steve Habener, Lavina; Frank Hutton, Harlowton; Tom Horan, Harlowton; Jack Thoreson, Broadview; Joel Marking, Roundup; Jim Schladwelier, Roundup; Monty Sealey, Gabriele Ramsbrock, Bill Edwards, Lon Sibley, Tootsie Bartow, Peggy Jones, Ron Solberg, Rich Durgin, Arrah Carr, Tom Liggett, Bob Church, Great West Engineering.

Welcome and Introductions: the meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm by Monty Sealey (at the request of Chairman Longfellow). Present Water Authority board members were introduced, then each person in the room was asked to identify themselves.
Tom Horan and Frank Hutton arrived at the meeting as introductions were being completed. Vice Chairman Horan took over the gavel for the meeting. A quick review of the current funding request needs and the status of the Appraisal Report were given by Sealey and Bob Church.

Public Presentation: The Appraisal Report was used as the basis for the public presentation about history, progress and status of the Regional Water Project. A hand-out was distributed to all in attendance. On the hand-out and the draft Appraisal Report, it was noted that a suggested name change was made to the Project and an explanation of why such a change was being considered. The Board voted to adopt the project name of Musselshell-Judith Regional Water System. The name of the Water Authority has not been changed.

Bob Church, Engineer proceeded to give a presentation to the meeting about the regional water project and the conclusions of the Appraisal Report. Church also expanded on the explanation to the next funding requests that need to occur. Several questions came from the audience and were answered by Church, Sealey and Board members. It was noted that Ms Peggy Jones and others in the Roundup community were circulating a petition for support of the project to be forwarded to our Congressional Delegation.

Meeting Times: Board discussion included changes of meeting times to help members better be able to attend and also for public convenience. It was decided that for the foreseeable future, every other meeting will be conducted at 6:30 pm on our regular meeting day, and otherwise will continue at the regular mid day time.

Audit: Monty Sealey informed the Board that the Audit was currently being conducted by Loren Randall, CPA from Missoula. The audit is required by DNRC because of the public funding they have provide to the Water Authority for our project activities. The audit should be completed by the next regular meeting. The estimated cost of the audit and tax documents will probably exceed the original estimate, since it will cover the time since the beginning of the Water Authority (2+ years). It was noted that the auditor was impressed by the way Treasurer Schladweiler had the financial documentation organized.

Approval of Minutes and Treaurer’s Report: Minutes from the October 10, 2007 meeting in Harlowton were approved by the Board. It was reported by Treasurer Schladweiler that the Authority bank balance was $7,380.92. Sealey stated that since the audit was in progress, DNRC would probably let us draw down enough money under the new agreement to pay our bills. Bills approved to be paid, subject to availability of funds include Hubble Law Firm, $350.00; Great West Engineering, $6,274.20.

December Meeting: the December meeting will tentatively be in Broadview on Wednesday, December 12; lunch at 12:00 noon and meeting to follow. The meeting will be at the Community Center.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:15 pm.

Prepared and submitted by Monty L. Sealey

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Musselshell-Judith Rural Water System
Homesteader Inn-Broadview
December 12, 2007
Minutes

In Attendance: Dale Longfellow, Chairman; Tom Horan, Vice-Chairman; Jim Schladweiler, Secretary/Treasurer; Frank Hutton, Member; Steve Habener, Member; Jack Thoreson; Ralph Brewington, Member; Robert Church, Engineer; Stephanie Hellikson, Bureau of Reclamation; Monty Sealey, Project Administrator; Loren Randall, Auditor.

Welcome and Introductions: Chairman Longfellow called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm. Attendees were asked to introduce themselves. A quick review of the Agenda was discussed. Minutes from the November meeting in Roundup were approved and a brief overview of that meeting was discussed.

Treasurer’s Report: Jim Schladweiler reported the checking account balance of $7,030.93. New bills of $20.78 for copies to Hobson Insurance, $3,600 for Audit Services, and $25,159.29 for Engineering Services were approved. Sealey provided a photo copy of the first draw down amount from the Authority’s agreement with DNRC for 2007-08 in the amount of $37,250.00. Treasurer Schladweiler said would pick it up from the Roundup office on Thursday for deposit. After accounting for deposits and paid bills the reported balance for the checking account was $15,500.86.

Auditor’s Report: Loren Randal, CPA, from Missoula handed out copies of the draft audit report to attendees. He proceeded to go through a section by section review of the report and answered questions from the Board members. Randall also took the singed copy of our engagement letter and the Dept. of Administration reporting form to complete for the Authority. Mr. Randall suggested that the Board get to thinking about putting together a Policies and Procedures manual, including federal assurances documentation. This will be required before federal construction dollars can be utilized.

Appraisal Report: Bob Church from Great West Engineering suggested that the draft Appraisal Report continue as a draft report until we receive comments from reviewing agencies. DNRC has received a copy and has provided a couple minor comments about the report. It was noted that the name change, as reflected on the cover of the report, was for the project, and that the Water Authority legal name had not been changed. Steve suggested that we should begin to use the new project name on all our correspondence and documents. The new project name is Musselshell-Judith Rural Water System (MJRWS).

Legislative Funding Request: Sealey noted that he and Bob would be working with DNRC to get a request in for the next Legislature that would include the funds necessary to complete those studies needed before we can request authorization of our project. Steve asked if any progress had been made in soliciting companies for Legislative Assistance to the Authority. Sealey stated that he had not moved forward with that issue, but would begin soon. Bob Church thought that the “lobbyist” could be helpful in designing our funding request(s) and in helping arrange any visitation the Board may want to arrange with Congressional staff in Washington, D.C.

Public Information Meetings: The Board discussed how they would like to proceed with meeting times and places. It was decided that the January 9 meeting would be held in Ryegate and would be a 1:00 pm meeting preceded by lunch. The February 13 meeting would be a 6:30 evening meeting in Harlowton, with the hope that some of the new City Council persons could attend and be brought up to date about the project.

Travel Expenses: Discussion ensued regarding reimbursement of travel expense for those who are not covered by a local government, etc. Sealey will bring a travel expense form to the next meeting and the policy regarding reimbursements will be made at that time.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:55 pm.

Submitted by Monty L. Sealey