County Budget Time: planning begins

Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Article Image Alt Text

Photo by Eleanor Guerrero
(Left to right) Commissioners Pitts DeArmond, Scott Blain and Bill Bullock and Justice of the Peace Kevin Nichols. The Carbon County Commissioners are reviewing county department budgets at this time including their own.

On Monday, June 10, the Carbon County Commissioners continued their budget reviews looking at their own department’s general fund. 

Last year, the Commissioners received respectively in wages alone: $68,200 Commissioner Pitts DeArmond, Dist. 1; $68,500 Commissioner Scott Blain, Dist. 2; $68,800 Commissioner Bill Bullock, Dist. 3

These wages will be increased 1.5 percent this year for 2019-2020. 

The total wages plus benefits designated last year per Commissioner was: $88,199.42 Commissioner Pitts DeArmond, Dist. 1; $88,549.85 Commissioner Scott Blain, Dist. 2 ; $88,900.28 Commissioner Bill Bullock, Dist. 3

Besides the 1.5 percent wage increase stated above there will be an increase in benefits of $101 per month ($1212 annually) for insurance premium contributions for 2019-2020.

The Commissioners came aboard after an unusual year for the county, which lost two of its commissioners. Carbon County Administrative Officer Angela Newell explained, “Actual expenditures for 2017-2018 Commissioner salaries were $189,132 (this was with a month gap between Grewell and Blain and a month gap between Tucker and DeArmond). So essentially there were 2 months where only two commissioners were paid in the 17-18 year resulting in the larger $205,500 budget for 2018-2019.” 

Although the budget is not finalized at this point, the Commissioners did make the decision to formally create a Capital Improvement Fund for future work to be done. “In the past,” Newell explained, “there was just money and no plan. This year they are earmarking funds for capital improvements.” While she said they had previously had to re-appropriate money in the account from year to year this time it would be formally moved to a Capital Fund “clearly designated.” There will be funding designated for an asphalt plan, a building plan and an equipment plan. 

As an example, it was discussed, the Sheriff’s office designates funding for “two and one third vehicle.” This way, the money can build each year to have full funding in the third year for another vehicle without requiring the money to be taken all in one year. Also in their intent with these funds, there will be “no chance they get lost” said Commissioner Scott Blain. 

Training was a big and necessary expense said the Commissioners. “We all attended the MAACO meetings,” said Commissioner Blain. District meetings were attended although not  necessarily even one commissioner from every other county attended. It was a learning experience, they explained. They will be attending newly elected officer trainings as they come up so an extra $1000 was added to last year’s travel budget.

There is a conference in Washington, D.C. coming up and Commissioner Bill Bullock explained they would probably end up having one commissioner attend. 

Regarding their own vehicles, each commissioner commented on their tires’ wear and Commissioners Bullock and DeArmond judged they could go a little further but tires were budgeted for Commissioner Blain for next spring. 


The Justice of the Peace staff budget was also reviewed. Health insurance is expected to increase for the next year since the office will now cover a fourth clerk who will train for four months while the other is preparing to leave.     




Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, September 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 11:30am
    Ross Orchards, located at 111 North Street in Fromberg, is proud to announce the opening of a farm stand this Fall. The orchard will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays noon - 5 p.m. starting Sept. 21 and closing Oct. 13. The orchard is working in conjunction with the Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill and Red Lodge Ales to offer fun, family-friendly events.   Every weekend apples, fresh apple cider pressed with apples from the orchard, apple pastries, local honey, food, hard cider, and beer will be available.  There will also be pumpkins and a variety of local produce for sale. Additionally, each weekend will have a different event. Sept. 21 - 22 – Cider and Salutations yoga 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sept. 28 – A farm to table dinner at 5 p.m. catered by the Last Chance Pub’s chef Kevin McNourlin. The dinner will feature local foods paired with cider. Contact to reserve seats (limit 40) Oct. 5 - 6 - Kidz Dayz. Bounce house, pumpkin carving, face painting and tractor rides through the orchard. Oct. 12- Orchard run 5k. A family-friendly run/walk through Ross Orchards. Visit to sign up. Sam Hoffmann, President of Red Lodge Ales, remarked, “it has been fun to get to know John, Laura, Hilary, and Elizabeth Ross over the last ten plus years. Together we have pruned, picked apples, and made cider on a home brew level and now commercially. We are proud to share our work with the public.” John Ross, owner of Ross Orchards, adds, “The orchard has always been a source of pride and happiness for me.  Our family has enjoyed working with Sam and Lindsey Hoffmann and their employees. We look forward to the success of Orchard days.” Contact for more info: John Ross 406-671-9614,; Sam Hoffmann 406-425-4607,; Lindsey Hoffmann 406-425-3734,  
  • Monday, September 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.