January 17, 2016

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on January 17, 2017 with, Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover, and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board present.


Staff Meeting
DPA Albert Lin, HR Debi Hilts, Director Perry Huston

Items Discussed: Ms. Hilts provided her recruitment update. The Fairgrounds Manager/Coordinator position interviews were discussed. There were two candidates selected for commissioner interview with one having come in and requested he be interviewed as well. He was one of the top three interviewed. The commissioners asked how HR chose the candidates to be interviewed by the board. Ms. Hilts explained the experiences of the applicant and the top two were chosen. The third one was not one of the top two. The board would like to interview only the top two and provided that direction to Ms. Hilts. Commissioner Hover asked for the name of the third person who requested an interview, but only after they have interviewed the top two.

Director Huston explained the courts had submitted an MOU agreement regarding how the courts handle their public records requests. GR31 was the rule the MOU was generated to address and the courts wished the Board to enter into the understanding. Director Huston explained the county’s current code has some direction on how the Public Records requests are handled that pertain to court request. The reality is that the county follows state law, but each department has its own public records officer.

Mr. Lin explained a current request the county received where someone else wished to receive the same information. He advised the board to not create another process that would create another public record. Ms. Hilts explained the difficulty HR would encounter. Director Huston will readdress the issues with staff in order to clarify the process and establish a process to amend the ordinance. Commissioner Branch asked why the ordinance would not also work for the courts. Mr. Lin replied that if requests apply to things controlled by the courts that is something separate. He is not in the view that the courts have a veto. He did not believe the rule addressed the public records act consistently. The rub is that it implied that records under the purview of the commissioner is still required to have a sign off beforehand. The language did imply that. If the commissioner wish, Director Huston, will converse with the courts and bring back to the board the exact reason why this MOU is necessary. Commissioner DeTro stated the county feared that it would convolute the issue in the courts right now. He recommended Director Huston contact the courts touch base and look at the code and MOU to see if it is necessary. He will follow up.

Director Huston explained the quasi-judicial process as there are citizens wishing to discuss topics that may require a future decision.

Director Huston discussed his budget for professional services line and suggested a future discussion about how the Whatcom Hirst decision and any additional costs that are not budgeted for. The Title 20 notification mailer list will tack on another $200. The fee schedule should be picked up. By law the county is restricted by cost recovery. An analysis would be necessary to articulate the full cost. The county had chosen to not recover 100% of the costs so now would be a good time to pick it up again with all the additional review needed for the several plans that will be heard during the year. Commissioner Hover asked about applying an analysis fee. Director Huston discussed how that might work. Not everything will trigger the full process. Commissioner Branch discussed using that as an add-on. He further explained recovery of fees. A point was previously made where permitting was delayed for some reason, we should consider the technical staff who could make it happen that those staff provide the service in a way that works for us. The permit process that drags out is harder to justify those costs. Commissioner Hover had heard that the permit process utilized by the county is extremely fast. Director Huston confirmed that it is pretty fast. Commissioner Hover is saying they are not paying very much for expedient service. The fee must be justifiable. About $3,000 would likely be needed to supplement the professional services line.

Mr. Dennis Rabidou arrived at 10:00 AM to join the finance committee meeting.

Finance Committee Meeting – Leah McCormack – Commissioners’ Hearing Room
Leah McCormack, Cari Hall, Albert Lin, and Sandy Mackie

Ms. McCormack explained the functions of the finance committee. They are advisory and help with the budgeting process. The committee is set by RCW to advise the commissioners on bonding debt and revenue. Commissioner Hover asked if the RCW mandates a meeting every month. Ms. McCormack stated no it just depends on the situation of the county. They provide perspective about the finances.

Ms. McCormack went through her agenda stating the first document is the cash on hand spreadsheet which shows the cash status as of December 31, 2016.The current Expense cash on hand shows the balance of $876,383.99 which is more than what was calculated earlier, which is good. Current Expense is higher than what was projected which was $150,000. The bad news is that we normally would be in the 1.4 million range. Commissioner Hover discussed how that number has changed over what we thought we had and what we actually had. The debt policy says that we hope to put 10% of the budget in reserve and we have never been there but would be over 2 million if we did. Director Huston stated it has always been a fascinating discussion. We need to scrub it out of the budget and put it into contingency reserve or somewhere. Most counties have a fund they just do not touch in order to avoid the thought there may not be enough at the beginning of the year. Commissioner Hover explained we need to come up with another process to more accurately predict our carryover. Director Huston stated there are many ways to do it.

Ms. McCormack bluntly stated we way overstate our revenues, bottom line. We cannot do that if we continue to overstate our revenues. Commissioner Hover stated it seems backwards to allow department to put together their wish list instead of saying we have x number of dollars and 70% is spent. We should be discussing that only 70% is actually to be budget. Ms. McCormack explained the history of the previous commissioners that had addressed shortfalls by issuing a 10% cut to every department which impacts the departments differently and could cost employees. Maybe we should do it by the percentage of the overall budget and use that percentage, not a flat amount.

Ms. McCormack discussed the county’s debt policy. She explained how the registered warrants are handled. The Brewster Hospital is the only district that is on registered warrants at this time. Commissioner Hover stated he cannot tell which numbers are which as there are so many.

Annual compliance letter was submitted to the board regarding investments, depositories and all banking the county does. Both the Debt and Investment policies were presented to the board for review they do not need to be certified every year. The Investment policy also includes schools that have debt. The end of the bond payments for the Agriplex and VG buildings will be done this year. Commissioner Hover asked about the capital improvements plan.

Ms. McCormack explained the revenue stated and balance sheet summary listing the individual department revenue. The spreadsheet shows, during the same time frame, the difference between revenue received December 2015 compared to December 2016 for the same timeframe.

Ms. Hall explained the benefits of projecting and using averages. She can add those to the spreadsheets if the board would like. Commissioner Branch believes the distribution of costs versus revenue would also help sort of like a performance evaluation.

Commissioners discussed several scenarios in how to establish long term goals.

Ms. McCormack pointed out funds in the vehicle reserve fund that have been swept in the past to get the funds back into current expense, where the funds came from. She would like to establish a plan for vehicle replacements. Director Huston discussed how the ER&R fund works and suggested setting up a similar process for current expense. Ms. McCormack stated unfunded mandates do not affect the ER&R fund like it does current expense. Commissioner Hover asked what the top five mandates are that affects the county. Director Huston stated a few such as the Comprehensive Plan, Shorelines Master Program etc… that are state mandated without funding attached.

Marijuana Operations do not generate funds for county address or enforce marijuana operations and the county receives $13,000 per year compared to what is reported to the state in the amount of $4 million. Commissioner Hover stated the retail sales of marijuana benefits the cities where they are located and the county receives very little of that. Commissioner Branch explained some arguments that need support such as B&O tax and/or go after the State to receive a fairer share of the revenue. Commissioner Branch stated every year bills go before the legislature and we have the opportunity to lobby for changes and that is what we must do. Commissioner Hover stated growing marijuana in this county is not providing tax revenue to the county.

Ms. McCormack explained she is the treasurer for both Fire District 15 as well as the county and therefore the grant funds are directly receipted into the fire district 15 fund. The suggestion was for Ms. Hall to contact the State Auditor’s office to receive direction on how to correct the problem in the budget. A supplemental was suggested. Ms. Hall will contact the help desk to receive the actual language for written corrective document so it is handled appropriately. It will come up in the next week. She was concerned the Stated would have us rescind and readopt the budget.

Budgets will continue to be discussed moving forward. Commissioners believe the department heads should be at the table. Ms. McCormack agreed. She thanked the board for their time and stated if different forms with the information is needed just let her know.

Update Public Works – Commissioners’ Hearing Room
Engineer Josh Thomson, Admin. Ben Rough

Motion RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i) Legal Matters Regarding ATV Lawsuit
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 11:00 AM for 20 minutes to discuss current litigation regarding ATV’s inviting Sandy Mackie, Albert Lin, Josh Thomson, Ben Rough and Perry Huston to the session. Motion was seconded all were in favor, motion carried

Executive session was extend at 11:20 for 10 minutes.

Ben Rough and Josh Thomson exited the session. The board extended the session at 11:30 for an additional 10 minutes.

Executive session ended at 11:40 AM no decisions were made.

Mr. Rough explained the related Public Works topics between him and Josh Thomson that would lend some clarity to the board. The commissioners discussed scheduling Public Works earlier in the day. Mr. Rough stated if there was a topic that needed extra time then that meeting could be scheduled separately. Commissioner Hover stated Wednesday could also be used to schedule overflow.

Mr. Rough stated the Public Records request information will be available by Friday, January 20, 2017. The person reviewing the files will visit each department to review those responsive records.

Solid Waste
Additional samples have been collected to see if the leachate can be taken by the City of Okanogan. He is comfortable that we will not exceed the leachate requirements if it is not taken in by the city.

Road Crew Temps
An issue came up regarding the road crew temps. The road crew union employees were provided a $150 raise, and it was brought up by the temps why they did not received the raise too. Mr. Rough told them they were not union and didn’t receive the same benefits as the union employees. Mr. Rough reviewed the decisions as it would contradict the county employee manual. The union filed a grievance over this. There could be an unfair labor practice, so to handle that they were paid holiday pay to make up for it. He can see that the union might still have an issue with it. He wants to be careful how we address this with the union employees. Long standing practice has been established and his proposal is to move forward with giving them the same COLA as historically has been done. A resolution would be needed to authorize it. Commissioner Hover would like to see how much it would cost the county. Engineer Thomson thought around $5,000-$6,000 for the remaining 4 months. The summer temps would be hired with the adjusted rate. Commissioner Hover asked at what point does the county cap the increases. It would be forever, so he would like a yearly cost be analysis calculated for the temp employees. Commissioner Branch commented it builds an advantage. Mr. Rough warned that we not call the temps unionized. Those temps support the union employees and would prefer permanent. Those temps were able to pick up more time which allowed the union employees to take time off. That was the basis for the grievance received. He doesn’t know if they would see it in the same light but he can see them taking a stab at it. He can come back with the numbers. Commissioner Hover stated he is not against paying temps a fair wage, but he must consider the impacts and benefits. As wages keep increases and we are not bringing in anymore revenue then he must put it into perspective. The entry level wage is low $19.50. Mr. Rough will put together a resolution for commissioner consideration. The grievance was resolved, but he recommended the board speak to Ms. Craig.

Mr. Rough explained the telephone system at Public Works has sound quality issues and is really bad and fuzzy. He would like to have the fiber line that connects the courthouse to see if it can handle adding Public Works to the phone system network. He believes it will be costly to test. Then contact Randy Clough to establish a cost scenario. Public Health could also be part of that system too. Commissioner Branch asked if this was a budget request. Mr. Rough replied that the discussion has happened before, and this discussion is a continuance of that to obtain further direction for remedy.

Current Projects
Engineer Thomson explained STP chip seal projects that we could get approved that would replace county funds for the chip sealing. A resolution will be needed among other things.

B-3 & B-15 girders were put in place during the -9 degree temperatures.

The Conconully Road Danker to Hendrick overlay was discussed.

A contract is forthcoming for the guardrail.

Maintenance Road Crews
Overtime was discussed for the week.

The Truck replacement request is on the consent agenda for approval.

The road vacation public hearing information was discussed with the Tribe information still needed.

Road Vacations/reconciliations
Engineer provided discussion topics for a future meeting. Commissioner Hover asked about the time frame to learn how it works for Public Works. Engineer Thomson stated it is a priority that does need to be addressed. We receive funds for every road mile we have. One concern of CRAB was whether or not the county was receiving funds for roads the county did not own or vice versa the county not receiving funds they should be receiving. A separate meeting with a couple hours could be scheduled to further proceed.

243-2009 regarding deeded land to DNR in the middle from Texas Creek where the road is gated on the DNR section doesn’t the road the county is considering vacation end there? Engineer Thomson stated yes. Commissioner Hover stated some feel that road should still be ours, but they are not reading it properly because the county rescinded the resolution but did not address the portion of road the county does not own.

Grant Accountability
Grant accountability sheets are due to the auditor’s office next week.

The board adjourned for lunch at 12:33 PM.

Citizens Comment Period – Jeff Russel
Nora Sheridan,

Commissioner DeTro invited Director Huston to explain the county commissioners are not in the decision process and it is appealable to Superior Court. The commissioners are out of the approval chain. We are in SEPA which will be heard by the Hearing Examiner and apply conditions that are binding and any appeal of his decision would go to Superior Court. Director Huston stated Mr. Russel is welcome to discuss the issue but he recommended that whatever it is it be also submitted to Director Huston for the hearing examiner record.

Mr. Russel stated he was informed differently. He explained what information he received. Commissioner Branch stated that his information may have been based on county code that has since changed. He further explained where the confusion may have been. Commissioner DeTro stated the board did not wish to interfere and impartial in the process but if there were comments or suggestion then that information should go to Director Huston for the record. Commissioner Branch stated the facts brought to the hearing examiner is what the decision is based on. Mr. Russel asked if there would be a public hearing, Director Huston replied both. No hearing is set yet to hear the issue. Director Huston we should be getting close and would happen during the set hearing examiner time on a Thursday.

Director Huston recommended the board not comment too much on the SEPA. Commissioner Branch explained the board cannot affect the conditional use process. Mr. Russel asked about the county laws regarding regulations of stipulations on the zoning ordinance. Ordinance 2016-4 adopted the changes in OCC 17A that addresses marijuana operations.
Treasurer McCormack came in at 1:50 p.m.

Mr. Russel stated the county had previously approved a moratorium for new marijuana operations in 2016, is that still active? Commissioner Branch explained that was rescinded when the actual code providing regulation of marijuana operations was adopted. Mr. Russel explained the Improvement Club owns the public park among other building in the city of Malott and community improvement club is owned by the public.

Director Huston provided Mr. Russel with the general provisions in the code that addresses the marijuana operations permit process. The applicant still has to meet all state codes with this type of permit process. Mr. Russel stated he has all that information. Director Huston mentioned that the Hearing Examiner would be visiting some of the on the ground operations and he did that before receiving the current application. There is one that has been approved for retail store in Carlton and there are two more permit applications that are being heard. Commissioner Branch read from the code the minimum buffer distances for buffer zones established in state law. RCW 69.50.331(8)

Whatever Mr. Russel tells the Board must also be told to the hearing examiner in order for the concern to be considered for the particular permit application.
The hearing before the hearing examiner is set for February 9, 2017. Mr. Russel would need to submit a SEPA appeal by January 26, 2017 after SEPA has been completed. Commissioner Hover discussed the smell that emulates from the outdoor grows, which he has received complaints about, but what about the feed lot that also has a strong smell and how would the county deal with that. Opening up that can of worms would be huge. Mr. Russel asked if additional laws were going to be considered in the future. Director Huston stated the law specific to the marijuana operations is found in OCC 17A and then there is the zone code, OCC 14.04 addresses SEPA.

After MR. Russell and Nora Sheridan left Director Huston provided a short update on the Fairgrounds projects and the funding issues. Commissioner Hover explained that the Fair Advisory Committee mentioned their desire to use the BERG Brothers Trust funds for the grandstands.

Motion - Voucher Approval - Commissioners
Vouchers certified and audited by the Auditing Officer as required by RCW 42.24.080 and those expense reimbursement claims certified as required by RCW 42.24.090 have been recorded on a list, and made available to the Board. As of this date, the Board did vote, by unanimous vote, to approve the CE vouchers in the amount of $26,233.01 and Payroll vouchers in the amount of $880,620.07. Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion seconded and carried.

CANCELLED Update – Building – Commissioners’ Hearing Room

Discussion – Vintage Faire Event – Jacki Cornelius– Commissioners’ Hearing Room

Ms. Jacki explained they were here to discuss the vintage faire which is April 29? They use the ticket booth and Agriplex. Vendors arrive on Friday and the faire is Saturday with most leaving that day. They will come and clean on Sunday. The contract that was used worked well with the Breadline being in the Arts and Craft building. She said the extra time to set up on Thursday provided by the county was really helpful and allowed them to be set up when the vendors start arriving. Director Huston discussed that the commissioners are in the process of hiring a Fairgrounds Coordinator/Manager so there will be someone new the group will be working with but certainly he will lend some assistance where needed to ensure expectations are met.

The contract will be streamlined and a meeting will be needed to identify the expectations for set up and tear down which will need to be approved by the commissioners prior to the event.

Discussion WDFW Enforcement officer Meet and Greet – Sergeant Dan Christensen

Sgt Christensen introduced himself. Jason Day is the enforcement officer in the Winthrop/Methow area. Sgt Christensen explained he lives in Tonasket and is a sixth generation living in Okanogan. There are no major issues of current concern. He discussed vacancies in the Pateros station. The mouth of the Columbia River sounds like a big area. He tested for Ellensburg PD but now a days not many pass the test with only one passing the back ground. People just don’t want to be in law enforcement anymore. Commissioner Hover asked about cougar enforcement. Sgt Christensen stated he doesn’t find out about the laws any sooner than anyone. Commissioner Hover stated so does he know they are moving grizzlies into the area. Commissioner Branch stated some issues created by policy programs would he know about those such as the Elk issues that were identified last week by county residents. Sgt Christensen replied that the public doesn’t have the kind of animosity towards enforcement officers as they might with the commissioners. Commissioner DeTro asked if anything changed with regards to cougars. Previous discussions with WDFW about cougar found on private property that are bothering livestock. Sgt Christensen replied that as long as it is legal, ethical and moral and comes down to necessity has it been met? Often details are not provided when one is encountered so mere presence is not justifiable without the details. People have a right to self-defense, but every situation is different. Commissioner Hover stated if an animal is caught in the act that would be justifiable to act in self-defense even is listed on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It isn’t the act of defense that gets people into trouble it is the cover-up or lie that happens along with it.

Sgt Christensen continued explaining his job history opportunities that provided him with a diverse background.

Commissioner Branch asked if additional officers are brought in to help during the hunting season. Sgt Christensen replied they try to bring extra people in and further explained that due to behavior of those coming to Okanogan County to hunt. There is a huge gap now that the baby boomers are hunting less and less and the new generation behavior is different. But, that is the future of what he is seeing.

Commissioner Hover described the decisions being made about introducing the wolves by people who may not be as connected to the outdoors as they should be, There appears to a real disconnect. He would rather see the caribou here than the wolves.

Sgt Christensen hopes the commissioners are supportive of the Community Colleges in the area. Wenatchee Valley College is such an asset to the county but when David Lindeblad retires the college will need the support of the commissioners to keep the same level of education currently provided and to identify a viable replacement.

Interviews Fairgrounds Manager Interviews – Commissioners’ Hearing Room
Commissioners conducted interviews of the top two applicants for Fairgrounds Coordinator/Manager position

Motion Oroville EMS District Voucher
Commissioner Branch moved to adjourn as the BOCC and reconvene as the Oroville Rural EMS District. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Oroville Rural EMS District Voucher Approval
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the Oroville Rural EMS District Voucher in the amount of $19,366.85. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Hover moved to adjourn as the Oroville Rural EMS District and reconvene as the BOCC. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion CDBG General Purpose Grant Fire #15 A19 Request #2 Approval
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the CDBG General Purpose Grant A19 Request #2 and authorize the chairman to sign the request in the amount of $166,095.65 for 12/01/2016 through 12/31/2016. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Memorandum of Agreement- WSU Extension
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the 2017 MOA between Washington State University Extension office and the County providing funding for County Director and 4-H Program Coordinator. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Approve Consent Agenda
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the consent agenda items 1-14 excluding item 11 as presented, motion was seconded all were in favor, Commissioner Branch discussed expanding the SWAC board to add 2 more seats which would include representation of the recycle people. Motion carried.

1. Commissioners’ Proceedings January 9 & 10, 2017
2. Approval for Refreshments for Noxious Weed Re-Certification Classes
3. 2017 Law Enforcement Agreement –City of Okanogan County
4. Contract – 4 Volvo Tandem Axle Dump Trucks-Mobile Fleet Service
5. Project Plans, Provisions and Specifications-CRP No 9229-18 Conconully RD RAP
6. Appointment Letters-Snowmobile Advisory Board Tom Windsor, Ed Surette
7. Appointment Letter-Solid Waste Advisory Board- George Brady
8. Re-Appointment Letter-Methow Communications- Ken Westman, Dick Hamel
9. Agreements Homeless Housing- OCCAC, Housing Authority, Room One, OBHC, Oroville Housing Authority, Support Center
10. MOU Evergreen Forest County Group- Robert Weidner
11. Fee Proposal –Cortner Architectural Company-Fairgrounds Grandstands
12. Resolution 8-2017 Budget Transfer Current Expense Communications
13. Resolution 9-2017 Budget Transfer Current Expense Human Resources
14. Resolution 10-2017 Ad Valorem Taxes

Commissioners adjourned at 5:35 p.m.