RECORD OF THE PROCEEDINGS

OKANOGAN COUNTY

AUGUST 28, 2017


The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on August 28, 2017, Chairman Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board present.

Commissioners convened the board at 9:15 a.m.

Review Consent Agenda

2017 Budget Discussion – Fairgrounds – Josh Freel
Josh Freel, Kim Spivey, Perry Huston, Leah McCormack, Cari Hall

There is the issue of the $90,000 grandstand grant revenue line item that will not be realized for the Grandstands.

Ms. Hall stated the 2017 budget process populated the line items for expected Grandstand revenue but the grant revenue was not realized. The LTAC funded $90,000 for the Bathroom from fund 126. The overall expenditure budget was predicated on receipt of the $90,000 from LTAC. The Transfer from LTAC has not happened however. The Clerk of the Board emailed Pam Johnson to make the $90,000 transfer to the Fairgrounds budget. Treasurer McCormack explained the revenues right now adding in any additional revenues the grounds will bring in later. It will be tight going into 2018. Commissioner Hover explained fairgrounds staff discussed being laid off in order to help. We are relying solely on the income of the grounds without the infusion of the 60/40 split with the LTAC for Agriplex and combined Fair fund to help during this time of year since those are separate funds now. Commissioner Hover explained the tribes are interested in the property on the North end for a race track. He suggested selling off part of the North End property for that purpose. The fair would have to rent from the Tribe for use of the track during fair time. Treasurer McCormack discussed fund 621 Lumbering Employees Trust that has been saved for the horse arena that could have been used for grounds upgrades, but would need to have the Trusts agreement to use. Commissioner Hover would like an estimate of rental revenue expected for the rest of the year. 2017/2018 covered RV winter storage fees and Agriplex rentals for winter rentals such as Christmas bazaar, Christmas basket distribution, etc… were discussed. Those entities should be notified if the board decides to close the grounds for the winter. A list of expenses and expected revenue for the rest of the year would need to be considered.

Treasurer McCormack referred to the treasurer’s report. Ms. Spivey stated no one has gone over it with her. Treasurer McCormack explained she is available to go over it with her later. The group discussed how an enterprise fund is handled and how it might generate revenue and support its expenses.

Director Huston noted that Mr. Reinbold a neighbor of the Fairgrounds sent an email of appreciation for the clean-up effort on the fence line between the grounds and his property. There is a need to build a fence in-between and Mr. Reinbold is interested in the County’s plan for building a fence.

Ms. Spivey asked if there was the grounds could hold fund raisers in order to collect funds for fairground upgrades. Ms. Hall explained because the grounds is an enterprise fund there is a bit more leeway to doing those. She will research what the mechanisms are whether by creating foundations or something else.

Commissioner Hover wants to make sure the Auditor and Treasurer and Commissioners are on the same page with what is actually in the budget for supplementals and transfers. Ms. Hall explained how the Current Expense reserve for the $750,000 transfer and Contingency Reserve works in the budget. She explained the cash shortfalls where those would those show up in terms of meeting our expense budget. Treasurer McCormack explained the loan payback. Commissioners discussed revenue versus budget and that departments generally spend a lot more this time of year than other times.

The commissioners should be sending departments whatever memo is needed to direct departments to spend within their budgeted amounts and use that before requesting supplementals.

Briefing Among Commissioners – Discuss Individual Cmrs Weekly Meetings DNR Meeting Dates

Director Huston provided the board with a newspaper article from the Wenatchee World regarding WDFW meeting in Pateros about concerns on low fish returns and wildlife populations in the region.

Commissioner Hover discussed the OCOG RTPO discussion and county resolution dedicating Engineer Josh Thomson to be the fiduciary for Council of Government (OCOG) and the need for another resolution designating him for the Reginal Transportation Planning Organization designation. OCOG is now the RTPO and Attorney Scott DeTro is the attorney for most of the cities and OCOG would like to know if the county can pay up front for the costs and the cities reimburse the in order to cut out a step. Commissioner DeTro’s stated he is out of it as Scott DeTro is his brother and he doesn’t wish to create a conflict. A separate agreement would need to be approved in order for that to work for the cities. The cities do not wish to redo their interlocal agreement but a new interlocal agreement could be created for the OCOG and RTPO.

The commissioners discussed marijuana operations that have been approved with conditions by the Hearing Examiner and how those might proceed in terms of the water adequacy issues.

Commissioner Hover explained he is flying over the proposed mine site this afternoon with Congressman Newhouse. The board is not anti-mining but they are considering all the factors involved including the alluvial aquifer where it is proposed. The main income in the proposed area is tourism, and the cracking of rocks could expose pollutants into the aquifer and proposed site isn’t the best site for an open pit mine. Commissioner Hover is not proposing any sentiment. Director Huston reminded the board to be consistent.

Commissioner Hover updated the other commissioners on the Union Negotiations.

Josh Freel came in at 11:45 a.m. to discuss projected rental revenue of the fairgrounds. He could generate about $90,000 from October to March if the grounds were filled with rentals. If he filled it with just RV rentals that revenue would be $57,770 if not it would be around $38,770. The expenditures for the rest of the year including the restroom would be around $24,000 cash. Commissioner Hover asked if layoffs were to happen, what would the date be? Mr. Freel replied if he was dropped to his previous salary for six months and the other six months with the higher the savings would be $7,500. If office staff were also laid off the savings would be around $27,000. If staff were laid off Oct 1st the saving would be $9,200 in wages. For him, the savings would be around $4,900 at the lower salary till Jan 1, 2018. Commissioner Branch asked how a lay off would affect Mr. Freel personally? Mr. Freel stated it is just one of those things and he was accustomed to layoffs before working fires. It will be tough. Commissioners discussed that the fairgrounds must have employees year round, but it really needs a good business plan or it won’t work. Commissioner Branch asked if that happened would it be feasible with the kinds of projections and assumptions that go along with that?

Discussion Health Care Reform Conference Sept at 11 9:30 a.m.
The board discussed this meeting. It was requested by Senator Parlette to have a candid discussion with the medical and mental health providers about the mid adopters option for Okanogan County before the deadline is reached to send a letter for securing the money set aside for Okanogan County as a mid-adopter which would help providers through the transition.

Discussion Dept. of Ecology– Sage Park, Avery? Dave Bowen, Dave Christenson
John Kirk Senior Geologist DOE, Mr. Treavor Hutton DOE

Brad DePlace, Methow Citizen; Megan Kearnan citizen, Natalie Kuehler, Water Rights attorney

Craig T. Nelson, Conservation District, Lorah Super, member of the public; Gina McCoy member of the public taking notes on her computer;

Char Schumacher, Senior Planner; David Gecas, Chief Civil Deputy; Dan Higbee, Building official

Director Huston began the meeting by stating the Board of Commissioners wished to discuss the Hirst decision with DOE to better understand the water adequacy issues the counties are faced with. The county laid out a provision to evaluate the water uses for buildings permits. He explained how they are tied to building permits and land divisions that go to the hearing examiner. Instream flow rules and how some revert to Gamble Gwinn rules, what the notification processes include, and which land use processes would involve identifying water adequacy and how closed basins do not match the other basins with set aside. He discussed questions that he has received in regards to WRIA 48 closed basin and questions of those within WRIA 49 which is not a closed basin but similar questions coming in about marijuana operations and use of water. We are still examining our Comprehensive Plan in regard to how to handle water. Commissioner Hover has a list of questions to ask that focuses mostly on the Methow area. He explained the board is charged with health welfare and safety of its citizen in regards to adequate resources. There is no heavy industry to speak of with some light industry such as construction.

What is DOE’s role when someone wants to put in a single well on raw land for domestic use, what is the county’s role and what is ecology’s role and what does DOE see in those roles. Ms. Park said it would be the county’s responsibility to ensure water adequacy. Start card is sent into ecology what is the response they get back. Mr. Hutton replied that the well construction side of things is separate from authorization to drill a hole that they might have the right to draw water from. The closed basin wells is different than the open ones. A whole would be authorized to be drilled but then the county takes on. Commissioner Hover explained when someone is given permission to drill a hole by ecology and someone spends 30-50 thousand dollars then the county says no you can’t use the water in the hole that is a problem. Commissioner Hover wants to ensure there is no start cards before there is legal water at that site for use. It would then transition to you can drill a hole, then yes the water is clean and sufficient to serve a house. That would be easiest for people to understand for those thinking about purchasing property. Commissioner Branch added when someone comes to ecology for a start card do they ever say “no”. Rarely, but in closed basins they do have another layer there. You don’t know if a well is going to be compliant until after it is drilled. Commissioner Hover commented that compliance out of hydraulic continuity in that stream and how is that determined? He wasn’t sure what that process entailed. Ms. Park stated it would be a case by case issue. Mr. Hutton said that answer might require a presentation at another date. Commissioner Hover read from 173.540 post 1976 2cfs and senior water rights descending order regardless of date. That is a question they have submitted to their Attorney General. Director Huston explained how Okanogan County is approving the withdrawal against that appropriation. The commercial use of exempt wells (5,000 gallons or less) is not laid against the 2cfs and if the county approves outside the 2cfs are we then appropriating additional water and is that legal under DOE and the law. Commissioner Hover knows the group is unable to answer all questions today, but the questions do need to be answered. If we start giving out the appropriations at what time do we stop? Commissioner Hover asked for the science involved behind where the exact geographic line is located. Ms. Park stated there is likely some grey area and they are willing to work on this with the county. The county is shouldering the responsibility so how can the process be refined to the point that ecology is on board with what we are doing. The process is acceptable to the point ecology would back us on the determination. Ms. Park stated they are here to help counties with their programs. Would like to work together on the ordinance the county must adopt for sensible and working rules for individuals to follow. It won’t be easy. Mr. Hutton stated it is a good first step, as they work through the process to put some things in motion when the legislature reconvenes we do not know what that will look like. Commissioner Hover stated the reality is we must look out for our water and makes us take a look at the water being consumed or proposed to be consumed.

Commissioner Branch discussed the goals and objectives of WRIA 49. He discussed the draft Comprehensive Plan and language that would be inserted. The plan must acknowledge the connection of land and water. Director Huston clarified the Water shed plan was adopted for WRIA 49.

Commissioner Hover provided a scenario where there is two 50 acre parcels and those two people apply for a single well for use by both. How does DOE handle that specific issues. Director Huston explained exempt segregation and how the county reviews shared systems and that would not be allowed unless pumps and pipes are in place for that type of group b system. Mr. Park stated the Kittitas County ordinance might be a good one for Okanogan County to look at which basically mitigates everything. Mr. Hutton stated they have not done the whole county yet. They also keep great records.

Commissioner Hover asked if the county were to do a forensic study of this would ecology help with that funding. Ms. Park stated there could be some grant funds if the capital budget is approved. Ms. Parke would like to talk about that in the future.

Commissioner Hover stated some wells are fairly easy to determine legal water based on WAC’s and some not so much. The DOE has written letters to those in closed basin that they feel if the well was constructed they would be out of hydraulic continuity and can we rely on DOE to continue that if the county is in a position of not being sure. Mr. Hutton repli9ed that technical assistant they would stop at saying yes or no but they would give some input. They want to get to a long term goal of not having to look at all the individual issues.

Ms. Park offered the assistance of DOE for any questions the Board has. It is a complex issue and their attorneys are willing to address the issues discussed today. She would not likely be able to answer the questions today, but would certainly take them down for future answers.

Hirst does cover 1927 second paragraph and draws that in and does talk about non GMA responsibility. Mr. Gecas explained it does affect us.

Commissioner Hover asked if the county deems there is adequate water on permit and then someone challenges that decision could we use DOE technical help. Ms. Park replied she would hope the county would give adequate notice before that happens. She stated we would be better off to work on that before the challenge is in place.

The group discussed the different approaches to determining adequate water and where the challenges exist if the county were to bank water. Each county will find their own way forward in dealing with this. Can a county utility be developed as a way to deal with this? Water banking is on the table, but there are a number of factors to consider. The level of effort DOE is putting forth to make things work is huge even with limited staff. Commissioner Hover asked about the administrative codes having reservations such as 5cfs that must be looked at. The towns of Winthrop and Twisp is having a hard time by not opening up the rule and with the turbulent times are creating a huge impact.

Commissioner Hover reminded the county does want the close basin boundaries and how were those arrived at. Ms. Park asked how the County wishes to come back to this. Director Huston stated we would need to revisit Title 20 section on water would be useful. Treavor would be our contact. Ms. Park explained Mr. Kirk may need to offer some technical assistance due to the county not having a hydrologist and the maps would also need to be reviewed and understood.

Natalie Kuehler, Water Rights attorney asked if ecology would help enforce senior water rights and if not how would that be figured out. Treavor ground water permit exemption and certificate issued by the county is a separate action of the county. Ms. Kuehler asked about none reserved commercial type rights and what process do those involve. That will go back to DOE attorney. Does ecology agree it has a responsibility to hydrological closed surface water to determine the connection and when water availability proceedings are questioned to a closed surface water and there is a pending objection? Ecology believes that is being looked at but not answered today.

Brian DePlace asked about subdivisions and group systems as it relates to a single domestic right and how it applies to WRIA 48. That is to be worked out.

Update – Planning – Perry Huston

Director Huston requested the board reconvene as Tonasket EMS.

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

Director Huston discussed that he met with Life Line and they are going back to the proposed language for the contract where we put the onus on them in exchange for an accelerated payment up front and they recognize the risk in that. He agrees and everyone agrees that a long term solution be approved.

Commissioner Branch moved to approve the Voucher certification and authorize the Tonasket EMS District vouchers to be paid in the amount of $13,274.08. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Director Huston asked for a quick executive session.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 3:15 a.m. for 10 minutes inviting Attorney David Gecas and Perry Huston to discuss potential litigation to which the district may become a party. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive Session ended at 3:25 p.m. no decisions were made.

Commissioner Hover moved to adjourn as the Tonasket EMS and Reconvene as the BOCC Motion was seconded all were in favor, motion carried.

Marijuana Advisory Committee Appointments
Director Huston discussed the Marijuana Advisory Committee being one short. A list was provided to the commissioners of names.

OCC 17A.270 Nightly Rentals
Director Huston discussed the amendments proposed which pulls out the annual permit renewals and puts it into a licensing section, then section 270 language, to remove the amortization schedule would go away and revert to the September 5 amortization. In the Methow, it is called a planned development and everyone else must comply with the license requirements. This parallels with Public Health. He doesn’t know if Public Health actually inspects each nightly rental or not. Commissioner Branch asked what the purpose of an annual permit was if there is nothing to measure against. Commissioner Hover stated it does get laid against something. The driver behind the annual permit was to ensure there was an active UBI number and the entity is up with DOR requirements. He asked the commissioners to review the draft.

Community Assistance Visit by FEMA
The files were reviewed and there doesn’t appear to be any challenges. They do not use the term audit but it is a review of how we address flood management and determine if folks are within or without the area which flood insurance is based on and how we administer the rules. A written letter will outline the audit details. .

Director Huston explained he was invited to serve on a panel September 8 regarding Hirst issues and administration.

The letter for Capital Improvements/Facilities call for projects letter has gone out. Joe Poulin has already sent in some project information. Commissioner Branch asked that the Fairgrounds be considered for additional Capital Improvements.

Commissioner Hover left to meet with Congress Newhouse about the proposed copper mine at 4:00 p.m.

2018 Budget Work Session – Prosecutor
Brandon Platter and Shauna Field Larson, Leah McCormack, Cari Hall

The Prosecutor’s budget was projected on the screen. Ms. Field-Larson stated she developed the budget based on projections and last year’s actuals.

Ms. Field-Larson explained the crime victim’s fund 129 for commissioners to learn how that fund works. Treasurer McCormack explained how the target number was derived at. Interim Prosecutor Platter commented that he is learning and becoming more familiar with the budget.

2018 Budget Work Session – Emergency Management
Maurice Goodall, Kayla Higbee

Mr. Goodall explained his 2018 budget. Treasurer McCormack explained he should request the Current Expense portion of his budget sometime in June because the county should not wait until the end of the year as it causes a bigger impact at the end of the year when the county is considering the next year budget. Unreserved beginning balance was explained by Ms. Hall and the restrictions of it not being committed but it is reserved for certain services. We cannot move those into a reserved line. The board would need to do that and restrict them via a motion to do so.

Mr. Goodall explained the revenue side of the Emergency Management budget. The HSMAT grant is one year only and the FEMA dollars are closing this year and will be done. The per capita funds are based on a 60/40 split between the county and cities and is based on the total expense lines.

Commissioners pulled item #10 from the consent agenda so that the document could be put in the mail first thing in the morning rather than late tomorrow afternoon.

Motion E16-072 Grant Agreement Extension Amendment B Emergency Management
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the amendment B to the E16-072 Grant Agreement for Emergency Management. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Review Meeting Minutes

Commissioners adjourned for the day at 5:00 p.m.