February 27, 2017

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on February 27, 2017, with Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover, and Laleńa Johns, Clerk of the Board present.

George Thornton member of the public taking notes. 9:00 a.m.

Commissioners convened the BOCC at 9:00 a.m.

Discussion Risk Management Report –Risk Manager Tanya Craig
Ms. Craig provided the board with her Department of Risk Management Annual Report for Okanogan County 2016 experience. Attached. Ms. Craig went over all the information the report contained.

Commissioner Branch asked about the AWC as he thought it was like a risk pool. Ms. Craig explained AWC is used for L&I claims. She then explained the process used when an L&I claim is submitted due to an employee work injury.

Mr. Thornton, member of the public, asked about county insurance coverages and what the county’s greater losses are and what the amount of reserves in the pool are for costs. Commissioner DeTro stated if counties do not keep up with the pool compact and become a drag on the pool the pool will remove that county. Mr. Thornton stated is sounded like a responsible thing to do. Ms. Craig explained since she has become Risk Manager for the county our costs have gone down significantly. Commissioner Branch explained some issues with pools he was familiar with. He asked about land use and processes and whether training was provided by our pool for that specifically. Ms. Craig replied the Risk Pool has provided scholarships for some things to help offset an entities costs which allow employees to attend training, but do not necessarily provide the training itself. Commissioner Branch is familiar with city pools and fire districts. CIAW actually pays both commerce and members to go to those trainings and is not sure our pool would like to do that. He would like to keep that in mind here to see if short courses could be provided like a boot camp that the county may utilize. We could have the short course here if it is provided. Ms. Craig will discuss this request with our pool to see where they stand with that type of training and whether they would consider providing a short course or some funding. Ms. Craig stated she would like to discuss some personnel matters with the board and asked for executive session to do so.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1) (g)
Commissioner Branch moved to go into executive session at 9:45 a.m. for 15 minutes to discuss the performance of a public employee inviting HR Director Tanya Craig to the meeting. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioners exited executive session at 10:00 a.m. no decisions were made.

Albert Lin, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, and Perry Huston, Director of Planning and Development arrived at 10:00 a.m. to discuss and follow up on several issues.

Commissioner Hover discussed that he met with the ATV club to division of the county into districts so it is more manageable for Planning. Commissioner DeTro stated the north county will not be as problematic. Commissioner Hover stated the check list of the court case should be followed so people can comment on those. Leave Tonasket Ranger District and interconnectivity is there but in his district it is not. Commissioner Branch stated he will attend an ATV meeting on March 7th over here in the pm. There is illegal use happening off road. He believes it is due to a motorized setting. What happens in the forest is something they have talked about. What role does the commission play? He hears the concerns and agree but on the other hand once they get there is to say we want to discuss self-policing thing. Commissioner Hover stated they wanted extra signage in those areas that were most important and believes a lot of thought should go into it, go slower and take a look in the North County before summer. Commissioner Branch stated the ATV guide should be discussed further and more information provided to help with the lack of understanding about the roads that are okay and which are not. Commissioner Hover stated in the old Travel Plan overland travel was okay. There is a lot of conflict with what they publish. Commissioner Branch stated what is important is that the guide produce information about why a certain thing is not a good thing. Mr. Thornton stated there is a steady concern that people keep extending the trails more and more and introducing weeds, disturbing wildlife and creating snow mobile tracks in the winter which are then used in the summer. Commissioner Branch stated there are deep cut paths where there should not be. Mr. Thornton stated the recognition of the problem and the question of what we can do about the problem cooperatively is what really bothers people when there is no conversation to resolve. Commissioner DeTro stated some enforcement people just say stick it and that is the wrong message. He knows several people who would rather litigate. Commissioner Branch explained his encounters with certain enforcement individuals and that being polite goes a long way.

Commissioners discussed repealing some of the codes that lend confusion to the State issues, but it will be how we go about it and the timing of each area addressed that is the issue. Director Huston stated it will be a question of working it into the checklist for that area in terms of the Critical Areas ordinance the board is considering. Commissioner Hover discussed the need for additional signing.

Discussion Parent Representation Program Funding PRP
Judge Chris Culp, Dennis Rabidou, Tanya Craig, Judge Rawson, Melissa McDougall, George Thornton

Judge Culp explained the efforts made to include Okanogan County under the stated funding for Parent Representation Program. We were told the request had to come from the county executive branch and for whatever reason that letter was never sent to the legislators.

Assuming the legislative funds are received from OPD we would be good to go. We still need to make legislators support OPD. A proposal letter will need signatures but Administrator Rabidou has been working with Tanya Craig to prepare the draft letter for commissioners’ approval this week. Commissioners signed a letter December 30, 2014 and it was sent to Ms. Moore. The board is in support of the program still. Commissioner Hover stated this is earmarked funding for the Parent Representation Program and asked how they fund this and where does that money go? Is there a separate fund? Mr. Rabidou stated they manage it at the state level. Judge Culp state this will allow the dependency portion of the caseloads to be managed and has huge implications on the county. The court really needs this. Mr. Rabidou stated this could be a cost savings to the county for sure. Commissioner Hover stated if we do more work with the same amount of money and if the additional money can be used to offset the costs he is certainly in favor. Mr. Rabidou stated it is like the children representation program but they took that over, the money goes through the office of public defense and all they need is for us to validate the number. Commissioner Hover would like the process to be very well defined. Mr. Rabidou stated that will be discussed at length later. He provided the OPD request and said a lot of effort has gone into it with Rep. Kretz getting a 100% vote from the floor. He has requested this since 2009 but really put the pressure on OPD in 2013. It will require the commissioners to be out there and for the county lobbyist to connect with Ms. Moore at the capital. Commissioner Branch stated the LSC discusses priorities of the county and he would like to know of any additional contacts he could give the letter to. Mr. Rabidou stated he wouldn’t have to drive to Olympia if the commissioner hand carried the letter to legislators. Representative Maycumber is aware of the situation, but Senator Hawkins will need some work and a push. Mr. Rabidou will provide the draft for the commissioners to sign.

Judge Culp introduced Melissa McDougall and explained her part in the situation as the indigent defense attorney her office handles the caseloads. Ms. McDougall explained the caseloads and staff taking those on. She will bring on another attorney who will start mid-March or late March who will be doing dependencies and also District Court. If the program is funded here, OPD can contract with local attorneys who will manage the caseloads which frees up 2 attorney’s. She would still have 9 defense attorneys but not in dependencies and at no extra cost so that means more coverage for DC caseloads. This is an excellent cost effective program. Judge Culp stated when budget is concerned everyone is in the same boat fighting for dollars and where we can ask for funding in the OPD budget it helps if its not trimmed because counties receive those dollars directly. Commissioner Branch stated Olympia is not always interested in kicking in more funding for defense. He doesn’t believe it would be brought into the same discussion. The group thanked the board for their support and adjourned other business at hand.

Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1) (i)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 11:20 a.m. for 15 minutes to discuss potential litigation with DPA Albert Lin and Perry Huston. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner DeTro announced at 11:35 a.m. that another 10 minutes would be needed for the executive session.

Commissioner DeTro announced at 11:45 a.m. that another 10 minutes would be needed for the executive session.

Executive session ended at 11:55 a.m. no decisions were made.

Discussion Update Television District No. 1
Kevin Chevalier, Jerry Pickle, and Secretary/Manager Colleen Storms arrived at 11:30 a.m. George Thornton member of the public here all day.

Ms. Storms provided a white paper to the board for the meeting. Key points in history of the district were discussed. Mr. Chevalier introduced the group. He explained the district’s first goal was to become solvent in terms of the financial status of the district. To build up some funds and have succeeded in that and were able to hire two part time employees. Wayne Wisdom fills the technician position part time. The transmission path was discussed and where services reach. The core sites have DNR agreements attached for use. The prices are kept down for Pickens Mt site due to Day Wireless fees. 40 acres were deeded to the district and could have been the Fancher Ranch, stated Commissioner DeTro. Mr. Chevalier explained a list is maintained yearly of those subscribers which allowed the fee to be dropped from $45 to $40.

A position that was previously filled by John Hubbard will need to be refilled and Mr. Chevalier would like some assistance in filling the position. The previous manager believed that in 5 years the system would not be in operation, but Mr. Chevalier finds increased interest. Commissioner DeTro suggested the District go on open line on the radio to explain the challenges of the system. Most do not understand so this would lend to them better understanding the full scope of the services provided by the district. Commissioner Hover believed that a good idea and tie that into some of the other communication issues and tie it into a plan that would help support the facilities. Ms. Storms explained some of the technology improvements that help with reception and picture quality.

Ms. Storms stated the confusion in the billing and the RCW. There are exemptions allowed. The first thing is to get people back under the RCW where people state whether they are exempt. She would like to get it back to the way it was and make it easy to understand when the property tax bill is received. Deferred maintenance was discussed and how the board is addressing inventory, find out about improving Omak Mt access, there are many ideas rolling around to restart it. The UPS died during this winter and power was shut down. Those are the biggest challenges. Overcoming the bad reputation and get the real story out because there are many people where this is all they have. Commissioner Branch believes marketing the district opportunities will help those interested in the service help support it. Public radio and public television is really cheap per year. Mr. Pickle stated there are many tenants renting that use the service but do not pay because they do not get the bill the property owner does. Commissioner DeTro stated Mr. Pickle and Mr. Chevalier really stepped up to the plate and have done a fantastic job. They were users of the system and knew what they were losing when it was failing. Mr. Pickle stated he knows how important it is to the elderly, although he doesn’t watch television. Commissioner DeTro was curious about Eric Fritts, Veterans Service Officer at the Legacy in Tonasket who might be able to help with funding. He may also know of someone who could sit on the TV board. Mr. Pickle stated one challenge with continuity in working with the Tribe has been challenging. Commissioner Branch stated with this matter and development in the tribal community he suggested going there as many do not know about this and cannot afford cable or dish television. Ricky Gabriel is a good contact. Ms. Storms explained the trade off with the tribe and how that works. The tribe believed the district was subletting on Omak Mt. and wanted the district to pay. Ms. Storms would like the trade off as a better way to deal with that situation.

The district does have a snow cat but it has its challenges. The fire in 2015 created some big challenges too. The equipment is very outdated which should be replaced too but cost around $20,000 each. The district thanked the BOCC for their support.

BOCC adjourned for lunch at 12:35 p.m.

Discussion Planning Director Huston
Dal Dagnon

Mr. Dagnon provided information about the Cattlemen’s concern with introduction of the Grizzly bear. The private land was closed to hunting and fishing in the past and Fish and Wildlife came to the table as that drew their attention. The five county area will be affected if the grizzlies were introduced. He requested the Commissioners support this with the Quad counties. He explained that 80-200 grizzly bears would have access across many counties where the areas are connected by only a few miles. There is nothing for them to eat. They will come to the valley floor where apples and fruit is abundant. There is a fledgling moose group and elk that have formed in the valleys and there isn’t enough meat for them so they will come after the cattle. One bear kills an animal and then the black bears move in to clean up. Now there are two types of bears used to eating meat, so it will go from bad to worse. The Park Service would be Ross lake west in the I-5 border. There are many people visiting the Skagit valley camping and fishing and it would be like us walking through the door meeting Clashis Clay with not a chance. Man has taken the place of the major predator, Fish and Wildlife will have to issue more hunting licenses to take care of it. Habitat was discussed. Grizzly bear would populate every five miles of the valley, think about what that would do the ranchers and farms on public lands trying to make a living. Mr. Dagnon stated he really needs the BOCC help on this by closing the public lands to hunting and fishing. Bob Morton, Bob Hirst in the past sent him to Canada to a grizzly meeting and they denied him access to that meeting. Funding was pulled in British Columbia after that, but it didn’t stop them from introducing Grizzly in our state, most went back home and two were shot. They won’t stay put, so why bring them back. It will only be a hardship for everyone. We have too much predator population already. The Tunk Creek Grizzly was discussed. About 4.5 million people populate the West Side out of the 7 million in the state, where are those animals going to be put? Commissioner DeTro suggested providing them with an accelerated wildlife experience by placing all the predators in their neck of the woods. Commissioner Branch stated we must sit and listen to everyone. He is apprehensive about introducing something we do not have today. He knows the endangered species act was adopted and that complicates his life. He is really apprehensive to introducing and animal that creates real problems. Letting the wolves go is really detrimental to them. He wants to hear about it, the biodiversity in the parks, but it brings questions like these, and he wants to hear about that. He appreciates the stories of the grizzlies. People are afraid. Mr. Dagnon stated Conservation NW is really pushing for this. Friedman testified at a hearing that it was a great thing to see the grizzly bear in their natural habitat, but Mr. Dagnon stated he helped build it and there were no grizzlies there in the camps and he run the camps up there and covered a lot of territory. He knew all the old trappers and hunters in the back country and there was no trails to speak of so how did those trappers even get to the places where the bear was. The only documentation he found was from a fur trapper out of Christina Lake that had two pelts but those came from somewhere else. He used to talk to all the old trappers when he was a kid, not one told him a story about grizzlies being here. Commissioner Hover explained his conversations with park service and they said they met their quota for grizzly bears eight years ago in Yellowstone, so he doubts they have a management plan for this plan. Scientific paper William Gann’s Forest Service?? Landscape permeability for grizzly bear movements in the North West that discuss zones in Washington State and move around and that paper says at the bottom, and it discusses four travel routes to Selkirk’s, across the lakes, and right across down town Riverside. So for them to say they will stay in a certain areas yet they have a paper that models the bears travel routes it seems contradictory. The populations move due to lack of food sources, habitat etc.. Commissioner DeTro stated there is no scientific data that shows sustainability of the species. When the bear crosses the Canadian border they are counted as a mortality because bears they translocate drives the numbers down so they can keep them on the endangered species list.

Director Huston reminded the board that a letter to the Federal Government requiring the state and feds to coordinate with the County and why wouldn’t the state also send a letter to the Federal Government to coordinate their efforts with the state? Commissioner Branch stated when coordination is well defined then it is best. He used the example that the county coordinate with the cities and the definition is really important as conversations happen then everyone goes about their business. Director Huston stated it is fairly clearly defined in statute, it doesn’t say they have to agree with you but they do document why they cannot.

OCC Title 20
The omnibus hearings were completed for the fact finding information. The citizen portion of the meeting showed what we will get in the short order. Commissioner Branch asked what the most significant piece of information that was received during those meetings. Director Huston stated some information did not address the real question but there was a fair amount of discussion on the impact of the wells on instream flows and some talk about the sheer distance from the wells. The one thing that was odd Sandy Mackie thought there were amendment in 1984 and other said those were never adopted. Commissioner Branch stated he missed the first 20 minutes, but Mr. Barns Chair of watershed group who mentioned in a broad stroke the WRIA 49 plan.

Assumptions, findings and conclusions were discussed. In house uses and outdoor uses of water were discussed with outdoor uses being conserved and issuing watering restrictions. The statute for subdivisions regarding Class A and Class B water rights were discussed with the state definitions having different numbers depending on the type. 11 on a class B system.

USFS Coordination

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

Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 3:40 p.m. for 20 minutes inviting Perry Huston to discuss the performance of personnel. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Branch moved to approve the Tonasket EMS District vouchers in the amount of $14,297.11. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Branch moved to adjourn as the Tonasket EMS District and reconvene as the Board of Trustees. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Director Huston stated the Local Board of Trustees consist the BOCC Chairman Jim DeTro and Andy Hover BOCC member of the Laleńa Johns BOCC Clerk of the Board who serves as the secretary of the board of trustees. A quorum was established to consider a medical claim of a previous Tonasket EMT.

Commissioner Hover moved to authorize the Local Board of Trustees Pension Board to approve the three (3) Report of Accident documents as presented for Glenna Brown, Tonasket EMT. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried. The Chairman and the secretary of the Local Board of Trustees signed and dated the three (3) reports.

Commissioner Branch moved to adjourned as the Board of Trustees and reconvened as the BOCC. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion - Voucher Approval - Commissioners
Commissioner Hover moved to ratify the 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 County vouchers in the amount of $137,106.50. Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion seconded and carried.
Director Huston stated Mr. Bassett is available to discuss the bids for the bathroom at the fairgrounds. The project budget is less than the bid amount. They will hold the bid bonds and paperwork until the county decides. Commissioner Hover stated the LTAC did approve the policy and procedure that included language to allow for additional applications for excess revenue in the year. The LTAC moved to not pay late invoices that were for 2016 funding. The LTAC brings the recommendation to the BOCC but one of the applicants wrote a letter requesting the BOCC override the LTAC recommendation to deny the 2016 late invoice. The BOCC will need to consider a decision on whether or not to accept the denial of the applicant. Commissioner Hover stated he would like to move forward to reapply to LTAC for the Fair Bathroom project. There appeared to be $165,000 carried over from 2016 LTAC fund. Commissioner Branch agreed that another application be submitted in 2017 for 2017 funding.

The USDA grant for the Grandstands in the amount of $90,000 will go away June of 2017. If the county bonds some funds we would need to move quickly as the grant funds would need to be spent first by June 30, 2017. WE would not have the grandstands in place by the end of the year. Commissioner Hover stated the county should take a hard look at the Capital Improvement plan to ensure priorities are listed. Director Huston stated it is more like a wish list. Commissioner Branch stated the wish list becomes prioritized and things most critical wind up on top. Director Huston stated the current plan is reactive and does not direct the critical path but it should. Director Huston stated the sales tax can be infused into Current expense or set up an account so it doesn’t get lost. The capital improvement plan should drive what is reported and should be critically reviewed.

Commissioners discussed the Fair rental fee for renting the fairgrounds for the fair. Commissioner Hover stated the fairgrounds are a facility so leasing the fairgrounds to separate entities and that money gets put into the improvements of the fairgrounds. Director Huston suggested the board sit down and look at both budgets so there is not cross over of expenses in terms of how the budget was constructed. So, the expenses to run the fair are in the fair budget and the expenses to run the fairgrounds are in the fairgrounds budget. Commissioner Branch stated the more we use the facility the more revenue it will generate. Director Huston doesn’t know what process was used to come to the rental amount currently charged. The Rocky Mountain Elks Foundation is coming in soon.

The conversation continued about the water issue. Everyone has received word in terms of their permit status. Commissioner Branch stated what Whatcom County did in a basin that is closed or partially closed.

Commissioner DeTro left for personal business at 4:45 p.m.

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

Commissioner Hover moved to approve the Oroville Rural EMS District voucher in the amount of $9,980 for Dispatch and January Ambulance services. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

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

Commissioners adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.