RECORD OF THE PROCEEDINGS

OKANOGAN COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

January 9, 2016



The BOCC convened at 9:10 AM.

George Thornton and Ken Vanderstoep members of the public taking hand written notes.

Briefing Among Commissioners
Mr. Thornton explained that Mr. Vanderstoep was here to learn about the Whatcom Hirst decision and how the county will amend Title 20 and how it will affect a person’s ability to transfer water downstream as he is wanting to do so..

The board discussed that there are only a few reasons for going into executive session and would like to further receive clarification from the DPA Lin as to the interpretation of the RCW.

Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (4)(b)
CANCELLED due to interview for Fairgrounds Manager position.

Meet & Greet – Okanogan County WSU Extension Office – Ann Fagerlie
Ann Fagerlie

Ms. Fagerlie provided the board with WSU Extension office update. She explained that there are many different volunteers who participate in the various programs administered by WSU Extension. She described the master gardener program and who serves the plant clinics. Her main interest it he 4H program. The volunteers keep track of the hours they work and those hours are documented. Ms. Fagerlie is the interim Director for Okanogan County and has saved a lot of money for WSU. She attended a conference in 2014 on wildfire education on ember awareness.

Ms. Fagerlie asked if there are any priority areas the Board would like her to focus on? Commissioner Hover stated it would be helpful for people to know the opportunities available through WSU. He knows there are Equine people who would like information about bridging gaps in terms of the services. Cattle and animal husbandry is what WSU is known for. Ms. Fagerlie stated the 4H kids do demonstrations about what they have been learning. The first demonstration will be in the Methow area in April. The awards banquet is on MLK day.

The Board thanked Ms. Fagerlie for her work and the update.

Chris Allen a previous Tonasket EMS District EMT member of the public was asked if he wished to comment. Mr. Allen asked if the board would like to revisit the Tonasket EMS District EMT situation and wanted to know if the board was interested in the North Valley Hospital proposal. Commissioner Hover would like more information. Commissioner Branch stated an update would be welcomed from staff to learn about the County EMS districts. Commissioner DeTro stated if during the process the current board wishes to move in a different direction then they would let him know. Mr. Allan explained that the proposal from the Hospital including the Hospital being able to provide its own EMT’s and they would be able to run a levy to pay for the costs and the county could wash their hands of it. Commissioner Hover stated he doesn’t wish to wash his hands of it, he wants to make the best choice for the area.

Executive Session – RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i) Legal Matters
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 11:15 am for 45 minutes inviting the Attorneys of Orrick group, previous Commissioners Kennedy and Campbell, Clerk of the Board Johns, and Risk Manager Craig to discuss legal matters to which the county is a party. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive Session ended at 12:00, no decisions were made.

Commissioners convened for lunch at 12:15 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Commissioners reconvened at 1:30 p.m.

Isabelle Spohn taking notes on her computer.

Discussion Elk Herds In North County-Les Kenney
Les Kenney and group of Ag producers

The group came in to discuss the Elk herds that are destroying their hay fields and getting into private property. The Elk management plan was written 2014 but most people didn’t know about it until 2015. The elks Foundation even wrote a letter to regarding the plan which was never responded to.

Mr. Kenney stated there was much of the plan that was not agreeable. If the plan was given to someone outside the county to apply it would not be easily interpreted. Commissioner Hover stated there is a way to appeal in the plan.

Mr. Boyd King asked what the game department has done to manage elk in our area? Is management the same thing as doing nothing, because that is what is happening? Mr. Kenney said he did not get a second cutting or a second grow from his sub irrigated fields due to elk chewing on it before it had a chance to regrow long enough to benefit his calving cows that are normally put on the field. Cattle are permitted to run on the land for a certain amount of time, but the Elk get first priority, not the cattle and so the cattle get cut from the range before the elk.

It is grossly unfair to have a government agency introduce species that degrade the land without first informing the permittees who relied on the graze land. None of the ranchers in the area were provided notice. No one in the Cattlemen Association was aware of the plan changes. The elk started coming in about 10 years ago.

Commissioner Hover asked if they have looked into depredation access permits. There is only one depredation antlerless tag permit per household, which does not help the issue.

How does the Elk Plan fit with the county’s stated goals regarding wolves, grizzly, and elk where county agriculture is the main income? If they introduce wolves, grizzly, wouldn’t one contradict the other? Commissioner Hover stated he would like to take the information back to read it and understand the issues so he may address it with the game department.

Mr. Boyd King tried to quantify the damage the elk have done to their crops. The fencing cost is quoted at $3.49 per linear foot and they have 25 miles of fence to put up costing about $150,000 and that wouldn’t even keep them out. You just cannot put an elk fence in and is not a viable solution. He can expect 33 ton of hay to be taken right off the top due to Elk. That is going to be a quarter of what he needs for the year for his cows and if they have to purchase a quarter of the hay needed that takes away from their profit margin. Plus they have to now feed the calving cows because the sub irrigated field the cows would normally be put on is now all eaten up by the Elk. He has tried experimenting with different crops to try and find grain crops the Elk do not like but haven’t found any.

Commissioner Branch asked if WDFW were asked to come to the table about this would the group be interested. Mr. Kenney stated the group has not had a chance to speak to anyone in any formal setting where the issues can be addressed. But, yes, they would.

Commissioner Hover stated he is interested in a solution and is interested why they flat out said no to providing the tags for this purpose. The board will address this with WDFW

Update Planning –Perry Huston

Voucher Certification – Tonasket EMS District
Director Huston, Leah McCormack, Lifeline Wayne Walker

Commissioner Hover moved to adjourn as the Board of County commissioners and Convene as the Tonasket EMS District. Motion was seconded and carried.

Commissioner Hover moved to approve the Tonasket EMS voucher in the amount of $1,168.45. Motion was seconded and carried.

Director Huston stated issues that have been identified with Tonasket EMS staying consistent with Oroville and Methow EMS Districts. The Director provided some back ground history on the services provided by Life Line to both districts. The condition of the building in Tonasket has been a big concern. We have made final payment for the building but there is a first right of refusal term sent in by the city of Tonasket for a buyback option. The Director will amped up communications with Tonasket for a proposal from Life Line which would be that Life Line assume responsibility for everything. Essentially the County would surrender existing assets and levy collected of the District. It is not dissimilar from Oroville except the county and city retained ownership of that building and that would be different with Tonasket. He will begin to put the finer points into the documents and get the numbers for what that exactly means and bring it back to the board. Commissioner Branch stated the building in Tonasket was “abandoned” by the fire district. There hasn’t been much done with the building since then. There has been no effort put into the leaking ceiling and back wall, aged HVAC, etc… Building Crew quarters would be more costly than just a garage to store the ambulances in. Commissioner Hover asked about the level of service people were concerned about. Are there standards and what are they for that type of operation. Director Huston replied that the agreement with Life Line states the minimum level of service to be provided and is well accepted. Commissioner Branch stated one issue that came up last year in Oroville had to do with lack of drivers for the ambulance but that was an issue even when the district was performing its own services. Those are the issues he knows of. Commissioner Hover stated he is not opposed to Life Line providing the services. He asked about setting the levy rates and who decides how that is raised. Director Huston stated the BOCC is the governing body of the County EMS districts. In the case of Tonasket, the BOCC sets the levy rates. Commissioner Hover stated we would give up the building and the ambulance to a private company and with the possibility of more money being needed for the issues then can Life Line just say they won’t provide the service? That is a scenario. When you transition from the service provider you do loose some of the independence that was built up. The other side of the coin there is a higher level of responsibility to ensure it is run properly. The history of both Tonasket and Oroville Districts was that neither was being run properly. Oroville Rural and Tonasket EMS District levies come up at different times. Ms. McCormack asked about the process for vouchering and how that would be handled.

Mr. Walker explained it isn’t about level of service it is about providing enough people in the ambulance for the call. Congruent with state regulations LL is centered on two in the ambulance. There is some urgency to resolve the issues due to the license expiring in June 2017 and after going through this with Oroville there is much to do. The facility issue is also urgent to set a path we all know where we are going. The ambulance hall has been found to have many more problems none of which is keeping the building from freezing. He believes it will cost at the very least $100,000 to get started. Commissioner Branch stated another issue was that the hospital wanted every ambulance to have one paramedic in it with the objective to put paramedics in every ambulance. Mr. Walker stated the long range plan is integration of ALS into North County. They cannot move forward with that without knowing how the county intends to address the ambulance hall issues in Tonasket. Life Line tries to send ALS out of Omak whenever possible with the long term goal of having a paramedic staffing ambulances in the north county.

Director Huston stated that the draft agreement gives all the responsibility to Life Line for providing the service which includes collecting service revenue and billing the county for the levy. The current building would be offered to City of Tonasket for first right of refusal under the same terms as we purchased. Another building would need to be identified.

The commissioners agreed to stay the course. Bring back a refined agreement in short order and offer thoughts about the streamlined vouchering.

Mr. Walker stated Life line has great ties to the community and they hire people from within the community as much as possible. Life Line is also looking at this as a long term venture and hopes the levy can be worked collaboratively with Life Line as it does come down to a dollar and cents issue. They are interested in the long term service model to continue to grow with the county and for it to be sustainable for both.

Commissioner Hover moved to adjourn as the Tonasket EMS District and re-convene as the Board of County Commissioners. Motion was seconded and carried.

Albert Lin, Sandy Mackie

Planning Issues
Director Huston gave a summary of what planning issues need attention. He is building a record with all the materials regarding the Omnibus hearings scheduled at the end of January.

He is putting together internal protocols but discussion filters must be identified and applied. The work is ongoing.

SMP is with DOE and response to comments will need to be discussed in the near future.

Critical Areas Ordinance we owe one for 2012 but that was put on hold due to elections and we didn’t get to it. It was suggested since it has already gone through some of the required reviews, to adopt it then tear into right after. The board had not gone through Commerce for 60 day review as required so now we are back to point of beginning with a draft out of Planning then to Commerce for its 60 day review so the county can now adopt under the banner of the 2012 update which puts us into compliance but there are some grants that may be affected.

Subdivision code not out for review. With the Whatcom Hirst thing it would need some more work.

The Voluntary Stewardship Program group has been meeting for about 7 months. They are getting their head wrapped around what it means, how we protect viability of ag, and all the other things people are wrestling with. He believes progress is being made in terms of a workable program. A conversation regarding the RFQ for drafting assistance for technical writing will continue to be articulated. He expects something from the group to review in about a month.

The Methow Watershed Council has a plan for WRIA 48 instream flow rule revision. The Council approached the previous board and asked to approach this board. It was a modest set of revisions that moved water from upper reaches down to provide more water for the towns of Winthrop and Twisp. It wasn’t to promote additional development but rather provided the necessary water for those who live there. The Watershed Council is starting a group to pick this back up so it is on a roll again. We have not gotten a firm committee from DOE but likely won’t until session is over.

Director Huston discussed the airport protection zones around the airports and the text being amended later to build the regulation structure into the zone code with every city providing their own. He will get a notice to proceed from each city in order to start that discussion back up again. He suggested doing it individually and taking what comes.

Technical advisory committee with interest in airport safety came up with a baseline for the text. Commissioner Branch stated they worked on the maps from each airport. It is important that airports with FFA grants be considered as it could affect their grants.

The Capital Facility plan is a Planning agency function. Planning puts out a call for projects, a public hearing is held by the Planning Commission with a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. The statute is clear as to how we should be doing it. The idea is that the Capital Facilities Plan and Comp Plan should have some bearing on the budget. It would be his recommendation to implement the processes in terms of RCW 36.70.040within our plan.

Director Huston stated he is the Code Enforcement officer for Titles 14, 16 &17. Director Huston explained that enforcement is complaint driven. For example if he is driving to enforce a problem with junk vehicles on a property and he drives by five other properties with the same problem he will only address the one he received a complaint on.

He suggested some new tools be placed in the zone code that would address nuisances and how those are enforced. Code enforcement is driven by the board’s goals and what they wish to accomplish.

Director Huston discussed the ongoing capital facility projects.

Fairgrounds restroom Forte Architecture project management under contract.
Grandstands-Cortner with a $90,000 Ag grant and some funds in facilities budget.

Courthouse ADA upgrades
Jail M Tank Ceiling Project
Beaman Architect needs to be under contract to begin the work on the ceiling project.

The Juvenile Detention Resolution provided findings and information in support of leaving the detention facility alone for now but directs that RFQ process be used to assess the situation to keep it a viable facility for many years.

The Courthouse Energy project is continuing slowly with the possible need for another injection well so the system is sized as proposed by Ameresco for future expansion. The project is now three years behind schedule but progressing.

The ideal time to work on the budget is now around Martin Luther King Day. Director Huston suggested if we send out the desired budget structure to the departments asking what levels of service are to be enhanced, reduced. That process is not established in law, but he suggested the board get with the finance committee to fine tune a process. In the budget instructions all budget is driven by level of service. Cash flow is as important as budget. He suggested a more robust budget process.

The funding for several larger projects such as the upgrades to Juvenile Detention and Communications and Emergency Services expansion was discussed. Director Huston discussed funding options. RCW 82.13 is the back fill and we do not impose that. RCW 82.14.340 is what we already collect and that is shared between cities and county. The Communications tax is voter approved 1/10 of 1% and must be spent on communications or communications infrastructure.

The Juvenile detention tax is voter approved.
The Public Safety tax is shared according to a formula, up to .3% to fund Fire Marshal. The fire chiefs have lobbied for one, but no particular opportunity for cost sharing has been discussed for that, but we do believe the position would pay for itself through insurance rates and a variety of other benefits. 1/3 of the collection would need to be dedicated to fire protection.

A Property tax levy was discussed. Some suggest we have a banked capacity if we don’t take it. With voter approval the amount could be at the top of the levy amount. The assessor gave $.25 per 1,000 would generate $970,000.

The EMS levies are authorized on the ballot by Commissioners resolution.

Director Huston stated he is dropping a bill essentially to walk annexation for fire districts over to EMS district. There is no process in the laws currently.

Fairgrounds Facilities
Currently, the Planning office is providing the administration of the fairgrounds. He recommended the board decide what the person is going to do if one is hired. Is it needed Seasonal or year round and create a fee schedule. Part of what the board should look at is if they genuinely wish to have cost recovery which should include capital improvements. The Agriplex is the largest building in the county that could be used for big events. That is what the board should consider.

The fair has operational costs in its budget but a discussion should occur to determine how those expenses are charged. Director Huston stated the Fair rented the fairgrounds in 2016 but that cost is coming out of the budget this year.

The Eastlake Sewer was discussed. The county has not collected any connection fees in a long time so the debt service fees and costs are coming from .09 Infrastructure fund. Director Huston explained the situation.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1)(I)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 3:40 p.m. for 45 minutes inviting Director Huston, DPA Albert Lin, and Attorney Sandy Mackie to discuss legal matters to which the county is a party. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive Session ended at 4:25 p.m. no decisions were made.

Review Consent Agenda

Commissioners adjourned at 5:00 p.m.