JULY 24, 2017

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on July 24, 2017, Chairman Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover, and Laleńa Johns, Clerk of the Board present.

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

Review Consent Agenda
The Clerk of the Board explained that the recently appointed Board of Equalization member, John Graham, declined the appointment due to family reasons. The Commissioners will need to consider appointing someone else so the Board of Equalization has full membership. Salley Bull and Paul Lewis may be candidates to consider. The Clerk of the Board will contact them to see if they wish to serve.

Briefing Among Commissioners- Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedule
The commissioners discussed their weekly meetings and various other topics.

Perry Huston updated the board that the notice for the Marijuana Moratorium will be in the August 2-3 edition for August 14 hearing as it is within our 60 day window requirement and would allow the board to lay out the issues in a resolution that commenters could comment on at the August 14 hearing.

Chief Civil Deputy Albert Lin arrived at 10:40 a.m. The commissioners asked what the formal process was for filing a claim on the county. Mr. Lin explained in general terms. The board further discussed issues of legal matters the county is not a party to. The commissioners were looking for ways to respond to constituents on those matters. Mr. Lin stated the board is not obligated to respond as we are not the constituent’s attorney.

Commissioners discussed recent public records requests from a constituent that also expressed that the commissioners meeting notices were not done properly for a meeting in Oroville. The commissioners discussed issuing press/news releases when meetings of particular interest are scheduled. The board also discussed that it might provide more transparency citizens want to see. Commissioners discussed the difference between sending the commissioners’ agenda to the media with the topic, place and time, and sending the media a specific press release for the same meeting. The Clerk of the Board suggested that the commissioners specifically direct staff to draft press releases and send to the media for those meetings with of special interest to the public. Staff looks for that kind of direction from the board in addition meeting the requirements set in law for board meeting notices. The Clerk stated the Media does not have to publish a press releases unless they are paid notices. The point is the commissioners wish to be open about their meetings and give every opportunity for public participation.

Treasurer McCormack arrived at about 11:15 a.m. and discussed that the state will no longer use the term M&O levy as it will be now be called enhancement levy in support of the basic education changes by the state. In 2019, local levy will go down to a $1.50 cap but the state school levy will continue with a doubled amount for 4 years total for schools.

Discussion – Tax Title Property – Treasurer Leah McCormack
Perry Huston

Treasurer McCormack updated the board on several legislative decisions that are being addressed by the state during its extended session. No decisions have been made yet on any of them
Treasurer McCormack discussed the difference between tax title property and county owned property and how the county acquires those properties. She further explained she was contacted by citizens who wish to obtain title to both types of property the county owns. One property was offered for sale in 2011 at a tax title property sale. It is assessed at $20,000. Tax title property value can be set by either the treasurer, assessor or commissioners. If the board authorizes the sale of the property she proposed the minimum sale amount start at $5000 to pay for recording excise tax fee and the rest would be dispersed to Jr. Taxing districts equally. There is no reason to sit on these properties and it is best to put them back on the tax rolls. Director Huston agreed with the Treasurer but getting the principal back is the objective Commissioner Hover asked that the process followed be consistent and suggested a policy be established in writing. MRSC guidelines were followed and it was unanimous at the Treasurer meeting that it was within her authority to sell tax title property. (attached) She asked how the board would like the policy presented for approval, and would she draft it or would the board’s staff draft it. The board would like her to draft it and they can review and adopt later. Director Huston noted the treasurer has flexibility on tax title property to get it back on the tax rolls if it doesn’t sell during the sale. An internal policy on notices and processes would help. Commissioner Hover noted that even if the county sold the property for $2,200 the property is still valued at $23,000 and that is what the taxes and assessments will be based on.

Director Huston explained the Church would make an offer for the property lot in Okanogan. The church would like to use the property to build a homeless shelter on. The city would settle the easement issue with the property as the church would do a boundary line adjustment to provide the portion the city needs. The Treasurer would handle this sale the same as the others as it is also a tax title property that did not sell during a previous foreclosure sale. She will provide that information to the board.

The board explained they would like to begin scheduling departments for budget discussions right after they submit their budget to the Auditor. The board wants to hear how departments wish to address their budget. The commissioners directed the Clerk of the Board to begin scheduling the departments.

Commissioner Hover asked the Treasurer about whether private donations to the fairgrounds can be tax deductible for those donating. He wants to ensure the law is followed in regards to donations. The treasurer will need to research.

Members of the public arrived at 1:30 p.m. Isabelle Spohn took notes on her computer and Salley Bull listened.

Update – Planning – Perry Huston
Dan Higbee

Shoreline Master Program
Continued discussion Review Draft
The Shoreline Master Program changes have been compiled into a draft. The step we are now in with the required changes have been updated in the response. The Land use attorney was involved and the draft is completed the way the board had requested. The Dept. of Ecology meeting is the next step after the commissioners’ review and okay. The next tier of discussion will be scheduled with Dept. of Ecology. Director Huston recommended the board review the draft to ensure it is what it should be then it will be submitted to DOE for them to review.

There is no more required public reviews of the document unless there were significant changes from what DOE needed changed. Commissioner Hover would like additional public review. Director Huston will send his listed contacts a notice that the draft is on the Planning Website. Commissioner Branch thought that would be good.

Director Huston stated a letter was drafted to the city of Omak in support of the Housing Authority for annexation of 4.21 acre parcel for affordable housing. Commissioner Branch stated is in the city expansion area and the area was intended for this kind of development. It is adjacent to a mobile home park and close to town. The current land owner is petitioning for the annexation. Commissioner Branch expected to see a certain amount of annexations and he believes the city should have a conversation about it due to our tax base when it is chipped away it does create impacts. The county should consider that when commenting on annexations. The commissioners do not have any issues with the annexation. Commissioner DeTro has often provided his thoughts on these types of project.

Motion City of Omak Annexation Support Letter-Housing Authority Affordable Housing
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the letter in support of the annexation. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Lauren Davisson, Planner I, explained the costs schedule for new application types within the Planning Department. They are for Requests for Hearing/Water Availability, Conditional Use Permit Cannabis, and Water Availability tied to Land Division. (attached)

Commissioners commented on cost recovery which may vary due to location. Director Huston noted that with the cannabis it requires working back and forth with the applicant and the hearing examiner and processing those does eat up time in the beginning but avoids remanding it back.

Nightly Rentals
Commissioners directed that a resolution be prepared to remand the Nightly rentals?? code section back to the Planning Commission for further review.

Director Huston provided the board with some history on the Nightly Rental issues and the sunset clause. Commissioner Hover stated the conversation does come up often about a section that was missed and he doesn’t know if the board would want to go there. Central Reservations has commented on that and it has been an ongoing thing for unpermitted nightly rentals and the none collection of lodging taxes, but he doesn’t know if it is worth it. Public review will direct how it is addressed.

Capital Facility Plan
Director Huston discussed how he would proceed with the County’s Capital Improvement Plan. Per RCW 36.70, says that a list be composed and considered for inclusion in the capital facility plan. Through the Planning Commission, a public hearing would be held to gather public comments. The boards’ part is to prioritize the list and lay out the funding. The code is directive up until the transmition to the BOCC. How the board addresses it after that is up to the board as it will need to mesh with the budget process. The Planning Commission is then finished with their formal steps in the process. Commissioner Branch asked why the cities might be excluded from the process, is it because they may have their own capital improvement plan with their own capital facility requirements. Commissioner Branch suggested the cities be able to submit their plans to the county such as for the new school planning effort that will likely be annexed from county to city or for transportation that might be for both city and county benefit with specific instructions that it be joint infrastructure. Director stated if that is the desire of the board he can add that in a section. .Public Works does their own 6 year transportation plan for county. Commissioner Hover stated it would be good to know what city things might interact with the county’s. Director Huston will draft something for commissioner review.

OCC 17A.290 Cannabis Operations
The Cannabis Hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. There is a glitch with the notice but it is very fixable as long as a public hearing is held within the 60 days of the adopting the moratorium. The meeting tomorrow is a noticed public meeting and the commissioners can take comment. The work product the board generates would be a resolution to either repeal the moratorium or adopt findings to continue the moratorium. The meeting will likely be continued to August 14 and that will be a properly noticed meeting in the legal newspaper. He has a number of people interested in sitting on the advisory committee from both sides of the issue.

Commissioner Hover asked if the meeting tomorrow will be treated as a public meeting. Director Huston replied the board may take public comment on the topic and it can be used as an open forum for that. Commissioner Branch suggested that the cities be able to comment or coordinate with the county on the cannabis issues as there could be interactions on expansion areas the city may be considering.

Voluntary Stewardship Program
Director Huston commented on the draft agreement with the Conservation District having some indemnification language that was a concern of the Risk Manager. The agreement is for $220,000. If the commissioners are comfortable with the draft he will properly present it for approval under the agenda bill process.

There are three appeals in regards to the OCC 20, one has been scheduled.
Director Huston explained there are two with distinct issues both within closed basin. One is a well in the mapped portion of the closed basin that will be heard August 10 and the other one there isn’t a well but it is outside of the DOE mapped basin. Commissioner Hover explained why DOE created a different map. They created a lot of study on water continuity and they found as we get closer to the main stem rather than in continuity with the stream itself. At the time of pulling the water out, it pulls from the main stem. As you get further away from the main stem you actually pull it out of the stream. These questions are huge and coming out of the public and that is part of the problem with DOE not attending the last scheduled meeting with the commissioners. These questions are not being answered. There are also many questions of the public about being able to drill wells. The letter people are getting from DOE says they should state the applicant must talk to Okanogan County first rather than allowing the person to drill the well, spending $50,000, then talk to Okanogan County in order to be able to use the water. It is the Chicken and the Egg thing or the cart before the horse.

Director Huston will provide some additional information based on commonalities to work out what the notices should look like. He didn’t do any for WIRA 49 but will work on that this week. He may need to alternate the notices for WIRA 48 and 49 to avoid overloading the work load of staff. Some issues before the hearing examiner have been pulled but so far the hearing examiner schedule is manageable.

OCC 20 17A.400 is ready for check list. A resolution will be drafted for commissioners’ review to transmit to the planning commission.

Commissioner DeTro asked about the invitation and presentation to Dept. of Ag. Director Huston will work on completing those too.

Director Huston updated the board on Tonasket EMS and the progress of the Life Line Agreement and the building issue. The sales receipt for the missing Tonasket EMS District Ambulance was found and it appeared $14,000 was received for the sale of it.

The Lake Management District proposal was discussed. The notice did go out to the legal newspaper with that hearing information. The hearing scheduled for July 31, 2017 will be held here in the commissioners hearing room, but it was suggested that it be continued to August 22, 2017 to be held in Oroville city hall at 6:30 p.m. depending on the city availability.

Commissioners discussed what Isabelle Spohn expected of them in terms of the public being noticed of those issues she finds most important. She explained it would be nice to know further in advance of meetings of particular interest. She suggested the board provide at least a month’s notice in advance like what the forest service does. She thought because everyone is traveling during the summer that would be good timeframe, but winter time is a little different. The commissioners did not think they would know that far ahead for some of their meetings. How far in advance would be appropriate for informational meetings. Ms. Spohn suggested at least two weeks, but one week is too short.

The Clerk of the Board discussed an email she received from with Ms. Spohn, which caused her some concern. The email suggested that the Clerk of the Board did not properly provide notice of a commissioners meeting in Oroville regarding the county’s proposed ATV/WATV routes and the email implied the commissioners held an illegal meeting. The Clerk of the Board wished Ms. Spohn to clarify as she did properly notice the meeting to the media, and did provide the notice on the commissioners’ website, and did post it on both commissioners’ exterior doors as the law requires. Ms. Spohn stated that email was sent to the Clerk by mistake it was intended for someone else. The Clerk of the Board just wanted Ms. Spohn to be aware her oversite could put the wrong message out to people that the Clerk is not doing her job of informing the public of commissioners meetings according to the law. She does her very best to ensure all commissioner meetings are noticed to the public appropriately and timely and in accordance with the laws, just as Ms. Spohn does her very best to notify her people of the same. It was such a strong statement and the very thing that unnecessarily creates animosity towards the commissioners and the county staff. Ms. Spohn did not look at the commissioners’ agenda herself but relied on another note taker to review it first.

Discussion – Corrections Inmate Account – Noah Stewart
Mr. Stewart explained a resolution was needed to correct two mistakes that happened with the Jail Inmate account. The county auditor was contacted to ensure the proper process was completed for the reconciliation.

Review Meeting Minutes

Commissioners adjourned for the day at 4:55 p.m.