March 13, 2017

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on March 13, 2017, with Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover, and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board present.

Commissioners convened the board at 9:00 am

George Thornton, member of the public taking notes, 9:00 AM.

DPA Albert Lin arrived at about 9:00 a.m. He asked the commissioners if they had objections to the continuance of the record for lawsuits against consolidation hearing. The commissioners stated they had no objections to the hearing. A memo would be prepared for the record.

Review Consent Agenda
Commissioners reviewed their consent agenda.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1) (i)
Commissioner Branch moved to go into executive session at 9:10 a.m. for 15 minutes to discuss litigation regarding county roads inviting DPA Albert Lin to the session. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner DeTro announced at 925 a.m. another 5 minutes would be needed for executive session.

Briefing Among Commissioners
Commissioner Branch informed the other commissioners that he paid for an Okanogan County Tourism Council membership. He further stated that OCTC uses its membership dollars to pay for other things such as branding. Commissioners acknowledged the statement.

Discussion – Union Negotiations Closed Session RCW 42.30.140(f)(b)
HR Tanya Craig & Debi Hilts
Commissioner Hover moved to go into Closed Session at 9:40 a.m. for 30 minutes to discuss Union Negotiations for the purpose of adopting strategies to be taken by the governing body during the course of collective bargaining inviting Tanya Craig and Debi Hilts. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner DeTro extended the close session at 10:10 for another 15 minutes.

Commissioners exited closed session at 10:25 a.m. no decisions were made.

Discussion Budget Adjustments – Auditor Laurie Thomas
Laurie Thomas, Cari Hall

Auditor Thomas explained that some departments are requesting budget amendments frequently to process for monthly bills they have already received rather than planning ahead to fund their budget line with enough budget for the entire year. She further explained that it takes staff a lot of time in her office as well as the Commissioner’s office to process the requests when one request could be done to budget for the remaining year. Some departments are also not providing enough information on the Request to show remaining budget and what is needed for the remaining year; neither are they providing a good explanation. Commissioners agree that the amount of budget requested should be such that it carries the department through the rest of the year. Auditor Thomas would like to discuss this further at the Department elected official’s meeting coming up next week. She understands that some budgets were not realistic when adopted and those would need to be amended to be sufficient through the end of the year.

Auditor Thomas also maintained that refunding back to expenditure lines has been miss understood. The county cannot understate its revenue and overstate its expense lines. Ms.. Hall explained the State Auditor frequently comes out with new rules she must uphold and this is one which has been implemented in her office. However, many county offices appear to be confused as departments used to be allowed to reimburse their expenditure lines rather than a revenue line. Ms. Hall gave departments a one year grace period to get used to the new process. Commissioner Hover asked about the Jail Medications expenses which the county receives reimbursements for from the cities and how those checks are handled. Ms. Hall stated that is one example of an expenditure line being used to deposit to rather than a revenue line. The concept has been foreign to the departments as they thought they were saving the county money when they really were not. Commissioner Hover replied that he understands it now and what the perception was before. Ms. Hall stated the BARS manual was shared with department heads because her department is responsible for reporting accurately so they did get it in writing from the state auditor to provide that information to the departments that were struggling with this. Commissioner Branch asked about reimbursements from other organizations the commissioner may be part of such as state travel reimbursements. Auditor Thomas replied the county relies on that person’s ethics when reporting. It is tax payer money and it is not ethical to be paid twice for the same travel. Commissioner Branch replied that an organization would pay the persons travel directly. Is that an issue as an auditor, due to underreporting? Auditor Thomas said the concern is that in the past employees put in for per deim for meals from both the county and the other agency, basically double dipping, so she questions that sort of situation as it is against the law. She relies on department heads to be honest.

Auditor Thomas stated ultimately it is up to the commissioners to approve or disapprove the budget adjustments that are requested. The form requires certain information that is necessary to complete the resolution for the adjustment and when those are not filled out correctly it makes it difficult to process and could take extra time. The Clerk of the Board asked how the Board would like to handle the requests moving forward. When there is a regular monthly expense that is not being provided for the remaining year would that conversation will be requested with that department. Would the board like her to schedule departments so commissioners can directly address the issue with the department or would they like her or the Auditor’s office to address it with the department beforehand that so the resolution can be drafted timely. Commissioner Branch stated he is concerned that speaking with the department head first would hold up the process and it could become an adversarial conversation, he believes when people are understood the adversarial issue can be avoided. Commissioner Hover assumes that when a bill has to be paid, that department would provide enough budget for the remaining monthly expenses. The law says the Auditor is to audit the expenditures but does not have the authority to deny payment, the commissioners would do that, but in those cases the expenditure in question is brought to the attention of the board via a memo which would explain the situation for final determination by the board. The auditor does not sign off on items in question.

There was also a complaint about requests not being processed fast enough. The auditor’s office pushes the requests out for completion as fast as they can when received. The departments email the request directly to Cari Hall, she checks where funds are being requested and verifies BARS lines, she has Auditor Thomas and
Treasurer McCormack review and initial, and then it is sent directly to the Clerk of the Board for either resolution or Public Hearing scheduling. She cannot enter the changes until after the commissioners sign the resolution. Depending on when the Clerk of the Board receives the request, such as on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, the requests are not processed until the following week, due to no board present to approve. It is the Commissioners’ office practice to receive all action items by Thursday at 2:00 p.m. for the following week. However, acceptations are made when there are urgent matters received on Monday or Tuesday such as these.

Commissioner Hover explained most vendors expect payment within 30-40 days and wondered which vendors expect payment within 10 days? Auditor Thomas stated some vendor’s bill for late fees if the department doesn’t pay timely. The county has only three payment dates in the month. We must work with these vendors closely so they are aware of our restrictions.

Auditor Thomas made the commissioners aware of a possible cash oversite issue that happened. It could be due to several reasons. Policies and procedures have changed due to this oversite. Also, a camera system will be purchased to keep an eye on things in the near future. She will need to request that fund be replenished via resolution.

Public Hearing Franchise Agreement- U01-17 Utility Franchise Mac&Cass Partnership- Verlene Hughes & Engineer Josh Thomson
The recorder was turned on.

Commissioner DeTro opened the hearing up to staff. Ms. Hughes gave her staff report. (Attached) The franchise fee has been paid and the franchise is for the Brewster area. The agreement is for West Indian Avenue in Brewster which excluded the rail road track and Hwy. This is a new franchise for Mac and Cass Partnership. There were no comments received from the public. The posting of the public hearing was done accordingly.

Commissioner DeTro closed to staff and opened up for public. Mr. Thornton asked what kind of line it was, it is a sewer line. Commissioner DeTro closed to the public hearing to public comment and opened up to the Board.

Motion Resolution 41-2017 Franchise Agreement
Commissioner Hover moved to approve resolution 41-2017 a franchise agreement between Mac and Cass partnership for a sewer franchise for West Indian Avenue. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner DeTro thanked the public works staff.

Motion 39-2017 Budget Adjustment Sheriff, Jail, Commissioners
Commissioner Branch moved to approve resolution 39-2017 a budget adjustment for Sheriff, Jail, and commissioners’ office. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

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 $3,353.40 Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion seconded and carried.

Tentative Meet & Greet – WSU Forestry & Range Specialist – Andy Perleberg

WSU Extension Ann Fagerlie

Mr. Pereburg introduced himself. He explained his desire to spend most of his time educating people about the WSU forestry and range lands services and practices. He said there are many foresters that ask for some culture prep and fire education, active management practices for forests, and how forests grow. People enjoy the esthetic beauty and investment. Some forests provide Periodic revenues. There is no average forest owner, but everyone wants a healthy forest and everyone loves the tools he provides to accomplish that. His workshops are full. Education on use of tools is provided to keep people safe. There are a variety of things he teaches, but forest health is his love. He became a forester about 18 years ago and worked out of Mt. Vernon.

Commissioner DeTro had to leave for another meeting at 11:55 a.m. He thanked Mr. Perleburg for his work.

Commissioners continued discussing the need for forest education and thanked Mr. Perleburg for addressing the poor forest health in the county with landowners. He explained a good model was the Colville Forest as the Tribe has an exemplary forest and wished they would invite him to their forest management meetings so he could learn from them. Commissioner Branch stated he has worked with the Colville tribe over the years and has seen some major changes made to turn around their forest health.

Mr. Perleburg stated logs are being boxed up and sent to China and Cle Elm, rather than the local mill which is now closed. He can help private individuals who have a certified forest with some avenues for their forests. Commissioner Branch asked if he would visit Reman and Reload in Oroville as they pump out a lot of wood. Much of the lumber on the rail system is their lumber. Mr. Perleburg stated he did not know about Reman and Reload and would take a look. He works closely with their range specialist. Mr. Thornton asked about monitoring the range land, Mr. Perleburg stated classes are given for that. Mr. Thornton said there is a real lack of range management practices here in Okanogan County. Commissioner Hover stated that it would be good to have him visit the Forest Service range lands office to offer a second opinion as many cattlemen would benefit from a second opinion. Commissioner Branch thought an educational retreat that offered several points of view and methods from different agencies would be well attended in order to teach the users about good forestry practices as well as the benefits of providing range lands for forest health.

Commissioners adjourned for lunch at 12:25 p.m.

Update – Planning – Perry Huston
Perry Huston, Dan Higbee, Albert Lin, Sandie Mackie, George Thornton member of the public taking notes.

OCCA 20-UPdate
Director Huston updated the board on the Okanogan County Code 20 and discussed Whatcom Hirst and closed basins that are currently listed. He said that will need to be freshened up.

Executive Session 42.30.110 (1)(i) Litigation Matters
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 1:45 p.m. for 1 hour inviting Perry Huston, DPA Albert Lin, and special appointee Sandy Mackie to discuss current litigation matters to which the county is a party. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner DeTro exited executive session at 2:45 and extended the session another 15 minutes.

Mr. and Mrs. Maltais arrived at 2:40 to attend the Fair Advisory Committee discussion Director Huston had scheduled regarding the fair budget and staffing issues.

Executive Session ended at 3:00 p.m. no decisions were made.

Discussion – Fairgrounds Budget Staffing – Perry Huston & Josh Freel
Tanya Craig, Leah McCormack, Pam Johnson, Maurice Goodall, Members of the FAC Mrs Maltais, Ms. Sivak, and Kris Simms, and George Thornton and Mr. Maltais members of the public present taking notes.

Commissioners agreed that although the discussion was scheduled at 3:30p.m. but since everyone was here it could start now. Director Huston asked if the board would convene as the Tonasket EMS District in order to approve the districts vouchers.

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.

Commissioner Hover moved to approve the Tonasket EMS District vouchers in the amount of $737.39. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

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

Fairgrounds Facility, Staffing, Capital Facility, and Budget Structure
Director Huston discussed that Josh Freel has worked with Human Resources to identify possible staffing at the fairgrounds. The cost analysis for staffing has not been provided to the Board. Director Huston explained the fairgrounds facility has vacillated back and forth between seasonal temporary staffing and part time year round staffing but it depends on whether the commissioners wish to market the grounds year round. The commissioners seem inclined to go with year round, yes the board agreed as long as it was successful and provided the fair the necessary timeline for the fair.

The fairgrounds office work is currently being done by the Planning Dept. and they can continue doing that but it is merely baseline with no marketing. The theory is that if year round is preferred over seasonal it could be accomplished by adding staffing to fairgrounds in order to do the marketing and office work. Commissioner Hover asked if the fair as its own entity has budget for staffing during the fair or does county provide staffing separately, and if that person is full time one fund cannot benefit another. What costs would be charged to the fair. The fair budget would need to support those hours. Ms. McCormack stated percentages could be worked out like 40% of the time the person is working the fair and 60% is spent doing other things for the grounds. For this year, the fair advisory committee has an adopted budget so it may not account for the funds needed for this. The fair could be invoiced for the time as well as time sheets completed that could reflect the amount of time worked if split between funds. By percentage or tracked hours either way would work, stated Deputy Treasurer Johnson.

Director Huston discussed the County Current Expense dedicating funds to the fair but Ms. McCormack had a problem with that. Director Huston said he is not recommending it but it is in state statute as allowed. It would provide more latitude if it were that way. Director Huston said he would like to bring in office staff and we need to know what level of support the fair is to pay. Ms. Maltais explained the fair and the commissioners have gone back and forth so what does the county owe and what does the fair owe to run the fair. How would it be divided up and will a formula be worked out. Commissioner Hover replied the FAC should come up with a fair rental fee which includes their needs, what does the fair expect from the facilities? Mr. Simms stated what they need is garbage, water trucks, gates, security, outhouses. Director Huston asked who pays for them is academic if the FAC budgets for paint to spruce up the barns then the Auditor changes it to come from the facilities budget, we must figure out where the activity is to be paid from and stick to it. Ms. Craig explained, roughly $33,000 would be needed for a full time and a part time employee for six months, which includes performing duties for the fair and the grounds. Those hours would need to be tracked separately. Director Huston reminded the board that the facilities budget must also provide the funding needed to complete the fairgrounds bathroom project. Commissioner Branch said there is history of cost that could be replicated to identify what is needed for this year. Treasurer McCormack noted that Josh Freel as the Fairgrounds Manager would be bombarded by Fairgrounds and fair questions which he will need to know how to answer. Office staff would provide him with someone to refer people to. Ms. Maltais observed that it has been a moving target over the four years she has been a member about who pays what and asked if something could be set in stone so the FAC knows what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them. Commissioner Hover stated that is what the commissioners would like to provide. A contract agreement would be the mechanism for this, stated Commissioner Branch. Side note: The Clerk of the Board thought creating a Fairgrounds manual could lay it all out for both the permanent fairgrounds staff and FAC, details of how to run the grounds could be memorialized there and it could provide the stability and consistency we all need. It seems we go through this every year reinventing the wheel and no wonder employee stays around very long. The county doesn’t provide the stability nor the consistency staff needs to do a good job and to know what the county and FAC expectations are. A good manual that outlines in detail would provide the processes and details they would need and nothing like that has been discussed or implemented. A good solid manual is what the FAC has been needing for years and what the county employees deserve.

Mr. Goodall explained what costs he thought the fair should be responsible for such as costs for garbage pickup and collection, iPad rentals and things specific to running the fair. Commissioner Hover thought the gate money should support the fair, but Commissioner DeTro stated it also needs to support the facility otherwise the facility doesn’t make enough to maintain the grounds.

Director Huston explained the challenges with the Grandstands. The uncovered section would be removed but the covered portion would remain for this year’s fair. There is nothing in the budget for anything to rebuild. Director Huston discussed a Bond to pay for the Grandstands later with two types of funding either a general obligation backed by a specific property tax with the advantage that it is dedicated tax. Or, a revenue bond tied to another lawful revenue stream that isn’t always dedicated. The disadvantage is that the revenue could be spent on other things. The size of the bond would be relatively small. Would real estate excise tax REET be enough? Treasurer McCormack stated the REET is already dedicated to be used for the Jail Ceiling project, the Courts needed handicap accessibility, and might so it might not stretch that far. Director Huston stated if the Grandstands were built using the $90,000 grant and a GO we are talking about approximately $29,000 per year for 20 years. Commissioner Branch asked if everything that is needed were rolled up together how much would that be? Treasurer McCormack stated right now $30,000 of the Agriplex bond cost comes from LTAC funds and the other $110,000 comes from REET funds, of which the Bond is paid off December 2017. It must be evaluated if we plan on using it for all these other things. Director Huston stated we must spend the money of the AG grant by June for the grandstands. There is still a question whether the Dept of Ag has held the funds for our project since the project has even gotten off the ground yet.

Ms. Maltais asked the county if it was going to look further into a partnership with the Tribe on some of the needs of the fairgrounds. She thinks we should take a serious look at what the tribe has to offer. Commissioner DeTro stated Commissioner Branch is well appointed with the tribe and since it is his district he would be addressing this with them. Commissioner Branch reiterated that a line of communication is open to keep it on the table. Ms. Maltais stated she has done her due diligence on the possibility of having a beer garden at the fair to find out across the state how other fairs deal it. She recommends making calls to find out what other fairs do and not reinvent the wheel. She would like to volunteer her time to do this. Ms. Sivak would also be able to help with that.

Director Huston asked if the commissioner intend on replacing the grandstands? Commissioner Hover replied that if we lose the Ag grant in June it is contingent on what help the tribe can provide to do the project correctly. Commissioner Branch would continue to work on identifying a revenue stream from them and staff would need to provide a budget analysis of the several scenarios. Commissioner Hover said there are also other uses of the grandstand space since it was covered. Could they be retractable to allow for other venues to use the covered portion? The Berg Pavilion is already covered and a much better space for renting out. Mr. Simms stated the RV Park is a good source of revenue too and would like the board to consider a camp post who could take in revenue, clean bathrooms, and be there for the campers. It should be manned. Commissioner Branch believes that is a good idea. Commissioner Hover said some may come in with their horses and wish to camp as well. It is too rough for the fairgrounds manager to attend to. The right people would need to be chosen for the camp post.

The commissioners discussed a 2015 donation for the annex kitchen. Mr. Goodall stated he receipted those funds in and part of the money was from the Jesuits for annex kitchen stove. Mr. Freel believes one big stove would be best. The commissioners would like him to look into replacing the stove. Director Huston said both the stove and refrigerator get the most complaints as well as the HVAC and carpeted floors.

Commissioners would like to prepare a budget for bond issue.

Prepare a contract for the fair to rent the grounds for the fair. Ms. Johnson asked about fair staffing and whether those costs should be in the contract or costs such as paper, garbage bags, bathroom supplies, and things like that. Commissioner Hover stated if it is delineated then the Fair could worry about other stuff and having a bright line about it helps. Commissioner Branch stated there is revenue in the RV rentals that support the venue. Ms. McCormack stated when there are three full time employees on the grounds that revenue gets sucked up for that and not for maintenance and repairs.

Prepare an analysis on what budget is going to support what. Decide the cost to provide part time staffing with some full time work during the fair time and part time the rest of the year. Mr. Simms stated another source of revenue is the covered parking during the winter as we lost that at some time.

Everyone left the meeting except for George Thornton. Commissioners continued discussing the criminal justice sales tax issue to prepare for the meeting with Superior Court and Juvenile for the funds needed for the Juvenile Detention facility. Commissioner Branch discussed cross over priorities that the cities and the county may have. There are many items the cities and the county shares such as this and the Jail. Director explained the different scenario distributions should the county or the city initiate the sales tax. Commissioner Branch stated the city of Omak may be considering doing this as there may be opportunity to join together. Commissioner Hover discussed the jail site visit the board had with Douglas County and stated a letter would be drafted to initiate an amended contract to provide some of the funds they would like to help out with.

Review Meeting Minutes

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