March 6, 2017

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on March 6, 2017, with Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover, and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board present.

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

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

Albert Lin arrived at 9:30am

Review Consent Agenda
Commissioners reviewed consent agenda items to be approved. Discussing the Cascade Loop late invoice and whether or not to pay it out of 2017 funds. Commissioner Hover talked about sending out an email to all the entities as a notification email for due invoices. Commissioner Branch talked about a process regarding how to resolve Cascade Loop 2016 late invoice which will ultimately affect all 2016 allocations ending fund balance. Commissioners received direction from Albert Lin on whether a letter went to Cascade Loop notifying them of the contract requirement that invoices were due November 1, 2016. Ms. Johns investigated whether a letter went out to Cascade Loop and doesn’t believe that they were notified by letter but was notified by a telephone call. Commissioner Hover asked if we ever received an appeal from Borderlands Society regarding their denied invoice. Ms. Johns stated that we have not received any appeal regarding the decision and recommended that we review any process that applies to an appeal regarding a denied LTAC invoice. Commissioner Hover stated that there is a process but recommended that we create a better process of communication regarding an appeal.

Commissioner Hover discussed the Community Action Council issues with the Affordable Housing administration request. He explained he would base the decision upon the part of the contract for Community Action which states that up to 15% could be collected for administrative expenses for all low income housing funds distributed. Ms. Johns explained that if there are no projects then there are no administrative expenses to be claimed. Mr. Thornton stated that if the money is accumulating in there budget. Should that be the amount that the 15% applies to? Commissioner Hover stated that this entity is awarded a certain amount of funds to be distributed through projects every year. Their argument is that up to 15% could be taken in administrative expenses for project fees but it is not retroactive. Mr. Thornton stated it sounds like that the original contract did not protect the county like it should have.

Commissioner Branch advised Commissioner Hover to meet with the coalition members and to check in with them on their programs that the money was distributed for. He wants to fully understand their active programs that are being funded. Mr. Huston outlined the RCW that the county retain all funds.

Commissioner Hover stated that they would like them to come in and have a discussion with the board regarding their contract. Ms. Johns stated that they need to provide backup documentation for their claim of administrative fees for their said projects over the years because they haven’t done so in accordance with county policy and practices.

Commissioner Branch explained that there are some speculations about the claims for these fees. He wants to know from their prospective how the two programs are different and why they think they should be treated differently. Commissioner Branch stated that he would also like them to come in and have a discussion.

Albert Lin discussed legal process regarding the Hirst decision. Albert asked of permission to notify other officials regarding a memo on implementing Title 20 (Memo attached from Mackie). Albert Lin will report back the outcome of the status this afternoon.

Motion to Sharing the Sandy Mackie Memo with Bars Association
Commissioner DeTro moved to approve sharing the Sandy Mackie memo with Okanogan County Bars Association. Motion seconded, all were in favor, motion carried out. (attached)

George Thornton asked when there is public discussion at the podium if the volume could be turned up so he could hear the discussion.

Albert Lin stated that the bars association would be present at the hearing held tomorrow.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 9:40 am for ten minutes inviting Albert Lin to discuss legal matters to which the county is a party. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive session adjourned at 9:50 am. No decisions were made.

Briefing Among Commissioners
Commissioners discuss Sawyer & Sawyer leaving the county. Commissioner Branch discussed a reason for the heavy haul corridor which allows Canadian haulers to haul across the border to Reman & Reload. Oroville Transit also hauls those loads. Commissioner Brach stated that DOT gets special money for road maintenance. These two business will be the two most affected by this. Commissioners discussed rail hauling from Wenatchee to the border. Commissioner Branch discussed there may be an effort to create a port district in the Oroville Area in order to build that area up. Commissioner Hover stated that there would have to be a heavy haul corridor established from Oroville to Wenatchee.

Commissioner Branch said that he discussed the threat of the railroad being shut down with other officials while at a Round Table last week.

Commissioner Hover asked about the opinion of the other commissioners on Title 20 issues they are considering. Commissioner DeTro replied that Title 20 would be opened back up if the state deals with it in the legislative session.

Commissioner Branch explained that the public should expect there to be debates among commissioners. Mr. Thornton stated than they have to expect that each commissioner will have their own opinions on matters.

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 $469,209.44 and Payroll vouchers in the amount of $986,662.97. Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion –Public Health 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 Public Health vouchers in the amount of $5988.90. Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion seconded and carried.

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

Motion Methow Valley EMS District Voucher Approval
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the Methow Valley EMS District Voucher in the amount of $54,920.50. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

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

Certify the Capital Asset Inventory List to the County Auditor
Ms. Johns provided an email she sent out explaining capital assets to specific departments that have not provided adequate information. She will include the emails in our paperwork. She explained that the only thing that the Commissioner’s office has that may qualify as a capital asset would be our printer.
Commissioner Hover explained policy to Mr. Thornton regarding capital assets and that the same policy applies to all county departments.
Commissioners will continue certification in order for departments to provide their late lists.

Discussion Jail Medical Officer – Noah Stewart
Joe Somday present

Mr. Stewart provided the Advanced Practice Clinical Provider Services Agreement.
Mr. Stewart explained that $50,000 more is being spent than previous contract. It is $50 for every hour that they are on call. They are actively trying to find someone to step into Dr. Patterson’s shoes. Precept doctor is included. He is under the risk pool insurance due to malpractice insurance costs.

Commissioner Hover asked how long it takes the process takes to vet a new doctor. Mr. Stewart brought up the history of the position and trying to find someone how wants to work in a jail is very difficult.

Mr. Stewart provided his current budget and explained his 2016 expenditures for maintenance operations for the jail. If possible could we move this out of his budget and move it into the maintenance budget as a separate line? The Jail is the only department that the maintenance is included into his budget. Commissioner Hover stated that he thinks it would be a good idea and unforeseen maintenance items to be able to move funds to pay for it. Another option would be to come with a supplemental to the Commissioners.

Clerk of the Board explained changes with the State Auditor and changes in the bars manual. Commissioner Branch asked if the Sheriff’s and Jail departments are invited to join in meetings with the state auditor. He explained we have a lot more unmandated process.

Mr. Somday explained the process of a supplemental for the sheriff’s department and his frustration. Mr. Stewart explained that they have a computer that never forgets medical service revenue. Which is used for inmate medical. Everything that the inmate doesn’t pay gets billed to the city and the jail gets reimbursed.

Interview Carol Sivak Fair Advisory Committee Position #7
Commissioners interviewed Ms. Sivak.
Ms. Sivak stated that she lives in Malott. Commissioner DeTro explained that he feels she is qualified for the position due to her past involvement at the fair with horse races and kids games and having lived here for many years. Ms. Sivak explained that she is retired and that she has available time for the position.

No other letters of interest were received by the commissioners for this position.

Motion Fair Advisory Committee Appointment Sivak
Commissioner Branch moved to approve Ms. Sivak to the position and directed the Clerk of the Board create the appointment letter for signature, motion seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Discussion Park Service Grizzlies – Eric Rickerson & Staff
Jack Alskey, Gregg Kurz from Wenatchee, Perry Huston, George Thornton, member of the public taking notes, Matt Mattison, Susan DePriest, Daniel J. Blatecky, Doug Ralston, Reg Kelly, Gregg Bafundo, Jasmine Minbashian, members of the public.

Presentation by US National Park Service (attached)
Mr. Huston suggested to move straight into presentation. North cascades ecosystem was noted to be 10,000 square miles or six million square acres and extends into Canada. No preferred alternative in the process. Final EIS will provide a preferred alternative.

Commissioner Hover asked if the people that live within the area have any weight on the decision.

Mr. Alskey stated noit is open to everyone because 85% of the area is national park and forest. There will be additional meetings where these people can attend and their side can be heard and taken into consideration.

Commissioner Hover asked what the typical range is for a grizzly bear. Mr. Alskey responded around 50 to 100 miles male grizzly is twice that depending on density and population in the proposed area. Commissioner Hover asked what the maximum density for grizzly bears 800 depending on the area in which they are living.

Commissioner DeTro stated that there are areas that are very remote and far from any type of road. Commissioner DeTro asked about mortality. If you capture a bear and the bear is taken to a new place why is it considered mortality and not immigration? The bear is still alive.

Mr. Alskey explained that it is emigration but it is a loss to the population and area in which the bear is removed from because that area is losing that bear because the bear that is removed will not be replaced. It would be that same as a mortality.
Mr. Kurz explained if we were to bring bears here they would be taken out of a population that could afford to lose that population and that would still thrive. Female bears only reproduce about three times in their lifetime and not until they are 6 years old making it hard for a population to grow through reproduction. This would mean that about 165 bears would end up being moved by the end of the project. Each bear that is brought in would wear a GPS tracking collar so that it can be monitored and the collar would be replaced every three years.

Commissioner DeTro stated that a certain road will not be rebuilt because it would ruined the proposed grizzly bear plan. Mr. Alskey stated that this is incorrect. Whether that road is put back in has nothing to do with the bears. Commissioner Hover asked how many square miles are the areas that have been chosen for release sites. Mr. Alskey could not provide that information. Commissioner Hover stated his concern due to the amount of area that a male grizzle can travel. Mr. Kurz responded that there are ways to manage the grizzlies if they start to wonder close to the proposed boundaries.

Commissioner Hover asked if the future management will be more the State Fish and Wildlife Department’s responsibility. Mr. Alskey responded that the first responders to any bear problems would indeed be the Fish and Wildlife Department.

Mr. Blatecky asked if there was a more concealed and efficient way to monitor these bears other than the collar. Mr. Kurz responded that the collar is the best way to monitor them. Commissioner DeTro provided Mr. Alskey and Mr. Cur with information stating that the last known bear in this area killed over 170 head of cattle in a two year run and provided a foot print of the size of this bear and stated that we are already dealing with the flawed plan involving the wolves.

Commissioner Hover asked what is holding up the management plan in Yellowstone from going forward. Mr. Kurz replied that legal courts are keeping the management plan from going forth and are trying to prevent this from happening.

Mr. Alskey explained that the public comment period will close on March 14, 2017 and that comments regarding the situation can only be submitted online. Commissioner DeTro reported that a lot of the areas around Lake Chelan are heavily used areas by humans. Mr. Kurz replied that they have taken that into consideration and believes that the bears that will be moved to that area will not cause any problems and that all trails should not be affected.

Ms. Minbashian asked if the Ten J plan was used would the citizens who are not Washington State citizens have an opinion that matters. She asked if the bears are declining what is causing their decline and why aren’t they moving down? Also what is the cost? Mr. Kurz replied yes and that there would be a 30 day comment period for anyone who would like to make comment on the process.

Mr. Alskey stated that the decline in population can be due to roads, poaching, and also vehicle collisions if the bear is in an area with a lot of roads or railways. He reported that plan C which is an option where 25 bears would be moved in a period of about ten years would cost $1.5 million over that ten year period due to the distance we would have to move the bears.

Mr. Thornton asked how weather and fires in the area might impact the plan. Mr. Alskey responded by explaining climate change and adaption. Fire itself is not harmful in the short term. Reoccurring fire could be beneficial resulting in a growing population. Mr. Kurz stated that any affects that fires may or may not have is not something that they are detect statistically. Mr. Alskey explained that there are around 140 different foods that bears will eat to survive so while fires can harm their food source it will not affect a population. Mr. Thornton expressed his concern with increase of habitat.

Mr. Bafundo explained that he has spent a lot of time in bear country and that with his experiences with bears they have always run away when he has encountered them because they are more afraid of you than you are of them. He explained that he had some livestock that were killed by bears and that the Fish and Wildlife Department was all over it and issued him a kill tag to take care of the bear but never shot it as the bear left and he never saw it again. He stated that it’s the risk in his line of work with livestock but that he would like to see his backyard wild again.
Commissioner Detro stated his experience in altercations with bears had not been pleasant ones.

Ms. Minbashian stated that she is a hiker and a mother and that she is supportive of this effort regardless. She believes this is an opportunity to right a wrong done to the bears. Commissioner Hover stated that he thinks that the management options are good as long as they can actually be used.
Mr. Kelly asked if there has been an issue in areas that are heavily populated and are heavy use for horses or hunting. Mr. Kurz responded that it’s about awareness and that they haven’t had any reported problems. Mr. Alskey stated it’s about personal safety and being aware of your surroundings when out in the wilderness. You need to manage your food and garbage when you’re out in the woods.
Mr. Ralston stated that eventually we will have a problem just like with the wolves they will eventually come into populated areas?
Mr. Ralston asked why we need these bears here. There is not a guarantee that they are good bears. Mr. Kurz explained that this is why they will be monitored. Fish and Wildlife can issue permits to deal with the bears for people who may end up having a problem with a bear as long as it fits certain criteria.

Ms. DePriest asked what the protocol is if there is a bear on your property and how to deal with is. She explained her experience and that Fish and Wildlife tranquilized the bear but that it took a while for the gun to be loaded and then for the bear to be shot and that it was a frightening situation for her and her family. She asked if the agents have to call in and report the bear and then get further permission to take care of the bear. Mr. Kurz replied that he isn’t sure what the protocol is for each state department in handling bear issues.

Mr. Bafundo explained that he was issued a kill permit and that it didn’t matter what time of day it was he could shoot the bear on site and he was allowed to set traps for the bear as well. He stated that the agent was very easy to work with. Commissioner Detro explained that Washington has a castle doctrine. If you feel that an animal is threatening your family or your property you are allowed to shoot it on site. Mr. Alskey said that best thing that anyone can do it to manage your property and take care of your garbage efficiently and take the necessary precautions with these animals.

Commissioner Branch stated that most people are concerned about the safety issues that will come with bringing these bears into the area. He stated that campgrounds and parks tend to be problem areas with bears. He asked how these bears size up in comparison to the Yellowstone bears that are creating problems with the parks there. Mr. Kurz responded that they will do everything they can to make sure that these bears do not create problems in the camps and in Yellowstone parks they will tend to haze bears who try to frequent those kind of areas and in worst cases scenario will shoot the bear if it becomes too big of a problem and cannot be contained.

Mr. Alskey stated that black bears and grizzly bears tend to avoid people if they can. Personality wise he doesn’t know if there are any differences from the ones in Alaska and the ones that they would be bringing into the area. He said the worst case that can happen for a human is to come upon a mother and her cubs, in which case the mother is very protective. He also stated that grizzly bears are not good tree climbers. Mr. Thornton explained his personal experience with a mother and her cubs. Mr. Alskey explained his experience with grizzly bears and that he strongly believes that people and grizzly bears can coexist.

Commissioner Hover explained when he goes somewhere where there are grizzlies he is prepared for the possibility of encountering a grizzly but when he is at home it is totally different. We are not talking about Alaska where you have to fly into an area to see bears, we are talking about bears in our neighborhood. He lives in an area with cougars and is aware they are there and they are sited often near his home. He has a hard time letting his kid slid down the hill by himself due to fear of wildlife attack. We are talking about different experiences with bears in the wilderness.

A member of the public commented on the potential conflict between the sasquatches’ and grizzly bear if grizzlies were reintroduced. He appeared to be serious and really concerned.

Commissioner Branch stated there was a person mauled in bear camp in Chelan County, it was a black bear.

Director Huston reminded the board of the 3:00 p.m. discussion as that person was here.

Commissioners thanked the group for attending and providing the information even though sometimes it could be hostile.

Discussion Tom Bassett Engineer Architect- Fairgrounds Bathroom Project
The following bids have come in for the Fairgrounds Bathroom project via Forte Architects who is doing the PS&E and principal for the project.

Custom Building Services LLC
Total base bid amount $275,000 not including sales tax. Bid Bond was provided.

Trench excavation $13,500

BTO Construction
Total Base Bid amount $239,000 not including sales tax. Bond check in the amount of $11,950 was provided.

Trench excavation $3,000

Halme Builders
Total Base Bid amount $340,000 not including sales tax. Bid Bond was provided.

Trench excavation $200

TML Construction Inc.
Total Base Bid amount $299,500 not including sales tax. Bid Bond was provided.

Trench excavation $500

R.R. A. Co. Inc.
Total Base Bid amount $340,372 not including sales tax. Bid Bond was provided.

Trench excavation $500

Director Huston and Mr. Bassett discussed how the project was a basic as they come and could not be stripped of any other costs as the building is pretty standard. The building design is as maintenance free as possible and the building should hold up due to the finishes and outside being treated with anti-graffiti treatment and the inside could just be hosed off. The more expensive items were the toilets but they hang from the wall and will be easier to clean. The roof is weatherproof metal and premanufactured trusses with plywood that will be resistant to damage as best as possible. The three main doors can be bolted for security when not in use. LED lighting, adjacent to water system and sewer system and is about 150 ft. from power. The other cost factor is the fact that its a public works process requiring prevailing wages and more extensive paperwork. Mr. Bassett recommended not putting it off as due to changes with federal administration and NAFTA effecting imports, steel is also expensive and rebar is required for the cement work.

Commissioner DeTro stated the apparent low bidder was BTO Construction out of Pateros so it is nice that it a local vendor. There were five bids received with two local.

Motion Bid Award BTO Bathroom at the Fairgrounds
Commissioner Hover moved to award the bid to contractor BTO who was the low bidder for the fairgrounds bathroom project. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Mr. Bassett stated much of the information from the five bids received will be provided back to the county with the exception of the bid bond. Director Huston stated the fair facilities budget will need to be amended to pay for the project. Commissioners discussed the grandstands and taking out the lower portion to address some of the safety issues with that portion. The sewer buildout specs will be provided to the engineer Tom Bassett.

Director Huston stated there were additional items he wished to discuss with the board at staff tomorrow such as the Nightly Rental issues and interpretation of the code. He will recirculate what the previous board approved in this regard. Commissioner Hover stated his current concern is the building code permit issues.

Discussion/Tour Jail Corrections Facilities – Noah Stewart
Douglas County commissioners Steve Jenkins and Dan Sutton arrived at about 3:10 p.m. to tour the Jail with Okanogan County Commissioner Hover and Risk Manager Tanya Craig and Chief Corrections Deputy Noah Stewart. The group left at about 3:25 p.m.

Motion 2016 Capitalized Asset Inventory
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the 2016 Capitalized Asset Inventory to include Emergency Management inventory of three vehicles and directed the Clerk of the Board to include those once they have been submitted and further directed the Clerk of the Board to submit the list to the County Auditor for recording today. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Review Meeting Minutes

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