APRIL 24, 2018


The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on April 24, 2018, with, Chairman Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover, and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

The Board convened at 9:00 am

George Thornton, member of the public, taking handwritten notes 8:55 a.m...

Commissioners’ Staff Meeting
David Gecas, Josh Thomson, Perry Huston, Joe Poulin

Director Huston discussed the Similkameen trail washout stating that the bridge is owned by PUD County. Commissioners asked if an MOU could provide the necessary means to fix the problem. The PUD is in negotiations with BLM for a more formal agreement for use of the railroad areas. Mr. Thornton explained he was involved with some environmental issues at the dam and the PUD contended at that time no one was to access the powerhouse because of the potential safety issues and possible contaminants. Commissioner Branch asked that the Pacific Northwest Trail association be contacted because in the past they tried to obtain the property for that trail system. Issues of risk had been brought up at the time. They need to be wired into this issue because it is designated as a national scenic trail. The RCO has some skin in the game too and will be inspecting the trail sometime soon. Director Huston asked if BLM has assessed the environmental review. Engineer Thomson said they appear to be started on that.

Director Huston asked for executive session.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 9:20 for 10 minutes inviting David Gecas, Joe Poulin, and Perry Huston to discuss with legal counsel matters relating to agency enforcement actions or agency litigation to which the county may be a party. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive session ended at 9:30 a.m. no decisions were made.

Director Huston provided the board a list of Riverine to Rural which showed listed lakes and rivers. He asked for the commissioners for clarification because Leonard with DOE inquired. (attached) Commissioner Hover would like to see the map before making any changes. The board will discuss this further whether or not to include the listed rivers and lakes. Director Huston will relay that to Leonard.

Director Huston explained a proposal was received to purchase tax title property near Brewster which went to public auction in 1938 but did not sell. The Treasurer is looking at it and her view point is that they are not buildable parcels and they are surrounded by one other property. Director Huston said sited an RCW that allows the county to go into negotiations due to the property not being buildable. He suggested the board hold a public hearing to give everyone a chance to testify for or against the sale of the property.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 9:35 am for 10 minutes inviting David Gecas and Josh Thomson to discuss with legal counsel matters relating to agency enforcement actions or agency litigation to which the county may be a party. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive Session ended at 9:45 a.m. no decisions were made.

Laurie Jones joined the meeting at 10:05 a.m.

David Gecas updated the board on public records requests he is handling.

Joe Poulin updated the board on grounds maintenance at the fairgrounds. He explained he will be spraying 14 acres of exterior grounds for weeds. Then afterward he will spray inside the grounds to include around buildings and race track. Mr. Poulin is certified to spray weeds. He explained the timeline for additional spraying in order to keep up with the weeds through the season. He is utilizing his own personal tractor, but requested an additional seasonal employee because someone needs to mow and change sprinklers and he cannot do it. Commissioners asked if trustees would be available. Mr. Poulin explained there is one trustee allocated to the maintenance department, but if the landfill needs him he can be pulled away at any time. The commissioners were in favor of hiring for the temp maintenance position. The commissioners prefer to hold off hiring the temp office staffing.

The Vintage Faire is about ready to start moving in. The beef barns were power washed, and display cabinets were moved out of the commercial building. The grounds are being prepared as requested.

Director Huston explained he received a bill for the repairs of the old fairgrounds garbage truck, which was a surprise to him because he thought it had been surplussed previously and sold. The truck apparently is still not functioning and the bill received was only for diagnostics. The Commissioners discussed whether to fix the garbage truck or surplus i.

Approve Consent Agenda
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the consent agenda items 1-10 excluding item 11. Motion was seconded all were in favor, motion carried.

1. Commissioners Proceedings April 16 & 17 2018
2. Special Occasion Liquor License #368521 – Winthrop Barn 6/23 – Tara Moser
3. Special Occasion Liquor License Revised #093048 – Patterson Lake Cabins 5/11 & 5/12 – Sarah Stephens
4. Letter of Support – Ferry County Receiving Funding for Demonstration Network – Dept of Natural Resources
5. A19-1A Form – Retention Invoice Contract 2013-082G(2-1)– Courthouse Energy Project – Ameresco Quantum
6. Contract – County Landfill Leachate Pond No. 3 – KRCI, LLC – Public Works
7. Contract – Liquid Asphalt – Idaho Asphalt Supply, Inc. – Public Works
8. Service Agreement – Solid Waste Accounting & Scale Software – Scaleit USA – Public Works
9. MOU – Lease of Office Space -WSU Extension Office --Public Works Administration Building
10. Resolution 38-2018 – Comp Plan Comment Period & Continued Public Hearing
11. Resolution 39-2018 – Declaring Surplus County Property Garbage Truck

Update-Human Resources/Risk Management-Debi Hilts & Tanya Craig
Ms. Hilts explained the current 4-H coordinator position is open in the WSU office. Is it okay to put the job announcement on the county website even though that position is a WSU position? The commissioner were fine with the posting of the position on the county’s website.

Ms. Hilts updated the board on Civil Service. She noted the official in-house corrections testing will happen here in May for the written part. Other parts of the testing will happen off site with the Sheriff.

Stella Columbia will begin as Event Coordinator at the fairgrounds May 14. There are several departments to provide training to her. Ms. Craig explained the last employees were keeping a training booklet on the computer. Commissioners asked her to be print it out and go over it with Ms. Columbia. Commissioner Hover explained his wish to document all the procedures for vendors, camping, tags, etc.……so that employees have some consistent processes to follow.

Ms. Craig explained the state auditor has brought up time and time again the potential for exempt employees to abuse their exempt status. She further explained the current practice and how it may be abused. When the laws changed the county did not change its policy to follow. Commissioners discussed how to alleviate the potential for abuse and allow annual leave and sick leave to be taken incrementally rather than in chunks of 8 hours. Commissioners would like to see exempt employees with accumulated annual leave to be grandfathered in so that leave time is not lost. Options were discussed. Ms. Craig said she will play the devil’s advocate. She explained at the bare minimum if the board allowed annual leave to be taken in increments.

Discussion – Apple Maggot – Dan McCarthy & Jim Marra
Ben Rough, Kent Kovalenko, Amy Chloe, Derik Sanderson

Mr. Marra explained he was here to discuss the Apple Maggot quarantine in the Methow Valley. The Department of Agriculture has an apple maggot certification program that includes deployment of traps in areas of concern. A map showed the existing quarantine area in red. The department regulates tree fruit and they have been catching a lot of apple maggot fly in the Methow Valley and it was determined the flies are reproducing. As regulated items are prohibited from moving out of the quarantine area it is imperative to prevent the bug from being transferred to other areas of the county. The trap program will be extended and if none are caught within a half mile of the quarantine area the grower can ship fruit. There is only one orchard within the quarantine area and it is the Booth orchard. They only ship to Seattle which is also within the quarantine area. Mr. Marra explained a comment period will be scheduled and comments collected sometime in June.

The Dept. of Agriculture also regulates any solid waste landfill materials that are brought through Methow Valley that are subject to the quarantine. There are separate regulations between municipal solid waste and municipal green wastes. A special permit is required to move municipal green waste. There are options to direct heat treat the materials and they are looking into that option for Chelan County. It is in the experimental stage right now. Steam heating equipment is used to treat the soils and could be an option for treating the municipal green waste. Commissioner DeTro asked if solar treatments could be used. Mr. Marra explained it would need to meet the requirements of the quarantine.

An annual report and procedures document on the quarantine and trapping program is available. The reason for creating the program is because of the numerous trade agreements our nation has and our wish to keep those industries open to our food products. It is a monumental task. There is also a subsequent review going to happen of the impacts of the quarantine. As far as Mr. Marra can tell there is no current impact to Okanogan County commercial growers. He said informational signs will go up to inform those on the roadways.

Commissioner Hover asked what information is in place to inform private garbage companies that hauling green waste garbage through the quarantine area and into non-quarantined areas is not allowed without proper permitting and safeguards. Ben Rough explained that may be an issue. Commissioner Hover said that could be an economic impact to a private hauler if they have to drive further or be required to obtain a permit for every load.

Mr. Marra said Okanogan County is on the distribution list for the information that will let us know, along the way, what the status of the situation is. That information will help guide how we are to inform those in the business.

Cancelled - Update – Public Works – Josh Thomson & Ben Rough

Discussion – FIMC Middle Adopter Status – Linda Parlette, Christal Eshelman
An agenda was provided. Ms. Parlette thought it would be helpful to have Ms. Eshelman here to help explain the timeline.

Rosa ?? and Tamara Cardwell-Burns will explain the reserve issues.

Ms. Eshelman explained the billing system. She discussed the items listed on the agenda. A plan and timeline was discussed which are based on the five groups. She further discussed the knowledge transfer meetings between Spokane BHO and MCOs’.

Commissioner Branch asked about the managed care rates and how that interplays with Okanogan County. He said there was an Aging and Adult care rate issue and asked how that is dealt with.

Jessica Diaz and Alice Lind provided the HCA update. In the past the HCA sent out a letter to people about the changes. Yes, a letter will go out in October to the people then a notification from HCA that their enrollment will change. All clients will get a letter notifying them in the fall around November. Those enrolled in three plans staying in the region the letter will state they stay in the same plan, but United and ?? will be automatic so there is no break in coverage. Commissioner Hover asked about the transition and whether it is all preliminarily set up to address the questions during the transition.

Jim Novelli asked if the three choices clients are to make will be well explained. Will clients be given an opportunity to understand what the letter says? Community engagement was discussed as there will be clients who don’t know what to do with the letter. Will there be any additional assistance for those who are challenged. The commissioners see this could be a difficult transition and there will be a break in communication. There is one central healthcare line, and they agree there should be some events this summer and get out in front of the change before it is made. Mr. Novelli said with three difference vendors he is unsure whether clients will know which one they are with on the back end the provider may not even have the information. He said the sooner the mailing can be sent out the better.

Tamara spoke about the reserves and the flexibility. But it appears it is more restrictive and cannot be used prior to January 2019. Some of the dollars available to Spokane should be explored. She suggested a consultant that could help the county through the transition. The billing and contract negotiations were discussed. All four counties are invited May 14 to the one day training for those things that must be done prior to January 1, 2019.

Mr. Novelli explained what OBHC would use the funds for.

Ms. Parlette asked what process we should go through in order to be able to utilize the funds for our needs, such as the contracting issue and IT issues. Is there anything we can do right in so far as getting some of the funding from Spokane BHOs reserves? Jessica said Spokane is in the middle of their spend down plan. Chris Emhaus is the person to reach out to. She knows this would be good timing to contact Chris Emhaus about the issues. Spokane is responsible for helping their providers and giving them support and Okanogan County is still part of their system. Ms. Parlette will follow through with that connection.

Ms. Parlette suggested language within the contracts that allowed it to be reopened. She thanked everyone for their time and the meeting adjourned.

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 regular vouchers in the amount of $839,290.70. Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion seconded and carried.

Motion Public Health Voucher
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the Public Health Vouchers in the amount of $13,347.23 Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Resolution 40-2018 Clerk’s Convenience Fee
Commissioner Branch moved to approve resolution 40-2018 adopting convenience fees within the Clerk’s office. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Discussion – Smoke Jumper Base Forest Service – James Pena, Mike Williams & Cities –Location is TwispWorks Education Station 502 S. Glover St., Twisp, WA.
A sign in sheet was placed at the door and those entering signed in. Those at the table were Andy Hover (Okanogan County), Jim DeTro (Okanogan County), Sally Ranzau (Town of Winthrop), Soo Ing-Moody (Town of Twisp), Carlene Anders (Town of Pateros), Jim Peña (Regional Forester), Mike Williams (OWNF Forest Supervisor), Ryan Neil (OWNF Deputy Forest Supervisor), Daren Belsby (NCSB Base Manager), Jason Peterson (OWNF Forest Engineer), Rob Allen (OWNF Forest Fire Management Officer), Nicholas Goldstein (RO Legislative Affairs Specialist), Christy Darden (Director Engineering, Fleet, SusOps), Craig Glazier (RO Asst. Director Fire & Aviation)

Commissioner DeTro, Commissioner Hover and the Clerk of the Board traveled separately to the meeting location. Commissioner Branch did not attend due to attending other county business.

Commissioner DeTro opened the meeting up stating its purpose. The facilitator wrote: the meeting held to establish multi-jurisdictional working partnerships to facilitate the timely advance of the USFS’ stated objective to maintain the North Cascades Smokejumper Base in Winthrop.

Meeting Opening: Facilitator
 Introductions
 Review meeting agenda and objectives
Twisp Works, Ashley Thrasher, the facilitator of this meeting, provided introductions and reviewed the meeting objectives. She noted there was no time for public discussion today. Introductions were made.

Discussion: Goals
 Identify Forest Service goals for NCSB-Forest Supervisor
 Identify NCSB Regional Partners’ goals-Commissioner Hover
Commissioner Hover thanked everyone for their attendance. The board wanted to discuss the Forest Service goals and objectives for the Smoke Jumper base and discuss how to partner with them to try to facilitate funding to keep the base here. The PPA determined a two to three year timeframe for the funding to be realized. He asked the Forest Service to identify their goals and objectives for the base today. Commissioner Hover explained why the smoke jumper base is so important to this area. This meeting shows the willingness of the state to put money into something that is important to the community and region.

Discussion: Actions
 What is the next step for the Forest Service?
 How can the NCSB Regional Partners assist?
 What is the timeline?
Mr. Williams explained the Forest Service received a letter from the county requesting a meeting to discuss the future of the Smoke Jumper base. This meeting was arranged as a result. He introduced Jim Pena, Regional Forester. Mr. Pena commented on the forest maintenance being deferred a long time and that the Smoke Jumper base is a resource and an important fire suppression asset all that plays into how Forest Service is are looking at it. Their budget has not kept up with the needs of the base. The facilities maintenance in this region have been deferred. He ran the gamut and visited both the base and the ranger district to see for himself the condition of the region. The employees do a lot on their own time to maintain the buildings above and beyond what they are paid to do in order to keep the buildings looking good. It is the only practical solution but it masks the real problems of the buildings. He is hearing the urgency to act based on the interest expressed by the community. The upgrades to the airport and set backs needed will require Forest Service to either move the base or come up with solutions. The buildings are 50’s era buildings and do not meet current safety standards. First buildings must be removed from where the runway upgrades are to take place. Mr. Pena explained Forest Service does support the utility of the base and the upgrades it needs.

In July 2017, there was a study done to identify whether the jump base was to be left in place and secure funds to deal with the upgrades to operate on site or move the function of the base to another location that did not need so many upgrades. There are other sites but this site is unique and the people here want to keep it here. They identified in the PPA that they would need around $2.5-5 million dollars for the aviation part. Mr. Pena explained within this region, there is a long list of deferred properties so to try and make sense of the priorities has been really difficult. They have been dealing with the smaller ticket items first to buy time to figure out where the funding for the larger ticket items can be found later. Forest Service did include funding in its 2018 omnibus bill and that guides a path toward funding in 2019 including suppression funding for aviation related infrastructure. He stated that $25 of the $85 million dollars, for facility improvements funding, can be used in the region; however, there are a number of regions with priorities that we are competing with for the same funding. Mr. Pena further explained other funding fixes that would put dollars into one fire funding fix into an emergency fund. About $85 million was allocated nationally to forests. They will be working with the Washington Office on the funding.

Mr. Pena explained the environmental needed reviews and the plan to get started, but many plans are designed to take place over a longer time frame. The agreement they have with Mr. Williams is that they will continue to share progress and answer questions.

Mr. Williams outlined a regional perspective. Commissioner Hover asked if Mr. Williams had any idea where these funding proposals fall in terms of the $2.5 -5 million allocation, is there a standard the Forest Service wants to be at and can we spend less and still get what is needed. Mr. Pena stated each site was identified and the cut would be site design but that work hasn’t been done yet.

The PPA was a general one and the team was looking at doing different phases. The location can make a difference in cost too. The preliminary design included discussion as to whether or not to use modular buildings or stick buildings. There were other needs with regards to the water system and the bunk house which bumps up the cost to around $10 million.

Ms. Ing-Moody thanked the group for their time. She relayed that the community believes this is a big topic and they would like reassurance from Forest Service that they are taking this seriously. We need to see funds realized so the base is not moved elsewhere. If we put our efforts forth to partner with Forest Service they do not want to see it go somewhere else. Mr. Pena replied that there is no guarantee, they want the base to stay here too and are making plans keep it here. Mr. Pena stated they have a strong funding proposal and are optimistic they will be successful. If not, Forest Service will continue to look for funding. He explained what he thought brought the concerns forward and that was the last couple years of fires. The base is an asset and they are willing to invest in it. The broader picture is the community support and potential resources. He would like to see continued discussion among the community groups to bring additional funding sources to the table. Commissioner Hover said this was ranked number one on the district priority and that could bring alternative funding such as grant or private monies. How does Forest Service keep grant or private funding types specifically for this project separate from Forest Service general funds? Mr. Pena said there are things they can do to work it out.

Ms. Ing-Moody asked what the community can do to ensure the $25 million dollars are appropriated here in Okanogan County for the base. Mr. Pena said this is not the only aviation project to be funded. He explained the competition this project is competing against. As soon as they learn how they fared they will share that info with the community. Ms. Ing-Moody said they have partnerships in place and investments that are made such as the $5 million dedicated to runway repairs. She said this is an opportunity for Forest Service to step up, this is an offering here and she hopes it resonates in Washington.

Ms. Carleen Anders asked how the project is staged. Mr. Pena said the project is packaged in a phased way, which may buy time to identify additional funding sources. The rest is just as important.

Commissioner DeTro explained he jumped there in the late 60’s and into the 70’s. He wants to see the base granted in perpetuity. It is the birth place of smokejumpers. A monument was suggested. He said he wants to see it in perpetuity and congress can do that. He appreciates what they are trying to do, we need to set priorities and timelines and stick to them. We all know how the wheels of bureaucracy in Forest Service. He mentioned the outfitters guides permitting slow process for the 10 year permits. Mr. Pena said they will everything they can. He is familiar with the programs they have and fire is a big thing in this region.

Commissioner Hover asked about the timeline and whether they received direction to remove the building from the proposed runway. Are they affected? Mr. Pena said in order to not lose the grant funding there is a timeline. 2007 identified the buildings within the runway. The master plan update must be in place first, before additional funding is allocated. Commissioner Hover asked if there was thought of selling a portion of the property to use the proceeds for the improvements. Mr. Pena replied until recently they had not considered conveyance of property to help pay for things. Ad hock purposes is what the property had been used for in the past. He said that he doesn’t want to sell any property there until they know where the buildings will be placed. Until they know what they are doing with the site he is hesitant to articulate other options to utilize.

Ms. Ing Moody asked what the plan is for this place. The project being considered is the whole project. The dollar amount to be requested is unknown at the moment. Ms. Ing Moody said she read through the PPA and the $5 million was identified there as well for maintenance and thought we are really looking at is less than $5 million. Mr. Pena said the funding mentioned are all estimates.

Ms. Darden stated they are drafting the scope of work right now in anticipation of receiving the funding. We should know within three months. What money the base does have is going towards things that were not in the PPA, but are priority like the bunkhouse.

Commissioner Hover asked the WSDOT director of aviation how far out from the runway can the grant dollars be used is there a specific distance from center line? Director David Fleckenstein said there is a defined boundary in the airport layout plan that will be considered. Ms. Darden said the agency is given conveyance authority annually and anticipate it will be granted again later this year. Mr. Pena explained Forest Service conveyances and two things that happen public land to private and affects tax rolls of the county, and a lower cost to maintain a size based on current needs. Right now they are oversized and pay for that so they are looking at a size for current needs.

The plan is that the base will not be closed down when the three buildings are rebuilt. There is good interagency interactions, from Mr. Pena’s perspective and he wants to continue that with DNR, local fire districts and their units. Mr. Williams explained public partnerships that pull together all entities affected as resolve is identified.

Karen Francis McCoy had indicated her availability to write grants for this. How do we channel private funding towards a project and who would be the point person to contact? Mr. Williams said they have staff available too. Forest Service has the ability to write grants and is willing to help with the projects. Jason Peterson will be there, too, as a local contact. Commissioner DeTro explained he sits on the wildland fire council and explained the white paper that was brought to the legislators. He asked if there was something the county can do from that perspective. He sits on the NACo public lands steering committee and worked out the concept of keeping the base viable.

Next Steps: Facilitator
Ashley Thrasher summarized the meeting. Commissioner Hover said any funding that would be FFA funding would need to be lined up. Scope of work is being drafted.

Ms. Anders explained how important the facility was during the 2014 and 2015 fires. The need and desire to keep the facility here is strong would it be a step back if we lost the facility. She expressed her appreciation to the group for their efforts to keep the base here. She said the community is willing to step up and do what it takes.

Commissioner DeTro explained Okanogan County economy depended on cattle, forest products, tourism and tree fruit and the way Forest Service is addressing the forest and cattle that would leave only tree fruit. Mr. Pena replied the AOI meetings should not take have taken 15 years to get a decision on a 10-year permit for the outfitters and guides. It is a huge forest. Commissioner Hover acknowledged that Forest Service contributes to the economy of this county and he is really appreciative to sit sat down with the group today and discuss this issue.

Everyone thanked each other for attending and the meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.