APRIL 3, 2018

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on April 3, 2018, with, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover, and Melissa Thompson Senior Clerk for Clerk of the Board, Laleńa Johns, present.

Commissioner DeTro, Chairman, was absent.

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

Commissioners’ Staff Meeting
Tanya Craig, David Gecas, Joe Poulin

Risk Manager, Tanya Craig provided a status update on the Compensation Committee. Notices have been sent out and she has received more responses than expected. Commissioner Hover inquired if the 10 responses were all employees and if they could meet on Fridays. Ms. Craig says that about half are employees and half are elected officials with a good spread from department heads, elected officials and employees. Commissioner Hover would like Ms. Craig to check with Paul Parmley with the Union and Tom of AFSCME, to confirm their thoughts on employee membership.

Ms. Craig discussed training regarding claims and liability that the Risk Pool is putting on that she’d like to attend with Debi Hilts. There is no charge because of the county Risk Pool membership. She Invited Josh Thomson, Gary George, and Brandon Pritchard of Public Works, and they are all signed up. Ms. Craig and Ms. Hilts will be attending an additional training session in August on diffusing hostile situations with tact.

Ms. Craig attended some seminars with Commissioner Branch during the Risk Pool conference that stressed the importance of the personnel manual. She has started getting the manual ready for the board to review. The personnel and administrative manuals will be broken out separately. Ms. Craig went through the Fairgrounds policy and itemized some of her concerns and questions. The County Commissioners determine the budget; it is not determined by FAC. There needs to be review to ensure donations being made are acceptable and so there is oversite in disbursement. Ms. Craig will have the policy reviewed by David Gecas. Some wording is being cleaned up regarding the general budget section. As long as the FAC is following state fair guidelines the BOCC is fine with them regulating the animals. Ms. Craig will put together a draft with changes. She will also review gate operations during the fair and talk to the Treasurer to get more feedback on the history.

Civil Deputy Prosecutor, David Gecas has finished up some public records requests that were open. He has looked at the Interlocal agreement with the City of Okanogan for law enforcement, and thinks that ours is pretty good. He doesn’t believe it’s urgent to make an amendment. Mr. Gecas explained that he is working on a forfeiture of land case and hasn’t done too many in the past so he’s been speaking with a deputy prosecutor in Spokane to get some paperwork and useful information. He believes an increase of forfeiture of land may occur due to potential illegal marijuana grow operations. Commissioner Branch asked about the tax bill if the county will have responsibility of that. Mr. Gecas will look into it.

Mr. Gecas was asked by Engineer Josh Thomson to look at the 2477 Roads Statute. It addresses roads on forest land, which could conflict with the wilderness act. According to Mr. Gecas it was appealed in 1976 and situations have bene reviewed on a case by case basis. Director Huston explained that this had come up under the previous board, but nothing had been addressed. It was indicated by Mr. Gecas that the French Creek Road case, will likely go to trial.

He is attending the Bar meeting this afternoon and is interested to get their perspective on 6091.

Maintenance Supervisor, Joe Poulin said that he needs to get some maintenance work done on the maintenance trucks. Mr. Poulin is headed over to the Fairgrounds to identify and mark all water and shut-off valves. Commissioner Hover suggested recording each on a map. Mr. Poulin indicated that he’s marking every valve domestic vs. irrigation as well. Discussed reviewing the back flow preventers and existing cross ties. He will look at equipment and working on getting a trustee but running into timing issues of their sentencing. Commissioner Hover believes there may be a government program with Okanogan Tractor and suggested getting more info for the potential of a new tractor. Mr. Poulin would like to purchase a tool box for the Fairgrounds that can keep tools locked up. Director Huston also suggesting changing any of the locks at the Fairgrounds. Commissioner Hover said that is why he suggested combination locks previously. They will work on changing the combinations. Commissioner Hover thinks there are a lot of items at the Fairgrounds that they can surplus and would like Mr. Poulin to get a list together. The items don’t need to go away this year, but he wants to get the process started. They discussed checking with the landfill and also look into options for going out to RFP to have a company pay for and pick up the metal scraps.

Planning Director Perry Huston explained that the Back Country Horsemen want to engage work at the Whistler Canyon Trail. Director Huston will see what they plan on doing as a portion is owned by the County. He will be working with Ms. Craig to see the boundaries of what the County owns. There is no plan or budget in terms of maintenance for the trail systems. Per Director Huston we need to drill into recreational infrastructure and get a grasp of the liabilities. Commissioner Hover would like a map generated so that we are able to see at a glance what our responsibility is. Ms. Craig plans on visiting the locations to review where we are at with liability. Commissioner Branch would like them to look into the Mt. Hull Restoration Project as it includes route changes for the Whistler Canyon trail.

Update – Clerk’s Office – Charleen Groomes
Charleen Groomes, Susan Speiker

Charleen Groomes explained the status of their transition to a new state system with a portal that will give access to their records. The access will be minimal such that the user is able to view items, but not be able to print them. Any case that is public will be visible to the user. The clerk’s office will maintain access for every user with a confidentiality agreement. We can charge attorneys a fee by resolution or current policy, which will give them access to court cases that the public will not have access to. Fees are not set by statute according to Ms. Groomes. Commissioner Hover would like all department fees to be set by resolution. Ms. Groomes will forward all the documents to the Commissioners to review. Ms. Groomes indicated that their whole department will be in training April and May so coverage will be light. They will also all need to work on Sunday the 3rd to get everything in when it goes live.

Ms. Groomes indicated that the grant application for records retention was completed. She was able to receive lots of help when they were informed of the bat and termite situation. They are working on going paperless and have complete support from the judges. Susan Speiker, Chief Deputy Clerk, said the process was seamless, as the judges were already working on laptops or computers. The new systems will be touch screen and the court files will no longer be stored in Laserfiche due to the new state system. According to Ms. Speiker, the staff is working on clean-up projects to prepare for the new system. They have also received positive feedback that the county is doing great with the transition and ahead of the game. Barcodes will be assigned to the cases and automatically be in the system and disbursed to whoever needs it. They also explained to the BOCC that the state will be reimbursing for witness fees.

Update – Communications / Dispatch – Mike Worden
Mike Worden

Talked to BOCCs about various holes in funding and provided a chart that is identifying costs with each agency (attached). Cities pay per capita to the county for 911 dispatch, while Fire and EMS Districts don’t pay anything towards dispatch. Mr. Worden is looking to address the issue fairly. The intent is to send a letter to agencies saying explaining the cost plan for 2019 to prepare them for contracts. The new system would bring everyone to paying a fee, where currently half the entities are not paying a portion for the dispatch. Commissioner Hover, asked why wouldn’t you geo locate every call and bill based on where the call goes. Mr. Worden said that essentially that is what he’s showing with the exception that cities are pulled out because they will still pay the per capita fee. According to Mr. Warden we need to evolve carefully and wouldn’t want to go to one extreme. Some cities may have more calls but not the budget for it. Nothing is causing people to come together on a solution in today’s system. If the costs were based on straight volume then you could have a situation in which a fire district may not cross lines to help their neighbor because it would impact them. The costs are based on the location being served, not who goes there, with the exception of the cities, which will remain on a per capita fee structure regardless of the number of calls that go to that city. Contracts include an advisory committee to discuss needs of today and what needs to be planned for. EMS has taxing districts and response areas. Calls inside their district are what are being allocated to them. Tailoring contracts to account for the entities and the locations. Mr. Worden estimates $70,000 in revenue generated from this cost structure. Additionally, Mr. Warden would like to be able to hold these funds for match money for potential grants down the road. The Commissioners agree that he can proceed with what he’s proposing.

Mr. Worden provided an update on the state 911 budget. Received $190,000 out of the $401,000 requested. The project will still get done. Building at $500/square foot is a normal cost for a dispatch center according to Mr. Worden. There are various costs associated with specific standards. He believes the cost will be $7 million or lower with managing the standards because similar things can be accomplished in different ways. They are working on a next generation 911 network which will get more accurate GPS coordinates, receive 911 text messages, and video to 911 down the road.

Bid Opening –Public Works Liquid Asphalt- Amanda Moody
Ben Rough, Amanda Moody

The two companies that bid had representatives that were also in attendance.

Commissioner Branch stated the time for receiving bids has past. Two bids received were received within the stated deadline. The Engineer’s estimate was stated, $1,088,758.99.

The following bids were opened and read by the Vice Chairman.

Idaho Asphalt Supply Inc., Idaho
Total: $997,795.43

Cut Back: $221,430.00
Emulsified $693,000.00
Liquid $8,600.00
Sales Tax $74,765.43

Western States Asphalt, LLC, Spokane
Total $1,176,158.27

Cut Back: $254,100.00
Emulsified: $824,208.00
Liquid: $9,720.00
Sales Tax $88,130.27

After grand totals were read, a member of the audience requested the breakdowns be read.

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

Ben Rough handed out his agenda

Open positions
According to Mr. Rough the Engineering Technician position has been filled by a well-rounded individual with a lot of experience as an engineering tech for a long time. Amanda Moody who currently handles contracts and bids is leaving in July and so they are determining what the position will look like. The deadline for summer temps just ended and interviews will be scheduled the next few weeks. They have a decent truck driver and flagger pool, but the solid waste applications are pretty slim.

Rental to noxious weed /wsu etx
He is working on getting the lease signed and then it will be on the consent agenda with BOCC. Also working on MOU for the WSU extension and will forward to BOCC for review.

SW Engineering Consultant
Parametrix has the 2018/2019 contracts which will be on next week’s consent agenda

Apple maggot quarantine
Mr. Rough and Kent Kovalenko, Solid Waste Manager will be meeting with Dan McCarthy from the Pest Board and a representative from the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday of this week to discuss the apple maggot quarantine issue. Have been in conversation with others who have been in the process before and will provide more info next week.

SWAC membership
Mr. Rough provided the recommended options for membership appointments based on the voting (attached). Discussed the committee make up and alternates. There has been difficulty in getting a quorum. Commissioner Branch asked if the number of members could be increased and both people who applied could be appointed. Mr. Rough explained it could be done, but then the quorum is more difficult to meet. Commissioner Hover would like to address the process by which terms expire and are reappointed. Members should not be automatically re-appointed. The membership should be diverse and represent all the areas. Talked about Methow not having representation. Discussed tipping fees and the fact that fiscal items need to be considered and ultimately recommended to the BOCC. They will now be called disposal fees. Mr. Rough will revamp the presentation and bring it to the BOCC and look into the potential need of setting up public hearing.

Mr. Rough informed the Commissioners that the landfill liner on cell 2 was damaged. The cost to repair it is quoted at $11,000 - $13,000 to repair. Mr. Rough is still working through the cost. It is under a separate insurance policy not through risk pool. He will work through that contract and will send over for BOCC review.

Snow grooming
Snow grooming season is over. Groomer inspection is pending. The new groomer was a loaner for a year and worked well.

Commissioners adjourned for lunch at 12:00 p.m.

Commissioners reconvened from lunch at 1:30 p.m.

Citizen Comment Period
Isabelle Spohn, Richard Cook

Richard Cook – Sawdust Makers Union
Wanted to come in and follow up to his previous meeting with the Commissioners regarding money that is in a trust to be used for the Fairgrounds for a cover over the bleachers. He indicated that they deemed the money be used for any purchase that would aid the general public. New set of bleachers would be too expensive. Commissioner Hover provided him with the list of projects that are being worked on for the Fair. Mr. Cook was going to bring back the signed agreement about the use of the funds.

Isabelle Spohn – Okanogan County Watch Group
First would like to say she really appreciates the opportunity to give citizen comment weekly. Ms. Spohn would like the Commissioners to look into the existing assistive hearing devices for anyone attending the Commissioner’s meetings. The last time she tried to use the devices the batteries were dead. Commissioner Branch directed Melissa Thompson, Senior Clerk to look into it.

Ms. Spohn was seeking clarification on a comment previously made by Commissioner Branch about nearing the time where public comment will be limited for during the Comprehensive Plan development. Commissioner Branch understands that the perception of the public regarding his statement is that public comment is being cut out, but there has been a lot of comments over the years. The Commissioners are looking at and attempting to address the comments that have been received. Commissioner Hover explained that they are working off a draft document that was created through the process of hundreds and hundreds of comment and hours of discussion and do not plan on simply pushing their draft through finalization, but come up with draft material to put out for review and public comment. According to Ms. Spohn she likes what she’s seen so far of the plan. However there has only been one public notice inviting for comment on this and she believes only 4-5 people commented which would give the impression that people are not interested, but they are. Commissioner Hover said that this initial notice was for pre-scoping and that even though they are not taking formal comment at this time, it doesn’t mean that no comments are being heard. According to Commissioner Branch there has been a pendulum swing and he wants to avoid that because another board could come in another 2.5 years and we’d be going another direction. He would like to dispel fears in the language of the comprehensive plan and leave the zoning part out and to have a plan that is more middle ground.

Ms. Spohn expressed her concerns about the Commissioner’s agenda not indicating that there is a comprehensive plan discussion and that the public has to go to the Planning Department’s website to find out what is being discussed and the public may not understand what a study session means. She suggested that there be a link from the Commissioner’s website under Comprehensive Plan to give a status update. Commissioner Hover discussed the fact that they are available by phone, if someone from the public would like to know what is happening, they are welcome to call and be transferred to the Commissioners’ cell phones. Commissioner Branch reiterated that there is a process, SEPA, public hearing before planning commission, public hearing before commissioners, etc. He explained they are moving closer to a draft document that is being addressed as a Board and then will go out to the public for additional comment. Ms. Spohn wants to make sure that the draft isn’t something that is presented as a draft, but then isn’t changed after comment because of all the work that was put into it.

Ms. Spohn’s final point was that she would like to see the Planning Commission’s insight on the use of the citizen advisory groups from all the areas such as were they beneficial to them or not . Commissioner Branch expressed that people discuss work that was done and want to know where it went and that a recommendation was made that was not taken, but there was a lot of other input as well. Ms. Spohn would like to make sure that the previous committee work was considered and looked at because she knows a lot of work went into it.

Discussion – Methow Housing Trust – Danica Ready
Danica Ready, Molly Starcher

Danica Ready introduced herself and Molly Starcher, and provided some handouts to the Commissioners (attached).

Ms. Ready gave a presentation on who the Methow Housing Trust is and what they are working on. She indicated that Okanogan has a rental and home ownership need. The housing score for Okanogan County indicated that people would need to work 64.7 hours a week in order to afford a home. This is housing in terms of equity, not a commodity and a community investing in all sectors of our community. Each community land trust is different because the needs are different. We understand who are target is and why are we targeting to them. Building 9 houses for the first year and learn from the first round. Statistics on housing land trust communities: 1 in Okanogan County, 19 in Pacific Northwest, 290 Nationwide. Commissioner Hover discussed a caller’s concern about information they heard about the house not being able to be taken to another piece of land. Ms. Ready explained that the individual cannot take the home with them, rather they would sell and use the equity to purchase something else. The value would increase at a rate of 1.5% annually. The other benefit is they assist with the home owners finding financing and they usually can purchase for minimal to no down payment. They can stay in the house as long as they want to, but statistics show people will be in one about 7 years.

Ms. Ready indicated that the goals are to support local economy with needed workforce housing, ability to age in place, stability for families, and overcome market force displacement. Discussed eligibility such as being a resident of Methow Valley for the last 12 months and having a target income that is in the range of 60-100% of the average median income (AMI), which is $40,000 for the county. According to Ms. Ready they have 35 current applicants. They look at a number of things when vetting applicants and want to be careful not to favor anyone. The monthly payment for the homes in this community will be $700-950 including tax. There will be property tax on the house, but not on the land.

Ms. Ready indicates that they are working with developers to build homes affordably, with energy efficiency in mind. They also want to be able to provide other services to the community down the road such as selling the plans for the homes at an affordable price. The Canyon Street Property will be 13 homes 2-3 bedrooms, 900-1100 sq. ft. They plan to build over the next three years. An anonymous donor paid for the land and some building the costs. These are durable homes as they don’t want people to have to spend money on fixing up the home. Ms. Ready discussed some other avenues they are looking at to help the community such as: GenNext Interns who are doing research, toolkit for affordable building, advocacy, home shares. Also working on education classes for homeowners and a broader community. They are learning out to package these loans for these types of communities so people can reach out to them for assistance.

Ms. Ready indicated that she’d like to open up conversation on potential funding resources. While they currently have received donations, they want to think ahead for potential needs. What are the ways, maybe in small tax districts, are there some creative was they can design some revenue stream to support the need. For example the nightly rentals and tie in and help. Partnerships with affordable housing organizations. State and county level advocacy funding and policy. They discussed the possibility of a levy. Ms. Ready would like to learn more on how we can ask people who are benefiting from the community resources to help. Commissioner Branch has been a part of more traditionally funded programs but they didn’t provide the flexibility to address the local need. Liked the Self Help program with the down payment. Director Huston discussed tax title property that is owned by the county. Ms. Ready said it would be good to know what county owned areas are available. She believes an important part of the model is to have a relationship with the county such that while there is momentum for this now as they build, they don’t want the burden to solely be on private investors. Don’t want it to be a constant request for funds. Commissioner Hover explained that the affordable housing fund has $38,000 that will go into it and we’re already over budget in what the homeless housing entities’ asks were. Commissioner Hover would like conversations with businesses to see if there is reliable sustainable workforce. Then open up conversation about how the workforce contributes to the community. Who is it going to help if something is on the ballot? Once a task is complete, then where is the rest of the money to go?

Update Human Resources/Risk Management- Debi Hilts, Tanya Craig
Tanya Craig

Ms. Craig indicated that Tom from AFSCME is eager to participate with the Compensation Committee. He has reached out to other local jurisdictions to see about partnering to have a bigger pool for Healthcare Benefits. The broker is asking for some demographics. Ferry County, City of Omak, and City of Okanogan are on board. The possibility of a Medical Insurance reserve was discussed, but would likely need to have a medical billing specialist. According to Ms. Craig when our coverage was predominately through Premera we were able to get a premium back and could build a reserve to be self-insured to deal with higher claims. Can also hire a small medical billing firm. Ms. Craig provided the commissioners with the current monthly cost to the county for benefits, which is $305,838.92.

Ms. Craig indicated that a jail employee is retiring. He splits time for food collection and corrections road clean-up and gets paid through grant funding. This individual is retiring and the equivalent replacement to his work would be ˝ Fulltime Employee (FTE) and 1 FTE. Noah Stewart, would like to know what the board would like to do with that position. He is currently only working about 20 hours a week split between both. Food collection saves the county approximately $100,000 a year. The day-old food is donated to us for free but needs to be collected. It is also shared with local agencies and food banks. That portion is paid out of current expense, but the road clean-up is paid by grant funds. Commissioner Hover would be interested in seeing the actual numbers from Mr. Stewart, because jail food is currently over budget. Ms. Craig believes there are non-food items also under that line. According to Ms. Craig the trailer that is used to pick up the food is broken, quote was $2,000-$3,000 to fix. At that rate he can purchase a new trailer. This seems high to Commissioner Hover and he’d like to look at it himself.

Approve Consent Agenda
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the consent agenda items 1-4. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

1. Commissioners Proceedings March 19 & 20, March 26 & 27, 2018
2. Bid Award Recommendation – Central Landfill Leachate Pond No. 3 – KRCI, LLC
3. Cattleguard Franchise Renewal - Walden, CGF# 14-98
4. Local Agency Agreement Supplemental #1 & Revised Project Prospectus – 3532-04 Peter Dan Road – Public Works

The board adjourned at 4:20 p.m.