APRIL 30, 2018

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on April 30, 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

Executive Session – RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 9:10 a.m. for 20 minutes inviting Chief Civil Deputy David Gecas and Planning Director Perry Huston to discuss potential litigation to which the county may be a party and/or litigation that has been specifically threatened. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

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

Review Commissioners Agenda, Consent Agenda, and Meeting Minutes
Commissioner DeTro explained he could attend the meeting this week on the DNR Virginia Ridge project timber sale noting that decision to harvest should be based on science. The DNR has done SEPA and complied with concessions and long term strategies and there is no question about whether the area should receive treatment. Commissioner Hover noted that Commissioner Branch may have a different opinion so he asked where he stood. Commissioner Branch agreed with the majority opinion on treatment and is fine with supporting the project as changes may be worked out. However, her further explained his position noting he is aware that there are differences of opinion even among the scientists as to the approach for treatment. He said he met with and listened to MVCC representatives and is sensitive to their concerns about the harvest methods and timing in light of special circumstances relative to the upper Methow Valley and tourism. He said that there was some discussion going one with DNR and those concerned the project design and he supports issues being worked out so the project is not appealed resulting in nothing getting done. The Forest Service does the pre-commercial thinning and it costs a lot which also cuts the dollars that go to the school system. There is a shift going on, on how the forest is treated and there are arguments about that going on right now. How does that fit into this scenario, concessions have been made not so much about tree density but there is concern where the landings are as they are quite large and would be hard not to see? Commissioner Hover said there are already two landings that are not visible. Commissioner Branch said there are actually about 18 landings. It is hard to get past the few years it takes for understory trees to establish. The commissioners are basically on the same page with going forward with the project with some differences in terms of how they want to see this project handled.

Commissioners reviewed the letter to the Haub family and believe more discussion should happen before signing the letter as is with the request for the long term trail easement agreement for use of the trail system over the Sun Mountain properties. The commissioners discussed being 100% behind them on this and support sending a letter of condolences.

Commissioner Branch would like to respond to the letter of the CCT regarding the Landfill uses and representations prior to the special meeting with the council on May 17. The other commissioners agreed.

Briefing Among Commissioners – Discuss Individual Meetings & Schedules
Joe Somday attended to update the board on a Sheriff’s truck that lost its motor. Undersheriff Somday explained the motor replacement costs and the need to utilize other cars while it is repaired. The cost for the motor replacement is around $8,200 compared to replacing the whole vehicle. The repair budget will take a big hit and the possibility of a supplemental later in the year was discussed. Radios in the vehicles are no longer supported so as new vehicles are purchased they will be equipped with the new radios therefore increasing the equipment expense. Stone Garden disapproved the Sheriff’s request for a vehicle this year, but Undersheriff Somday explained they will reapply next year.

Executive Session – RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 11:05 a.m. for 30 minutes inviting Chief Deputy David Gecas, Mike Worden, and Undersheriff Joe Somday to discuss potential litigation to which the county may be or become a party where public knowledge regarding the discussion is likely to result in an adverse legal or financial consequence to the agency. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive Session ended at 11:35 a.m. no decisions were made.

Discussion – Conservation Easement – Jerry DeBacker, Okanogan Land Trust
Mr. DeBacker provided the board with a fact sheet of the proposed easements which he discussed. He thanked the board for taking the time to confer with him today. He explained that Ellis Barnes intended to submit an application for additional easement in the Shankers Bend area but the application didn’t take into account all their holdings. The information provided spells out the scope of the project and the maps lay out where the proposed area is. Most of it is range land with a small portion within wet lands. Right now it is wetter than normal up in that area. Commissioner Hover asked if there were kids on the ranch. When those go into conservation easements it is harder to keep grazing cattle on those easements. It gets more and more difficult. Mr. DeBacker stated it is farmland preservation with several components involved. The property scored high on the farmland preservation possibility. Significant is when a family placed an easement the water cannot be separated either in order to provide for future agricultural products. Commissioner Hover asked whether there was dedication to future buildings with plans to preserve house sites and water and road construction. There is also a key component for securing PUD potential flood and rebuild of Enloe Dam with an agreement in place to emerge some of that ground. There is some script in the agreement. Pacific Northwest trail has been consulted and WDFW has been consulted on habitat. They are ready to engage in this region.

This project has been in play for several years and many have been consulted on the proposal. There have been several subdivision proposals in the area so the land is under threat of development. If funding is realized, the family wants to try and do some things. He discussed where the funding might come from for the investment, such as from USDA.

Mr. DeBacker explained past details of the Alma ranch conservation easement and how the landowner provided that the property stay on the tax roles.??

Commissioner Branch asked about the Pacific Northwest Trail recreation/public access area and how this conservation easement might be affected. Mr. DeBacker explained PNWT indicated their focus was on the other side of the river. There was some question as to how that works with the existing trail as there is a bridge to get back over to Nighthawk Road from the way the trail is configured now.

The project will not provide public access along the Similkameen trail, but they may be willing to discuss providing public access later on. In this case, the plan is conceptual as physical and legal agreements are not in place but it is a component that could make a higher score.

The application will be submitted this week. There is also another application being submitted for property in Ferry County. They have seen interest in several areas of the county such as North County, Bonaparte, Brewster, Highlands, Wauconda, and for the most part people are walking in from the street to talk about it. It is all a question of funding. Caution people that it is a one to two year process and only certain properties have potential of scoring high for funding considerations.

Commissioner Hover explained the Methow Conservancy will also be submitting an application for conservation easements in the Methow Twisp area. Stewardship reports were discussed and work to be performed to ensure easement compliance in terms of weeds etc…..Mr. DeBacker said Bob Clark is working with those landowners on those issues. Commissioner Branch commented that he supports the conservation easement application.

Isabelle Spohn signed in at 1:25 p.m. and took notes on her computer.

Melanie Rowland, attorney, signed in at 1:25 p.m. and asked Angie Hubbard about a map she had received.

Kit Arbuckle taking notes on his computer.

DOE, Connie Iten, taking hand written notes.

Update Planning – Perry Huston
Angie Hubbard

Administrative Officer Study Session
Fairgrounds Facility
Director Huston stated the maintenance crew did a wonderful job preparing the fairgrounds for the Vintage Faire. For next year, the contract will provide language to ensure proper preparations. The commissioners want to further consider the surplus of the fairgrounds garbage truck to see if it would be economical to fix and keep it for the needs of the fairgrounds.

The trail documents were located and were sent to legal staff.

Tonasket EMS

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 Branch moved to approve the Voucher certification and authorize the Tonasket EMS District vouchers for March to be paid in the amount of $21,700. 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.

Planning Dept. Study Session
SMP Map Review
Director Huston explained the list of riverine lakes and rivers and some tributaries and so the subject today is geared around those. The map was displayed for the discussion. The lakes are on the list because they were part of the summary analysis and were the original previous calculations. Momentum was that designations had a Nexis for habitat, focus was on main stems and specific decisions on those, the lakes were not changed, and the question remains change it. Commissioner Hover explained concerns that were relayed to him. Ms. Rowland said floodplain regulation and asked whether there was a requirement to retain vegetation as riverine would give that. Commissioner Hover said he is looking at regulations that affect people’s ability to construct things, what are the current limitations, and if we applied this what would be the impact to people. He understands flood management doesn’t preclude mowing down your river bank. Ms. Rowland asked if that would then need to be changed. Commissioner Branch asked if it fulfills the requirements. Director Huston stated there are three pieces of code that addresses this; the zone code, flood management program, and then the Shoreline Master Program itself and it states how much vegetation can be moved. There are different standards in the conservancy and the amounts retained, there is a difference, stated Ms. Hubbard.

Variances were discussed, with Ms. Rowland contesting its practice in allowing building to occur in certain circumstances. Commissioner Branch stated ecology makes the final decision on variances. Director Huston provided the following sections of the plan 14.15.530 Shoreline Variance Review Criteria, 14.15.510 Appeals and 14.15.550 Legal Pre-Existing Structures. The board reviewed the language for variance criteria. (attached) Director Huston explained it must be an allowed use within that designation.

The commissioners believe they will be ready to move forward on Monday.

Comprehensive Plan Map Review
Director Huston explained the next item for discussion was the Comprehensive Plan map review. Ms. Hubbard showed materials to be reviewed via the projector. It was stated that resource designations and new mapping options are available and will show NRCS soils –Farm Land soils of state wide significance and tax classifications. How does the board wish to designate state land? Director Huston still thinks every inch of land should bear some kind of designation. None of the prime soils will show up on federal prime land because the state has not mapped them yet here.

Planning Director’s Planned Absence Schedule
Director Huston provided dates to the board for his planned absences.

Update – WSAC Briefing & Litigation Program – Eric Johnson
WSAC Director Eric Johnson provided the board with an update regarding WSAC litigation program.

He provided a handout showing the strategic litigation and communication work group program. This is many years of discussion among the directors where focus has been legislative agenda. The last several years there has been a growing concern. WSAC is their agent and so the discussions that emerged were to improve in several areas. Our County Auditor was the catalyst of enough is enough because of the ballot box issue here with no funding to support the requirement.

WSAC created a budget which included litigation dollars in an amount collected that is close to $400,000. The board has been thoughtful in its strategies when addressing its proposed work plan. The work groups include: strategic litigation and communications, and two subcommittees process and strategy. WSAC has worked very hard to work within the county family and litigation can have ramifications beyond county commissioners, and the same time will hold the executive branch accountable such as for the ballot issue.

They will be taking a plan to the board of directors’ retreat on Orcus Island. He discussed what brought WSAC to this point and what the 20185 action plan is.

Director Johnson explained they have a rough outline of what the work group has working on that he can discuss.

Commissioner Hover explained budget impacts the county faces and is glad WSAC is coming together with a plan. Commissioner Branch stated legislators won’t even allow other options such as raising property taxes to help with the unfunded mandate. Commissioner Branch noted a letter from the AGO office addressing the county’s lack of courthouse security, yet the county doesn’t have the kind of funding necessary to address the issues brought out. Director Johnson explained how other states have addressed these unfunded mandate issues.

Justice by geography was discussed and the issues explained in terms of indigent defense. King County dropped 1700 misdemeanors due to cost. There was also the proposal to do away with the death penalty. The message should be paid attention to and the legislature must step up. Uniformity is important to ensure people have equal access to the services. It is time for legislators to take this seriously. It okay if you come up with dumb ideas, just make sure you provide the funding to carry them out.

Director Johnson explained WSAC involvement with Amicus Briefs. Intervention is one activity they can do. Coordinate litigation with other counties such as for Marijuana operations zoning and issues; they see their role may be to seek AGO opinions on things; connecting research on related issues among counties.

Ms. Craig asked the board for executive session.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1) (g)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 4:22 for 8 minutes inviting Tanya Craig HR Director to discuss the performance of a public employee. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive Session ended at 4:30 p.m. no decisions were made. Commissioner DeTro directed Ms. Craig to compile documentation to address billing discrepancies which will then require subsequent action of the board.

Executive Session – RCW 42.30.110 (1)(i)
Commissioner Branch moved to go into executive session at 4:30 p.m. for 15 minutes inviting Prosecutor Brandon Platter, Chief Civil Deputy David Gecas and Tanya Craig to discuss litigation to which the agency may be a party and public knowledge regarding the discussion is likely to result in an adverse legal or financial consequence to the agency. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive session ended at 4:45 p.m. no decisions were made.

Approve Consent Agenda
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the consent agenda items 1-4, excluding item 3. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

1. Commissioners Proceedings April 23 & 24, 2018
2. Special Occasion Liquor License #353657 – Tonasket Rodeo Grounds 6/1 & 6/2 – Beverly Montanye
3. Letter – Long Term Lease Request - Haub Family & Methow Trails
4. Bid Award Recommendation – 2018 Guardrail Repair Quote – M2 Industrial – Public Works

The board adjourned at 4:50 pm.