JULY 16, 2018

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met for its regular session on July 16, 2018, with Commissioner Jim DeTro, Chairman; Commissioner Chris Branch, Member; Commissioner Andy Hover, Member; and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Commissioner Hover was absent due to attending DNR Virginia Ridge Discussion.

Review Commissioners Agenda and Consent Agenda
Sheriff Rogers, Undersheriff Somday, Steve Brown, Mike Worden

Commissioner DeTro asked the Sheriff to come discuss the Wolf situation that happened over the weekend.

Steve Brown explain Jill Jones was contacted for Newick NE WA communications set up out of Colville and do dispatching for several agencies. She got a call from FS employee, SAT phone, FS called Newick dispatch center and was given to officer Troutman. DNR helicopter was in place to get there and he said no this is a WDFW call and wolves doing what they do. Jill made several calls and had a disagreement with WDFW about helping with a wolf situation. Rick Avery was called and in route. A task force guy was called. There was a gall who needed help and they went. DNR did pick the girl up and went to airport was gone when Sheriff arrived. They went up to the location a week prior and was monitoring cross borders and 30 people were camping and recreating at that time. The following day at 20 mile creek culvert and a game person was there. They flew the drown and came back and was looking at the trail and state ben maletski and USFW Greg Kurse and WDFW guy spoke the most. They found what she described but could not tell the sheriff what exactly it was and was told to stay out as the trail was not good and investigation was done. They recommended the sheriff not go in there, but they would not tell what was found. Harassment to an endangered species. There was a camera WSU FS wild life research camera. The Greg Kurse is a wildlife specialist. There is a camera set up in there and Greg explained it to the Sheriff and not exactly the way the trail is. He thought wolf scat was found in the middle of the road. It is the rendezvous site with both male and female collared. The full story of the girl is not clear. He spoke to a wildlife biologist who do not communicate much between the agencies. They would not tell the Sheriff anything.

The Sheriff was told several things about the research they were conducting. She was surveying ahead of another group. She was afraid of death threats if she reveals who she is. Frank Rogers said he has the recordings from Newick to our dispatch about the wolf incident. The sheriff does not pick and choose who they rescue it doesn’t matter if it is for a wildlife issue or someone is lost.

Commissioner Branch stated it is a federally listed species and why it is different. Sheriff Rogers asked how they are still being protected when in 2017 the population had been reached. The state and feds are not working well on the issue. The state won’t communicate with the feds as to where the wolves are, stated Steve Brown. Commissioner Branch explained WA St Fish & Wild life has a new director who just got appointed and he wants to get in the middle of the issue.

Sheriff Rogers said the wolf issue is not their issue, they have to work together. If everyone did work together this would not have blown up it is about communication. He isn’t going to hunt wolves they are going to do their job. They won’t stop. The commissioners passed a resolution stating the county would respond. He is disappointed in how this was handled by the state.

Commissioner Branch noted that it appeared the Sheriff’s office did the right thing.

Briefing Among Commissioners–Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedule
Commissioners discussed their individual weekly calendars. Commissioner Branch explained it would be good to attend the PNWER Summit July 22-25. The scheduled was provided. (attached)

Discussion – Dispatching Fees – Life Line, Aero Methow, Fire District #15
Fire District #15 Tonya Vallance; Methow Valley EMS Cindy Button and Byron Winter; Life Line Wayne Walker and staff, Mike Worden, Sheriff Frank Rogers, Undersheriff Joe Somday

Commissioner DeTro noted the reason for today’s meeting was to discuss the county’s dispatching fees with the Emergency Medical Services providers of the EMS districts. The county drafted new Dispatch Services Agreements to formalize the existing relationship between the dispatch center and districts, identifies services provided by the dispatch center, authorizes use of OCSO radio frequencies and establishes a representative advisory board to have input as to the operation of the center and radio network.

Mr. Worden explained in his staff report that he previously notified all non-city fire protection and EMS agencies that the county dispatch center would no longer provide dispatching services without a contract to ensure all consumers of dispatch services and resources are supporting the system used and have a voice in how services and systems are planned deployed and supported.

Mr. Walker explained Chief Worden sent out a draft agreement notification about charging dispatching fees and a follow-up letter came stating that it would push off until later. Chief Worden stated in the letter the target date was 2020 for budget and that was consistent with commissioners’ direction on July 3. A reconsideration of methodology was relayed in the contract draft and established fees to those who do not currently pay and is volume based formula and is different formula than what cities pay. IN the auditor’s eyes it is not fair and equitable to assess fees. Fees must be put towards actual expenses not just collected for something. During the July 3rd asked can we figure out population, a taxing call volume? And looking at different strategies to apply to all agencies. The county is not able to proceed with the draft that was sent out this year. We can target 2020 but there is a lot to figure out in terms of approaching for that.

Mr. Walker explained LL is dependent on the infrastructure and as a user of the system, LL stated for reference, they could not put the infrastructure in place to cover the vast area of the county. On one hand they are supportive, but on the other hand from their company stand point it would cost around $50,000 for all three service areas. It is the question of where is that money coming from they have no way of getting reimbursed for that extra cost. There isn’t a perfect formula. He encouraged the county to find other ways to fund the dispatch center rather than charging the districts for it. Mr. Walker said from LL perspective, it becomes Pandora’s box. As the end user they have not ability to control the cost. The difference is that you have a choice with other products and with this you do not. Pay the fee or we don’t dispatch for you. He asked to explore all funding opportunities to fund this where it is a combination of revenues and pool all opportunities and resources to bring together for the common good which could drive down the user fees. Commissioner Branch asked if there was ever a working group formed to address this. Chief Worden explained, historically, there was one. He further explained how disjointed the situation is with all involved, but his willingness to meet and discuss the options and choices. The state auditor is really driving this, but we are tasked with figuring out compliance. Commissioner Branch stated it has reached a point of ultimatum and brings everyone together for a conversation on impacts for either side.

Mr. Walker responded that he sees if from an agency standpoint, but between Tonasket and Oroville he has an operation separated by 16 miles and if one critical piece goes down up there all goes dark.

Cindy Button explained her perspective, one question is do you pay dispatch fees and how much is doubled up. She provided some cost analysis and explained the portion of Medicaid and Medicare that is reimbursed and it isn’t covering all the costs.

Mr. Walker discussed the system and the double jeopardy scenario as the commissioners need to understand the challenges with this. He cannot get traction with ACH and they hold up payments. It costs LL more to process the payment than the actual payment, when mental health transports are needed.

Sheriff Rogers explained at one time in the past the agencies dispatched and volunteers volunteered to work, and now after 2014/2015 fires, he said growing everything for a better center.

Chief Worden explained the $5 million the state previously was setting aside for communications is no longer available as those funds can only be used for housing.

Mr. Walker explained grants are not sustainable and so that problem must be solved. What do other counties do? Utility tax? Sales tax? Commissioner DeTro thought if the public understood the situation fully, then they would be inclined to vote on a way to pay for it.

When the districts met previously, Ms. Vallance stated everyone realized at that time there would be a cost to dispatch. The Fire District #15 realizes too and acknowledged that costs would be charged. Getting people’s buy-in at the table from the advisory board is the expectation they get information together and then what is their authority to find funding. They will need to know what their authority is.

Mr. Walker asked who pays the user fee when 911 dispatch is called for a tow truck etc…. LL would rather pay no dispatch fee. In the longer term plan, how does the end user control the costs.

Chief Worden said KitCom tracts every transaction and that is what their charge is based on rather than on call volume. The group discussed an advisory committee and a narrow mission statement to work towards so that those signing up for the committee know what goals they are trying to meet identifying other funding mechanisms to push that out to solicit participation.

Commissioner Branch asked whether Chief Bowling is part of the local group of county fire chiefs but it is not a formal organization although the chiefs have voted him in as president.

The work to create a work group will commence to address the issues outlined here today.

Commissioner Hover in attendance at 1:30 p.m. from his earlier meeting with DNR.

Update – Planning – Perry Huston
Connie Item, Life Line, Lorah Super, Isabelle Spohn

Planning Dept. Study Session
Continued Public Hearing Lake Management District

Director Huston stated the resolution to adopt the boundaries of the district was provided for commissioners’ consideration. Commissioner Hover asked about the returned ballots and how those will be handled. The structure of the ballot is very clear in the RCW and must bear the signature of the land owner in accordance with the assessor’s record. They are mailed back to the planning department by a particular time. This is outside the regular elections. Director Huston explained the parcels included in the boundaries some of which are owned by the city and several owned by the same property owner. Commissioner Branch asked whether Director Huston had checked on other district like this to find out a way to vote, and he could not find case law. But it is clear that every owner of every parcel gets sent a ballot.

The 1000 foot buffer was discussed with both Anna Lyon and Ford Waterstrat to put a finer point on whether those properties within the buffer may be treated. If there is other options to treat the area, such as a physical extraction, but no chemical treatments according to Dept. of Ecology.

A barrier of material within the buffer zone could be used, stated Ford Waterstrat. If the conditions in the one letter are followed then that is the best program for the lake for cutting back the milfoil. The Canadians wished they could treat the milfoil with chemicals, because instead they use a harvester which has to be done annually and appears to create more milfoil problems down the lake because the plant is segmented.

Commissioner Hover asked if we could provide a level of service through the fees that affectively removes aquatic weeds from coming down the lake. Ms. Lyon replied there were several options available but more costly than a herbicide application. It would not hurt based on existing program etc.… and get them all back at the table to discuss our pristine record as a result and would recommend removal of the barrier and mention their stuff is getting segmented and coming across the border.

There are several things: fix the boundaries; ballot creation and sent, assessment proposed 160 per parcel with 240,000 collected over 5-years. Does the board intend to issue revenue bonds that would be paid back by the district for weed management, but that has never been discussed. The board may wish to amend the draft resolution to include the items discussed today.

Commissioner Hover asked if the Planning Dept. would be reimbursed for its expense. If the district is formed how long will it take to collect the funds and when remedies could begin? Taxes are due April and October with the second half when the assessment is paid. Ms. Lyon explained $25,000 would take care of a significant amount then the fall would roll into spring and would allow better treatment.

Commissioner Branch asked what the statute says in regards to adopting via resolution or ordinance. Director Huston said much of the language in the resolution before the board today is for the issuance of the ballots and adopts the boundaries.

Then if the district is voted to be formed by the people then the ordinance would create the boundaries. Commissioners discussed adding best practices to address drift and applications that would be aerial drift, but now since 2008 there is an injection of the chemical into the water so there is no aerial drift.

Motion Resolution 75-2018 Lake Management District Boundaries & Ballot Question
Commissioner Branch moved to approve resolution 75-2018 which puts the question to landowners by mailed ballot. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Hard Cider Plat
Director Huston explained a proposed plat that is located in the Lake Osoyoos area. The hearing examiner heard the plat and development agreement has been signed by the City of Oroville. If the board disagrees with the hearing examiner approval of both the plat and the development agreement then set a public hearing, otherwise if the board agrees with the hearing examiner then the board may consider approval of the plat next week during his study session. The plat creates 8 lots leaving 35 acres of residual property. The sewer and water connections were discussed and when those costs would be collected. It is unclear when the lots will be sold and the county recoups its hook-up fees. Director Huston will reschedule this continued discussion to his next study session.

Whistler Canyon
Back Country Horsemen intend on coming up with a site plan for the trail and identify funding streams. They will come forward with proposals for on going maintenance. He isn’t sure when the information will be provided, but they did seem excited to begin outlining the arrangement. Director Huston will consult with the Risk Manager on what agreements are needed to be in place.

Director Huston relayed the notice that requests applications for WRIA 49 Planning Unit. The list of water right holders, organizations and Interests groups was reviewed. Is the board trying to fill all the positions? If not which bases does the board want to ensure coverage. There is also the fact that not many people actually wish to serve and often it takes many months to find people willing to serve. Director Huston suggested coming back to this discussion.

Letters will go out to those interested, and the notice will be posted to the Planning website. Commissioner Hover thought a published news release regarding the application would be good.

Comprehensive Plan
Director Huston asked the board for further direction on resource lands. He discussed the policy designations. He suggested the three designations rural, ag resource, and forest resource be whatever is driving people in. It doesn’t talk about tying in populations, does the board want him to do that. Commissioner Branch would feel more comfortable if the county knew what the city population projections were. The urban growth areas have not been reviewed yet by the commissioners. Director Huston said the information from the cities might be outdated.

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 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.

Wayne Walker and people with Life Line to discuss levy. The Tonasket Levy was discussed. The Oroville Levy and balancing the expenses of operations etc… The contract is fairly restrictive on level of services delivered.

Mr. Walker introduced Paul Blackney Finances and Jeff Lang CEO.

While looking into Oroville Rural EMS they thought they would look into Tonasket project outlooks for both District for past present and future. This is a combination outlook. Mr. Blackney explained the Tonasket project spreadsheets. He provided the financial results for 5-months of 2016, 2017, 5-months in 2018. He went over the revenues and expenses. The loss noted includes what? Does the loss only have to do with levy or combined collections? This spreadsheet include all sources of revenue. It has to do with both through 2021 for both Tonasket and Oroville.

Mr. Walker recapped historically how we got to where we are today. He discussed the assumptions he looked at all the data available to them at the time of those things known to them at the time. Most were right on the money, but three were not correct but there wasn’t good data. Those were total number of calls are correct and hold true today but private, third party and Medicare and Medicaid and that data is used and they found in both ems district there is a much higher of percentage of Medicare and Medicaid. The second is there wasn’t good data on transports versus call for service. The call for service generates no revenue. The third is and no control over, was two factors one minimum wage increase and is killing them, second is that no one projected the L&I rate would move to the top in 2017 and from 2016 to 2017 and again 2017-2018 with an average of 34% increase over the two years and they have no control over that. They cannot afford to lose the projected numbers they presented today. They would like to solve this in one fail swoop. Commissioner Hover said on the state website showing boundary maps response areas it shows Okanogan County is completely covered by EMS districts and he is trying to find out what that actually is. Does the Methow EMS District follow the boundaries of the trauma response boundaries? Mr. Walker said they could be different. Commissioner Hover noted that if someone within the boundaries calls for transport they have to pay both the assessment and the transport charge, and those that live outside the assessment boundaries don’t have to pay the assessment they just pay the transport charge.

Director Huston explained this meeting showed good interagency cooperation and was a start to a future discussion. Commissioner Hover asked what the gross amount of money is for Life Line’s breakeven point is in 2021. Mr. Lang and Blackney said yes that break even projection could be calculated. A map was requested that shows the trauma licenses of the entire area. Mr. Lang described what they thought would happen and then what actually happened. Call volume was consistent but the number of patients actually transported decreased from what LL predicted back in 2016. Mr. Walker discussed the geographical area in the north area is such that many calls take two hours and many of those type of calls do not result in a transports. He discussed what has been looked at in terms of location, but it will take some flexibility. There is no magic bullet in that not one thing will fix it, it will take many different approaches being considered. North end is a high population of Medicaid and if those dollars were realistic. Mr. Walker does not think the state or feds are looking into EMS because they are on a non-sustainable path under the current service delivery model. You cannot raise your most expensive model and expect a fixed model to pay for it. The Washington state system doesn’t care what it actually costs. In 1997 Medicaid was set just over $100 and it hasn’t changed with the times. Life Line cannot continue to absorb the losses. Mr. Lang said there must be a way whether it is a combination of levies, lobbying for higher reimbursements from Medicaid, or some other type of revenue stream to make up the difference.

Motion Appointment Housing Authority of Okanogan County -Scalf
Commissioner Hover moved to authorize the appointment letter of Kelly Scalf who will fill the unexpired term of Bonita Duncan on the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners with a term ending May 2020. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Resolution 73-2018 Foreclosure Deputy
Commissioner Branch moved to approve resolution 73-2018 approving a new Foreclosure Deputy to be hired before the position is vacant for training purposes. Commissioner Hover stated that the budget for the extra expense will need to be discussed at a later date since the resolution did not identify where those extra funds were coming from. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried. .

Continued Public Hearing – Okanogan County Code 10.10 Illegal WATV Operations –Perry Huston
Engineer Josh Thomson, Angie Hubbard, and members of the public with four guys in back, Connie Iten w/ DOE, Isabelle Spohn taking notes on her computer, Lorah Super,

Commissioner DeTro opened up the hearing stating this was a continued hearing to consider an ordinance adopting amendment to the Okanogan County Code10.10 Off-Road Vehicles, making it a local class 1 civil infraction to operate any motorized vehicle except on designated roadways or other areas where they may be lawfully operated.

Commissioner DeTro asked for the staff report. Director Huston discussed the draft ordinance to be considered and explained the changes made. Two documents in play, one is the ordinance and the other is the code section. Director Huston went through the code section revision from the last version to make it fairer. He took a tiered approach for the Penalty section and read the proposed section. One subsequent comment was about sensitive areas and critical areas was detected as having too much ambiguity. He explained his approach. Commissioner Branch suggested critical areas be as defined in our Critical Areas code and give the specific citation. Engineer Thomson explained if we had a road that had many critical areas in the same mile of the road then the list would have the mile posts where the area starts and stops starts and stops and would make for a very long list. Director Huston said if the critical area is not listed in our ordinance it is not a critical area. Commissioner Branch said we have to have something to what a critical area is and identifying that is key. The critical area should be defined. The draft was considered for review, but the board wished to amend by substitution the proposed language discussed today, in section 10.10.080.

Motion to amend
Commissioner Hover moved to amend the text of the code section the board reviewed today within OCC 10.10.080 to state critical areas are as defined in Okanogan County critical areas ordinance. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Hover moved to incorporate all code amendments discussed into the OCC 10.10 sections. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Director Huston noted that the board could adopt the ordinance.

Motion Ordinance 2018-9 Off Road Vehicles
Commissioner Hover moved to approve ordinance 2018-9 adopting amendment to OCC 10.10. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

The board adjourned at 5:00 pm.