JULY 9, 2018

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met for its regular session on July 9, 2018, with Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover, and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Chairman Commissioner Jim DeTro was absent due to attending a Grizzly Bear meeting in Stevens County today.

Review Commissioners Agenda and Consent Agenda
Commissioners discussed the items scheduled on the agenda. It appears the Executive Session at 10:00 a.m. was left over from last week in error.

Briefing Among Commissioners – Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedule
Commissioners discussed their weekly calendars and relayed the dates they would be absent.

Commissioners discussed the fairgrounds irrigation system and the proposed well use with Joe Poulin. There were additional leaks discovered and repaired, which has affected the system and the number of sprinklers to be used at one time. Commissioners really want to be thoughtful in how the system is put back together for both domestic and irrigation water uses.

Commissioners stated a cultural survey process will be needed prior to beginning the arena, race track and race horse barns project.

Discussion – Justice Center-Dennis Rabidou, Michael Beaver
Perry Huston

Commissioner Hover asked what the plan was for the old Noxious Weed office. Mr. Rabidou replied that he should ask Judge Short and Ms. Schreckengast.

The law library might be placed there, but it was a no go when he met with District court.

Mr. Rabidou thought a Juror staging area and public defender client meeting room. Mr. Poulin stated he needs a place for his maintenance team. He requested the use of the Old maintenance/Probation bottom floor. Commissioner Hover asked what would be ideal. Mr. Poulin explained why he needed the space. The building is centrally located, he has additional workers with no place to meet that isn’t in the hall. There is only one computer space, current location is not convenient as it is located in the middle of the floor where many other departments have to traverse to get to their files.

Mr. Rabidou set up the projector to show the Proposed Juvenile Center plans. He stated there was a plan of District Court to set up an additional courtroom that he heard of. They would use whatever resources they could find such as the older chairs etc…..

Mr. Rabidou went over the project design that was shovel ready, but at the time the funding was not realized. It is still shovel ready, but it may need to be changed to suite the current needs. There is funding now too.

He went over the basic vision which included building up from the current Juvenile detention center footprint and building over to the Admin building to fill in the courtyard in between in order to connect the two buildings. The project was drawn up in 2012 by Beaman Architecture. Mr. Rabidou went over the floor plans and discussed the uses for the proposed new areas and remodeling of old areas.

Mr. Rabidou explained the programs and their success rate. He stated that 95% improvement in truancy. Detention alternative programs focus on doing better and working with probation staff after passing assessments. It is a 10 week flexible program. Less kids coming in staying in school, with numbers right now bleed over. It will take several years to filter those out. Adding to detention classes to help the kids work through the different training.

Commissioners discussed the other proposal to build onto the Virginia Grainger building and how this proposal fits into the larger picture. The issues of no emergency operations center and dispatch and communications center needs that the board must also consider and make priorities. Strategic planning for all the various needs will be needed. A reset of the proposal in order to shift the courts may be needed, said Mr. Rabidou.

Director Huston discussed the funding options that could be considered. Commissioner Hover discussed his desire to wait and see what fund 160 bring in for sales tax. Then next year budget a viable portion of the redesign costs from the 160 fund. Mr. Rabidou understood. Commissioner hover would like to know what rooms would be vacated in the courthouse and shifted to Juvenile center. Superior Court and Superior Court Clerk had been discussed before, but not all of the staff. Commissioner Branch spoke to the courthouse security issues with much of that being remedied with this proposal. A sky walk to transport inmates to the courtroom was discussed.

Commissioner Branch adjourned for lunch at 12:00 noon.

Katie Haven, member of the public, arrived at 1:15 p.m. to video record the meeting.

Commissioner Branch reconvened the board at 1:30 p.m.

Debi Hilts briefed the commissioners on an employee whose house burned down, but she is still on probation as a new hire. She requested waiver of the county employee policy to allow her to use annual leave. The person is a non-bargaining employee so the prosecuting attorney is requesting the employee be allowed to use sick leave. But our employment policy doesn’t address this situation to allow use of leave during probation. Commissioner Hover stated the union contracts have language that allows this under an emergency. 17.6 of the union contract was read. By allowing this exception, it is consistent with what other employees in the union use sick leave for.

Motion Staff Direction-Use of Sick Leave for other than sick leave.
Commissioner Hover moved to allow….Huston recommended staff be directed to draft a resolution outlining the situation and reasons for use of the leave during probation and to ensure proposed policy changes in the new personal manual follows this decision. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Update – Planning – Perry Huston
Connie Iten, DOE

Planning Dept Study Session
1) Trail Management
Several Back Country Horsemen came to discuss Whistler Canyon trail with the board. The group wanted to discuss the possibility of creating a Recreation Advisory Committee that would make recommendations to the BOCC. The trail management is an issue. April 2014 began a process to pull the FAC out of the Parks & Recreation board and given the charge of running the fair.

Director Huston said it was contemplated at that time to take over the role of managing the trail system. The MVSTA does most of the oversite of the Methow area trails but we do not have a similar organization for Whistler Canyon Trail or Similkameen. The Parks & Rec Board would research grant funding for trails.

There is no budget or funding for trail repairs when they come up. Mr. Kvistav explained some Back Country Horsemen history in that funds were provided for trail building maintenance. They do have some funds designated for Whistler Canyon which pays for the porta potty cost every other year. They would like to install a permanent potty that is more user friendly. What are the county plans in terms of the Tabor request? He has all the sign in sheets from the trailhead which shows around 500 people signed in to use the trail in 2017. However it was thought more actually used the trail but did not sign in.

Commissioner Branch commented on the Tabor request stating the county was undecided on that. He said whatever we need to do to make the trail systems work for the county the commissioners should do. He discussed some of the work he did previously when he worked for the city of Oroville. He recommended the county formalize the situation for these trails. Mr. Kvistav stated they provided a bunch of trail maintenance with a crew of 15 people to repair the trail where it washed out in the middle. Director Huston asked what the commissioners envision for the Whistler canyon trail and perhaps amending the agreement. How do we want to deal with the recreational properties? There is a need to connect to National Scenic Byway Trails and NW Trails. There are bits and pieces of recreation property scattered around that is not managed by the county.

Commissioner Hover explained the lodging tax gets used on the Methow trails for capital improvements because the county owns those trails. The reason for improving the trails is to bring people from out of the area to stay in paid accommodations and recreate here. They need to know what the commissioners wish to do so they can move forward to address the needs. Would the commissioners consider some designs for building a gazebo/pergola at the trailhead with two pick nick tables for gathering in the shade. The commissioners discussed that if it is a donated item put there by volunteers. Does the current parking lot format work for the group. Mr. Kvistav stated some changes would make it more user friendly for pulling in horse trailers. The group thought a plan should be adopted for consistency and forethought of the bigger picture. Commissioners need to get the Parks and Recreation Board idea into the forefront and see where that left off after the FAC was formed.

Director Huston summarized the discussion.

2) USFS-Coordination letter
A letter was drafted for August 6 and August 20 at 10:00 a.m.

Commissioner DeTro arrived at 2:30 p.m. from the Grizzly Bear meeting in Stevens County.

3) Well tracking grant

The memo to DOE Vanessa Brinkhuis was discussed. (attached) The memo summarized the deliverables. Director Huston stated what has been discussed in past, is bringing in a county employee that works for this project until the funding is gone. There is about $60,000 in grant funds. The work would entail gathering all well logs within the county so in the end we have the necessary info. In the end we will still have developed parcels, which would generate a letter to people to identify water sources. Determine the current water demand and the future water demand, which parcels are undeveloped without a water sources etc… The thought would be to project the hard costs and set aside funds for that and then the rest would be used to determine how long the $60,000 will last for staffing.

A list of senior water right holders was provided to the commissioners. (attached) The commissioners discussed what their vision is for a watershed unit. Commissioner Branch discussed the list which shows the cities, irrigation districts, and three different reaches. Director Huston relayed the variables for constituting the group.

A joint resolution to codify the situation to date will be drafted for commissioners’ review next week. February of 2021 is not very far away.

5) Comprehensive Plan
There will be value in talking about rural designations. The map will make it easier to zero into the areas. We will need to be careful not to pad the acreages for resources. Commissioner Hover discussed some information on soil types that he researched, stating that information might be a good format for determining soil types based on ag use.

Planning Dept. Administrative Session
3) Lake Management District #1
Commissioner Hover stated he will not be able to attend the meeting tomorrow. Director Huston discussed the map and lots to be included. Veranda Beach including common lots were removed. At the end of the day his direction was to prepare the map without Veranda Beach.

4) Champerty Shores
He has nothing from Champerty Shores at this point he still needs to get together with the Treasurer and Auditor to see how that would work.

Public Hearing – Okanogan County code 10.10 Illegal WATV Operations –Perry Huston
Commissioner DeTro opened the hearing up. Director Huston provide his staff report. (attached) Josh Tomson County Engineer also in attendance. The purpose of the hearing is to consider amending the code to address illegal ridership.

Consider the adoption of a county ordinance that provides a local fine which is doubled if the violation occurs in a sensitive area.

Added a requirement that riders must have a list of county roads open to WATV or ORV use on their possession while operating the vehicle on designated road ways.

The draft ordinance was reviewed and discussed. The ordinance is consistent with the past discussions of the board.

Three amendments were proposed. The county may list critical areas that are sensitive where riders would get double fined. Commissioner Hover asked if it would be considered under a traffic infraction. It is uncertain how this infraction would affect a person’s driving record.

Engineer Thomson agreed with the penalty section and stated the Public Works website would have the information there.

Commissioner DeTro asked everyone in attendance to sign in if they wished to testify.

Spencer King, President of NCW ATV Club. Mr. King stated he discussed this with people throughout the state and no one else has this type of infraction code. The list of roads required by a person was questioned as it seems to be a target for that type of travel. No one else needs to have a list of roads they can be on. Access for getting the list isn’t always available in electronic format for those coming in from out of town. How are they to get the information to carry with them? He thinks it imposes some problems for people coming to the county. He also doesn’t recommend the $500 infraction for a WATV traveling on a non-designated road. It almost seems to bully the WATV groups. Everything else out there that can do damage and has been seen to happen is blamed on WATV use. The list of roads is unfair to some user groups. Making a stiffer penalty doesn’t go well with the community of motorized recreationalist who come to Okanogan County. He has not seen these type of high infractions imposed in other counties and additionally doesn’t seem fair to double the fine. He recommended this structure for changes should be looked at and re written to not include doubling fines unless you are actually off the road tearing up the countryside. Many disable persons recreate this way.

Jasmine Minboashin Methow Citizens Council. The group agrees but it is not fair to single out WATV’s and suggested the language include all motorized vehicles. A change should include “any motorized vehicle”. It would be cleaner to have signed roads. They still want to know what is holding that up, and at what point will the signs be up so people know. It is too grey to consult the website. There are many who do not have access to the internet to obtain the list. Signage and maps are critical to enforcement and without those enforcement is very difficult. Thanked the board for their approach on this.

Isabelle Spohn thanked the board for addressing this issue. She agreed with the proposed, but stated inconsistencies in the terms. She discussed the board’s discussion June 26 which demonstrates the need for these additional rules. The county doesn’t have funds for significant enforcements. FW also commented on their priorities in terms of WATV enforcements. It would be essential for a dedicated sheriff deputy be assigned this particular task. The legalities of confiscating vehicles should be researched and suggested the vehicle be taken and sold to pay for the enforcement program. There should be a provision for restoration by the person liable. Another look should be taken about going on a road that is not open. There are some really dangerous roads with many young people driving unsafely or if there is a collision with another vehicle. She thanked the board for their time.

Richard Tanglested Twisp. Agrees with the fine. Consideration of someone on a road spur where the $500 is too stiff for certain circumstances. He does agree with everything he heard. He strongly agree that folks with 4x4 pickups tear up roads and nothing is done even when they are caught and should be subject to the same penalty. He agrees with the confiscation of the vehicle when found riding on critical or sensitive areas damaged by WATV. Kick em in the wallet that will get their attention.

Director Huston asked the board how they wish to proceed. Commissioner DeTro closed public testimony and opened up to commissioners’ discussion.

Commissioner Hover stated the double fine was not meant be applied when someone is found riding on the wrong road bed. It would be a traffic infraction and not under this $500 fine. He knows this type of system works. He is not ready to make a decision today, as he wanted to look again at the wording before adopting. Many hunters carry information so as not to trespass or carry a map to know where they are going. Whether it is the county publishing these official maps, or whatever forms is needed, those coming here have a responsibility to know the rules.

Commissioner Branch agreed there some more to understand. Riding off road is one thing and riding on the wrong road is something else. He isn’t sure what the state provision is for that. The fine for driving off the roadway should be applied to all vehicles. There are a few things he would like to look into further. The enforcement side of the situation will need to be discussed more. It is incumbent to making the information available either by website or by paper version so enough information is out there.

Commissioner DeTro explained the board’s jurisdiction stating the board must be clear in whatever they, because if the Sheriff elects not to enforce the rules t, the board cannot tell him to do so. He feels additional consideration of the draft ordinance is needed. The other thing is identifying critical/sensitive areas because more and more people will come here and that means more work.

Director Huston asked what staff is to do in the interim? Shall the draft be worked on together during another meeting? Director Huston stated the hearing should remain open and be continued to another date if there are not substantial changes. Commissioners directed Director Huston to work into the draft the discussed changes then consider those at a continued hearing.

Motion Continue Hearing OCC 10.10 WATV Off-Road Vehicles
Commissioner Hover moved to continue the public hearing to July 16, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioners signed the attached letter to Mike Williams, Forest Service, to invite him to discuss the county’s proposed WATV.

Discussion –Fairground Projects-Fair Advisory Committee
Maltais, Carol Sivak, Tracy Reagles, etc….

Commissioner Hover stated the county applied for two USDA grants for fairgrounds with one having been awarded at $80,000. Lumbering Trust funds will be used for match as well as well as the requested grand stand cover. He previously discussed the plan with Richard Cook of the Saw Dust Makers Lumbering Trust. The information was provided to the FAC members in attendance. He stated the award would cover a portion of the costs of the race horse track, arena, and race horse barn. The track quote was for inner and outer track rails. We must go through the competitive bid process. Most tracks only have the inner track rail made with the special rails and the outer rail being different. He would like to hear from the FAC about what they think.

Boots and Saddle club representative discussed her thoughts for use of the facility. Commissioner Hover discussed affordability for someone to ride their horse in the arena or utilize the track. It has gotten to the point money has to go into it, so a charge must be made accordingly which will be higher now that the grounds are so bad. Boots & Saddle club provided some ideas for race activities. They have $30,000 they can put towards a covered arena. The barn location at the north end was a good location. Commissioner Hover wants to ensure the funds are used for what was applied for. There is a lot to be done to create a work flow chart and start the permitting process. An Equestrian Facility was discussed and plans provided by Andy Aiden?. He has been involved in both the racing and rodeo side of things. Mr. Aiden put together a package using a phased approach for the 80x120 Equestrian Facility at the fairgrounds. (attached) Costs were provided for each of the three phases of the project. The potential uses of the covered arena are great.

Commissioner Hover stated the biggest safety issue is the track rails so that is a priority. Tracey Reagles suggested categorizing the projects in order to figure out priority and costs to cover. She discussed an equestrian club as many indicated they would be willing to volunteer towards a specific purpose. A club is more organized and would be created as a nonprofit 501 c(3) and be able to do some fund raising activities to raise funds for the things they want.

Mr. Buchert discussed the possible revenue generated by the covered arena. Commissioner Hover explained the board will need to ensure funds are secured for the purposes it was either donated or collected for. Ms. Maltais said there should be an onsite manager 24/7 at the grounds because many sneak in and out before staffing even knows.

Volunteers have indicated to Mr. Buchert they would be available to help set up the arena and barn. There appears to be enough help line up when the project starts coming together. Commissioner Hover discussed the work flow time frame and the preliminary ground work. Setting up the arena is not going to be a problem.

The group discussed the need for a rock picker for the race track and suggested one be rented until one can be purchased. Commissioner Hover explained the fairgrounds new tractor will arrive next week. The next move is that Commissioner Hover will come up with a work flow plan with the thought of tearing out the old arena after fair.

Review Meeting Minutes
Commissioners reviewed their meeting minutes and provided their corrections to be incorporated.

The board adjourned at 5:15 pm.