NOVEMBER 19, 2018

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met for its regular session on November 19, 2018, with Chairman, Commissioner Jim DeTro; Vice Chair Commissioner Chris Branch; Commissioner Hover, Member; and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Review Commissioners Agenda & Consent Agenda

Briefing Among Commissioners – Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedules
Commissioner Hover updated the other members on a forest service meeting he attended at the Winthrop Barn regarding headwaters and withdrawal of minerals. A support letter from the commissioners will be drafted as a result.

Commissioner DeTro stated he would be absent Tuesday, November 20 due to attending a meeting of Bureau of Land Management.

Commissioner Branch stated he was recently appointed to the Board of Directors Washington State Association of Counties. (WSAC)

Commissioners discussed the Legislative meeting scheduled in Stevens County Friday, December 7 and the NEWC meeting scheduled in Ferry County Friday, December 14. Commissioner DeTro will not be able to attend the December 14 meeting. Commissioner Branch and Hover won’t be able to attend the Legislative meeting on the 14th due to having committed to the Forest Collaborative meeting that day.

Commissioners discussed the Oroville Rural EMS district and the options for continued support of the district. Commissioners discussed other ways to pay for the ambulance services. Commissioner Branch explained there are many Canadians and retired people who do not live in the Oroville area yet are paying for those who rent or would not otherwise be paying the levy.

Discussion - Oroville Rural EMS District Levy – Lifeline
Life Line Wayne Walker, Three members of the Oroville City Council,

Mr. Walker thanked the board for meeting with him today. He introduced Paul Blackney Chief Financial Officer; Mike Walker, Eagle Group and Life line owner.
Mr. Walker explained that due to the Oroville City & Oroville Rural Levy did not pass by a large margin and LifeLine must take immediate action. The contract agreement with both entities, there is a sixty day notice requirement. They want to continue to provide the service in Oroville, but without stating at the end of the day they must cover their costs. The Oroville lost $100,000 since January 1, 2018 to October 2018 revenue which is impacting the rest of the business. Even at the max levy amount and minimum wage issue, they needed to make operation al changes to make it viable. An addendum was drafted for review. Accomplish threes things 1) follow the contract with the 60 day notice, 2) ask for the county, rural Oroville and city EMS to sign the amendment until things are figured out, 3) if talking about longer term viability there is still operational changes they can make in the Oroville and Tonasket area to make them more viable.

Director Huston provided the amount of liability we left LifeLine, we are paying for a much higher level of service. The point is we are paying for more than what we were, we might mitigate paring that back a bit. Support for Oroville from Tonasket we would need to have some kind of specific mutual aid document so one fund doesn’t benefit another. The levy time lines must be considered if levy is to be considered.

Mr. Walker outlined what they looked at for an operational plan with historical references with Life Line assumptions with regards to what has been affected.

Mr. Walker previously did a follow up meeting with the City. The city was not able to attend. What was involved was the rural had requested the levy at $.50 per $1000 and the city requested at $.35 per $1000 and he expressed to them they needed to make operational changes.

Walt Hart stated the city was in favor of re-running the levy as soon as possible. Commissioner Branch stated the commissioners should have provided some explanation and minimum information and comparables. Mr. Walker said the ballot was confusing for citizens because they felt they were voting for an additional school levy and perhaps did not know what they were voting for. Commissioner Branch believed some public information should be put out there first. This was a failure to communicate. Mr. Walker said he is willing to help with putting the public information together. Hospital district, school district employees campaign for their levy, why not Life Line. Commissioner Branch stated fact sheets would be helpful whether that is in addition to press releases or public meetings. Only land owners are paying into the district levy, he said he was in favor of 3/10ths sales tax because it is fairer.

Director Huston explained the board should still consider the amendment to the contract, as well as being on reserves beginning Jan. 1 then figure out some kind of resolve for another ballot measure with more outreach to the public on the service provided.

Commissioner Hover explained he did not know what the response time was before versus the 40 hours per week. What does that cover and what happens on the weekends? Mr. Walker replied he did not know and that info was not made available to him. From talking with police chief Todd Hill he was surprised at how quickly the response was of Life Line versus the volunteers. The rural area is time over distance. The off hours when the unit would come from Tonasket, then that would take around 10-12 minutes, but could be shortened up due to points in the far south areas, but north will get a little longer and weather conditions will play into the time. He does not see the Life Line being in violation of response time guidelines in WAC. He hopes the county and the city want to retain Life Line as a provider. They are committed to meeting the objective, just cannot do it at a loss.

Commissioner Branch asked if other scenarios have been analyzed by Life Line? Mr. Walker said yes, those other scenarios should be considered. It is challenging for him to make sure he is covering the bases of both entities. He gave an example, the city had no problem on what their amount on the ballot, but the promissory note had already been done, and insurance costs were being incurred.

Commissioner DeTro commented on his experience level not knowing what to expect from the ballot vote. Going forward he would like to provide the history and what we are faced with to the citizens. The commissioners wish to keep Life Line in place. Going forward how can we do that so Life Line is not operating in the loss? The reduction to 40 hours per week reducing FTE’s by five. There are currently six FTEs for Oroville and six in Tonasket. Is there an ability to reduce to six FTE between the two districts? Mr. Walker if there was one levy rate covering the area with one central location for the station being Ellisforde, and a way to adjust the staffing model, potentially cutting by ¼. It is a huge district, with some folks living way out, and takes at least a hour or two response. There is such a large amount of area to cover. He discussed some viable ideas.

Director Huston stated we must recognize a restructure of both districts. There is no clear process to merging the districts. Commissioner Hover asked about the Trauma response Districts and asked who controls that? Is it the legislature who says we can look at other options? Director Huston stated the voters tell us what amount of property tax to charge a levy.

Commissioner Branch stated there should be a conversation between the City of Oroville, Fire Districts, and the county. The Fire Districts saw the changes and would be able to relay. The “interim” amendments to the contract would be in effect until something else if figured out.

With no support from the Levy, along with the current financial status of Oroville EMS (which was discussed earlier this year) LifeLine Ambulance has no viable solutions for continued service based on current service model and reimbursement structure. Mr. Walker further explained that LifeLine must take immediate action to reduce continued losses. He suggested this can happen by limiting coverage to the Oroville response area to a straight 40 hours per week which is within the budget amount of the current EMS Levy. These hours would cover about 70% of total call volume in Oroville. The remaining coverage would need to come from Tonasket. He drafted a contract amendment and requested this be reviewed and signed promptly as LifeLine will need to make staffing adjustments as well as other operational changes by 12/01/2018.

Mr. Walker asked to arrange a meeting as immediately as possible to discuss the exit strategy for LifeLine Ambulance from the Oroville response area. He said LifeLine is open to any options to continue to provide service to this area, but it cannot result in a direct loss to LifeLine. We will make ourselves available to meet at a time that is convenient for you.

Mr. Walker said if the operational changes can be made within the 60 days they would be willing to hold on until a more sustainable solution, but if that cannot be accomplished they have not choice.

Commissioner Branch moved to approve amendment No.1 to the Oroville Rural EMS District Agreement signed July 5, 2016. Commissioner Hover amended the motion to add to approve upon legal review. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Branch would like to make sure the commissioners are involved with any conversation with the City of Oroville. The contract amendment will need to document some kind of arrangement between Tonasket ems, Oroville and Oroville Rural EMS district.

Consolidation of the districts should be something the legislature could address.

Commissioner DeTro discussed bringing these issues to the legislators. Mr. Walker said he would be willing to help with that. Putting something before them before they go into session would be good.

Mr. Walker stated Oroville has two good ambulances possibly three, Tonasket has two not very good ambulances. He suggested surplussing the ones causing trouble and keeping the good ones. He said there is some Zoll equipment that will need to be replaced.

Member of the public Isabelle Spohn taking notes on her computer for Okanogan Watch Group.

Public Hearing – Planned Development – Lester PD 2017-1 – Char Schumacher
Perry Huston, Char Schumacher

Commissioner DeTro opened the hearing up and asked for the staff report. Ms. Schumacher provided her staff report. She stated this action would take an existing family residence and would allow for nightly rentals. 0.58 acre with single family residence would be dedicated to nightly rental and the rest of the acreage would be open space.

Director Huston Planned explained the development bonuses and amenities that can be built in to receive a bonus.

Commissioner DeTro opened up to citizen comment seeing no one to testify he closed the hearing and opened up to commissioners’ discussion.

Director Huston explained the documents to be considered and what they do.

Motion Development Agreement Lester Long Plat 2017-1
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the development agreement and final plat of the Lester PD 2017-1 and authorized approval. Commissioner Branch asked about the driver for the development. Ms. Schumacher replied the driver is the overnight rental. Are the adjacent land uses primarily ag land? Yes, replied Ms. Schumacher. Motion was seconded all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Ordinance 2018-16
Commissioner Hover moved to approve ordinance 2018-16 which amends the county’s zone map for the Lester Planned Development 2017-1. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Update – Planning – Perry Huston
Angie Hubbard, member of the public Lorah Super & Ford Waterstrat

Voluntary Stewardship Program
Director Huston stated the implementation agreement was prepared but it has Director Huston’s signature line. He explained the board could either authorize him to sign for the board or the board could authorize the chairman to sign in that case it has not been signed yet by the other party.

WRIA 49 Plan Revisions
Director Huston stated DOE completed their revisions of the map eventually we will get them. Commissioner Hover explained an interesting idea for mitigation. Other counties are using ASR? why cannot a well be drilled outside a closed basin then water injected into a well within the closed basin then have an agreement among the land owners for mitigation. Essentially it would take water from a well outside the closed basin to inject into another well within the closed basin to mitigate water taken within the closed basin. Hydraulic continuity would need to be considered, Director Huston said. Commissioner Hover stated this would be a way to micro ASR. Commissioners would like to discuss further with DOE Trevor. Commissioner Branch stated fundamentally it’s the same. Commissioner Hover said he would not increase lots but rather provide water to those who already have them.

Planning Commission hearing is tonight for water regulations.

Director Huston discussed the planning unit membership. He said DOE required the facilitator position be a published RFQ. He prepared an RFQ for commissioners’ review. He will check with the initiating governments and report back to the commissioners. He further discussed what guidance documents are being pulled together.

Consumptive water uses were discussed.

Director Huston will check with DOE Vanessa on the status of the several agreements yet to be authorized.

Methow headwaters wants to contact congressman’s Newhouse office to tell him we are on board with the letter of support to secretary Zinke.

Motion Letter of Support to Secretary Zinke
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the letter of support to Secretary Zinke in terms of the Methow headwaters. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Director Huston stated the correspondence that was sent to the nightly rentals. Veranda Beach poses an interesting situation all nightly rentals in that development operate under the HOA. The HOA does all the reservations etc…..Each individual landowner would need to get their license. Another letter will be issued to remind them about the license application.

Code Enforcement
Director Huston explained some code enforcement work he and the chief civil deputy are working on. Commissioner Branch asked if breaking the land use code should be a criminal violation? Director Huston replied repeated offenses or failure to comply could trip the criminal violation. Commissioner Branch stated he is interested in compliance but not over a long period of time. Decriminalizing land use violations was discussed. Commissioner Hover asked about putting a lien on a property instead. Director Huston provided an example of the expenses being collectible when the property foreclosed or when the property owner becomes compliant. Abatement was discussed.

Director Huston updated the commissioners on some observations he made on enforcements such as the salvage yard. He also issued a stop-work-order in the Methow, and will go up on Wednesday to figure out the tree situation.

Director Huston stated some enforcement referrals he has been getting regarding lake front violations on critical areas ordinance. He will need to increase his field work to address these complaints.

In general, does the Director wait until a complaint occurs? Director Huston said when the Dept of health list is laid against his list they can find some not in compliance. But is consistent with prior direction of the board. Property management lists also get forwarded to him to see if they are in compliance. Nightly rentals are also required to pay lodging tax for overnight rentals.

Comp Plan
Scoping began
Transportation element

Director Huston discussed some disconnect with land use activities and our road program. There is a transportation element in the plan, and a scoping memo outlining impacts is a significant issue. He would like to discuss reviewing the element and assisting in writing the chapter for the EIS. Commissioner Hover said yes, that is important because public works has to plow the roads and maintain them. Commissioner Branch stated the development should be paying for the upgrades to the transportation system. Director Huston said one chief concern is the real estate not served by a road that has no clear framework for improving them once the area is developed.

Commissioner Hover asked about the second round of WATV amendments. Director Huston said he was waiting for the final list, so he can do the checklist. He is doing SEPA on the list from the Engineer. He will pick that up again soon.

The Champerty Shores extension was discussed. Mr. Barker will take it from the lift station along his property and build that to the standards so Champerty shores can hook into it later. Director Huston said it would make it simpler. He will establish the boundaries of the improvement district. Treasurer is responsible for bond counsel, but we do need to know the cost estimate amount. Director Huston explained how he will consider the boundaries and what outreach he will do to neighboring landowners.

New quit claim documents were provided to the board, but they have not been reviewed by the civil deputy.

Director Huston explained the Lake Management District public hearing was set regarding objections of the special assessment rolls. That hearing is set for December 17 at 1:30 p.m. Notices have gone out. He explained where the information will reside.

TV District #1 has four sites in which they are involved. Pickens, Wireless, PUD Day wireless, and T-Mobile and have leases with the district on that site. The sheriff does not have a direct lease on that site. The District also has presence on Mt. Olive with a lease with DNR. The district has presence on Fox Mt. and a lease with DNR for that. Omak Mt. CCT lease agreement.

Director Huston explained the situation with the fairgrounds well. Does the board wish to move forward with the well repairs or the well replacement or put the project on hold? Commissioner DeTro stated the well casing already purchased will only go up in cost if the county surplussed it later it would make its money back.

The board signed a letter of condolences dated November 20th, in regards to an employee who passed away.

Budget Work Session – Auditor
Cari Hall, Laurie Thomas, Leah McCormack,

The group reviewed the various budgets of the Auditor. The Advanced expenditure funds were discussed and reviewed. Auditor Thomas explained if the postage increase is approved we will need to cover those extra costs. All budgets would need to reflect the extra cost.

Auditor Thomas said she is renting a printer from Kelly Imaging but later she found out she could have bought the printer three times for the cost to rent it.

Auditor Thomas explained elections pre-paid postage budget should be budgeted for to avoid legal issues. However she wondered if we do fund it totally it would look like we don’t need funding but if we don’t there is a possibility of legal proceedings.

The vendor supplying our ballots wants the order now, and will give a price break if counties order together. Next year it is almost all recoupable due to the county from cities and schools. It is up to the legislature whether grant funds are available to apply.

MARC fund was reviewed. The Professional Services line was reviewed. Commissioner Hover asked if some of those funds could be used by the Clerk if they had preservation of historical document needs. Auditor Thomas and Ms. Hall said yes it could be used by the Clerk for that reason.

The board adjourned at 5:00 p.m.