OCTOBER 2, 2018

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met for its regular session on October 2, 2018, with Commissioner Jim DeTro, Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch Vice-Chairman; Commissioner Andy Hover, Member and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Commissioner Hover absent this morning due to attending
George Thornton, member of the public, taking hand written notes.

Commissioners’ Staff Meeting
Stella Columbia, Perry Huston, Joe Poulin

Ms. Columbia explained people are contacting her who want to use the Fairground Quonset huts for storage. She checked with private businesses and what they charge and she thought $2 per sq. foot would be a fair charge for us. Commissioner DeTro said there is a roof on those but they are basically open storage. Commissioners thought as long the rate did not conflict with other businesses then they were okay with renting those out for the winter. Ms. Columbia explained another issue is that 15 of the tables used for events are in real bad shape. She said realistically 20 need to be replaced. The Taste of Two Valley’s inquired about the tables for their event coming up soon. Ms. Columbia said there was some savings from the temporary staffing allocation that could help with the cost. She discussed upcoming Agriplex events. Taste of Three Valleys is Oct. 22, Wine & Cheese Nov. 3, fund raiser on Nov. 10.

Joe Poulin discussed his request for a leaf vacuum that also has a small diameter chipper on the side. He said it has been reduced in price to $2500 but the vendor would be willing to trade our John Deer tractor forks and $1500 for it. The forks will need to be surplussed first by resolution. The leaf vacuum will save a lot in labor and time. Mr. Poulin stated it took him and two other staff a few days to pick up the mowed grass. He discussed items are being relocated to the fairgrounds for the surplus auction.

Director Huston relayed a meeting with DOE regarding watershed, net ecological benefit etc.… is set at the Omak Library this week. The Cannabis committee will also be meeting tomorrow. And, Thursday this week is the kick off meeting regarding WRIA 49 here in the commissioners hearing room at 6:00 p.m. He explained Calcium Carbonate business in Tonasket is wrapping up. He will stop by there to see what is going on, additionally there is some code enforcements he will attend to. Bob Lawrence East Lake Sewer at Champerty Shores. He intends to contact him to learn the kind of structure that is needed in screening applicants.

A letter was sent by Director Huston to the Initiating Governments with a request to validate members. He discussed the LID and said he would keep Engineer Thomson apprised. If the county managed the project he can make that work too. He will move ahead and keep everyone talking to avoid stumbling later if delayed. He will talk with the Oroville City Council about the utility issuing the revenue bond and then we don’t have to set up the LID. Commissioner Branch said that would be most convenient and straight forward. Commissioners were in favor of Director Huston keeping the discussion moving forward and revisiting the City of Oroville to nail down the different funding solutions. Revenue bonds are daunting and bond counsel must be secured. Municipal bond issues seem to sell within a few days, said Director Huston. He has a dream to get the Comp Plan in front of the board again next week. He will also discuss the application requirements with David Gecas at a later date.

The Clerk of the Board informed the commissioners that a position opened up on the Water Conservancy Board due to a resignation. She explained a letter of interest would be forthcoming as the Water Conservancy Board secretary said they met someone who wished to be appointed for the unexpired term.

George Thornton commented that the board develop a way to publicly announce board openings.

Update Clerk’s Office-Charleen Groomes
Susan Speiker,

Clerk Groomes discussed preservation of historical documents. Many historical documents are not being stored properly. Currently the office has over 1300 boxes of files. There are also reels that need to be digitized. The reel reader is no longer functioning and the one they use is another county’s and it is almost broken.

Ms. Speiker said they are cleaning out funds held in the Clerk’s Trust. Ms. Speiker explained the antiquated system was updated and the dept. was able to clear up some of these types of situations. She is working on some cases with the Prosecutor’s office on funds that would be turned into Current Expense. It must be checked first by the prosecutor before it is then turned over to AOC for another look. Three cases to be cleared up. After those are cleared, the Dept. will be able to keep up due to the new system upgrade.

The Odyssey conversion has been going well and staff has adapted well to the change.

Update – Public Works – Josh Thomson & Ben Rough

BID OPENING County Wide Guard Rail Safety Project
Shasta Stedman

Commissioner DeTro stated the time for receiving bids for the countywide guard rail system. Three bids were received on time. The bids were opened and read out loud.

Peterson Brothers, Sumner WA
Total bid $474,471.51
It appeared correct documentation was provided.

Dirt & Aggregate
Total Bid $487,222.00
It appeared correct documentation was provided.

Total Bid $427,084.00
It appeared correct documentation was provided.
Bid bond attached.

Apparent low, but Public Works will review the bids and provide recommendation for award.

The Engineer’s estimate was $451,454.

Ben Rough provided his agenda and discussed the items listed there.

Mr. Rough discussed open position status of the several positions listed. A 3rd snow groomer operator would not be allowed to exceed the amount of state funds allocated for that purpose. Training would occur by the current employee to the new operator. This is a temp employee too. Would the commissioners like to authorize the 3rd temp snow groomer position by resolution so the training can occur then that employee would step out or is the board willing to authorize right now. That person would be on-call to fill in when the other two snow groomers are unable to groom. The fiscal impact is zero as it is 100% reimbursable through Grant money. A resolution would be preferred to outline the situation.

SWAC Update
Meeting last night went well, but By-laws and SWAC membership came up. He discussed with SWAC the idea of doing away with the alternates, but the SWAC decided in the end to keep those position because an alternate position helps the committee form a quorum. Remote participation by committees (call-in) should detailed in the entity by-laws. SWAC requested a legal opinion on this as well as commissioners’ support then they would consider updating the by-laws to allow this.

Apple Maggot Update
Mr. Rough explained a letter went to Dept. of Ag regarding the permit SEPA exemption for the special permit of collection of solid waste to the land fill. The special permit has nothing to do with processing green waste. This week Mr. Kovalenko is attending a work shop on heat treatments and handling of green waste.

Central Landfill: Scale Installation Schedule
If temporary scales are available then those will be used.

Jail Trustee Discussion October 8 at 4:15 pm.
Joe Poulin and Noah Stewart will be invited to discuss use of trustees.

Engineer Thomson provided his agenda and discussed the items listed there.

Maintenance and Road Conditions
Engineer Thomson explained crack sealing was added to the maintenance.

Statler Bridge was closed and reopened once repairs were done, but load restrictions resolution is the best way to keep people safe. It will allow a school bus over it, and weekly monitoring will happen. Water is now flowing under the bridge. He is meeting with Connie Iten on estimates for prospectus. He expects it to go through, but he is looking at around $1.2 million for replacement.

Bridge Inspection
Engineer Thomson said there were identified additional erosion regarding some other bridges on Salmon Creek Road, those were minor.

Barkley & MVID Dich Project
Did not sound like WDFW was happy with the issues brought to their attention regarding this project.

Consent Agenda Items
Engineer Thomson briefly discussed items on the consent agenda.

Commissioners adjourned for lunch at 11:30 a.m.

Commissioner Hover was returned for meetings this afternoon.

Citizens Comment Period
During this time, Commissioner DeTro explained he spoke to Okanogan Irrigation and he was told the idea of diversion on North Fork will allow them to fill the upper lake, right now the limit is 20 cfs. The diversion will allow the lake to be filled early on to fill to 70 cfs. The tribe is involved and the diversion has nothing to do with fish or tearing dams out. This is water mitigation. He heard from Bureau of Reclamation and they said putting a restriction on the lower lake won’t work, so they will look at other options.

Public Hearing-CDBG Economic Opportunity Grant Closeout-Fire District #15-Tonya Vallance

Director of Planning Perry Huston.
George Thornton member of the public, taking notes.

Commissioner DeTro opened up the public hearing. He asked Ms. Vallance to provide a closeout report.

Ms. Vallance explained this public hearing is the final step to closing out the CDBG Economic Opportunity Grant for Fire District #15. She explained the process and how Okanogan County became involved with the $1,000,000. The hall was completed in 2017 but there were many forms to be completed prior to closeout including the state audit with no findings or management letters. They did comment on the district’s procurement policy. Ms. Vallance explained the final documents to be authorized. There were some issues with the contractor using the wrong salary ranges, should have used the Davis Bacon reference.

Ms. Vallance thanked the board for its involvement with the grant. Director Huston commented that Okanogan County’s in-kind portion to provide the NEPA and SEPA review for the grant was performed by his office. He stated it represents an opportunity for the public to participate. Although the project was exempt the funding source required SEPA NEPA review. There was a notification and comment period and none given during the time allowed. It is important to note there were other opportunities where public could comment.

Motion Contract Closeout Report CDBG Economic Opportunity Fire #15
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the close out report for the CDBG Economic Opportunity Grant No. 15-62210-035 and authorized the chairman to sign. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Resolution 100-2018 Snow Groomers
Commissioner Hover moved to approve resolution 100-2018 approving up to three (3) temporary snow groomers for the 2018-2019 winter season. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Reappointment Water Conservancy-Rod Noel
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the reappointment of Rod Noel to the Water Conservancy Board expiring on March 31, 2024. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

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

1. Commissioners Proceedings September 24, 25, 2018
2. Cattle Guard Renewal-CGF#5-77-Searer
3. Contract-Fair Entertainment-Music-Jeremy McComb
4. Resolution 95-2018 Temp Snow Groomer Employees Wages
5. Resolution 97-2018 Sinlahekin Road Culvert
6. Resolution 98 2018 Annual Leave for Probationary Employees PW PTC Union
7. Resolution 99-2018 Bridge Load Restrictions Bridge A-2 Statler Bridge

Update-Human Resources/Risk Management-Debi Hilts, Tanya Craig
Ms. Debi Hilts provided her update. Ms. Craig was not in attendance.

Public Health is inquiring whether or not the county will pay for Flu Shots this year or not. Commissioner DeTro believed that Rite Aid provides free flu shots. Ms. Hilts commented that employee health insurance covers the shot. The commissioners asked that Ms. Hilts check with Rite Aid about the free flu shots, find out from Public Health the cost of each shot and who intends to get one, and check on cost to the employee if insurance pays.

Discussion –Johnson Creek Fish Passage-Rod Haeberle

Commissioner DeTro explained this meeting was to clarify the Fish Passage. The irrigation district is required by DOE to put in a fish passage. There is nothing they can do. There is also going to be a new diversion on the North Fork. Colville purchases water from Okanogan Irrigation district and the diversion will help fill the lake beyond 20 cfs, but the window of opportunity is often missed to fill the upper lake. This will allow 70 cfs to be diverted to the upper lake to be filled. The tribe is paying for it as mitigation but it has nothing to do with tearing down dams or fish. It isn’t the Okanogan Irrigation districts idea.

A sign in sheet was circulated as there were many in attendance.

Mr. Haeberle explained the concerns he and many others have regarding the Fish Passage on Johnson Creek. The first thing is to give some parameters around Johnson Creek, it comes out around Hess lake and parallels Conconully Road then flows down through private property for around 8 miles until Riverside Cut off road then at Green Acers Road runs down into the confluence of the Okanogan River most of the time, but not all the time. The experts say it is a fish bearing stream and other say it isn’t. If there is no water in the stream it would appear difficult to have fish.

A petition was brought forth to the commissioner by Johnson Creek property owners and water right holders. All of the creek until it comes out a Green Acres road, but DOT has granted fish issues, City of Riverside is allowing culverts to be put in. Tear out concrete dam on upper side of HW 97 and that has not been done. Commissioner DeTro stated they have altered the dam. Phase II was to tear the culvert out by Green acres and that is when they will walk all over the private land owners. The 2014 testimony was read when the fish issue became known. To date Trout Unlimited has not talked to any of the landowners.

Mr. Haeberle read from his 2014 testimony. All of the fish mitigation actions, Bonneville has to pay 100% of them. For fish habitat, water rights all along the Okanogan River are being looked at due to the tributaries that flow into the river. The private land owners and residents along the Johnson Creek signed a petition to the county commissioners and it was ratified by the county commissioners at the time. The Farm Bureau also ratified it afterwards.

He read a letter of similar nature submitted after the reading of the first letter which summarized the feelings of the Johnson Creek group. Rehabilitation means they were there, yet Chris Fisher swears up and down there is Steel head in the creek. How can you say they are rehabilitating when the fish have never been there. He feels the county commissioners did their part, but we don’t know where any traction can be had from here. There is the GOD SQUAD but it requires a Governor from each state.

Since the initial petition was read, everything is totally relevant and is on Bonneville Letter head. He read from the BPA fish court in 2008. The Salmon Creek project, to-date the Tribe spent $6.25 million to produce 6-80 fish per year in that creek.

SEPA was applied for in June 2015 Char Schumacher with Trout Unlimited. . Correction was noted that Ms. Schumacher was with Okanogan County at the time. Evaluation proposed to change a culvert that was not fish friendly and that was done. Also there were plans to remove the concrete dam and Commissioner DeTro said they have cut a down the sides. Mr. Haeberle said Phase II of the project will be a request to the county commissioners to remove the culvert and that will open up the door on Johnson Creek. There is no one on the creek in favor of the fish passage. The will try and buy someone out then when that happens their wish is to have a hatchery there. They will never stop, they have the Riverside project, now they are moving north. There is a fish friendly culvert needed on Hwy 97 and that will be a huge expense. They’ll move around until they have the land they need then once that land is secured along the creek they will revisit the Hwy 97 culvert. If the culvert changes Mr. Haeberle said the whole pond will go away.

Mr. Haeberle read that after the study, they named off several creeks of interest, including Johnson Creek where the Tribe found the creek was subsurface from Hwy 97 to the confluence, and no field observations found fish.

Omak School District gave permission to remove the concrete dam and culvert and those estimated costs for those two projects was $164,900 then additional funds matches of $29,500.

Commissioner DeTro stated there are some questions that come along with the problems. The agencies can override and work in the creek whenever they want to, but the citizen will get arrested. They can destroy a wet land, but the citizen will be arrested.

Commissioner Hover said BPA cut funding to the Okanogan because it wasn’t going to put the cost of overflow onto the rate payers to make up the 40 million dollar loss due to the spill. Mr. Haeberle said part of what was read today on the mitigation funding on fish to mitigate the damage they caused. It is the Board’s understanding the blank check writing of BPA ending? Commissioner Hover replied they are evaluating.

Commissioner Branch stated he is very familiar with Johnson Creek, has even fished it with permission knowing it is primarily private property but not on the Haeberle place; Mr. Haeberle said just ask. Branch acknowledged that the stream was looked at as a special trout stream.

Commissioner Hover asked if there was funding mechanism not tied to WDFW or BPA fish program but was regarding wells in the county and a definitive document that says no ESA listings in Johnson Creek, is Steel head in that creek an issue for anyone? He was previously told off the record by Chris Fisher that the evaluation of the creek main body is not ideal for spawning and a lot of work in the creek would be needed for fish. Mr. Haeberle said there are many Brown Trout in the creek.

Do the property owners have an issue with Steel Head? Ms. Nichole Kuchenbuch stated it is the demise of the water rights not about fish. She said there was concern about them poisoning out the Brown Trout.

Mr. Haeberle said the rainbow trout could co-exist with steelhead and that is why only catch and release on the creek. The other fish there is a limit of 10, but they are apparently predators to the salmon. He would hate to see the German Browns go away.

Mr. Haeberle asked if others behind him could testify because many have gone through issues on Johnson Creek.

1986 photos show the creek dry and she has march land and ties into Mr. Andersons property that would be lost if the culverts were removed. Commissioner DeTro said Minton Corner there was an old homesteader murdered over water rights in the early 20’s. There is also talk about someone buying the Figlenski’s in order to put mustangs on. Mr. Haeberle said there was also the Hess Lake murders about water. On behalf of everyone in the room, he said he is afraid they will all be run over by this and he wants to be on the record. If there is any insight the commissioners can provide, they would like to hear.

They aren’t worried about fish they are worried about the people. Commissioner Hover thanked Mr. Haeberle for coming in here to explain the issues along with the many others feeling impacted. Mr. Haeberle said in every one of the rehab projects they wind up like what happened in Salmon Creek with 6.5 million dollars in order to raise 6-80 fish as shown on the DEIS. Deeded acreage and crops they produce and livelihood they have and if the water is made more fish friendly they will displace land value due to no water, displace all the family livelihood to raise 6-80 fish per year? It has happened in other areas and it will happen here.

Commissioner DeTro thanked the group for coming as this has been a topic of great concern. Ms. Kuchenbuch asked the opinion of each commissioner on this matter.

Mr. Haeberle said that they were encouraged to drill wells to reduce the impacts to instream flows and they have offered to drill the well but was concerned how all that would affect water rights. Commissioner Branch said he is concerned about that. He discussed the issues before the board of commissioners in regards to water, water availability, impairments etc…He understands the concern. Mr. Haeberle said farmers make up 2% of the population but grow most of the populations food, he believes most people who love fish and love to fish are thinking fish should be in every bit of water, but he really doesn’t think those same people were put into his shoes they would have a different point of view of this situation. Commissioner Branch indicated he is about public access to fishing but always tries to put himself in the position of others when actions affect them, and he felt that if he were a landowner with a unique stream like Johnson Creek running through their property and there were proposed changes to the stream that might impact its present condition he would be quite concerned.

Commissioner Hover said the creek his grandparents bought land on was the bomb shell for Okanogan County NOAA Fisheries told them to shut it off or face a $5,000 charge. Luckily they were able to resolve that. In working for the public he represents the public in the many boards and committees he sits on. He has spoken and said the programs do not work if you are not communicating with those impacted. He is going to support this, this conversation about Johnson Creek has happened at the UCSRB meetings which he sits on. He will keep advocating but it would be nice if there was a way to get more fish without taking water rights and purely just have more fish. Can that happen, we don’t know. When he is sitting at the meetings he is thinking how the issue impacts the citizens he represents.

Commissioner DeTro said he sits on the NACo Public Lands steering committee he gets to testify if he wants to. He said BLM stole authority and jurisdiction when their own policies have said they are to manage the public lands. We must resist at the highest level in order to be heard. On DNR land we did not have one fire over 20 acres this year because the new commissioner of public lands has listened and taken action and why you see engines scattered around the state and planes at the airport. Initial attack is when there is a fire you go and put it out rather than wasting time working up the paper work. Does he fight fish issues and encroachments to private property you bet he does. Takes the voice of the people to a higher level to implement change. Commissioner DeTro pointed out that this issue came to his attention as a result of Commissioner Branch’s report on the Washington State Association of Counties recent business that included funding that would make Johnson Creek modifications more imminent. He had noted that the culvert replacements there scored high in funding proposals.

Mr. Haeberle pointed out that they would not be here today if the board had not first come to him to relay what was going on. They do care but they are out working to make a living and cannot attend every meeting where these issues are being discussed. Commissioner Branch reached out to the group for a conversation and would like to get to know everyone better.

The commissioners thanked everyone for taking time to attend.

Engineer Thomson explained he prepared his recommendation for award of the county wide Guard Rail project for signature.

Motion Bid Award-Countywide Guardrail Project
Commissioner Branch moved to award the County Wide Guard Rail project to Gurney as the low bidder. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

The board adjourned at 5:00 p.m.