APRIL 21, 2020

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in remotely in regular session at 123 5th Avenue North, Okanogan, Washington on April 21, 2020, with Chairman, Commissioner Jim DeTro; Vice Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch; Member, Commissioner Andy Hover and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Commissioner Hover in the office, Sheriff Tony Hawley physically present.

Commissioner DeTro and Commissioner Branch was present remotely.

Public Comment
Commissioner DeTro opened up the meeting for public comment

The letter Douglas county got from Governor prompted them to rescind the resolution and replace it with a resolution about residential construction. An attorney has offered to represent the counties that pass resolutions such that are unconstitutional. Commissioner Hover said he read through the RCW and wants to have David Gecas provide an opinion because the section referred to is only a piece of the RCW and it is in there about the 30 days but we should look at it and read it together then decide what direction to go. He tried to understand it himself. Commissioner DeTro stated the attorney is confident about winning on this. Commissioner DeTro has gotten many calls about this. Many dealerships will likely be no longer after May 4, 2020. Many go to Idaho to buy vehicles there because they can’t here. It will affect our businesses and if we don’t have a tax base in the county how will we run the county. The 30 days would run out April 24 is that right, Commissioner Hove asked. We ll be in session on Monday and this should be discussed then. Commissioner DeTro stated a NEWC meeting is scheduled to go over COCID-19 impacts and plans to reopen with the three other counties. The peak months of the year for Sunrise Dealership is March April May and June and things look pretty doom and gloom for him. He is not confident he’ll be able to survive.

Commissioner DeTro can’t understand why we cannot do some soft openings for those businesses that can take in one person at a time. Any business that can conduct business over the phone or with one customer at a time.

Commissioner Hover said he’d like to discuss this further on Monday of those businesses that have plans, it would be a good discussion to have. Perimeters to follow would be best as many are in desperation mode.

Commissioner Branch said when information is brought to him at last minute is difficult to comment on. We cannot make any move without the civil deputy involved. He understands the angst people are feeling. He said there is a lot of opinion about this being a fallacy, but if he bases his decision on that, what is the potential consequences. In Douglas County they are pushing the governor more and more on this. He isn’t sure if Chelan County made the changes to their position or not. He has looked into the constitutional laws about this. He agrees Monday discussion will be good. He encourages not just following the herd.

Impacts to the hospitality businesses is unknown at this time. Commissioner DeTro stated it is a situation to be weighed carefully, he is listening to his constituents and wants to do something positive, whatever that is. We are in uncharted waters and it will be difficult no matter what. Commissioner Branch stated it is important decision to make. Commissioner DeTro would like a more detailed discussion about this on Monday.

The action today provides a date of May 4, but beyond that it is unknown. Commissioner DeTro wants to do what is right for the businesses of Okanogan County and if at that point further restrictions are put into place, then let the public health officer do it.

Commissioner Hover asked for additional explanation about the word “restriction” that was to replace the word “closed”. Commissioner Branch said the part that is unclear is the stay home stay healthy order is actually being enforced by the county for the state. He thinks the constitution lays that out. The businesses are actually doing the enforcements when they refuse.

The revised resolution addresses the three points of concern relayed to the commissioners by constituents.

Commissioner Hover said he will come in and sign the resolution and letter acknowledging property sits within open range area.

Motion Resolution 51-2020
Commissioner Hover moved to approve resolution 51-2020 as amended which clarified the joint resolution for the closure of overnight transient accommodations to be in line with the Governor’s order. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion April 15, 2020 Meeting Proceedings
Commissioner Branch moved to approve April 15, 2020 commissioners’ meeting proceedings. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Hover will get the resolution out to the hoteliers so they have it as soon as possible but it won’t be signed by the chairman unit tomorrow.

Commissioner Branch asked that the resolution be sent to Carolyn Davis.

The letter Pete Palmer drafted to OTA’s should include language to refer to the resolution.

Sheriff Hawley wanted to touch base with the commissioners as he was on a call with the governor’s office regarding these concerns. Was the governor looking at this state wide or region wide due to each region having different needs that one size may not fit all? Smaller residential construction that normally happens here is usually conducted by only one person and sometime two. They are pushing some of this towards the governor and provide a plan for moving forward. It isn’t working well for our population to just sit at home and let this play out without some information about what that will look like. The governor is trying to come up with plans to address regional needs. He feels this should be a team effort.

Cowlitz County released a resolution asking the governor to open the state back up which cited many RCW’s. Commissioner Branch thought he’d give them a call to receive some back ground.

Commissioner Hover discussed moving forward with Central Services regular disposal of certain components that they cannot use right now. Commissioner DeTro said he agrees its okay.

The board adjourned at 2:45 p.m.