JANUARY 14, 2020

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

9:00 a.m. Because there is no public comment period, George Thornton commented now that an individual who has been arrested several times, had a psych evaluation and just keeps being arrested and released back into the county. He gets right back into the routine and commits the same crimes over and over and over again. Mr. Thornton felt the reason is due to the current prosecutor. David Gecas said AOC is where complaints of this nature can be submitted. AOC then investigates the situation and with this particular individual appearing to be a mental health issue it could be resolved sooner rather than later.

Commissioners’ Staff Meeting
David Gecas, Joe Poulin, Dan Higbee

David Gecas explained interviews are happening among the cities for building officials. The only changes to the agreements was the dates, instead of recording with the auditor, it can instead be posted online on our website. He worked on public records requests. He discussed that what we are doing is consistent with the law in terms of the charges departments make for the copies.

Commissioner DeTro stated he talked with Senator Shelley Short last night and she said she would look into the wolf situation and he discussed the marijuana issues.

Commissioner Branch brought up the issue of emerging issues affecting short subdivision guidance to applicants especially in the Methow. A process to address ongoing and evolving understanding of our own subdivision rules needs to be established in these uncertain times especially where departure of the previous planning director left such a gap in regard to interpretation of the code. Most of this is relative to water availability. He warned that we should be ensuring that the planning department has clear policies in place where administrative authority is in the hands of the director and interim director. He also stressed that an understanding of our own process as set forth in code in necessary to determine if the public is being served in a predictable manner. Code amendments may be necessary in the short term. Commissioner Branch asked if the board understood his concerns.

Joe Poulin said Daniel Haven was hired to fill the custodian position vacancy. He is still working on obtaining quotes for a sand filter for the fairgrounds water system.

Cost estimates were provided for a part-time permanent custodian and the cost would be $23,758 with medical and $19,231 if they waive medical. He has someone in mind.

The heating and cooling system for the jail was discussed as there was a failed compressor and heat exchanger. The quote included two options, one with prevailing wage and the other at regular wage. Mr. Poulin explained what he thought the issue was versus what Salcido said it was. It is a new system and already

Dan Higbee explained he has four trucks, with one being surplussed. One is brand new the other is a 2004 pickup truck with 200,000 plus miles on it and the other is a 2007 pickup truck with about 184,000 miles on it. He isn’t sure which he would surplus.

Motion Authorizing Building Dept. to Obtain bids
Commissioner Hover moved to authorize the building official to go out for bids on a new vehicle to replace one of the aging trucks. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

The rent for the Hancock Building was discussed at $0.59 per square foot for the professional space. The county would pay Water, Sewer, and Garbage. The county would charge $0.30 per sq. foot for storage space which would be about 750 sq. feet. Commissioner Branch has been working with Aging and Adult care to relocate their office space since they had been exploring other options to satisfy their current needs in Omak while resources for the agency begin to dwindle. Commissioners are looking to rent the building rather than it just sitting. It does have fiber to the building. This group provides services to the aging population, this space would allow more funding to go to the needs of the elderly rather than rent. Commissioners believe that $0.59 per sq. foot is a fair rate for the upper floor. It doesn’t look like Aging and Adult care can relocate until June.

Motion Direct Clerk of the Board to Draft Resolution to Amend Resolution 144-2017
Commissioner Hover moved to direct the Clerk of the Board to amend the building rent fee schedule to include the rent for the Hancock building at $0.59 per square foot for the professional space and $0.30 per square foot for the storage space in the basement. Commissioners discussed why the rate is different from the Public Works building rent, and it was because the Hancock building is a stand-alone building rather than a space within a bigger building like Public Works. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

We need to amend the rent fee schedule to include the Hancock building.

Update - Human Resources / Risk Management - Tanya Craig
A preconstruction meeting with Halme Construction is scheduled this week. The contractor paperwork is all in order. Commissioner Branch asked about the contract that was signed and whether we went out for architect services at that time or whether we already had quotes on file. Ms. Craig said she isn’t sure as she inherited the project from previous Planning Director. IF we did not we should for general architect services for the year. Commissioner Hover said Public Works may have already published for the annual needs for architect services. Ms. Craig will look into it and get back with the board.

New hires for Planning Director and Fairgrounds Coordinator positions were discussed with finalized offer letters, setting the start date etc… would be drafted for commissioners’ approval.

Every year OPD provides “grant” funds for some of the public defense costs. The amount for 2020 is $52,274. Commissioner Hover thought a serious business discussion should happen as the funds hardly cover anything. Ms. Craig said a bill is to be considered in 2020 session regarding this matter.

Commissioner Branch asked why someone would keep being released from jail even when there are available beds, after committing and being charged with the same crimes over and over again. He said this issue came to his attention at the OCOG meeting. He thought when a conversation/meeting happens to discuss jail fees with the Cities that we include the prosecutor and other in the system.

Commissioner Branch moved to direct Ms. Craig to schedule a meeting with the stakeholders regarding jail fees and services. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Memorialize the selection of the company to upgrade our website. The vendor wishes to contract now, with payment due April 30 so the work can begin now and we pay later.

Commissioner Hover read from RCW 39.04.270 which requires a notice to be published. Commissioner Hover asked that correct procedures be done to secure the bids.

Motion Closed Session Union Negotiation Sheriff’s Guild RCW 42.30.110(4)(b)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into closed session at 10:20 a.m. for 5 minutes inviting Tanya Craig to discuss Union Negotiations. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Update – County Auditor, Cari Hall
Jamie Groomes

Auditor Hall updated the board on items she is assisting departments with. The budget is good with payroll manually updating the changes due to the recent LOA’s. Budget adjustments are to come out of contingency reserves. Auditor Hall doesn’t want to forget so sometime in February the adjustments will be calculated.

Recording is going well, with no new bills introduced this year. The auditors across the state want to see uniformity across the state among the auditors. We tend to follow Spokane’s lead as we have the same software.

A customer came to the county’s Department of Licensing who was upset that her manufactured home that was set on someone else’s property, but she was not happy with the county’s response. The customer continues to be unhappy with the process and information relayed. Auditor Hall did not want the commissioners blindsided.

Elections is the big topic this year with multiple bills being reintroduced. Auditor Hall explained ballot box legislation that includes the election date. The other one is about 17 year olds being allowed to vote. She has no concerns with it. She will keep the board informed. The other thing is right choice voting which requires ranking of candidates which then goes forward. There is only one vendor in the state who can make the change. Willing to do it, but with a complete system overhaul the auditors in the state are pushing for the funding to do this. She isn’t sure what the purpose is behind the right choice voting. The cost involved appears to be an unfunded mandate. There is another 13 bills coming down on top of these.

Commissioner Hover said it appeared Elections revenue went way down, did something happen? Ms. Hall isn’t sure why, she looked at it, but thinks it was just that revenue was down with high budget projections that could not be met.

The staffing levels were discussed. One elections new hire does sit on the city council of Bridgeport in another county, but after consulting with David Gecas it doesn’t appear to cause a problem.

Security concerns were discussed as daily emails are received regarding safety during the election. We have to be open until 8:00 p.m. she is requesting some security during the presidential primary and election night. She is willing to discuss the needs with the Sheriff, and she is willing to pay the overtime of whomever provides. Commissioner Branch suggested a written request. A meeting among those involved to ensure everyone is on the same page would be good. She will make the arrangement for the meeting.

Ms. Groomes gave her elections update. We are two school districts short of having an election. Primary ballots are being proofed right now to be mailed out the 24th of January.

Fire District #10 did not get the 60% signatures needed to do away with an election for annexation. She spoke to Virgil Newton about the issue, but he was out of county. A parcel may have been included that should not have been that could be recalculated. The assessor’s office creates a list of the parcel numbers which the auditor checks. She has been working with the district and David Gecas to provide the needed assistance to the district.

If anyone wants to come observe the elections process this year, the presidential process is very exciting and different. Observer rules would need to be signed by anyone wishing to observe. No longer allow people in the vault while scanning the ballots, can no longer have a cell phone in the elections room, but the more people who know the process the better understanding they will have about the process.

Update - Public Works – Engineer Josh Thompson

Maintenance and Road Conditions
Engineer Thomson said the snow drifting due to the wind has been a challenge.

Windows Invoice
Commissioners discussed paying the invoice from Capital Improvements fund 134. A BARS for public works would be needed and a subsequent budget supplemental. Commissioners discussed update of the capital improvement plan to incorporate. The project was added to the draft plan that previous Planning Director Huston had written, but he left county employment prior to the plan being adopted. The Clerk of the Board is working to reconcile the plan for adoption.

Johnson Creek CCT Proposed Culvert Project
Engineer Thomson explained the CCT has secured fish passage funding to replace the county culvert carrying Johnson Creek under Green acres road. He explained the three alternatives originally developed. The one selected was the one with a 20’ wide concrete box. He said it looked reasonable to him although he had questions about maintainability that he would ask.

Commissioner Hover discussed net ecological benefit. Commissioner Hover said Trout Unlimited and the Tribes are involved. There are conditions and mitigations, but it depends on what the project looks like. He said the net ecological benefit is a nebulous, if BPA were paying for the entire project because they get all the mitigation credits then we may not be able to receive the net ecological benefit.

Miller Pit
Engineer Thomson explained the conditions proposed were discussed with MRSC and David Gecas. There were concerns relayed about the BOCC putting conditions on the pit proposal on something the Hearings Examiner is responsible to do. Commissioner Branch noted that a tangible Conditional Use Permit should be issued based on the conditions of imposed by the Examiner. Added commitments should be addressed as the Resolution of the BOCC.

Statler Bridge Replacement
Engineer Thomson said they will run out of working days February 28, but additional work to complete will be a couple weeks beyond. They are building a good bridge but timing has become critical.

2020 Budget
Ending fund balance in Road Fund was much higher carryover than what was budgeted it was around $1.3 million more.

The purchasing policy draft was sent out. Does Public Works have a list of architects it has run RFQs for anything. Publishing the county’s needs for architect services annually was discussed. Engineer Thomson said he has to be specific when federal dollars are used and we are not allowed to use a general architect that we secure annually we need to bid specifically for the particular service. Commissioner Branch acknowledged the situation for grant funding but suggested that periodic RGQs for the BOCC architectural consulting needs to be done.

Engineer Thomson contacted MRSC and others to see what their purchasing policy includes in terms of purchases during emergencies and declaring an emergency. Some response were received, but some have a purchasing department. Further discussion included whether or not the Public Works Engineer can declare an emergency. Engineer Thomson relayed who in those other counties have been designated who can declare an emergency. Commissioners relayed they would like the Sheriff as the number one after not being able to contact the BOCC. He read the order of who would be authorized to declare. Commissioner Branch would like the Sheriff and Emergency Manager to be consulted with on this protocol.

Purchasing authority was discussed and the limits that should be covered. He wasn’t sure if language should be included in the emergency section or not. Commissioner Branch thought the emergency plan might also articulate protocol.

Commissioner Hover thought the county engineer should be authorized to spend during emergencies as much as what was budgeted. Commissioner Branch agreed as it is important to be able to address the emergency as expeditiously as possible.

Commissioner Hover relayed a concern about three fatalities that happened over the years on Goat Creek Road. He relayed where there is a portion of the road that drops off without a guardrail. He asked if Engineer Thomson would check out that section of road.

George Thornton commented on Fancher Dam as an example, that should it collapse one day, it would create a major emergency and raise a big bill. The tribe is looking at several lakes and their dams.

Board of Health Meeting – 1234 S 2nd Ave, Okanogan
Commissioners’ attended the public health meeting. The BOCC returned at 3:00 p.m.

George Thornton, member of the public, returned to take hand written notes for Okanogan Watch Group.

Discussion – Wildlife Populations Data – WDFW – Jim Brown, Regional Director
Scott Fitkin, Wildlife Biologist, Kit Arbuckle

Motion Authorize Letter to WDFW Regional Director-Jim Brown
Commissioner Hover moved to approve a letter to Jim Brown regarding Okanogan County’s stance on land acquisitions. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

WDFW Regional Director Jim Brown stated this meeting was set to go over the wildlife population data of WDFW for Okanogan County.

Mr. Brown received a letter from the Republican Party Chair Christa (Teagan) Levine, via Mr. Arbuckle that had several questions posed to Mr. Brown. (attached)

Mr. Brown noted the wolf status and close to recovery if it happened only in the Eastern zone. They are trying to get their arms around uniform distribution in all three recover zones. North of I-90 there is a distribution occurring through this area but not southwest of the state. The new annual report will be coming out the end of March with the latest count data.

Mr. Brown Data on depredations on deer moose, and elk due to wolves. There is a study right now on that with some data sets, but nothing that can be used right now. In this area he is seeing large numbers of deer such as there was before the fires. He has seen the numbers coming back.

Scott Fitkin provided a wildlife status presentation. The presentation showed the results of Mule Deer monitoring and status of Okanogan County as the commissioners had indicated interest in this data.

Western two thirds of Okanogan is the focus of this meeting as the Eastern side is difficult to obtain info from. Mr. Fitkin showed the presentation slides and provided an overview of population influences. The primary driver for deer population fluctuations is habitat, habitat quality, and weather. Fire affects the habitat quality and is a big factor. There are also secondary drivers such as predation, roadkill, disease/parasites which often affects the trend of recovery. He had no example of an area here where this is happening here specifically.

We have high quality summer range for deer, so the typical scenario is that Okanogan County has many fawns. But we also have moderate winter fawn mortality. When we have a tough winter it seems to affect the fawns most over the adult population.

We do post aerials classification surveys which identify buck; doe, fawn; doe ratios to give him an idea of the population for the year. He explained the mule deer population’s formula which determines the trend.

140-160 spring fawns per 100 does at ~ 50/50 sex ratio
~50% summer mortality
=76 fawns on Dec 1
=38 female fawns
~50% winter mortality
=19 female fawns Apr 15
~15 =avg annual doe mortality
19-15=4 added females per 100 does annually
Modest annual growth on avg.

Variable average with a slow growth curve. Mr. Fitkin showed a post fire season graph from 2010 through 2019 to show the post season fawns per 100 does. Summer forage is a big factor to having many twin fawns. The graph showed a big dip in mortality during the 2014/2015 fire seasons but then after 2016/2017 showed a higher trend. Winter range takes longer to recover than summer range, so patience is required while those winter shrubs recover.

Mr. Brown explained that surveys are done to find out what people want.

Mr. Fitkin discussed harvest management
Healthy well distributed deer
Sustainable harvest
Watchable wildlife opportunities
Maximize hunter opportunity
General season, over the counter tags
Some area/season managed for quality
Adequate buck escapement-15 buck per100 does ratio
Efficient Breeding
Better hunting experience
Viewing opportunities
Relatively stable buck numbers.

Having enough bucks around to breed efficiently was discussed. Hunters like seeing bucks in the field so the ratio of 15:100 allows for them to be seen. They don’t want to see big swings in the buck numbers but they do want a decent hunting season. Buck escapement data was discussed. He thinks they are able to sustain the numbers.

10-year harvest data was provided. GMUs 203, 209-242.

The numbers harvested in 2014 and 2015 showed a big spike in deer harvested, but he doesn’t think the fire played into the numbers being harvested during that time frame. We will see more deer on the landscape. For deer managers it is really hard to count all the deer. Mr. Fitkin explained how deer census is calculated. He discussed the variables. In addition to sampling and extrapolating they have to have an estimate of what is missing. Depending on where you are at, deer will be more or less visible for taking accurate estimates.

Mr. Fitkin went over the population model that was created to show population abundance estimates which showed polygons where populations were identified then they are flown over and the lines indicate the flight path. Sight ability surveys pros and cons were reviewed. Helicopter charges are about $1000 per hour and is one of the most dangerous ways to detect trends. Experienced consistent observers are required.

Sightability model was discussed. The collared data is really important to being able to survey populations. The deer you don’t see help build the model. It is difficult to do in real time and pushes the team to its limits to do this.

Motion Resolution 9-2020 Amending Jr Taxing District Levy Resolution
Commissioner Hover moved to approve resolution 9-2020 an amendment to resolution 161-2019 to adopt corrected 2020 taxing district levy amounts of the town of riverside and Fire District #7. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Conditional Employment Letter-Peasley
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the Final Fairgrounds Event Coordinator position conditional offer letter to Naomie Peasley. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried. Ms. Craig explained she will meet with HR, but how would the board wish to proceed in relaying what has been going on over at the fairgrounds. Kelly Ross

Motion Notice to Proceed-Halme Builders
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the notice to proceed to Halme Builders for the work to commence on the Jail M-tank ceiling project and authorize the chairman to sign. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion - Voucher Approval - Commissioners
Vouchers certified and audited by the Auditing Officer as required by RCW 42.24.080 and those expense reimbursement claims certified as required by RCW 42.24.090 have been recorded on a list, and made available to the Board. As of this date, the Board did vote, by unanimous vote, to approve the regular vouchers in the amount of $294,077.33. Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion seconded and carried.

Motion Public Health Voucher
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the Public Health Vouchers including payroll in the amount of $554.56. Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Approve Commissioners’ Proceedings – December 30 & 31, 2019 and January 6 & 7, 2020
Commissioner Hover moved to approve all four dates.
Motion died for lack of second and all were opposed.

Approve Consent Agenda
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the consent agenda items 1-16, motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.
1. Appointment – Steve Kirkhue to Serve on the Snowmobile Advisory Board
2. Appointment – Adam Osin to Serve on the Snowmobile Advisory Board
3. Appointment – Bob Adams to Serve on the Snowmobile Advisory Board
4. Re-Appointment – Mike Olmstead - to Serve on the Snowmobile Advisory Board
5. CDBG Public Services Grant Request #6 December 2019 - $2058.75
6. Fairground Facility Use Rental Contract – Northwest Wholesale Growers Meeting
7. Fairground Facility Use Rental Contract – Corey McCrarey Wedding
8. Acknowledgment of Receipt – 2019 Refunds Made to Taxpayers
9. Cattle Guard Franchise Renewals – Various, See Agenda Bill for Names and Guard #’s
10. Public Works Request to Purchase – Volvo Tandem Axle Dump Truck
11. Resolution 3-2020 – 2020 Road Restrictions
12. Resolution 4-2020 – 2019 Speed and Striping Study
13. Resolution 5-2020 – 2019 Countywide Guardrail Installation
14. Resolution 6-2020 – Personal Vehicle Mileage Rate set at $0.575
15. Resolution 7-2020 Staff Writer Appreciation
16. Resolution 8-2020 Declaring Four iPads Surplus Transfer to SRT

The board adjourned at 5:15 p.m.