JULY 13, 2020

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session at 123 5th Avenue North, Okanogan, Washington on July 13, 2020, with Chairman, Commissioner Jim DeTro; Vice Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch; Member, Commissioner Andy and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Review Commissioners Agenda and Consent Agenda
Commissioners reviewed their agenda and meeting minutes.

Briefing Among Commissioners’ – Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedules
Commissioners discussed gathering the COVID related expenses from Departments.
If the county obligates the funds to be used by Public Health now then funds may be expended later as long as within the covered period.

Commissioners discussed the CARES ACT funding and requested the Clerk of the Board to send an email to department heads requesting their expense receipts for costs to meet the requirements of COVID-19 reimbursement.

Commissioners discussed connection fees related to the Oroville Housing Authority Sewer Connection project and how those revenues should be receipted when received. Commissioner Branch thought the conversation should include the county Treasurer. Commissioners identified the need to supplement the Infrastructure fund so that PWTF loan expense matches the revenue amount reserve. Commissioner Hover would like the hookup fees to go back to Infrastructure fund. Later in the day hookup fees bond payments were adjusted based on the hook up fee revenue going into the 410 fund. It was agreed that it is necessary to identify with Auditor and Treasurer the details of the budget supplemental and for the transfer of the funds.

Discussion Video Tour Scripts Review-Commissioners & COB
The commissioners went over their welcome video tour scripts and made some changes.

Discussion COVID Update Lauri Jones
Commissioner Hover asked how many active cases of COVID illness. Ms. Jones said the cases have increased within the last 14 days and we are well over 100 right now, but by tomorrow, the numbers are expected to be well over 200 cases total. Commissioner Hover asked what we can do to prevent COVID spikes from happening. Ms. Jones said the Fourth of July has everything to do with the spike and people are acting like we are in Phase III when we are not. COVID cases are impacting our health care systems. But the Methow is now doing a fabulous job with their messaging. The most important message the public can hear is to wear a mask. Don’t gather if you don’t have to and use social distancing and masks when you do. It will protect people. Contact tracing is leading back to large gatherings where cases of COVID resulted. Commissioner Branch asked what more the county should be doing and what educational info should be provided. Ms. Jones said the COVID website will be published this week and it will be dedicated to providing evidence and scientific based information material for the public. Jen Tate Earth and Sky studios designed the site. Commissioner Hover said working on getting with Federal Reps to figure out pushing the spending out for Public Health funding beyond October 31, 2020. Ms. Jones said yes, it needs to be extended as we have barely scratched the surface. We need something beyond October for sure.

Commissioner Branch asked about Public Health board members ability to use ZOOM for the public health meetings to limit physical attendance and contact. Ms. Jones said she would like someone in person at the meetings such as the commissioners. Commissioner Branch thought it should be strongly relayed that the nation has slid back. Brewster healthcare system is overwhelmed right now with 50 people being seen just over the weekend.

Commissioner Branch discussed concerns about members attending meetings physically.

Adjourned for lunch at 12:00 pm.

Commissioners reconvened at 1:30 with Commissioners Hover and Branch present. Commissioner DeTro arrived at 1:50.

Update-Planning Director Pete Palmer
Director Palmer provided her agenda and discussed the items listed there. (attached)

Airport Hanger Appeal
Director Palmer said applicant Paul Christians DNS SEPA appeal was barred based on RCW 14.02.220(1) for a permit to build the hangers and access and be able to taxi over , he was building and it required SEPA, also appealed fire district requirement which the hearing examiner did not wish to allow. After discussing the issue with the county chief civil deputy David Gecas the applicant withdrew appeal and application. He would have had to taxi over a City Street and across someone else’s property.

Commissioner Branch explained the unique situations that occur during land use processes. Commissioner Branch thought it would be helpful to have the county’s zone map on the wall.

An agreement on the Well tracking grant, a comment from Aspect Consulting about hosting and licensing the well tracking software was provided, but Director Palmer would like to discuss further later. Riverbank hosts the Terrascan software. We might be able to house it here, but Director Palmer said she would like to hear from Central Services on their ability to house and maintain the program. She would like to discuss further with Central Services how this will work in house. We have the capacity technically, but not the staff to enter the data. It will cost $6,000 per year for Riverbank to do it. Commissioner Hover would like something that gives the closest and most up to date picture of wells on the ground in Okanogan County.

WRIA 49 Software & Draft Plan
Roles and responsibilities were provided and discussed. Okanogan County serves as the lead entity.

Commissioner Hover read the fourth bullet in the draft Roles and Responsibilities section that says tracking of water offset surpluses/deficits and he said that needed to be changed since we are not doing the offsets for a basin wide scale….since we discussed the no net loss previously. After discussion regarding the County’s obligations it was agreed that Director Palmer would bring the issue forward to have the language removed at the next meeting. Commissioner Hover is not willing to be obligated to that.

East Lake Shores Long Plat-Sign
The East Lake Shores Long Plat mylar is being prepared for commissioner signature. Dave Hilton needs to sign it first.

COVID-19 Open to the Public
There was further discussion regarding meeting management and compliance with State proclamations. The commissioners’ hearing room is not open to the public. The city of Omak set up a green room for those who were unable to join remotely. The Planning Office is open to the public and averages about 7-10 people throughout the day. Director Palmer explained face masks are being required but some refuse to wear one. She asked what other county staff are doing. She is looking for direction from the commissioners so that we are coordinated. Commissioners would like departments to follow the rules. Director Palmer will find out what other counties are doing that who are in Phase II.

Cooperative Agreement Forms CXT Vault Toilets-Methow Trails
Commissioners would like Director Palmer to speak with the county auditor about the requests and the Board would like Mr. DeSalvo to come speak to the them about the details in the funding gaps for the toilets. Commissioners thought the signing for funds couldn’t done by the state highway so the county had to sign. Director Palmer will set up a meeting.

Obligations Oroville Joint Planner Position
Director Palmer met with City of Oroville and talked to them about their needs with a shared planner. They do have funding for the position. The planner would look at plans for compliance and land use permitting. Commissioner Hover said it doesn’t sound like a 50/50 planner to him, but with some monitoring the arrangement can be done. The city did request the person be in Oroville one day per week. The first review will be scheduled. Commissioners discussed the county’s needs including oversight of the financial responsibilities for Eastlake Sewer System. The city also said there was an issue with some Eastlake sewer users having not paid their fees. The financial situation was discussed in depth and it was acknowledged that we did have some deferred payments under contract.

The city also said there was an issue with some Eastlake sewer users having not paid their fees. We did have some deferred payments under contract.

Director Palmer said Hans Smith with Yakama Nation has agreed to a meet and greet to discuss issues they have with our comp plan. They are excited to discuss this with her. She is excited too. The last week of July or August will be set for a remote meeting.

Executive Session Appeals
For time sake, the executive session will happen at 10:00a or 10:30a tomorrow.

Director Palmer said there is concern within the WRIA 48, because property owners feel their property value is less due to the current moratorium ordinance 2020-4. Many apparently wish to appeal their property values. She said she is not giving an answer on the phone, we need to take the time to research the accurate answer and then they can request a Site Analysis in the event the property sells.

Discussion Noxious Weed Lien-Thurlow’s-Ranger Chris Furr, Mike Worden
Diane Thurlow, Walt Stalder.

Commissioner DeTro asked if any solution has been determined to finance the lien on the Thurlow’ s property and was there a plan to eradicate the weeds on the right of way.

Mike said the county has a permit to operate and now the sheriff owns the building and tower. Through the permit we have access to McClure. The easement is well defined.

Ms. Thurlow said the easement 1967 goes through the family farm. There are many things that have happened and there is no excuse. Grazing permit was taken away, lied too many cows out, she keeps perfect records, etc.… Commissioner Hover said the board has to come to a solution. The county cannot expend county funds on public property. She said there were no weeds on their land until it came up on the road. There was some on forest service. They’ve been driving in there for years making money by leasing and everyone has everything medical teaching and instead they feel they’ve been treated badly.

Commissioner DeTro said there is a solution somewhere. He wants to figure out the monetary cost and move on from there. Ms. Thurlow explained that she thought they were being mistreated They want the lien off the land. The cattle haul out in April and weed spray has to be done before April. They are not happy with weed dept. cut locks, couldn’t get a search warrant, two judges after three weeks, and then put a notice in the paper then trespassed, took the lock off the TV road and wired it shut and now missing two cows but not sure if it was the cause. Commissioner DeTro said the weed board has a contract with someone who sprays. A private applicator can spray the weeds.

Worden said from his perspective he has access through the permit to access the road. He said it as a onetime application situation it is a multiple year strategy that must be in place and successful. Ms. Thurlow was not happy about that. The county and FS has interest in taking some action on the area of property they have access to and it is a pretty small area. Forest Ranger said FS said that site is important and interested in finding a solution. There are weeds along the easement that could be coordinated and sprayed but there is another population. Commissioner Hover said let’s leave that other area out of the conversation. That is a separate conversation outside the money that takes to spray the easement. Mr. Furr said if coordinated, the FS may be allowed to spray the easement. It is just something they can do to control the weeds. Mike said that cost could be passed on to the tenants. Commissioner DeTro asked if this could be retroactive in order to make the lien go away. Mr. Furr said that if the Thurlow’s are open to the FS spraying the easement up to the site, that could get done. Retroactive would be tough. Furr said it would be best to work together for a broader application to prevent spread onto FS land. Ms. Thurlow feels singled out. The weed board gets a lot of money grants etc… and they were asking for more and more money all the time and she pays taxes. She doesn’t want Bernard to be treated this way his whole life. She said the county is doing this. Commissioner DeTro said this conversation today we have a solution going forward but the next piece is to get with the Noxious weed dept. on what can be done now that is workable. Scotch Thistle was discussed. Commissioner DeTro thought the State Weed Board may have funds to help with this situation. Commissioner DeTro said when he sat on the State Weed Board they did approve requests such as this. Ms. Thurlow said it is important not to get heavy handed with people and not destroy people’s lives. You cannot make weeds more important than people’s rights.

Commissioner DeTro said the state weed board will be contacted. If anything in Title II can help out, Mr. Furr will find out. Such as a RAC project. Commissioner Hover suggested that every year FS arrange to have the right of way sprayed in early April that way that piece is at least taken care of and suggested tapping into the state weed control obligations. Commissioner Branch suggested that we discuss this approach with the Weed Dept. before we send a letter to the state. Will inform the Thurlow’s when we hear from the state.

Mr. Furr said a camp ground they were getting ready to open up and they realized Loup Loup camp ground has beetle, and other diseased trees visible. The south summit EIS because of the trees dead tops etc… proposed to keep it closed go out with a small timber sale to use the wood, then reopen. Will JR be opened up again it has a bathroom? The horse camp is there now. People see the bathroom and camp there.

Motion RCW 42.30.110 (1)(b)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 3:05 for ten minutes to discuss the selection of a site for purchase or lease when public knowledge could increase the costs. 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 $28,580.54 and Payroll vouchers in the amount of $243,738.54. 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 regular vouchers in the amount of $16.20. Warrant numbers as cited on the attached blanket voucher list. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Review Meeting Minutes
Commissioners reviewed their meeting minutes and offered some corrections.

The board adjourned at 3:30 p.m.