JULY 6, 2020

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session at 123 5th Avenue North, Okanogan, Washington on July 6, 2020, with Chairman, Commissioner Jim DeTro; Vice Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch; Member, Commissioner Andy and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Update Superior Court Judge Rawson, Culp and Dennis Rabidou-Judge Rawson
The Clerk of the Board stated Mr. Rabidou called and rescheduled the Superior Court update to Tuesday, July 7 at 8:30 a.m.

Review Commissioners Agenda and Consent Agenda
Commissioners reviewed their agenda and consent agenda items.

Briefing Among Commissioners’ – Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedules
Commissioners discussed their schedules and individual meetings.

Commissioners received a petition to create a dog control zone in the Oroville area. The Clerk of the Board explained the next step is to schedule a public hearing on the petition where comments are to be received for or against the control zone. An ordinance would be drafted from there. The commissioners discussed that this was the area where a woman had previously been bitten by a dog. The commissioners had received a complaint from the injured person when it happened. Commissioner Branch thought the person was a dog raising business and that person appears to be difficult to deal with.

Commissioner Hover stated there are several tasks involving the Superior Court holding courts at the Agriplex. He thought a contractor could be hired to clean the bathrooms. The Clerk of the Board stated current staff indicated there may be time to accomplish the cleaning as well for the Superior Court if they are not in session every day.

Commissioner Branch discussed several items the forest collaborative will be an umbrella initiative project, Commissioner Branch will be the Declarant as a member of the forest collaborative and co-chair. It is just a brief. Commissioner Hover said he is alright with it, but would like David Gecas consulted because Commissioner Branch is representing the county and make sure if his name is on it does it say Chris Branch for Forest Collaborative. Commissioner Branch said there are others filing.

Commissioner DeTro stated he looked at the Solid Waste roll off truck for use on the fairgrounds for water and garbage needs. He thought it was a good use of the truck on the fairgrounds. He also talked to John Hubbard about his crane. He has cable, and can put the HVAC units on the building. It was not clear whether DIVCO would need to bring in someone to remove the units from the Public Health building for replacement.

Commissioner Hover stated that resolution 93-2015 only allowed the Annex to be rented by county departments and it did not include the Agriplex. He asked that an amendment be made to allow county departments to use the fairgrounds buildings for $75 per day per building. The Clerk of the Board stated she could draft the amendment to be considered.

Commissioners discussed the Governor’s order that everyone wear a face covering. The Clerk of the Board discussed her understanding that businesses are requiring patrons to wear face coverings.

Discussion-Building Dept. Inspection Services Contracts-Commissioners
Dan Higbee explained the recently hired building inspector for the cities of Oroville, Tonasket and Okanogan had resigned. The county/city contracts do not expire until December 31, 2020 unless terminated in writing and nothing in writing was received to terminate.

Dan said he has two building inspectors retiring in the next couple years. His budget would need to be addressed if we provide the services to the cities. Commissioner Hover said if they cities are not actively searching for someone, then we need to provide an hourly charge which includes the costs of employee, vehicle etc…. The contracts need to be changed in order to reimburse the county for its costs. Commissioner Branch did not believe this would be a service we supplemented.

Dan said we have Twisp Brewster Conconully different contract we actually issue the permits and is different than what the other towns, have .We do not have Winthrop or Pateros or Omak, the rest we do. It would take how many full time employees would it take to cover those, on and a half then two if we issue permits, plus some front office staff. Commissioner Hover said we should send a letter out to the cities to see who is looking for a full time long term building inspector, then decide what to charge. Brewster Twisp he does a lot more for them than what was being done in Tonasket and Oroville. We have records of past inspections that can be used for the percentage to charge. Commissioner Branch thought a retainer service might be best. We need to ensure we have the staff we need to do our work, and the retainer would be there to fill in for work outside of the regular work to make sure we have adequate staff. Check with companies that provide retainers for consulting services. Built Right was one business to research.

Commissioner Branch asked how the previous arrangement worked for Dan’s department. Dan said it worked well but there wasn’t much interruption to do that work, but he feels those towns will want more than just building inspection services. It is hard to get experienced people for the wage we have even if it is good here. We have had some from West side apply, that did not fit. He would like to hire someone that has been in the industry. Commissioner Branch will do some checking into Workforce Development. Beyond training in the field, there is studying for certification, it does take time to get them up and running. Dan will contact the cities and see if a follow up meeting should be arranged between the BOCC.

Commissioner Hover explained to the other board members that union discussions may be necessary. If we are negotiating the contract in an open public meeting then it could cause some concern that strategies are disclosed.

Commissioner Hover noted that he had received a press release notice from Naomie Peasley, about the cancellation of this year’s fair. Commissioner DeTro stated he had not received anything from her. Commissioners reviewed the press release.

Commissioner Branch wanted to have a recommendation from the FAC in signed writing. The letter was not signed. Commissioner Hover clarified that the FAC moved to recommend cancellation. Commissioner Branch thought the press release should note the FAC recommendation to cancel. Commissioner Hover would prefer to leave the political aspect out of the situation as would Commissioner Branch.

Commissioner Hover stated a Request for Quotes is being advertised for the installation of the sound baffles in the Agriplex. A man lift will be needed. It is a simple job and would cost less if our staff installed but it is very time consuming.

Update-Planning Director Pete Palmer
Director Palmer did not attend the meeting as scheduled however the commissioners thought it was because of planned time off.

Discussion-Colville Forest/Tonasket Ranger District Integration-Kathleen Johnson
Rodney Smolden, Mr. Johnson

Ms. Johnson updated the board on the grazing leases and the meeting that was held between the Forest Service and the producers.

Revisions on the NW forest plan, stated Ms. Johnson. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Tonasket District. It isn’t on that Plan.

Mr. Smolden introduced himself and shared a bit about himself and what he sees with regards to the Tonasket Forest Ranger district moving forward. He has been a forest supervisor since 2015 but graduated high school here and homesteaded in Washington. He is familiar with customs and cultures of Okanogan County. He is looking forward to transitioning Tonasket Ranger District into the Colville National Forest. They are still exploring the boundary lines.

Mr. Smolden provided that the regional office is into new budgeting modernization. Federal funding is funky sometimes so full time equivalent match and taking Tonasket into it hasn’t been calculated perfectly. They have room to add a position and they are looking at Tonasket Ranger District for aA dedicated employee for that work, add another position to fields reduction work. Tonasket will be zoned into the Republic District for Tonasket/Republic unit. That kind of zoning makes the more efficient. Colville has a 20 year contract, taken Tonasket and moved into that 20-year plan and it provides vision to the employees up to 20 years. The Colville singed a new decision for forest plan in October 2019, still need discussion about how to fold Tonasket into that. HE won’t make a decisions until he can sit down with Okanogan County. He wants the board to be familiar with the plan before implementing. Also need to move forward on the travel management plan, and want to integrate Tonasket into it. They won’t be premature, they want to be successful.

Still having conversation about range lands. Mr. Smolden said the transition could go smooth but if not put a band aide on it and keep going get it done and get it done right. Administrative issue details are still being reviewed, he isn’t in a hurry. Ms. Johnson will report to him starting October 1, 2020. He is anxious to have them. Commissioner DeTro said the greater cross section of people he spoke to are happy about it. He thought the cattlemen were a bit more skeptical but they really like Travis Fletcher. Timber program is more aggressive than Okanogan County, but they have a good base over there. He is excited about it. Mr. Smolden stated Travis is also the district ranger in Republic so he is wearing two hats. The Tonasket grazing area is the biggest in Okanogan and has the most permittees.

Commissioner Branch said the NCW Forest Collaborative was in favor of the transition as well. It seems more appropriate. Commissioners thanked Mr. Smolden for the call today.

The Tonasket Range NEPA was a mis-communication also, stated Ms. Johnson. It was thought at first, that Tonasket Range District would go under the Methow Ranger District, but that was not correct.

Review Meeting Minutes
Commissioners reviewed their minutes.

The board adjourned at 3:10 p.m.