JUNE 1, 2020

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session at 123 5th Avenue North, Okanogan, Washington on June 1, 2020, with Chairman, Commissioner Jim DeTro; Vice Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch; and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

The meeting was available via zoom to the public.

Review Commissioners Agenda and Consent Agenda
Commissioners reviewed their agenda.

Motion Approval Agenda
Commissioner Branch moved to approve the agenda. The Clerk of the Board stated a change. Kathleen Johnson, Tonasket Ranger update, will be at 2:00 instead of 3:00 Tuesday, June 2, 2020, and GCI Communications Video overview was cancelled. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Briefing Among Commissioners’ – Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedule
Over the weekend a group of citizens became very upset about Commissioner DeTro posting an inappropriate truck meme on his Facebook page. Many are calling for his resignation due to the posting.

Commissioners discussed their views about social media postings. It appeared to commissioner Branch that some were drawing lines in the sand who wanted to promote division and he doesn’t subscribe to that thought.

It isn’t about liberal or conservative, it is about people’s lives regardless and our constitutional right to assemble and protest something that is going wrong. Commissioner Hover said no matter what our personal opinion is what we do and say are a reflection of those who voted for us, we signed up for this job, no one forced us into it. People feel strongly about people dragging other people out of their trucks and beating them up. It is hard but we have to go above and beyond and represent everyone whether they are left, right, up, or down we still represent them. We need to be aware that people pay attention to our actions and words and they are being used as examples, we have to be better. Commissioner DeTro said he had no intent of inciting anyone, it was a post he saw someone else had posted and he reposted it, he should have included some words. Those that are hateful are just jumping on the band wagon. He never wished to bring any political problems to the other commissioners, he never intended on doing that.

Commissioner DeTro stated he pushed the button because he was a trucker, but Commissioner Hover said commissioner’s mistakes have a spot light on them. Commissioner DeTro said he doesn’t follow political correctness, he feels the same way about that as Commissioner Branch feels about being independent. We have to balance this county, said Commissioner Branch. Commissioner Hover said yes, we still have to represent those that we don’t hear from.

Commissioner Branch asked Commissioner DeTro where he stood in the matter of posting things on Facebook. Commissioner DeTro stated he has always posted trucks and airplanes on his page. For those that are ignorant and haters, it is entirely possible for someone to drive through Minneapolis and not see any protestors. Everyone has construed his post as being racist. The people on the left who are haters are just waiting for the opportunity to jump on something such as this. It is a hypocritical mess. Commissioner Branch sees it and he isn’t sure as a county commissioner, there is a huge division and lines being drawn in the sand. Some people want to promote division and he doesn’t think it is necessary. He avoids social media for that reason. Commissioner Branch said it is an office that is part of our governing system, and a standard in governance that we respect the others. He has a different view of leadership, the partisan part of the job it is commonly the reason why he feels it drives people to be divided and he doesn’t subscribe to that thought.

Commissioner DeTro asked if we thought he was racist. He sponsored the only black person in his social group. Commissioner Branch said he doesn’t have to say why he isn’t buying into that. We are our worst enemy and we are divided, we are not being constructive, they are playing games that has nothing to do with them. Commissioner DeTro said we can call it whatever we want, but as a truck you can see that someone hit a large animal and made a comment. Everyone wants to take it the wrong way.

Commissioners continued to voice their feelings about where our country is at and the turmoil it is in.

County Video Tour Overview – Getting Started-GCI Communications-Casey Frangipane
This overview was cancelled by GCI Communications.

Special Board of Health Meeting-1234 2nd Ave S. Okanogan
Commissioners left at 9:50 a.m. to attend the special meeting.

Commissioners returned from the special Board of Health meeting at 10:20 a.m.

Discuss and Consider Phase II Variance-Commissioners’ Hearing Room
Present: Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover and the Clerk of the Board.
Commissioners discussed the full Phase II Variance resolution.

The county commissioners discussed adding language to their resolution to commit funds to Public Health to provide funding to the public health department that is necessary for its COVID-19 response by obligating 25% of the county’s CARES ACT funding to eligible purposes.

Motion Resolution 68-2020 Phase II Variance
Commissioner Branch moved to approve resolution 68-2020 approving the submittal of a Phase II variance application to the state with contingencies to commit 25% CARES ACT funding to Public Health. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Update-Planning Director Pete Palmer – Commissioners’ Hearing Room
Assessor Gilman
Director Palmer provided a list of items to be discussed at the Planning Commission. Doesn’t’ have the capacity to address another land use ordinance. Staff is spread real thin and would like to take care of what we have on the burner right now.

Enforcement for land uses was discussed, and her feeling is that it be in the department. Priorities are different for Sheriff in terms of land uses and who tracks it and doesn’t involved criminals. She believes it should remain in the Planning Dept.

Recreation Plan was thrown at her and so she talked with Ted on it even though Perry took it over. Ted didn’t think it was officially adopted. City parks and areas in the county were not in the plan should be added. Triggered by James DeSalvo to make sure we reach out to them about new projects as they are looking for funding.

Clarification on outdoor recreation committee appointed by the county, wording obligated county funds through public work dept that needs to be discussed with Engineer Thomson and coordinating into transportation and established trail systems. Commissioner Branch asked if Ted should be brought back into the trails situation. Yes, she thought it would be as he already goes out to the trails and has interest and a lot of history. Commissioner Branch talked to PUD about the trails and they didn’t even know who he was.

Had some rebuilds that came up in Carlton Complex Fire burn area. Emergency resolution to waive fees that did not get rescinded. She weighed heavily on the time period of having it in place already for five years. Should that have been receiving before and regular charges charged. Commissioner Branch did not believe it should apply anymore.

The approval of the Emergency permit policy for Carlton Complex Wildfire Victims Memo dated August 14, 2014 should be considered rescinded. Commissioner believe the regular permit fees should be charged.

Dept. of Defense grant, does the board want the Planning to go after the grant funding to help with planning aspects that would help protect their training fly zones in Okanogan County. One idea is to fund a planning position who would finish the airport planning and also the Oroville planning commitment. Come up with specific duties, does the Board envision for Oroville is it Comp Plan, Feasibility study. Commissioner Branch explained without a good planning document for them and us, we cannot respond to activities and never have. We have to work with the city on these. They occasionally have land use applications to deal with, explained Commissioner Branch.

Commissioner Branch moved to direct the Director of Planning to apply for the Dept. of Defense Grant. Motion was seconded, all were in favor motion carried

Director Palmer said an email was received to reinitiate conversations with the county for Enloe Dam area trail. She explained the concern about safety issue. Lock the gate 30 feet from dam and eventually replaced with a gate to eliminate access. In 2021 there will be a full blown dam safety inspection and a fence will be installed cutting that area off from the trail. Commissioner Branch suggested that Ted Murray be involved. He had mentioned the county’s investment into the trail. PUD did not realize the trail extended to the tunnel. Some of the concerns of PUD is that there wasn’t right away given for the trail. They want to restart the discussions and clarify roles and responsibility. Commissioner Branch said he previously spoke to Chief Civil Deputy because there were a lot of nuances to the situation. He said there could be some funding they could help with.

The Plan obligated the Public Works to do maintenance and widening of the road, and Director Palmer isn’t sure where Public Works stands on this. Commissioner Branch thought that work might have been to leverage grant dollars.

Director Palmer explained a dispute between property owners about contiguous properties and how the wells are to serve more than one lot. A one acre area was required in order to develop the lots.

Director Palmer explained her planning style is different and wants to help people develop their properties not stop them.

Property complaints about use of water of a neighboring property growing marijuana are not being regulated for marijuana uses. She explained some research on the grows she has done to ensure the parcels are approved for the uses. Everything has been permitted and approved with the exception of the expansion area. The property owner is concerned because he is a senior water right holder and the grows are using excess water and trying to get more water rights for additional grows. He is afraid his water will be affected. Director Palmer will meet with him on a site visit.

He expressed the marijuana grows were using a drone to fly over his private property even while he was talking with PUD. He was told to get ahold of the Sheriff’s office.

Director Palmer reiterated the upcoming scheduled public hearings for ordinance 2019-11 for July 28, 2020 and for Water Availability study in the Tunk area on June 23, 2020.

The Planning vehicles 2006 Envoy a new engine was installed but engine is missing. Commissioner Branch asked who did the repairs. The Chevy Malibu is also having issues.

Larry Gilman stated in the past we did a lease program but it was too expensive through public works. They had a Chevy blazer they rented for $300 per month and it included fuel, but now the department purchases outright because it got too expensive to lease. Commissioner Hover said he is working on a lease program.

Update-Commercial Appraiser-Larry Gilman – Commissioners’ Hearing Room
Assessor Larry Gilman explained staffing and what positions are still needed. He explained some extra funds due to retirements, so he believes there won’t be a budget impact. A commercial appraiser position budget

Resolution 43-2019 was previously approved for Assessor’ office staffing. Assessor Gilman said his goal is to have one each and needs authorization to post the position and will be about a $2500 difference between the positions.
Current Staff:
Chief Dep
4-Senior Clerk

Motion Authorization for Commercial Appraiser
Commissioner Hover moved to authorize the assessor’s office to move one of the appraiser’s up to the commercial appraisal position consistent with resolution 43-2019 and not back fill the vacated position. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

The board adjourned at 4:00 p.m.