MARCH 23, 2020

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session at 123 5th Avenue North, Okanogan, Washington on MARCH 23, 2020, with Chairman, Commissioner Jim DeTro; Vice Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch; Member, Commissioner Andy Hover and LaleŮa Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Review Commissioners Agenda and Consent Agenda
Commissioners discussed staffing protocols for their office during this uncertain time. Looking at things from the top down, virtual sessions are important to keep focus. It very well should be that if we know we are not coming to work, that there be some sort of time set up for session should the emergency escalate. Essential personnel and who that is was discussed. Is permitting essential, building inspections, etcÖ. are these activities continuing throughout the county and are they essential? Can some of the functions be via telephone.

The Board discussed the back log of work in the Planning office and thought some work would continue in that office. What kind of access do the employees have from home do they each have a lap top to work on from home?

How the Board considers its regular routine and necessary depend on how severe the Governorís order is as to how we address staffing. Commissioner Hover said what the Department of Home land Security is determining as essential.

Briefing Among Commissioners-Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedules
Pete Palmer

For COVID-19, Director Palmer discussed keeping up with the Tribe and their resources and sharing that information with Emergency Management. She has called other Planning Dept.s to find out what they are doing to help agencies. The other counties have set up a customer window to help with the exchange of documents. Ms. Palmer said staff have been engaging with customers outside the building. If the Governor shuts the state down then the Planning office may do something different. She is ready and can use the time to catch up on enforcements, conditional use permit reviews, and so that would her plan to keep people isolated and working. Courtney, Char and Angie have laptops to work remotely and to keep the department open. A hearing on April 9 before the Hearings Examiner will be pushed out a few weeks or rescheduled for the Tonasket Recycling and they are shut down right now anyway. Interim zone code amendment hearing is set so need direction on pushing that date out. Commissioner Branch suggested waiting, to see if it can be held virtually. Working with IT to ensure the technical parts work. Only going home if Commissioners direct them to. Commissioner Hover reminded that our office would become our home and we would still need to work as this is not a vacation. He is concerned about future permits when residential building continues and those builders need a permit.

Director Palmer said the plan is to extend the interim codes for use zone map and interim land use codes ordinance drafts will be provided to the board for review. Commissionersí were fine with Director Palmerís decision on her plan.

Maurice Goodall explained meetings that will happen. Reaching out to the tribe, working on social media information, biggest concern is health care supplies getting here. They are looking at about a 5-7 day turnaround time. We have to rely on the state to receive the supplies, everyone is in the same predicament. It is flowing, but if more restrictions happen we need to have a discussion. Tests keep coming back negative.

Commissioner Hover explained a petition to close the Methow Valley Down. The concern is the city exodus will bring infected people here. Regional director of DOT called because they are getting calls about it too. Commissioner DeTro said on Friday, he went and got a burger and almost a 100 campers and motorhomes went by coming home. The issue is they are going through all these places and then going into the stores. There were eight campers at Walmart.

Dan Higbee updated the board on building dept. protocols. He came up with a plan he would come in everyday, plan reviews that come in the mail, once a week have admin staff come in and do her work and vouchers. Site analysis can be done the permits can be issued so there isnít back log. Inspections are not a good idea, but he will if the commissioners want him to. Commissioner Hover asked if it is possible to keep things going if we have an order. Yes, the department can. Commissioner Branch asked about videotaping the site and would that be an option for certain things. Higbee said it is possible the simple ones would be alright but not the complicated projects. Must be careful about what we tell contractors in order to be consistent. Use Adaptive management was encouraged recommended for things we can do and try. The department heads are encouraged to be adaptive.

Ms. Craig stated if we send people home because they are non-essential we still have to pay them. Documentation will be necessary to trigger the number of hours used to be calculated for tracking purposes. Due to the Governorís Family First order, 80 hours per employee are allowed when the employee falls into one of the six COVID -19 related categories. If those employees who are non-essential are sent home, then

Ms. Craig read from Benton Countyís policy on non-essential employees and the protocol there to be followed. Commissioners are leaving it up to the Department Heads to determine who is essential and who isnít essential in their respective office.

Commissioners discussed setting up virtual meetings for their agenda either via Zoom or via teleconferencing in order to continue with essential county business.

Commissioners reviewed the memo regarding the countyís employee staffing protocol that would be emailed to all users.

Motion All User Memo Non Essential Employee
Commissioner Branch moved to release the memo immediately to all users regarding staffing protocol. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Discussion Energy Project Phase II Proposal-Ameresco Rob Haneline, DES Kirsten Wilson Conference Call

Rob Haneline and Kirsten Wilson both called into the meeting to discuss the proposals. The stipulations, preliminary costs and proposal were discussed.

If the projects is developed and meets the criteria then fees outlined would be expected to be paid. The energy audit fee $13,640 and geothermal design costs would be $92,215. Mr. Haneline explained validating assumptions, topographical survey for routing pipes, and design management for the process.

Ms. Wilson said she has not found other grant funding beyond what is available right now. There could be but itís hard to say right now. Mr. Haneline stated there is a sufficient amount of ground work that may lead us up to the next cycle which could look very different than the one we are looking at right now. Commissioner Branch said there is much still in the air in terms of time and budget. We are still evaluating our response to the virus and many are involved with that. He felt this conversation may be best saved for later until after we hear from the Governorís office and possible another order.

VRF system numbers are still needed. Joe Poulin said right now the Annex is priority with the eight units on top. He explained the best idea is to just replace the units. Commissioners would like to weigh the options and proposals to find the right solution for the least cost.

Discussion Linda Parlette
Ms. Parlette was reached on the phone about the supply chain. Ms. Parlette explained the supplies that have been received and when additional supplies will be sent. Many calls have been made by the Hospitals about their concerns. As difficult as it is to make local decisions, a different model is going to be necessary. This is reality and Ms. Parlette has delivered that message all along. She felt we cannot continue putting money into infrastructure that doesnít make sense. The homework that needs to be done is to develop a system structure to address the three hospital districts that keep going into debt. The county commissioners will find out who will be willing to have the discussion.

Update-Planning Department-Director Pete Palmer Ė Commissionersí Hearing Room
Commissioners discussed the process for moving forward with findings of fact and conclusions of law for the adopted ordinances for interim controls, interim zoning, and Tunk Valley water availability area.

Public Hearing-Declare County Property Surplus Property for Auction-Commissioners
Commissioner DeTro opened up the hearing to declare county owned property surplus to the needs of the county and asked for public testimony, seeing no one to testify, he closed the hearing to public and opened up to staff. Seeing no one, he closed the hearing to staff and opened up to the Board.

Motion Resolution 44-2020 Declaration of Surplus to the Needs of the County
Commissioner Hover moved to approve resolution 44-2020 declaring certain county owned property surplus to the needs of the county and directing the items to be sold at public sale auction set on April 18, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Hover and Commissioner Branch rigorously discussed land use codes and corresponding findings of fact that are needed to be considered for ordinances 2019-11, 2019-10, and 2018-13. Public Hearings were needed within 60 days of adoption. Commissioner Branch suggested each one be addressed separately. It was thought the board would readopt ordinance 2019-10 and go through the whole process again because the timeline has terminated and the board needs to address the findings of fact and conclusions of law at that time.

Create interim ordinance that is essentially the same but with dates changed.

Commissioners discussed additional protocol for county departments and functions should the governor close the state and require shelter in place protocol. Tomorrow the board will discuss further how to address this situation in terms of what that means for essential staff remaining.

Commissioners discussed virtual meetings and allowing a call in number for those who wish to participate but physically not be present and how that would work. The Clerk of the Board suggested setting up the meetings so that a calendar invite would generate a call in number and pin that would be published on the website and available for each meeting.

The board adjourned at 5:00 p.m.