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County Court minutes 05-20-15

Published on May 27, 2015 3:39PM


Access the court’s weekly Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at www.gcoregonlive2.com.

MAY 20, 2015

Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the radio station, county website, and e-mail distribution list, a regular meeting of the County Court was held at the County Courthouse in Canyon City OR.

9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Secretary Mary Ferrioli, Tom Olson, Brooks Smith, Jim Sproul and Pastor Marcie Collins. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Collins.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and Extension District Warrant Nos. 314-323.

AGENDA. MSP Myers/Labhart -- to accept the agenda with short discussions on accepting a 2001 Buick Regal donated by DHS and insurance for alcohol events on county property.


Britton reported on the Stock Growers meeting that he attended on Thursday. He felt the court should take a position about ODF&W reducing the number of LOP tags. He reported on the SEACT meeting that he chaired in John Day on Monday. Britton mentioned that from time to time he has done some welding work on the elevator project at the direction of the architect.

9:10 am – Kathy Smith entered

Labhart attended an EMS recognition meeting at the Ambulance Classroom and the Open House for EOU and BMCC at ESD’s new building last Wednesday. Thursday he was in Baker City for a TEC budget committee meeting and that evening he attended a Stock Grower’s meeting at Keerins Hall. He noted that TEC may be forming a 501C3 organization. Friday he participated in the District Track Meet at Grant Union and Monday Labhart attended a Healthy Together meeting at Canyon City Community Hall. Today he has an LCAC meeting at the airport followed by a Grant Union Scholarship Committee meeting. Tomorrow Labhart will attend a Blue Mountain Hospital board meeting.

Myers has a name change hearing tomorrow at 4 pm. Last Friday he assisted at the District Track Meet. This Friday he will be at the Road Department all day to participate in eight Equipment Operator candidate interviews. Earlier this week he met with Irene Jerome and Sally Bartlett about continuing administration of the County Title 3 program. He reported on progress with the elevator project; we’re on track and waiting on delivery of the elevator.

DONATED CAR. Myers reported on the call he received from John Day Police Chief Richard Gray who said DHS is in possession of a decedent’s 2001 Buick Regal that is in good shape. Myers inspected the vehicle with Chief Gray and discussed the possibility of the county accepting the donation. Discussion followed about the airport’s ongoing need for a good courtesy car for its patrons. It was the consensus of the court to allow Myers to go forward with accepting the vehicle donation.

ALCOHOL-RELATED EVENTS. Myers reported that, according to Bisnett Insurance Agent Mandy Taylor, there’s a new “Tenant User Liability Insurance Program” for the service of alcohol on county property. This program protects individuals and groups who use public property from being held legally and financially responsible for injury, accidents, and property damage resulting from their event. The information was provided to the Fair Manager and Airport Manager. The county is required to pay $1,000 per event when the county sponsors an alcohol event; other entities are required to pay $250-$499 per event. Discussion took place about the various events that are held where alcohol is served and how the county has been handling this process. It was Myers’ belief that the county’s higher insurance cost is a way for the insurance company to discourage public entities from sponsoring non-profit alcohol-related events. It was suggested that we may need to clarify this issue with legal counsel.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Britton-- to approve the May 13 minutes as presented

MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the May 15 minutes with one correction

VSO WORK HOURS. The court considered increasing Veteran Services Officer work hours from 19 hrs per week to 19.5 hrs per week in July to comply with the training and accreditation requirement to work not less than 1,000 hours per year. Other requirements include one week of initial training in Salem, one annual week long training conference, at least tw0 site visits by an ODVA Training Coordinator, and completion of one year on the job. Labhart reported on his recent AOC Veterans Committee meeting in Salem and provided information on VA Outreach / GI Bill options to benefit veterans and employers. The program allows a veteran to receive a tax-free stipend after certifying monthly work hours while employed in an occupation approved to train veterans. Labhart is in the process of finding out from ODVA if Erin Osgood would qualify for this program to assist with training costs. Labhart was in favor of increasing work hours to 20 hours per week so county benefits are available to the employee. He would like to see Osgood reach accreditation so another VSO is not required to help provide services. Labhart said this position brings in a considerable amount of financial support to veterans in our county. Treasurer Kathy Smith pointed out that the dollars brought into the county do not support the cost of the position. She talked about General Fund support for this position and additional funds from the Expansion Grant that increased hours for Outreach activities. If hours are increased to 19.5 per week Smith would use Expansion dollars to cover that amount. She added that pretty soon the county will have to decide how much it is willing to fund and what services to sustain for Veterans, Seniors, etc. since PILT and SRS funding may not be reauthorized each year.

Myers asked if we had enough information now to decide about an increase to 19.5 hours per week effective July 1. Labhart said he won’t know for sure until the Legislative Session ends, but he feels Expansion Funding would likely continue. MSP: Britton/Labhart – to approve the increase to 19.5 hours per week for the VSO position from Expansion Funding starting June 26.

MENTAL HEALTH ADVISORY BOARD. Due to a misunderstanding between the county and Community Counseling Solutions the three year terms of Scott Myers and Cathy Currey on the Mental Health Advisory Board expired last year. Both Myers and Currey are willing to be reappointed. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to re-appoint Scott Myers and Cathy Curry to another term on the Mental Health Advisory Board expiring December 31, 2016. The court also considered the application of Rob Raschio expressing interest in serving on the Mental Health Advisory Board. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to appoint Rob Raschio to a vacant term on the Mental Health Advisory Board that expires December 31, 2017

9:55 am -- Sally Bartlett, Larry Blasing, King Williams, and Judy Kerr entered

TITLE 3. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett discussed her proposal to assume responsibility for the administration of County Title 3 Project funds following the recent death of County Title 3 Coordinator Sue Newstetter. Bartlett offered expertise and experience gained in the past 6 years while providing administrative support and technical assistance to the Title 3 Coordinator and Firewise / Community Wildfire Protection Plan Coordinator. During that time she’s been a part of implementing, planning, and facilitating the program that includes very specifically designated funds which must be used and fully reported with accuracy. Bartlett pointed out she has a proven record of administering federal, state and private funds efficiently and correctly. She said she would be letting go of some of her previous program responsibilities and taking over Title 3 fits well within the duties of her job description. Bartlett said the Title 3 program was a bigger responsibility than a $20,000 RBEG contract. Labhart agreed and thought this would be a win-win for everyone. Britton enthusiastically supported Bartlett assuming administration of County Title 3 projects. Myers fully supported this proposal because Bartlett has the knowledge and skills to do this work. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to assign County Title 3 project administration to Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett.

Britton asked Bartlett to come forward in a couple of months to let the court know how she is doing.

GREAT President King Williams was present and said he believes this work fits very well with what she is already doing. Treasurer Kathy Smith noted that $50,000 in Title 3 funds have been going toward annual support of Bartlett’s office. Bartlett reported on the anticipated expansion of Community Wildfire Protection and Firewise programs that Irene Jerome has been coordinating. And, she felt, if this work keeps growing part time support staff may become necessary.

10:10 am -- Patrick Bentz entered

AIRPORT. Airport Manager Patrick Bentz requested signature on an IGA with the State of Oregon for the 2015 Airport Pavement Management Program. Total project cost is estimated at $152,599.31 which includes $137,339.38 in PMP funds and $15,259.93 in FAA entitlement funds. Bentz said the project consists of filling cracks that develop on runways and taxiways and includes a special seal-coat on Runway 17-35 that can delay major reconstruction for many more years. Markings will be repainted as part of this project. Bentz said the runway will need to be closed while seal-coating is done, but he will work with the state and the contractor to make sure aviation fire-fighting activities and other aviation activities won’t be impacted. Work is also being done this year at three other northeast Oregon airports. The FAA is contributing to this project, so the county will not be required to supply funding or have funds go through the county. Bentz said the Oregon Department of Aviation PMP report on the runways and taxiways was recently reviewed by both T-O Engineering and the Airport Commission.

Signature on the associated State Sponsorship Agreement with the Department of Transportation / FAA for the 2015 Apron, Taxiway and Runway Pavement Rehabilitation Project was also requested. The document had already been signed by legal counsel Ron Yockim. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the IGA with the State of Oregon and State Sponsorship Agreement with the Department of Transportation / FAA for the 2015 Airport Pavement Management Program.

Bentz requested permission to obtain a county cell phone to use for airport business which the Airport Commission recommends. His personal cell phone has been used to pick up incoming calls when he’s working elsewhere at the airport or after office hours. Bentz also receives calls on his personal phone for a small private business he operates. Bentz would like to no longer use his personal phone for county business since a county phone for the airport would eliminate confusion as to who the caller is reaching. Also, a county phone can be left with whoever is in charge of the airport when he is out of town. He would only use the county phone for calls and occasional texts related to airport business. Labhart clarified that a data plan is not needed for the airport cell phone. He supported the request for a separate cell phone for the airport. MSP: Myers/Labhart – to allow Bentz to obtain a county cell phone to use for airport business as requested.

Bentz requested approval to install a power meter to separate electric service located outside the terminal facility. He has been asked by USFS Helibase Manager Eric Bush to separate the amount of electricity used outside the terminal for runway lights, RV spots and the power vault from the electricity used inside the terminal. USFS pays between 73% and 76% of the terminal use, based on their staffing levels as stipulated in the Terminal Management Agreement. Bentz talked about electrical spikes he noticed last summer when four travel trailers were hooked up and ran air conditioning full time. He said the county is already being reimbursed in the monthly fee charged to travel trailer owners. Bentz saw two options -- split the outdoor electric into a separate OTEC account or install a power meter in the power vault so outside monthly electric use can be subtracted from the OTEC bill. He had contacted three local electricians and obtained the following quotes to install the power meter -- Red’s Electric $1,421.31 including labor and S & C Electric $1,400.00 including labor. Wolf Electric declined since he was too busy for the next month. Bentz had no preference between the two contractors. Bentz answered several questions about the purpose and need to install a separate meter and monthly charges to travel trailer owners parked on site. Britton and Labhart both agreed this was not the county’s problem and suggested that we continue the current arrangement. Britton received further clarification about how cost quotes were requested for the proposal. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to decline the proposal to install a power meter at this time since the court believes it is not necessary to separate the electrical service. Britton asked for and received an update from Bentz about the status of the electronic gate.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul reported on yesterday’s trip to Harney County to attend an objection meeting on the Wolf Project. He recited comments that had been submitted by J.C. Oliver. The objection period ends on May 30 and Sproul urged the county to send a comment letter on the Wolf Project. He said the Dove Project comes up next and is also being addressed by the Harney County Restoration Collaborative. He provided additional information about the public roads within these projects. Public Forest Commissioner Larry Blasing reported on discussions at the meeting that aren’t confirmed with the document and other things. He and Public Forest Commissioner King Williams plan to sit down with people tomorrow to make sure there is a clear understanding of the Wolf Project proposal. Labhart noted that on February 11, 2015 the Forest Service met with the County Court to present the Wolf Project and we had a chance to submit comments at that time. Public Forest Commissioner Brooks Smith remarked on the project documents and hopes the Forest Service knows there’s something problematic with roads and would deal with that issue. He felt comments are best made up front so the agency can work with interested parties to eliminate future issues.

10:45 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary


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