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County Court minutes 06-10-15

Published on June 22, 2015 10:27AM


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

JUNE 10, 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, DA Jim Carpenter, Brooks Smith, and Flora Cheadle. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Flora Cheadle.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and Extension District Warrant Nos. 324-328

AGENDA. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to accept the agenda with discussion on a public records request for legal counsel opinion regarding Ordinance 2013-01.


Britton will attend Oregon Stock Growers Summer Conference meetings in John Day tomorrow. Today he meets with Anne Moot who was hired by Blue Mountain Forest Partners to do research about the collaborative process. Britton announced that a mailing will go out to Zone 1 landowners from ODF to update the Assessor’s fire protection assessment information. Britton officiated as the MC at the 62 Days Parade last Saturday in Canyon City.

Labhart was at Sunriver last Wednesday and Thursday for a CAC Summit. He reported on the AOC Veterans Committee and Public Lands & Natural Resources Committee meetings that he attended in Salem on Monday. The county was encouraged to follow up and make sure the RAC (Resource Advisory Council) is fully appointed. Tomorrow he has a Health Technology Assessment Subcommittee meeting in Wilsonville. Labhart will attend EOU graduation ceremonies in La Grande this Saturday and an EOCCO board meeting in Baker City on Monday. Labhart provided information on HR 2647 federal legislation that is partly about establishing conditions for forest road decommissioning.

Myers performed a wedding on the foot bridge over Canyon Creek on Monday. Yesterday he was in La Grande for a CCNEO budget committee meeting and will be there next Tuesday for a CCNEO board meeting. He has another elevator project meeting this afternoon. Myers reported on progress of the project to date and noted the car will probably be installed tomorrow. Early in the morning he goes to Aldrich Mountain with Undersheriff McKinley and Road Safety Manager Bremner for a site meeting related to the State Radio Project. He reported on improvements the state made with a new antenna that makes a big difference in communications for law enforcement and road crew. Myers talked about other improvements currently progressing for the Dixie Butte tower

9:15 am – Kathy Smith and Larry Blasing entered

MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the June 3 minutes as corrected

BUDGET HEARING. The court held a public hearing on the county budget for 2015-2016. Budget Officer Kathy Smith presented changes proposed since the budget committee adjourned in April EXHIBIT A. The following General Fund/Non-Departmental budget adjustments were reviewed and explained: $2,400 expense increase for a JP-Sheriff phone maintenance fee; $610 expense increase to add a cell phone stipend; $14,000 expense increase to add 1.05 hours for Corrections Officer with $1,000 increase for social security and $1,000 increase for retirement; and $571 expense increase for Veterans Service Officer hours with $43 increase for social security and $43 increase for retirement – offset by $571 from Veterans Expansion funds. Smith didn’t anticipate other budget changes and hopes to have the budget adopted next week. She noted there may be some current fiscal year end claims to pay on June 24. Some discussion took place about the public hearing process that gives an opportunity to discuss additional changes.

Myers requested input from those present. None was offered.

The court talked about whether or not there may be additional budget changes to discuss. Britton anticipated that he would have something to discuss next week. The budget hearing was continued to June 17.

9:30 am – Dave Traylor, News Reporter Scotta Callister and Mark Pengelly entered

EASTERN OREGON PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. The court acknowledged the discontinuation of its Contact with Eastern Oregon Professional Services, Inc. due to the recent death of EOPS President Sue Newstetter. The contract provided administrative and technical services for the Grant County Title 3 Program funded under the Secure Rural Schools and Self Determination Act. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to cease our contract relationship with Eastern Oregon Professional Services. Britton suggested that we have a discussion with Sally Bartlett and Irene Jerome concerning compensation for continuing administration of the county’s Title 3 Program.

SENIOR CITIZENS ADVISORY COUNCIL BYLAWS. Court members reviewed proposed revisions to the District 12 Area Agency on Aging Grant County Senior Citizens Advisory Council By-Laws. Proposed revisions would establish that meetings are held no less than twice a year (rather than quarterly) and members be 60 years of age or older. It was noted that recruitment is currently going on to fill two positions since those members were dropped for missing two consecutive regular meetings without obtaining an excused absence. Some discussion took place about the council’s desire to retain the age 60 designation that already existed in the By-Laws. When DA Jim Carpenter was asked his opinion, he said it would be better to recommend age 60 rather than mandating it. Discussion followed about the “senior” age designation that varies greatly. The court signed the By-Laws as presented.

FUEL REIMBURSEMENT. The court reviewed and approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with Oregon Emergency Management for fuel reimbursement for aircraft used for authorized Air Search & Rescue. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the Intergovernmental Agreement with Oregon Emergency Management for fuel reimbursement used for Air Search & Rescue

FIRE PATROL ASSESSMENT. Court members reviewed and approved a two year Contract with Oregon Department of Forestry to provide Assessor’s Fire Patrol Assessment Services at a cost of $1,000 per fiscal year for the biennium 2015 – 2017. Services cover maintenance costs for seventy-three hours at $923 and printout costs of $77.00. MSP: Britton/Myers-- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the Contract with Oregon Department of Forestry / Central Oregon District to provide Assessor’s Fire Patrol Assessment services.

323 S. HUMBOLT, CC. The court reviewed and signed Commercial Property Lease Amendment No. 4 with C-2 Utility Contractors for property located at 323 S. Humbolt Street in Canyon City. The amendment extends the lease term through December 31, 2015. Myers explained the continued delay with completing our Town of Canyon City zoning change request that involves intervention by ODOT to evaluate the impact to traffic on Highway 395.

528 E. MAIN, JD. The court reviewed and signed a two year Commercial Property Lease with Community Counseling Solutions for occupying property located at 528 E. Main in John Day. CCS uses the 8,814 sq ft space to provide the county’s public health, mental health, developmental disability and alcohol abuse treatment services at an annual cost of $30,000.00. Britton suggested entering into discussion with CCS about purchasing the building. Myers said that was inviting since it would alleviate the costs for ongoing maintenance and repairs. But, he felt it would be a bad move on our part if CCS possibly discontinues providing services on behalf of the county, in that we would have the operations back but no facility in which to provide them.

MENTAL HEALTH CONTRACT. The court, as Local Mental Health Authority, reviewed and signed a 2015-2017 Contract with Community Counseling Solutions, Inc. to provide mental health, developmental disability and alcohol abuse treatment services to Grant County citizens.

PUBLIC HEALTH CONTRACT. The court, as Local Public Health Authority, reviewed and signed a 2015-2017 Contract with Community Counseling Solutions, Inc. to provide a broad scope of public health services to Grant County citizens.

ORDINANCE 2013-01. Labhart previously asked and received an opinion from legal counsel Ron Yockim about the validity and possible enforcement of the Public Road Closure Ordinance. Counsel indicated that it was up to the court to decide whether or not to release the legal opinion to the public. Labhart requested that the court allow this record to be released. MSP: Labhart/Britton – to honor the public records request and release it to the public. This would waive the attorney-client privilege. All court members made it very clear this decision would not set a precedent for the future.

10:05 am – The court took a break until the next scheduled agenda item. Sheriff Glenn Palmer entered

DAVE TRAYLOR. Local citizen Dave Traylor requested court endorsement of a personal use wood permit the Forest Service would consider on June 19. He said Forest Supervisor Steve Beverlin previously held meetings with citizens about the proposal. Now, the Forest Supervisors will be meeting to discuss the personal use wood permit.

Traylor provided background about how the firewood permit program first started and has been operating within the county. Some discussion took place about how firewood is loaded up and transported out of the forest. The personal use permit would be linked to the firewood permit to make it easier for citizens to utilize the natural resource. Traylor said there is no provision now for getting anything longer than 8 feet. He talked about the need that some individuals may have for a 32 foot (or longer) log for personal use. Traylor said the personal use permit would have an additional price established by the Forest Service to reflect the fair market value of the wood. The criteria is already in place, this would modify the program to a longer length log and increase the payment amount. He believed it would address the individual needs of citizens, increase natural resource use, enhance forest health, and improve the economic condition of Grant County.

10:45 am – Steve Beverlin and Audrey Matsumonis entered

Labhart didn’t think the average person would have a need for a large tree, or have equipment to haul it off the forest. He and Traylor talked about the need certain individuals have for personal use logs and the need to fulfill the regulations i.e. clean up, etc.

Myers asked if the final decision would be at the local or regional level. Forest Supervisor Beverlin said the program proposal would go through the Regional Office, but the decision remains at the local level. Myers asked about species and/or diameter restrictions that might be applied. Traylor said the firewood permit system states any species of standing dead tree, regardless of size, within 150 feet of the road may be cut down. Britton sought clarification from Traylor that the proposal has lots of support from the citizens. Britton encouraged Traylor to attend the June 19 meeting, but allow the Forest Service the time it needs to fully evaluate the proposal i.e. do not push too hard. Traylor understood that we need to temper our judgment about what will be good for the citizens. His objective is to inform the court and make the citizens aware of the personal use wood permit proposal. The court supported the personal use permit proposal and felt it was a good concept that could benefit the public.

11:00 am -- Curt Qual entered

TITLE 2 PRE-PROPOSAL. Ritter Collaborative Coordinator Curtis Qual presented a Landscape Restoration Title 2 Project “pre-proposal” for the court’s consideration. Partners include the Monument Soil & Water Conservation District, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, Grant Soil & Water Conservation District. Individual partners present to speak about this pre-proposal were Kyle Sullivan, Russ Powell, Steve Ussery, Wendy Neal, and Rhonda and Jim Kennedy.

The Land Management Team is a community collaborative for private lands located at Ritter in the Lower Middle Fork John Day River Basin. Family forest owners over the 106,000 acre project area are engaged in an active management approach to addressing landscape-level resource concerns. It was pointed out that 22 private landowners representing 60,000 acres are currently enrolled for future restoration funding to enhance land productivity. Information was presented about project activities funded by a combination of partner cost-share ($156,176+) and Title 2 funds ($300,000). The objective is to reduce wildfire risk, restore wildlife and Threatened and Endangered Species habitat, improve riparian health and water quality, increase forest health and resiliency, accelerate enhanced land productivity, and create jobs and economic opportunities in Grant County. The Ritter Collaborative hopes to become a model for private landowners in other areas.

Myers provided information about the SRS funding allocation designated to Grant County for Title 2 and Title 3 this year. He noted that allocated funds are precious with only $60,000 to $70,000 available for Title 3 projects. The court asked for a range of projects and costs identified in Title 2 proposals that come forward in the future. Based on funding restrictions, top priorities would most likely be treatment of noxious weeds and cutting and treatment of juniper. Qual thanked the court for their counsel and said the Ritter Collaborative plans to go back and retool their proposal.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Mark Pengelly spoke in favor of forest access for hunters and expressed concern about bacteria being placed in the ground when we don’t know the long term affects. He was told the bacteria are a naturally occurring organism in the soil that disperses in a few years. Pengelly also wondered if the amount of money spent on fencing was worth the amount of pollution it might potentially prevent or the litigation that may occur.

12:15 pm -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary


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