IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT
Access the County Court Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at www.gcoregonlive2.com
April 20, 2016
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 the County Courtroom in Canyon City, OR.
9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Secretary Laurie Wright, Judy Kerr, Jim Sproul, Logan Bagett, Mike Cosgrove, Linda Gingrich, Jim Spell, , Judy Schuette, Karen Jacobs, Dan Becker, Sally Bartlett, Susan Christiansen, Bill LaVigne and Pastor Wes Aasness. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Aasness.
CLAIMS. The court approved claims and extension district warrants 128-132. Commissioner Britton declared conflicts on two claims payable to Boyd Britton Welding in the amount of $22.50 and $23.10.
AGENDA. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to accept the agenda as amended with the removal of approval of a hand check in the amount of $5,000. Fair Manager Mary Weaver discovered an agent didn’t need to be used to book a headline act for the fair and requested a stop payment be placed on the check by the Treasurer.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton advised the audience the Geographic Names Board approved 8 of Grant County’s proposals for name changes and rejected 5 others. The names rejected were the ones in Prairie City such as Squaw Creek and Squaw Meadow. Britton said this isn’t over yet and there could be future litigation regarding this issue. Judge Myers and Britton explained some of the issues the name changes might cause, such as confusion and difficulty with pronunciation, and the process regarding how the name changes came about. Britton attended the Stock Grower’s meeting and also a very well attended Farm Bureau meeting where a composting site proposed by ODOT was discussed. On Monday, April 18th, he went to Vale for a subcommittee Connect Oregon meeting.
9:08 am Sharon Livingston, Elaine Eisenbraun and Sean Hart entered.
Judge Myers attended an airport meeting on Monday to select people to interview for the airport manager’s position. Nine applications were submitted and the people selected will be interviewed the evening of May 3rd. On Tuesday, April 19th, he went to La Grande for a North East Oregon Housing Authority (NEOHA) meeting and tomorrow will attend a department head meeting.
Commissioner Labhart went to an EMS fundraiser in Long Creek last Saturday the 16th where 151 people attended and over $6000 was raised for the EMS services. Monday he drove the VA van to Boise and Tuesday went to the Monument Senior Citizen’s Center for lunch. Labhart will be going to an LCAC meeting today at noon and will meet tomorrow with representatives from the USDA at the fairgrounds where awards for the reader board and public address system projects will be presented to the fairgrounds. On Friday he will be conducting senior project interviews at the high school. Labhart will attend the candidate’s forum on Saturday.
MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the April 13th minutes as amended.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett introduced Susan Christiansen (formerly of DEQ). Christiansen is the current interim executive director until a new director is hired for the Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation (GEODC). Bartlett explained GEODC is a community development program and the different districts in Eastern Oregon. GEODC provides gap lending for small businesses and assists with small business administration. Bartlett introduced Bill LaVigne who is the new loan officer for GEODC and formerly lived in Richland, Washington. Bartlett is very excited about having both of them here. Christiansen thanked the community for welcoming them to Grant County and said the community will be seeing more of her and Grant County is one of her favorite counties to work in. Judge Myers advised the audience that Christiansen was instrumental in getting DEQ permits waived after the fire for fire waste disposal and septic tank inspections. Bill LaVigne stated his background is in large business, but he is happy to be able to make a difference for small businesses in smaller communities. LaVigne’s office is in Pendleton but said his door is always open.
9:21 am Susan Church entered.
Labhart encouraged the court to remain members of the GEODC. Bartlett clarified there is no longer a membership board; they are now a 501C3 corporation with a nine member board. Bartlett explained the benefits this change has made to the GEODC. LaVigne stated in larger communities businesses are looking at much larger loans and bankers won’t usually touch the smaller loans because it isn’t worth it to them. LaVigne added his job is to investigate and write loans up to the best of his ability and let the nine member board make the loan decision. LaVigne further explained his role in the loan process and how GEODC works with local banks to alleviate risks and assist people to start businesses. Bartlett explained how GEODC works with banks to hold part of the loan so they share the risk with the banks. GEODC is usually in the secondary position on the loans and so normally takes the most risk. Bartlett stated GEODC’s track record is very good; they have lost a few but are still making money. Myers advised this discussion will need to be continued until after the scheduled budget hearing.
SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET HEARING. Treasurer Kathy Smith said this hearing was advertised and is for the emergency management hearing for the $35,000 federal grant match. The county must match the grant in order to receive it. Smith said she received the first of the federal money last week. The county matches the federal grant 50/50 ($35,000 county and $35,000 federal). The money must be taken from the general fund and because it wasn’t in the current budget a supplemental budget hearing had to be held. MSP: Labhart/Myers – to close the public hearing.
9:37 am Pat Holliday entered.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, cont’d. Bartlett explained the $30,000 grant she wants to apply for to assist Canyon City to develop a Hazard Mitigation Flood Plan. This plan will be an addendum to the regional plan in our area. Myers advised this is a FEMA requirement for funding assistance. Myers said the proposal requires a letter of support or a resolution from the court and asked Bartlett which one she preferred. Bartlett said either would work, but a resolution might be better. Britton asked when this was due and Bartlett advised May 1st. Bartlett will work with Myers on the resolution. MSP: Myers/Britton – to authorize Bartlett to continue with the grant application for the Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Town of Canyon City.
RESOLUTION 16-12. Treasurer Kathy Smith presented Resolution 16-12 to the court which transfers funds in the amount of $35,000 to the emergency management position based on the supplemental budget hearing. Judge Myers read the resolution to the audience. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve Resolution 16-12 and circulate for signatures.
RESOLUTION 16-13. Treasurer Kathy Smith presented Resolution 16-13 to the court which transfers funds from the general fund to the bookmobile reserve ($5,000), emergency management ($35,000) and senior citizens ($44,283). All of these transfers were budgeted in the current year’s budget. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve Resolution 16-13 and circulate for signatures.
9:46 am Valeen Madden entered.
YOCKIM CAROLLO LLP LAW FIRM CONTRACT. Legal Counsel Ron Yockim sent a revised contract to the court for review and approval. Labhart would like to postpone this until next week based on the proposal submitted by DA Jim Carpenter so he can contact some other counties about how their legal services are handled. Britton disagreed and stated he thinks given all the issues Yockim is working on, and the good job he has done for the county over the years, it would be a bad time to change legal counsel. Myers agreed with Britton. Myers advised the new contract will increase the retainer to Yockim from $2,200 a month to $2,700 a month. The increase in the retainer is because Yockim has been providing general counsel to the county in addition to his road department work for some time now without compensation. Myers feels it is appropriate to postpone the discussion about utilizing the District Attorney for some legal services in the future. Britton suggested the court members sign the Yockim contract today and visit with Carpenter at a future date about his proposal. Myers is concerned with conflicts Carpenter may have. Labhart added Yockim is very well respected in the state regarding his public lands and natural resource experience. Labhart is not against Yockim being the county’s legal counsel, but he would like the court to discuss the DA’s proposal. MSP: Britton/Myers – to continue with Yockim Carollo LLP as county legal counsel and circulate the contract for signatures.
DA LEGAL SERVICES PROPOSAL. District Attorney Jim Carpenter wrote a letter to the court proposing he provide legal services to the county. Carpenter is unavailable today as he is attending training out of town. Carpenter’s proposal is to provide legal services for $2,000 per month. Myers said there have been some issues in the past couple of months where Carpenter had a conflict and couldn’t have worked on the issues. Labhart advised he has received a letter in opposition to the DA providing legal services to the county. MSP: Britton/Myers – to postpone the discussion on this proposal until DA Carpenter can attend court.
9:55 am Kathy Stinnett entered.
6TH AMENDMENT TO OHA AGREEMENT #147789. The court reviewed the 6th Amendment to the Oregon Health Authority Agreement number 147789 which provides an additional $7,732 for mental health services. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the 6th Amendment to OHA Agreement #147789 and to authorize Judge Myers to sign the agreement.
6TH AMENDMENT TO OHA AGREEMENT #148010. The court reviewed the 6th Amendment to the Oregon Health Authority Agreement number 148010 to receive an additional $1,618 for family health services. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the 6th Amendment to OHA Agreement #148010 and to authorize Judge Myers to sign the agreement.
VOLUNTEER RESIGNATION. The court reviewed Maxine Day’s resignation as an ex-officio volunteer from the College Advisory Board. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept Day’s resignation and sign a letter acknowledging her service.
9:59 am Shaun Robertson entered.
NORTH FORK JOHN DAY WATERSHED. Elaine Eisenbraun, Director of the North Fork John Day Watershed Council presented an informational update to the court for the North Fork John Day Watershed (NFJDW) projects. Eisenbraun brought along some of her staff and a board member. Eisenbraun said watersheds were created by the state and there are approximately 61 watersheds throughout the state. The NFJDW’s three program areas are education (reaching out to the community), restoration and collaboration. Eisenbraun stated the NFJDW board has voted to extend its boundaries and provided a map to the court. Eisenbraun said she contacted all of the watershed councils around the NFJDW. The court must approve the boundary extension before OWEB will acknowledge the boundary change. Eisenbraun stated the NFJDW can offer things other agencies cannot because of their non-profit status and they have access to funding other agencies don’t as well. She went on to explain how the watershed works as a non-profit and the benefits. Eisenbraun reported the NFJDW has had a lot of success and they want to work with other agencies and not cause any problems. Eisenbraun approached the South Fork Watershed Council about taking over this territory and their board was not interested at this time. She said if things change in the future the boundaries can be adjusted. Eisenbraun also contacted Grant Soil and Water Conservation District (GSWCD) and talked to the board of directors about the boundary extension. She stated the NFJDW and GSWCD perform different functions, offer different services and have different focuses. Eisenbraun asked the court for formal approval to move forward with the boundary extension, because the extension is going to happen anyway. Myers asked if she had received opposition from landowners and she advised she has not. Eisenbraun said some were in support of the proposal and some were curious, but she didn’t really receive opposition. Shaun Robertson stated the watersheds are very limited in statutory authority are mainly allowed to just handle money. Robertson supports this very limited type of government entity. Robertson is in support of local watersheds and keeping jobs and ecological services here. Robertson added we can utilize our local watersheds for things we would normally send outside of the county. Pat Holliday works for Grant Soil & Water Conservation District, but is not here as an employee of GSWCS, she is here as a private landowner and rancher and is opposed to the watershed boundary extension. Approximately 80% of Holliday’s land would end up being within the NFJDW boundary extension. Holliday listed all the different agencies that currently have regulatory authority over her land. She stated if she needs assistance with something on her land there are numerous entities she can go to for assistance and she then listed them. Holliday doesn’t feel the watershed council will bring anything to assist her that isn’t already in place. Holliday added she has nothing against the current NFJDW council, but she would be concerned with possible future council members. Eisenbraun clarified the watershed is a non-profit with no regulatory power, and is not a government entity. The watershed is a private non-profit corporation and receives grant funding. Holliday said this concerns her even more. Sharon Livingston stated she is in favor of the watershed council and has worked with the NFJDW and has been completely satisfied with the services they have provided to her personally and she is also very supportive of the youth program. Mike Cosgrove reported when he worked at the school the watershed councils were excellent at offering youth employment programs and he is in support of the watersheds. Holliday added she is still opposed to the extension of the boundaries. Valeen Madden feels there are some landowners that may not know how to manage their resources and the watershed can assist these landowners without being required to document anything. Myers is concerned extending the boundaries may upset landowners. Jim Sproul feels the landowners should have been made aware of the boundary extension so they know what is happening. Eisenbraun said she has talked to random landowners during this process and received favorable responses. Labhart asked if the Tribes were involved in this. Eisenbraun said they work on projects with the Tribes and doesn’t think this would impact the Tribes; it just brings more services to the area. Judy Kerr asked if the NFJDW could be looked at as a buffer between the people and government agencies. Eisenbraun said that is a good analogy. Holliday has no issues with the NFJDW currently, but she still wanted to go on record as opposing the boundary extension. Myers said he wasn’t aware the watershed was going to ask for a letter of support from the court today, he thought it was just an information update. Eisenbraun reported the expansion has already been happening and participating with the watershed is completely voluntary. Britton said he wasn’t ready to hear this matter today or make a decision on expansion and feels there should be better communication. Eisenbraun wanted to clarify the NFJDW is a private, non-profit corporation and has no regulatory authority; however, they must follow regulations and work cooperatively with other agencies. Britton feels Eisenbraun should contact affected landowners and then report back to the court. Eisenbraun would like to talk to landowners along with other residents (such as those with children hired for the OYCC program) because the boundary extension affects more than just landowners. Britton would like just the landowners contacted. Discussion followed on the definition of “landowner”. Eisenbraun will return to the court with more information in about three weeks.
PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul brought some paperwork to the court at the request of Sheriff Palmer. Sproul said the paperwork is the regional dispatch information the Sheriff told the court he would provide last week.
11:18 am – Adjourned.
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