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County Court minutes, June 22, 2016

Published on June 29, 2016 2:28PM


June 22, 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 Canyon City, OR.

9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Linda Gingrich, Judy Kerr, Jim Sproul, Mike Cosgrove, Steve Beverlin, Logan Bagett, Mary Walker, Rick Minster, and Pastor Dave Hoeffner. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Hoeffner.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and Extension District Warrants # 158-164.

AGENDA. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to accept the agenda as presented. During the court meeting this was later amended to add an emergency presentation by Clerk Brenda Percy requesting permission to purchase a computer backup system for the courthouse.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton was at a Connect Oregon 6 meeting in Portland last week where Connect Oregon projects were prioritized. Our region was only eligible for 4.5 million, but they managed to get that increased to 5.8 million. Tuesday of next week Britton will travel to Ontario for a joint house and senate committee meeting regarding transportation where he will have the chance to testify about our needs. Britton plans on advocating for an additional gas tax. Labhart said the AOC is also in support of a gas tax.

9:12 am Susan Church entered.

Commissioner Labhart reported he attended an emergency management team meeting at the Grant County Regional Airport on Monday, June 20th. Labhart said this is the second emergency management meeting where there was no representative from the Sheriff’s Department and he would like to see Judge Myers encourage the Sheriff to attend or have a representative attend. Labhart believes it is very important for the Sheriff to be involved. On June 22nd he will participate in the Grant County Local Community Advisory Council at ESD, on June 23rd he will attend the Eastern Oregon Jobs Council in La Grande, and on June 27th will travel to Burns for the Regional Community Advisory Council meeting.

Judge Myers had a meeting last Wednesday regarding emergency management with EMC Ted Williams and the Sheriff’s Department. Last Thursday he attended a budget meeting for Community Connections meeting in La Grande. Myers said the road department started the chip seal project on the Middle Fork on Monday and he went and viewed it yesterday. He advised there are no bicycle shuttles offered by the county during the project. Tomorrow Myers has a mental health advisory board meeting at Community Counseling Solutions and a name change hearing tomorrow afternoon. On Friday Myers will assist with interviews at the airport for part time airport assistants.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the June 15th minutes as amended.

9:16 am Labhart made a motion to open the budget hearing for the Extension and 4H Budget Committee and to keep the hearing open while waiting for further attendees, Myers seconded. The hearing was opened.

INSURANCE RENEWAL WITH CIS. Quotes were reviewed from Bisnett Insurance for renewal of the county’s property and liability insurance policies with City County Insurance Services as presented. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve renewal of the CIS insurance policy and circulate for signature.

Steve Beverlin asked if the Sheriff’s special deputies are covered by workman’s comp insurance. Myers believes they are when acting in the capacity of a special deputy. County volunteers are also covered.

9:22 am Peggy Gray and Nick Green entered.

7TH AMENDMENT TO OHA AGREEMENT #147789. The court reviewed the 7th Amendment to Oregon Health Authority Agreement #147789 to receive an additional $5,000 for mental health services.

MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to approve the 7th Amendment to OHA Agreement #147789 and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

C-2 UTILITIES LEASE. C-2 currently leases the old county road department building at 323 S. Humbolt in Canyon City. Until arrangements are made to surplus the lot and building C-2 would like to continue to lease the facility. Myers would like to wait for the market to improve further before trying to sell the property. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the extension of the lease with C-2 to expire December 31, 2016 and circulate for signatures.

BARGAIN & SALE DEED TO CANYON CITY. The county court reviewed a bargain and sale deed to transfer land to the Town of Canyon City. This is a gift of land from the county. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the bargain and sale deed and circulate for signatures.

9:32 am Dan Becker entered.

RESOLUTION 16-18. Treasurer Kathy Smith had presented the court with Resolution 16-18 which is to adopt the fiscal year budget for 2016/17. This contains all the final changes and adjustments. The total budget for FY16/17 is $26,194,881.00. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to adopt Resolution 16-18 for fiscal year 2016/17 budget and circulate for signatures.

EXTENSION & 4H SERVICE DISTRICT HEARING. Four budget committee members were in attendance, Mary Walker, Chris Labhart, Scott Myers and Boyd Britton. The budget committee is a six member committee so a quorum was present. Walker requested approval of the budget as presented. MSP: Myers/Britton – to adopt the Extension & 4H Service District budget as presented.

9:38 am Myers moved to close the hearing, Labhart seconded, motion passed.

DISPATCH SERVICES. The court reviewed the renewal contract for the City of John Day to provide dispatch services. Nick Green was introduced as the new city manager by retiring city manager Peggy Gray. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the contract renewal and circulate for signatures.

Myers stated some rifts have appeared lately with dispatch and certain users. Myers believes these issues can be rectified and will be working towards this. Myers feels it is invaluable to have our dispatch services provided locally. Steve Beverlin said the John Day Dispatch has been extremely helpful to the Forest Service and has gone above and beyond to assist them. Linda Gingrich agreed with Beverlin and said John Day Dispatch has always been kind and helpful. Labhart agreed with Myers and said communication is the key and all the parties need to talk. Britton urged Green to work on cost containment in the future and Green stated this is a top priority for them. Labhart stated the AOC is pushing to increase 911 user fees. Britton would like the City of John Day to find out if the rural fire districts would be willing to pay some of the fire chief’s salary. Insurance rates for landowners are increasing and having a paid fire chief over all the rural districts may help with the rates.

9:50 am The court took a short recess. 9:55 am Doug Ferguson and Russell Ricco entered.

10:00 am Alan Hickerson and Kathy Gillam entered. 10:01 am The court returned to order. Judge Myers had to step out to attend another meeting.

PETITION TO VACATE OF WAY OF NECESSITY. The court reviewed a petition filed by Russell Ricco of Elmwood Ranch to vacate a way of necessity easement located on his property. This way of necessity was originally granted to the prior landowners whose property was landlocked by a Circuit Court decision in 2011. The previous landowners then sold this property to Elmwood Ranch and so the way of necessity is no longer necessary. Mike Springer, County Surveyor and Road Master Alan Hickerson are both in support of vacating this way of necessity easement. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to approve the vacation of the way of necessity easement and to circulate the order for signatures.

10:05 am The court again took a recess because the next item on the agenda had a set time to start.

10:15 am The court reconvened. Brenda Percy and Karen Officer entered.

COMPUTER BACK UP SYSTEM. Labhart requested this item be added to the agenda as an emergency item. MSP: Labhart/Britton – to add this as an emergency item to the agenda.

Clerk Brenda Percy advised the court she was notified by ESD yesterday that they recommend a computer backup system be installed as soon as possible in the courthouse. Computer security has become an extremely important issue since the ESD server was attacked by ransomware recently. This will be an external hard drive of 16 terabytes costing $2,122.90. Assessor Karen Officer has offered to pay for this from her capital outlay budget as the funds are there. Dan Becker explained this would be storage in the building and is stored in a different format and not susceptible to viruses. The backup system would only be for the computers in the courthouse. Labhart would like to see Donna Becker check with the road department about a backup system for them as well. MSP: Labhart/Britton – to approve the purchase of the 16 terabyte backup system for the courthouse to be paid out of the Assessor’s Capital Outlay fund in the amount of $2,122.90. Dan Becker explained how ransom ware viruses work and the difficulties in preventing them.

10:27 am Steve Fischer entered.

ENGINEERING SERVICES. Discussion was held regarding whether or not a county and/or road department engineer needed to be kept under contract. Doug Ferguson presented information to the court of why having a county engineer on call is important. One of Ferguson’s points was there are no additional costs to having an engineer under contract because charges only incur when engineering services are performed. Ferguson understands the Road Department doesn’t have any projects in the near future requiring engineering, but things do come up. The other item previously discussed was having an on-call engineer for public works needs outside of the road department and Ferguson thinks this is also a good idea for flood protection plans and location of possible water impoundment sites.

FLOOD MITIGATION PROJECT. Ferguson explained the current FEMA grant consisting of $441,555 in federal funding that requires a $147,185 non-federal match. Ferguson didn’t know where the match funds would come from. The grant is somewhat limited and cannot be used for preliminary engineering or studies, but could be used for upstream improvements to Canyon Creek, or purchase of property which is in danger of flooding. Ferguson has located one property north of the Inland Bridge that is in a bad area and the owner is willing to sell it. Acquiring this property would be a start towards the large project and would allow for further improvements and also storage. Scott Fairley and another regional coordinator are attempting to keep the long term flood mitigation project moving, but need to find out what local opinion is on the project. Ferguson believes more community activism is important and the flooding risk is a chronic problem. It is very important to keep the school safe from flooding, but the cost of moving the school would be completely cost prohibitive. In Britton’s opinion the large flood project is vitally important. Mayor of Canyon City Steve Fisher agreed with Britton. Fisher said he was told by FEMA that as long as property owners and the school maintain their current flood insurance the rates will remain the same. Britton reported John Day City Manager Nick Green has extensive experience obtaining federal funding. Green suggested looking at a long term habitat restoration plan along with disaster preparedness and this could possibly bring in more stakeholders. Road Master Alan Hickerson is concerned that if the county purchased the property near Inland Bridge other property owners with homes for sale would want the county to purchase their homes as well. Labhart reported School District #3 conducted a survey and most patrons do not want a new school built, but rather the current one remodeled. The school district is planning on going out for a bond in 2020 after the fire hall bond expires. There is grant money available of $4 million dollars, but only if the flood issue is mitigated. Britton suggested putting a request for proposals out to have an engineer under contract. MS: Britton/Labhart -- to advertise for requests for proposals for a contract engineer for the county and road department. Labhart said he would vote no and would like to know citizens opinions about the large flood project first. Jim Sproul doesn’t think the road department needs an engineer of record and stated the department has years of experience and does a fine job on their own. Hickerson said the road department has been without a contract since 2015 and they have been able to call engineers when necessary and this has been working well. Britton wants the county to move forward with the large flood project and likes the convenience of having an engineer under contract. Hickerson feels this is being done so the road department money can be utilized. Britton stressed the engineer would only be used as needed. Labhart thinks a task force should be convened to see if the public even wants the large flood project and the court is getting ahead of itself at this point. Ferguson agreed with Labhart, but doesn’t want to see the project dropped. Ferguson reiterated having an engineer on board would not cost anything unless the services were used. MSP: Britton/Labhart – to table this motion to a future date when Judge Myers is present.

PUBLIC COMMENT. None offered. 11:07 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

Administrative Assistant



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