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Grant County Court minutes: July 20, 2016

Published on July 28, 2016 2:33PM


Minutes from the July 20, 2016, Grant County Court meeting:

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, Jim Sproul, Dan Becker, Jim Spell, Beth Spell, Logan Bagett, Judy Kerr, Sally Bartlett, Steve Beverlin and Pastor Al Altnow. Judge Myers advised Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright had an appointment this morning but should return prior to the end of court today. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Altnow.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants # 176-180.

AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept the agenda as presented.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton attended a Stock Grower’s meeting where the beer booth for fair was discussed and Nick Stiner from the Forest Service gave a presentation on the Blue Mountain Ranger District range program. Today at 3 pm Britton will be doing a video interview with Marcus Kaufman from the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Commissioner Labhart had lunch last Wednesday with Rex Burkholder of Oregon Solutions and last Thursday he attended the RAC meeting in Baker City and thanked Steve Beverlin and Mark Webb for their comments. He reported the RAC meeting went very smoothly and all the proposals were approved as presented. Labhart said he will be attending the Grant County CWPP meeting on Friday at the John Day Fire Hall, Monday he will be going to a meeting regarding John Day/Canyon City flood insurance and on Tuesday the 26th he will be traveling to a Restore Oregon meeting at Depot Park in Prairie City. Labhart will be going to Senator Wyden’s town hall this afternoon. Britton encouraged Labhart to advise Wyden that Grant County is opposed to the proposed Malheur National Monument. Labhart met with the Treasurer and Deputy Clerk yesterday to discuss the current county travel policy.

Judge Myers went to a meeting on Monday with GREAT at the Outpost where they discussed loans and the college downtown. Tuesday Myers attended an all-day meeting at the airport regarding Bates Pond. He said it was a good meeting and was congenial. Jim Sproul suggested the county pass a resolution declaring the pond a historical site. Myers thinks this may be the wrong time for a resolution to be passed and believes this could wait for some time in the future. He advised the meeting was largely about statistics although the history of the pond was discussed during the morning session. Myers believes the pond may change in appearance or shape, but that the water impoundment will remain. Further discussion followed about the pond and fish ladder. Myers is taking vacation to go fly fishing this afternoon at Strawberry Lake. Tomorrow morning Myers will attend a meeting for the McRae Scholarship Committee and then in the afternoon will attend a department head meeting.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the July 13th minutes as amended.

CANYON CITY HAZARD MITIGATION GRANT. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett has been assisting the Town of Canyon City with a Technical Assistance Grant with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to develop a Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan and Comprehensive Plan Integration for Canyon City. Grant County Economic Development (GCED) is requesting $30,000 in grant funds to produce the plan and GCED will provide $5,000 in kind as matching funds. Myers stated a few years ago the county worked with John Day on a hazard mitigation plan, but Canyon City was not involved at that time. Canyon City would not be eligible for FEMA assistance in the event of a flood without a hazard mitigation plan. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to approve Technical Assistance Agreement # TA-17-179 and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

PROPERTY TAX REFUNDS. Assessor Karen Officer presented two tax refunds and orders to the court for review and approval. The refunds are due to fires that occurred on the affected properties, but not related to the Canyon Creek Complex Fire. The first refund is in the amount of $67.97 and the second refund is in the amount of $167.81. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the tax refund and order to Randall Keen in the amount of $67.97 and circulate for signatures and to approve the tax refund and order to Robert & Marva Nolan in the amount of $167.81 and circulate for signatures.

COUNTY PER DIEM & TRAVEL RATES. Commissioner Labhart wanted to discuss the current county lodging, mileage and meal per diem rates. Labhart presented rates and policies from the State, CCS and various counties for comparison. Labhart explained he began working on this because of times employees have had to come to court to ask for approval for small overages in lodging. He told those in attendance the average ranges he discovered for costs for mileage, lodging and meals. Labhart also discovered several statutes the county must follow regarding travel such as the fact an employee cannot accept travel reward miles for travel paid for by the county. Labhart is recommending the county adopt a mileage rate of .50 cents per mile, $125 plus tax for lodging, $50 meal reimbursement per day unless your destination is one of 8 listed cities that are more expensive and for these cities the rate would be $60 per day. Lodging provided as part of a conference is not subject to the $125 rate. Discussion followed about current policy and exceptions that come up to the rules. Labhart intends to discuss this proposal with department heads at the meeting Thursday afternoon to get additional input.

BLUE MTN. FOREST PLAN REVISION MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING. The court reviewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sent by the Forest Service. The MOU would be between Grant County and the USDA, Forest Service Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and Umatilla National Forests. The purpose of the MOU is to document the cooperation between the parties in the development of the Revised Blue Mountain Forest Plans. Britton asked the court members if either of them thought he would have a conflict in signing this agreement. Labhart asked if Britton would gain financially from signing the MOU and Britton stated he would not. Labhart has no problem with Britton signing the MOU and Myers agreed. Malheur National Forest Supervisor Steve Beverlin reported a benefit of signing the MOU is it allows the county to participate in briefings and discussions prior to proposals being released. Beverlin said the MOU doesn’t prohibit objections or abdicate any county authority; it just gives the county a seat at the table during discussions. Myers suggested signing the MOU and sending to Yockim for review prior to submission. MSP: Labhart/Myers – to approve the Memorandum of Understanding and circulate for signatures.

BMCC OUT OF DISTRICT AGREEMENT. Celeste Insko of Blue Mountain Community College had submitted a Contracted Out of District Agreement to the court for 2016-2017. This is an annual contract for BMCC to provide community college-type educational services in Grant County. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to approve the agreement and circulate for signatures.

10:30 am Laurie Wright, Administrative Assistant entered.

ACCESS ROAD EASEMENT. The court reviewed an Access Road Easement from Dan Kehr as Grantor to Grant County for an access easement to access the Monument Repeater Site. Judge Myers explained how this easement came about and the maintenance the county would provide to it. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the Access Road Easement and circulate for signatures.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE COPIER AGREEMENT. The court reviewed the Maintenance Agreement for Tier Color Multi-Function Products from TEC Copier Systems, LLC, for the machines in the Sheriff’s Department. The agreement is for the time period of 06/29/2016 to 06/28/2020 in the amount of $762.50 per year. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the Maintenance Agreement and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

SHERIFF BUDGET TRANSFER REQUEST. Sheriff Palmer had sent a written request to the court to approve a transfer from contingency in the amount of $297.93 to cover the cost of chairs that were approved for purchase in the 2015/16 budget cycle. The chairs were ordered using the Sheriff’s Office credit card in June, but the bill did not arrive until July (2016/17 Fiscal Year). Treasurer Kathy Smith submitted an interoffice memo to the court regarding this request for capital outlay transfer. Smith wrote that she sends out reminders the first of May to all departments who have not completed their capital outlay purchasing for the year so that they don’t wait until June to place orders. The departments that have waited until the last minute in the past have worked with the Clerk and Treasurer to ensure the expenditures are paid in the correct budget year. Labhart believes this should be paid from this year’s Sheriff’s budget-capital outlay. Britton suggested paying for this from the county contingency line since it is early in the year. Labhart pointed out the Treasurer contacted all department heads to ensure this didn’t happen and each department head is responsible for his/her own budget. MSF: Britton/Myers – to approve payment of the chairs from the county contingency budget line. Britton voted yes, Myers and Labhart voted no and believe this money should come from the Sheriff’s budget.

MSP: Labhart/Myers – to approve payment of the chairs from this year’s Sheriff’s Department capital outlay budget line. Labhart and Myers voted yes, Britton voted no because he is concerned this will put the Sheriff in violation of state budget law.

Myers doesn’t believe there will be a violation and the Treasurer suggested this way to handle the issue.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul invited Britton to a town hall meeting to address the recall issues. The meeting could possibly be held next week at the Community Hall with a neutral moderator. Sproul stated he knows this may not be the proper venue to address this. Myers and Labhart both stated they don’t think this is the correct venue and is a private matter. Jim Spell asked if documents mentioned in court are retained for public viewing. Wright told him she files documents mentioned in court in department files, but they are not attached to the minutes. Spell asked for clarification on budget spending practices. Myers explained the county policies regarding department expenditures.

10:46 am – Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

Administrative Assistant



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