Grant County Court minutes from Aug. 17, 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, Judy Kerr, Jim Sproul, Rob Seaver, Ken Brooks, Road Master Alan Hickerson, Janine Goodwin, Beth Spell, Jim Spell, Mike Cosgrove, Dan Becker, Kay Steele, Larry Decew, Logan Bagett, Rylan Boggs, and Pastor Flora Cheadle. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Cheadle.
AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to accept the agenda as presented.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton reported he was involved in a few things at the fair last week and the fair went very well. Britton said 42 years ago today he married Bonnie and it was the best thing that ever happened to him. Britton met with Scott Fairley of the Governor’s office yesterday and one of the items they discussed was Bates Pond. On August 11th the National Geographic Names Board met and decided to wait for a while before making a decision on Grant County’s request for names.
Judge Myers conducted a name change hearing last Thursday and over the weekend went to a family reunion. Monday he attended a Firewise dedication at the Ritter Bridge for two new Firewise communities. Pine Creek, Ritter and the Middle Fork are the only Firewise communities east of the Cascades. Myers performed a wedding Monday afternoon and another yesterday morning.
9:13 am Rylan Boggs entered.
Myers advised the county will be having a yard sale here on Friday and tomorrow he will be attending an all day meeting at the Canyon City Community Hall regarding Bates Pond.
Commissioner Labhart attended a Health Evidence Review Commission meeting in Wilsonville on August 11th, volunteered at the American Legion Hamburger Stand at the Grant County Fair on August 13th and chaired the John Day Senior Center Board of Directors meeting on August 15th. In the upcoming week he will attend the Local Community Advisory Council meeting at the John Day Fire Hall on Wednesday, August 17th and the Circuit Court hearing for Webb v. Grant County on Thursday, August 18th.
9:15 am Kara Kohlfield entered.
MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the August 10th minutes as presented.
COUNTY ROAD 28. Road Master Alan Hickerson discussed a request for approval to install a gate across County Road 28. The landowner Ken Brooks submitted the request to the road department. Brooks would like to install the gate and keep it locked to prevent hunters and the public from traveling this portion of the road during fire season. The gate will only be utilized during fire season and the proper officials will be given a key to access the road as necessary. Brooks advised the county road only accesses his property and a few neighbors, so the county road only goes to private property. Brooks said in the past there was a gate across the road. Brooks said the road is in the process of being vacated, but getting easements signed from the neighbors has been difficult. This would only be a seasonal gate and Brooks stated all of his neighbors have agreed to the temporary gate. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the request to install a temporary gate across County Road 28. Britton and Myers voted yes, Labhart voted no because he is concerned about closing a county road.
9:20 am Jerry Franklin and Janine Goodwin entered.
BLUE MOUNTAIN HOSPITAL. Kara Kohlfield, Ambulance Service Director, requested court review and approval of the Blue Mountain Hospital District Service Area Plan. Kohlfield explained this is an update on the ambulance service agreement with the county and state. Once the agreement is approved it must be immediately sent to the state and then the state has 60 days to approve it. Kohlfield explained some small changes needed in the plan regarding service areas and volunteer staffing. Kohlfield talked about the difficulties volunteers face and how demanding volunteering is. The district has hired new employees and is working to address issues with volunteer shortages. Discussion followed about having a county representative at meetings and communication problems and solutions in the event of a disaster. Myers explained how ordinances are adopted by the county and thinks this might need to be handled as an emergency due to the time constraints. Myers would like to send the agreement to Ron Yockim for review and approval as to form and then suggested a hearing be scheduled in the near future. In Labhart’s opinion the county should have a dedicated representative on the ASA Committee.
9:31 am Ryan Nehl and Eva Harris entered.
Britton asked how the newly hired employees were being funded and Kohlfield said the hospital has a fund for the ambulance and explained the budget adjustments that have been implemented. The problem with ambulance coverage in the outlying areas of the county was discussed.
9:51 am King Williams entered. 9:53 am Tammy Bremner, Kathryn Kight and Hilary McNary entered.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. Jerry Franklin and Tammy Bremner from the Grant County Chamber of Commerce wished to discuss the county requirements for temporary use permits for the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Franklin said Grant County is going to be one of the more desirable places in the west for viewing the eclipse and a very large influx of people is expected. Franklin stated the Chamber has been meeting about the eclipse for a few months now and working on solutions for lodging for people who come to Grant County. This event will be a chance to showcase our county and a large economic boost as well. Bremner advised the court that at the last Chamber meeting a form was handed out to people who might want to rent to those who attend the eclipse. All available lodging is reserved in the county currently. Bremner discovered there are a lot of requirements to receive county permits. Planning Director Hilary McNary explained to those in attendance the current county ordinance that she must follow. McNary made the suggestion that the county could possibly issue one temporary use permit that would cover the entire county and list each gathering location on the permit. Eva Harris said she talked to the City of John Day and they have decided to waive all permits for this event. McNary stated waiving permits is a viable option for the county as well. McNary suggested contacting Ron Yockim for assistance and said he has worked on mass gatherings before. She also explained the benefits to issuing a permit for the agencies involved such as the Sheriff’s Department and Oregon Department of Forestry. McNary read portions of state law regarding mass gathering requirements to the court. Harris has concerns with the requirements. Kathryn Kight feels mass gathering is a workable option and it would be much safer to have plans in place. McNary advised if this is handled under the mass gathering statute it takes the planning department out of the process. Kight offered suggestions to alleviate the work for our local resources. Britton doesn’t want the planning department to be out of the preparedness process for this event and pointed out that some landowners may not want 60 RV’s on land adjacent to them. McNary explained the process for landowner objections. Mike Cosgrove sees the potential for thousands of people coming here and is worried our highways will be clogged with people. Cosgrove would much rather see landowners provide places for people to stay. Harris believes the court can waive the permit fee of $517 if they chose to. Labhart would like the court to postpone this issue and seek advice from legal counsel. Britton suggested having McNary work with legal counsel regarding possible solutions. Discussion followed about safety issues and potential solutions.
10:37 am the court took a short break. 10:40 am Rusty Wright and Gregg Smith entered.
10:44 am the court returned to session.
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE. Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett had sent a written request to the court for permission to send a revised version of the job description for the Justice Court Clerk to LGPI for review. In Stinnett’s opinion the current job description is inadequate and does not provide a good description of the tasks, duties and responsibilities the clerk actually performs. Britton wanted clarification on what would happen if the job placement changed on the scale. Myers said typically the court follows LGPI’s recommendation. Labhart agreed the court should be held harmless and follow LGPI’s recommendation whether that be up or down on the wage scale. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve submission of the revised job description for the Justice Court Clerk to LGPI for review and placement.
COUNTY YARD SALE. Treasurer Kathy Smith requested permission from the court to provide food for the workers for the county wide yard sale on August 18th and 19th. Smith explained that it is very difficult to get community service workers to return after lunch and they rarely return to finish the day. Smith believes providing lunch for all the workers will help alleviate this issue. The cost would be taken out of the courthouse travel line. Labhart doesn’t believe the court should provide food to court ordered community service workers and will vote no because they should bring their own lunch. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the request to purchase food for the yard sale workers from the courthouse travel line. Myers and Britton voted yes, Labhart voted no and believes community service workers should bring their own lunch.
FAIR HAND CHECK. The court reviewed a hand check to pay for the 4-H and FFA premiums for the fair open class in the amount of $4,100. These are for the cash awards for fair entries. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the hand check in the amount of $4,100. ***The Treasurer later advised the actual amount of the check was $7,917.75***
ROAD DEPARTMENT HAND CHECK. The court reviewed a hand check to pay for the flatbed for the 2016 Ford F-450 for the road department in the amount of $2,495. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the hand check in the amount of $2,495.
10:53 am Kathy Smith entered.
FAIR HAND CHECK. The court reviewed an additional hand check to pay Cascade Amusements for providing the rides at the fair. Treasurer Kathy Smith advised the court she hasn’t heard from Mindy Winegar as of yet about the amount because there is some question as to the correct amount. Smith doesn’t think the amount will be over $8,000. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the hand check when it is completed, not to exceed $8,000.
COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL. An application to volunteer for the Community Advisory Council had been sent to the court for review. Krista Qual was the applicant. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept the volunteer application and appoint Krista Qual to the Community Advisory Council.
PUBLIC COMMENT. Gregg Smith thanked the court for their support with Bates Pond and the fake Indian names. Smith offered his appreciation for everything the court does. Kay Steele stated she is a member of a newly formed group in Grant County called the Grant County Positive Action Committee. Steele said they are an extremely diverse group of individuals with different political and religious backgrounds that wish to work toward community unity. Steele told Commissioner Britton they supported him as a group in the recall election and thanked him and his wife Bonnie for all they have endured through this and for putting Grant County’s interests above his own. Steele feels the recall was actually a blessing to the county and has brought people together. Jim Spell said he has worked with the Grant County Food Bank in the past and the food bank supported the Monument Food Bank at that time. Spell is hearing the Monument Food Pantry is currently struggling. Spell asked what is being done to assist them. Labhart invited Spell to go with him to the Senior Citizen’s Center in Monument to talk to people about this. Myers told the audience that during the emergency food and shelter meeting recently only the Grant County Food Bank and Prairie City Food Bank applied for the funding. Ryan Nehl provided an update on the Rail Fire and said it has entered Grant County although it is primarily located in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest. The fire is in the Monument Wilderness and grew by around 5,000 acres yesterday. Nehl stated the Forest Service is attempting to minimize the impact to hunters with road closures. Currently only 8 acres of private land has been burned. The fire is burning mostly dead bug kill lodgepole pine. Labhart read the resource list to the audience of what is currently staffed on the fire.
11:08 am -- Adjourned