Grant County Court minutes from Nov. 8, 2017:
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 Jim Hamsher and Boyd Britton, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Katy Nelson, Jim Spell, Judy Kerr, Sally Bartlett, John Morris, Billie Jo George, Frances Preston, Reporter Rick Hanners, Vicki Thompson, Gordon Larson, Judy Schuette, Sherry Nehl, Josh Walker, Brandon Smith, Scott Fairley, Jim Sproul, Dee Dee Kluser, Louis Provencher, Julie Ellison and Pastor Flora Cheadle. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Cheadle.
CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants #56-65.
AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to accept the agenda as presented.
9:04 am Nick Green and Ron Lundbom entered.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton advised he did not attend a grazing meeting last week, but two commissioners from other counties did and the discussions were reported as being productive.
9:05 am Reporter Logan Bagett entered.
Tonight Britton will attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting for installation of new officers.
9:06 am Dan Becker entered.
On Friday he will go to a Farm Bureau/AOC meeting at the Airport where some changes in the land conservation code will be discussed.
Judge Myers attended a road advisory meeting on November 2nd and may attend the Chamber meeting tonight as well. On Friday Myers will attend the Farm Bureau/AOC meeting at the Airport. Myers will perform a wedding on November 11th and next Tuesday will travel to Eugene for the annual AOC Conference. Myers will perform another wedding on the 17th in Dayville.
Commissioner Hamsher said he has continued to discuss the 911 funding issue with citizens and has encouraged them to contact their State representatives to encourage an increase in funding. Hamsher will also attend the AOC Conference and plans on talking to other commissioners to ask them to also write letters in support of increased 911 funding.
9:11 am Curt Shelley entered. 9:12 am Haley Walker & Robert Waltenburg entered.
MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the October 25th minutes as presented.
SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET. Treasurer Julie Ellison presented Resolution #17-29 to the court and explained a notice of supplemental budget meeting was advertised in the Blue Mountain Eagle on November 1, 2017 pursuant to Oregon Budget Law. A supplemental budget needs to be adopted because of funds received from HB 3400 Local Option Tax Distribution (State Marijuana Tax). The county received $14,597.20 in tax revenue from the State. Ellison said because this money was received in the form of a tax a supplemental budget must be adopted. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to adopt the supplemental budget and approve Resolution 17-29 and circulate for signatures.
9:18 am Christie Timko entered.
RESOLUTION #17-30. The court reviewed budget Resolution #17-30 to accept $4000 in grant revenue for the planning department. Myers read the resolution to those in attendance. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve Resolution #17-30 and circulate for signatures.
AIRPORT USDA LEASE AMENDMENT. Airport Manager Haley Walker sent a written request to the court for approval of a lease amendment with the Forest Service. This amendment is for lease of additional apron space at the airport and will generate additional income of $1330.72 per year until the next review term in 2022. The total annual lease amount to the USFS will be $5,530.72 per year. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the lease expansion agreement and authorize Judge Myers to sign.
TITLE III OBLIGATION OF INITIATED FUNDS. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett sent a written request to the court to obligate the initiated Title III funds from March 2016. Bartlett explained the 45 day comment period has passed and no comments were received. The projects to be initiated: (1) Firewise Communities program in the amount of $40,531.91; (2) Search & Rescue and other emergency services in the amount of $10,000; and (3) Community Wild Fire Protection Plan in the amount of $35,000. Bartlett explained the funds received can only be used for these three programs. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to obligate the initiated Title III funds to Firewise Communities program ($40,531.91), Search & Rescue and other emergency services ($10,000), and Community Wild Fire Protection Plan ($35,000).
9:25 am Mike Springer entered.
GRANITE AREA SNOW REMOVAL CONTRACT. The court reviewed the snow removal contract for the Granite Area with Columbia Basin Helicopters. This contract was previously awarded to Columbia Basin Helicopters. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the contract with Columbia Basin Helicopters and circulate for signatures.
9:28 am Elaine Smith entered.
1st AMENDMENT TO IGA #153123. The court reviewed the 1st Amendment to Intergovernmental Agreement #153123 with the Oregon Health Authority for the financing of community mental health, substance abuse disorders and problem gambling services. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the 1st Amendment to IGA #153123 and authorize Judge Myers to sign.
BROADBAND FUNDING. John Day City Manager Nick Green presented information to the court regarding potential broadband services and funding. Green showed three videos to the court and those in attendance. The videos showed the success Ammon, ID and Sandy, OR have had with their own broadband networks.
10:00 am Ken Olson, Steve Fischer and Chantal DesJardin entered.
Green explained he is here today to find out if the County intends to enter into the agreement to create a public ORS 190 intergovernmental agency to oversee installation of the fiber optic line. The Oregon Legislature has committed 1.8 million to the proposed project. Green answered questions from the audience and court members. Dee Dee Kluser of Oregon Telephone Corporation explained some of the services they currently offer and said the company pays for its own expenses and can’t afford to install fiber to areas such as Seneca at this time. Green said there are some federal programs he believes can be applied for to assist with the cost of the proposed network. Gordon Larson expressed frustration with the current level of internet service (or lack thereof) and asked the court to enter into the intergovernmental agreement. Judy Kerr expressed her opinion that this level of internet service is not necessary here and the court should support the wishes of the majority of citizens. Josh Walker stated Kerr doesn’t represent the majority of the population of Grant County and Seneca currently has no options for internet other than CenturyLink who is no longer adding new subscribers. Brandon Smith expressed his support for this project as well. John Morris is concerned about what would happen if another fire happened and burned the fiber line. Discussion about different service options followed. Hamsher said he was concerned with how the current agreement is written as far as the percentage of cost to each entity involved. Green pointed out the other municipalities (Ammon and Sandy) who have provided internet service weren’t as fortunate as we are to have 1.8 million in funding to start with. Christy Timko urged people to look toward the future and the benefit to future generations. Green said the agreement can be terminated if in the future it is determined the funding is not viable. He explained how ownership of this system might look and the estimated costs for mainline extensions and installation to homes or businesses. Regional Development Officer for Business Oregon Scott Fairley spoke in support of the fiber optic project and said internet problems here will only get worse as time goes on. Grant School District Superintendant Curt Shelley advised education has become highly competitive and the school district has lost students due to lack of technological opportunities. Shelley supports the project and would argue that we have an obligation to our students to provide the best opportunities possible. Frances Preston doesn’t believe many people would be able to afford to have the service installed. Dan Becker advised he works on computers in many citizens’ homes and said most of them would want better internet including some in Prairie City. Becker urged people to look at the long term benefits of better internet service. Green concluded his presentation and stated this project is a need for our area. He would like a consensus of the court on whether or not they wish to move forward with the project. Britton and Myers both advised they want to move forward on the project. Hamsher said he would need to see the final agreement before deciding. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett expressed her belief that the County must move forward and get into this century and said Grant County is on the cusp of greatness, but must move forward. Chantal DesJardin also spoke in support of the project and urged the court to move forward. MSP: Myers/Britton – to move forward with the development of the coalition. Myers and Britton voted yes – Hamsher voted no because he wants to see the final agreement before making a decision.
11:00 am Ryan Nehl, Steve Beverlin, Zach Williams, Kathleen Cathey, Melissa Ward, Lori Bailey and Christy Cheyne entered.
EMIGRANT CREEK RANGER DISTRICT. District Ranger Christy Cheyne presented the Danger Tree Removal Project to the court. Cheyne advised the need for this project was brought to them by Harney County citizens. A PowerPoint presentation was shown to those in attendance. Lori Bailey explained the need for action due to widespread mortality from insect damage and drought. Bailey defined danger tree and explained proposed actions to be taken. Different aspects of the project approach were discussed. There will be some timber sales in the project to harvest trees that have economic value. Trees in special management areas (dedicated old growth, inventoried roadless areas, heritage sites, etc.) would be cut down and left on site unless the downed tree with inhibit road maintenance activities. Bailey showed a map of the project area. The project is in the scoping period now until November 24th. Bailey answered questions from audience members.
11:32 am Nick Lulay entered.
APHIS. Commissioner Britton introduced Nick Lulay of APHIS. Lulay is the new animal damage control agent. Britton said this is the first time in many years that we have had a damage control agent here. Britton thanked numerous citizens and the court members for their work in getting this position funded. Lulay explained his experience with animal damage control. Lulay said so far the biggest concerns he has been hearing from ranchers are problems with mountain lions, ravens and coyotes.
COMMUNITY COUNSELING SOLUTIONS. CCS Director Kimberly Lindsay requested permission to be appointed as a Grant County volunteer so that she can talk directly with the State of Oregon about agreements and/or issues. Currently Lindsay cannot speak with the State or receive emails directly from the State because she works as a private contractor. This has been an issue recently due to a report being late because it was shuffled around between Laurie Wright and Lindsay. Lindsay said it would save time and confusion if she were appointed as a volunteer and was able to communicate with the State and also to sign the amendments to agreements. She said she signs documents for the other counties CCS works for and the court administrative assistant is copied on the emails. Lindsay advised she would mail the original documents to the court each month for recording with the Clerk. Lindsay stated the court can agree to this or to nothing at all, she is just trying to simplify and speed the process up. MSP: Britton/Myers – to appoint Kimberly Lindsay as a volunteer for Grant County. Hamsher offered his concern that the county might lose oversight if the court didn’t review the agreements. Lindsay said this process could be handled in whatever manner the county wanted. Lindsay suggested she would copy Wright and Myers on email contracts she received for input prior to signing anything. Britton and Myers voted yes, Hamsher voted no because wants the court to review documents prior to them being signed. Myers said the documents should be sent to each court member and then either he or Wright would contact Lindsay with either the approval or denial of the agreement.
PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul asked for an update on the request for proposals for a Natural Resource Advisor. Myers advised this process is still in the works and the court members have not yet had a work session to discuss it. Preston asked if Myers contacted a USDA representative about the public comment period she asked about at the last meeting and Myers said he sent an email to Region 6 Forest Supervisor Jim Pena and is waiting for a response. Preston asked if the public would have a chance to review the proposed broadband agreement prior to court signature. Myers said documents brought forward in court were available for review unless they were discussed in executive session. Billie Jo George feels access users of the forest are not being represented by the court as much as grazing permit holders.
12:11 pm – Adjourned.
**** Please note the court minutes are a summary of the court proceedings. An audio recording of each court session is available, after approval of the minutes, by contacting Laurie Wright at 541-575-0059 or firstname.lastname@example.org ****