Grant County Court minutes from April 11, 2018:
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, Judy Kerr, Jim Sproul, Archie Osborn, Reporter Rick Hanners, Charlene Morris, John Morris, Beth Spell, Jim Spell, Judy Schuette, Louis Provencher, Austene Hendrix, Katy Nelson, Reporter Logan Bagett, Dan Becker, Billie Jo George, Valerie Maynard, 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 had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants #137-149.
HAND CHECK. The court approved a hand check for election postage on April 10, 2018.
AGENDA. Britton would like to add appointing a court member to the broadband task force as item I.
MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to accept the agenda as presented with the addition.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton said in the last couple of weeks he has been working with a couple of ranchers on some issues they have been having and talks were held with Congressman Walden’s office. Next week Britton will travel to Walla Walla on the 19th for a region wide district ranger meeting where he was invited to sit on a county wide panel. Britton said last week he assisted at the Library with moving a large safe into the building.
Judge Myers went with the Roadmaster to Granite on the 15th to locate a landing site for AirLife’s helicopter.
9:06 am Tanner Elliott entered.
On the 6th Myers met with Kathy Cancilla from Community Counseling Solutions to receive an update on the Community Needs Assessment. Monday night he attended an Airport Commission meeting and yesterday traveled with Laurie Wright to meet with representatives from DEQ to schedule another household hazardous waste collection event. Myers advised we will be seeking volunteers for this event. Last night Myers attended a meeting at the Prairie City Senior Center regarding the Austin Forest Service project. Myers will perform a wedding today at 2pm and on Friday will go to a Mental Health Advisory meeting to discuss the recent suicides and what might be done to mitigate this. Myers will attend a Budget Committee meeting on April 16th, will Chair a Northeast Oregon Housing Authority meeting in La Grande on April 17th, a Block Grant training on April 18th and a LPSCC meeting (Courthouse security) on April 18th. Myers also went to a meeting in Pendleton to receive updates on PILT and SRS funding from Representative Walden.
9:12 am Representative Lynn Findlay entered.
Commissioner Hamsher attended senior’s luncheons at both the Prairie City and John Day Senior Centers and traveled to Pendleton for Representative Walden’s meeting last week. Hamsher attended an AOC meeting telephonically on Monday regarding Veterans Affairs and Federal Land Management. He went to a Rodeo Committee meeting and part of a Fair Board meeting as well. Hamsher attended a Prairie City Council meeting and said he is pleased to announce they are beginning work on the water system along with work to begin soon on the sewer project. Hamsher volunteered at the gun show at the Fairgrounds and commended the Fair staff on their good work. Hamsher met with Kathy Cancilla for an update on the Community Needs Assessment and went to the scoping meeting in Prairie City regarding the Austin project. He also met with Kimberly Lindsay from CCS regarding the recent suicides in the county and what steps they are trying to take to mitigate this. Hamsher spoke with Sally Bartlett about designing a new website for Prairie City and attended the annual meeting of the Grant Soil and Water Conservation District at the Airport.
MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Hamsher -- to approve the March 28th minutes as presented.
REPRESENTATIVE FINDLAY. Representative Lynn Findlay presented a legislative update to the court. Findlay thanked the court for the opportunity to serve and said it has been an incredible experience. Findlay was appointed to the House Revenue Committee and stated it has been interesting. He summarized different tax proposals and how he was able to stop some legislation that he believed counties should have been involved in deciding. Findlay advised Senate Bill 1520 passed, but he doesn’t think this is a good bill. He is also on the Energy and Environmental Committee and explained some of the issues faced on this committee. He believes cap and trade is a very bad thing for Eastern Oregon. He said there were good things done in the short session and explained a bill he sponsored that passed the House unanimously. Findlay talked about other projects that were completed during this session. He expressed his belief that the urban rural divide is massive between Eastern and Western Oregon. Findlay told the Governor that with all the clean air legislation passed the biggest problem isn’t addressed and that is the smoke in the air each year from fires. Findlay said he is very familiar with fire as he worked for years fighting fire for the BLM. He believes we need to manage our lands better to prevent this. Findlay is on a fire caucus and said there is bi-partisan support to work towards solutions. He stated public input is essential for him to do his job and he works for his district. He will be holding a town hall meeting tonight at 6 pm at the Fire Hall in John Day. Findlay answered questions from the court members and audience regarding solar projects and other possible energy sources and issues.
9:38 am Sharon Livingston entered. 9:46 am Amy Charette and Allen Gillette entered.
Findlay answered a question regarding prescribed fires. He said he believes this is necessary for forest health, but does not agree with lighting a prescribed fire in the spring and allowing it to burn all summer. Britton wanted Findlay to be aware that in the future a court member will probably be approaching the State for a water impoundment site and this was something ODFW assured the court they would assist with about three years ago. Findlay suggested sending him the information ahead of time and he would be more than happy to help with this. Myers asked Findlay to please speak with Governor Brown about retaining control of water in Oregon. Findlay said he and Senator Bentz have discussed this and believe in keeping this under local control and will fight to do so.
10:00 am Mary Ellen Brooks entered.
Findlay discussed 911 funding issues and said he would be looking into this and contacting county representatives for input and support when this subject comes up. Findlay invited everyone to the town hall meeting tonight.
10:07 am The court took a short break. 10:21 The court returned to session.
CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF WARM SPRINGS. Amy Charette, Watershed Restoration Coordinator of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS) presented an update and PowerPoint presentation to the court on the Tribe’s activities. Charette explained why the Tribe’s have a presence in this area and showed a map to those in attendance of the ceded lands boundaries. The CTWS fisheries habitat program mission is to protect, manage and enhance habitat that supports culturally significant fish populations for the CTWS of Oregon. Charette said their program covers the entire John Day River Basin. They work with local landowners and other public entities to improve fish habitat. Charette explained they do projects out of their office and fund projects with partners as well. She gave a summary of the time frames for the restoration program beginning in 1996 and said anyone can come into their office to view information regarding the program strategy. Charette said CTWS entered a 10 year Fish Accords agreement in 2008 with the Bonneville Power Administration and a new agreement is currently being worked on. Under the initial contract CTWS received 2.3 million dollars per year from BPA. Water temperature and stream habitat restoration for fish were discussed.
10:37 am Bruce Strange and Jerry Cowger entered.
Charette said the largest portion of the Tribe’s funding is from BPA and named some other funding sources. She explained projects worked on including fencing, juniper removal, riparian planting, riparian habitat protection, in stream habitat improvement and passage barriers addressed. Charette summarized the property owned by CTWS. Charette discussed upcoming restoration projects and answered audience questions.
11:07 am The court took a short break. 11:08 Lisa Weigum and Tracy Blood entered.
11:19 am The court returned to session. 11:20 am Treasurer Julie Ellison and Sheriff Glenn Palmer entered.
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT. Sheriff Glenn Palmer discussed the overage in the department’s overtime budget. The current accrued holiday/overtime budget is in arrears by $17,888.11. Palmer said his staff has worked very hard to keep this amount down and has tried to only take serious calls. When an officer is sent to DPSST then other staff members must back fill this position. Palmer summarized calls for the 2017-18 FY year including 12 search & rescue calls, 5 suicides, and 2 shootings which are all extremely labor intensive. Palmer said at the end of the fiscal year there will be some pay downs required under the union contract, but he thinks his budget may be able to back fill this. He stated he just wanted the court to be aware of what is coming up. Palmer added some of these calls require two officers to be called out. Myers said in Palmer’s defense you can’t predict call outs such as shootings, or the Rainbow Gathering (some of which remained in the area). Palmer said there are still members of this group in the area. Myers commended Palmer and his staff for the work they have completed over the last year and suggested maybe the budget committee didn’t allow for enough funding in the last budget cycle. Palmer advised the 2 shootings will be coming up for trial this year and will require additional hours.
MARIJUANA TAX REVENUE. The court reviewed a letter from Derek Daly, CEO of Blue Mountain Hospital District and Kimberly Lindsay, Executive Director of Community Counseling Solutions requesting $15,175 in marijuana tax revenue on behalf of the Community Health Needs Assessment Substance Abuse Committee (CHNA). The letter explained the funds would be used to fund a variety of projects to increase public awareness of substance abuse. Myers disclosed he serves on the Blue Mountain Hospital Community Needs Assessment Committee where this request was discussed. Lisa Weigum explained how this funding would be utilized. MSP: Myers/Hamsher – to provide funding of $15,175 to CHNA from marijuana tax revenue. Jim Sproul suggested if there was any additional funding from this then it might be used to assist with overtime in the Sheriff’s Department.
11:37 am Barbara Hicks entered.
FAIR CARNIVAL. The court reviewed a professional service contract with Funtime Carnival Company to provide a carnival for the 2018 Fair. The cost for the carnival will be $3,500 plus 85% of the pre-sale tickets. 15% of the pre-sale tickets will be paid to the Fair. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the contract with Funtime Carnival Company and circulate for signatures. Britton pointed out that there is a contradictory statement on the exhibit regarding payment of pre-ticket sales. Myers will contact Fair Manager Mindy Winegar for clarification prior to signing the contract.
ORDER OF SALE – FORECLOSED PROPERTIES. The court reviewed an Order of Sale for tax foreclosed properties. The redemption period for these properties ended on April 9th and the properties are now vested in Grant County. The Order directs the Sheriff to sell the properties at public oral auction to the highest bidder on May 17, 2018 at 10 am in the County Court Courtroom. The court had previously approved the minimum bids to be set at 50% of the real market value and an exhibit listing the properties and minimum bids was attached to the Order. MSP: Britton/Hamsher -- to approve the Order of Sale and circulate for signatures and to authorize Judge Myers to sign deeds for property sold at the auction on behalf of Grant County.
11:41 am Planning Director Hilary McNary entered.
VICTIM ASSISTANCE. Victim Assistance Director Andrea Officer had sent a written request to the court for permission to purchase a couch for the seating area in the Grand Jury room. She advised this was budgeted for and can be paid from the VOCA grant. The couch would be purchased from Mosier’s Home Furnishings in the amount of $785.95 and Officer also received an email from the grant monitor approving the purchase. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve purchase of the couch from Mosier’s in the amount of $785.95 to be paid from the VOCA grant.
PUBLIC HEARING – ASSIGNMENT OF ROAD NAME. Judge Myers called the public hearing to order at 11:43 am. The hearing is for assignment of a new road name. The proposed road name – Pine Haven Road. Planning Director Hilary McNary explained she is here pursuant to a County Ordinance requiring road names for private driveways accessing three or more residences. McNary explained the surrounding landowners are all agreement with the naming of the road. Myers asked if there was any proponent testimony in favor of the road name assignment. Judy Kerr and Barbara Hicks support the name. Myers offered testimony in opposition. None was received. Myers offered neutral testimony. None was received. MSP: Myers/Hamsher – to close the hearing. McNary read the Resolution by title to those in attendance. MSP: Myers/Hamsher – to approve Resolution 18-08 assigning the road name of Pine Haven Road.
BROADBAND INTERNET IGA. The court discussed the Intergovernmental Agreement for Broadband that was conditionally approved at the last court meeting. Myers asked Hamsher if he had his questions answered. Hamsher said he had spoken with Ron Yockim and he still had some policy concerns with the agreement. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the IGA and authorize Judge Myers to sign. Britton and Myers voted yes. Hamsher voted no because of the policy concerns he still has.
Myers said with Britton’s addition to the agenda a court representative to the board now needs to be appointed. Britton recommended appointing Dan Becker as the court’s representative on the council because of his computer and technical experience. Myers said Robert Waltenburg also recommended Becker. MSP: Britton/Myers – to appoint Dan Becker as the court’s representative on the council.
PUBLIC COMMENT. Valerie Maynard asked if 911 will be discussed at the next court meeting. Myers said it was scheduled and Wright advised the time will be 10:15 am on the 25th. Judy Schuette inquired if any decision would be announced after executive session today and Myers said there may or may not be; the court won’t know until after the executive session.
11:56 am The court took a break. 12:16 pm The court returned to regular session. Judge Myers recited the State Attorney General’s Sample Script to Announce the Start of Executive Session.
EXECUTIVE SESSION. 12:17 pm - The court members met in executive session pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(h) to consult with your attorney regarding your legal rights and duties in regard to litigation or litigation that is more likely than not to be filed. Judge Myers recited the State Attorney General’s Sample Script to Announce the Start of Executive Session. Present were Judge Myers, Commissioner Britton, Commissioner Hamsher, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Reporter Rick Hanners and County Counsel Ron Yockim via telephone. The court left executive session at 12:41 pm. The court returned to regular session at 12:42 pm. MSP: Britton/Myers – to engage Gerald Warren as legal counsel for pending litigation or litigation likely to be filed.
12:43 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 ****