Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the radio station in Grant County 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 Commissioners Scott W. Myers and Boyd Britton, Secretary Mary Ferrioli and Reverend Flora Cheadle. Judge Mark Webb was absent to attend a National Mental Health Conference in Anaheim CA. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the US flag. The opening prayer was given by Reverend Flora Cheadle.
9:05 am -- Kathy Smith entered
PROGRAM. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept the program as presented.
Myers planned to attend the monthly Commission on Children & Families board meeting at the state office building on October 5th at 5:30 pm.
Britton reported on a September 28th phone conference in which he participated as a board member of the Region 14 Training and Employment Consortium. He had also attended a Southeast Regional Alliance / Area Commission on Transportation meeting in Burns on September 27th.
9:20 am - News Reporter Scotta Callister entered
MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the September 22nd minutes as presented. During review of the minutes, Treasurer Kathy Smith spoke with the court about two subjects discussed last week. She pointed out that the court's decision to payback $202.27 to FEMA for ineligible assistance provided by the United Methodist Church was not a county obligation, but a local Emergency Food & Shelter board responsibility. Smith asked what would happen if about $872 in other compliance problems must also be paid back. Britton felt the county could make that decision in the future if necessary. Regarding the court's approval of capital outlay items from the Solid Waste Fund, Smith said no Capital Outlay Line exists in that fund so a Supplemental Budget will be necessary.
9:30 am - Nancy Nickel and Ryan Joslin entered
ASSOCIATION DUES. Last week, the court declined to pay a $2,000 claim by the District Attorney for a one-time surcharge requested by the Oregon District Attorney's Association. Court members felt it was arguably unfair relative to the amount requested from more populated counties and no justification for the surcharge had been given. Also, the DA's office does not have additional funds to cover the cost since the county was not informed during the budget process. Today, District Attorney Ryan Joslin met with the court to report that his Dues and Travel line does have enough budget authority to cover the surcharge. He asked the court why it was in a better position than he to decide how to spend his budget. Britton explained the obligation the court had to the citizens to manage public dollars. He explained that any number of various county association memberships could request a surcharge which could end up costing a large amount of money. Myers stated that the DA and the Budget Committee did not expect that 60% of the DA's Dues & Travel Line would go to an unforeseen expense. Joslin acknowledged that incurring this expense means he would do less training & travel this year. He proposed that a portion of the surcharge be paid, such as $500, which Joslin said would be satisfactory to him. He went on to explain how the ODAA is staffed, the fee assessments, and the work it does to assist Oregon DA's.
Nancy Nickel felt the court should consider that the state pays for the DA's salary and training.
Myers felt the court wasn't micromanaging the issue, but was concerned the surcharge was unfair and wanted to protect the DA's budget. He thought the DA should be responsible for managing his budget associated with this unexpected expenditure. Joslin understood the court was attempting to protect the budget, but felt it would have been a good idea to talk about the situation before sending a letter to the ODAA. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to pay a $500 one-time surcharge to ODAA out of the DA's Dues and Travel line based on his recommendation.
SENIOR CITIZENS ADVISORY COUNCIL. The court considered an application received this quarter to serve as a volunteer on the Senior Citizens Advisory Council. Nancy Nickel had applied and was present today. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to appoint Nancy Nickel to an open position on the Senior Citizens Advisory Council due to expire on June 30, 2012.
GEOGRAPHIC NAMES BOARD. Court members had received a request for comment from the Oregon Geographic Names Board to replace derogatory names for Grant County features identified as "Squaw" within the ceded lands, boundaries and traditional use areas of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. MSP: Britton/Myers - to table this item until next week when Judge Webb is present. Comments are due by October 15th.
NACO DUES. The court considered a National Association of Counties invoice in the amount of $400 to pay for membership dues for 2011. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to authorize payment of NaCO dues of $400 for the 2011 calendar year.
COMP TIME POLICY. The court and Treasurer Kathy Smith talked about how to pay Airport Manager Colin English's comp time balance this month totaling 124.5 hours. A copy of his time sheet with an explanation of how over time hours were used was provided. It is a county requirement to pay the employee for any comp hours over 60. Due to the special circumstances surrounding the terminal project, Smith recommended that English be allowed until the end of the December pay period to get his comp hours below 60. She also suggested that the court advise him not to work additional over time hours or increase Relief Help hours. Smith reported that she spoke with Judge Webb earlier and would need the court's decision today since payday is tomorrow. Smith added that neither the budget nor the cash flow could afford it if this month's comp hours were paid in full. She reported that English didn't think reducing hours over the next three months was a problem since the airport will soon be operating within winter hours. It was pointed out that about 65 hours need to be taken off or flexed out by the end of the year. MSP: Myers/ Britton - to honor the recommendation of the Treasurer and grant a temporary waiver for the Airport Manager to work down his comp hours until the end of the December pay period. The court felt it was important to have a conversation with English about the need to keep over time hours at a minimum.
10:35 am - Ashley Daniel entered
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GRANT. The court reviewed and signed a 2010-2012 Rural Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Grant award by the Department of Justice in the amount of $303,819. According to Victim Assistance Director Ashley Daniel, the funds are to enhance victim safety by encouraging collaborative partnerships among criminal justice agencies, victim service providers and community organizations to respond to these crimes. The grant fully supports the Deputy DA and Victim Intervention Specialist positions. Daniel said she thought the DDA did an excellent job writing the narrative portion; she had prepared the budget piece. Discussion followed about the federal reporting requirements and the outstanding job that Daniel has been doing with that process. MSP: Britton/Myers - to authorize Commissioner Myers to sign the grant acceptance. Daniel reported that she just found out her other grant no longer allows for admin fees. It was noted that, fortunately, this grant's audit and admin fee allowance was recently doubled.
10:55 am -- Claudia Naibert and Tracie Unterwegner entered
LIBRARY FOUNDATION. Library Foundation members Tracie Unterwegner and Claudia Naibert gave an informational update on the proposed new library project that was initially presented about two and one-half years ago. It was reported that the foundation is continuing to move forward with its plan for the building located on the old Blue Mountain Junior High property, as recommended in the most recent feasibility study. Unterwegner explained that Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reports on hazardous materials have been completed and they received clearance from the State Historic Preservation office on tearing down the building. She said the Foundation would be preparing a budget for purchasing the property, demolishing the building, and constructing the new facility. The court was told that grant writing could be done once the plan and budget have been completed. It had been noted that the building will be designed to accommodate the needs of the county within the current staffing level and provide space for meetings, computers and special collections.
Naibert indicated that DEQ reported that money is available to remove the underground oil tank. She added that an environmental assessment report shows that asbestos, lead and mercury are present at the site which would need abatement. Britton recommended that the Foundation obtain cost estimates from three environmental firms for performing the required abatement.
Unterwegner stated that the Foundation planned to donate the library to the county once the project is totally complete. Britton pointed out that Oregon Revised Statutes specifically address public contracting laws that need to be followed from the beginning and throughout this project. The Foundation would be required to follow public contracting laws, just like the county does, and pay the applicable prevailing wages. Unterwegner understood that this process would certainly impact their overall budget. Britton recommended that the Foundation present the school district with the overall cost and then suggest that the property be donated to the Foundation. Myers had agreed since it would be difficult to find a buyer to take on that liability.
Myers clarified with Unterwegner that only one corner of the property would be reserved for the library. She also said the particular building for the Foundation's project does not need to be removed. It was also reported that other entities may be interested in ownership of other portions of the property. The idea would be to create a (separately owned) service-related community complex. Myers asked if the school district would consider dividing the property, but was told it was not interested in that idea. Unterwegner and Treasurer Kathy Smith talked about particular buildings that were planned for destruction, or to be reserved for a library or other uses.
Britton asked about involvement by Librarian Amy Turnbull. Unterwegner understood that Turnbull was very interested in participating in the ongoing planning process. Britton felt she might be a good grant writer for the project. It was noted that Libraries of Eastern Oregon would most likely become involved once the project has been better defined. Unterwegner indicated that next steps include identifying all of the expenses, talking with the school district, and hiring a professional grant writer and fundraiser.
11:25 am -- Adjourned
Mary R. Ferrioli
County Court Secretary