SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

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.

9:05 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Mark R. Webb, Commissioners Scott W. Myers and Boyd Britton, Secretary Mary Ferrioli, Commissioner Candidates Chris Labhart and Mike Cosgrove, Road Advisory Board member John Eley, Budget Committee member Hal Smith, and Pastor Dave Hoeffner. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Hoeffner.

CLAIMS. The court reviewed and approved claims and Extension District Warrant Nos. 28 – 40.

AGENDA. MSP: Webb/Myers -- to accept the program as presented.


Britton reported on the recent meeting held in Seneca with US Senator Jeff Merkley. He felt that our citizens had asked a lot of good questions at that meeting related to timber industry issues that are causing the closure of Malheur Lumber Co.

MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the August 29 regular minutes as presented.

MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the September 4 special meeting minutes as presented.

EQUITABLE SHARING CERTIFICATION. The court reviewed and approved an Equitable Sharing Agreement and Certification Report Affidavit previously signed by Sheriff Palmer. The report is an annual accounting of funds received and spent by the agency during the period (i.e. forfeited cash, property, or proceeds). The amount for fiscal year ended June 30, 2012 is zero. MSP: Webb/ Myers-- to authorize Judge Webb to sign the Equitable Sharing Agreement and Certification Report Affidavit.

9:30 am – Cody Wilson, Treasurer Kathy Smith, Ashley McClay and Andrea Officer entered

VAWA RURAL GRANT. Victim Assistance Program Director Ashley McClay requested signature on the federal 2012-2015 VAWA Rural Grant Award Agreement and Special Conditions. The three year grant totaling $594,837.00 funds the full time Deputy DA and Victim Intervention Specialist positions and 0.75 FTE Victim Advocate (Heart of Grant County), 0.25 Law Enforcement Investigator (GCSO), and 0.02 FTE Fiscal Manager (Treasurer). McClay explained funds would also be used to create community awareness campaigns, purchase office supplies for grant funded staff, provide emergency services to victims, and attend conferences. It was noted that grant mandates using $15,840.00 specifically for conference attendance. Out of 60 agencies that applied nationwide, the county was one of just 30 agencies chosen for an award. McClay said she plans to meet with Sheriff Palmer and Undersheriff McKinley this Friday to discuss contracting for a law enforcement officer dedicated solely to the investigation of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking 10 hours per week.

9:35 am – Roadmaster Mark Hensley entered

McClay addressed the special conditions, grant reporting requirements, and the need to develop an Equal Employment Opportunity Plan. MSP: Webb/Britton -- to authorize Judge Webb to sign the 2012-2015 VAWA Rural Grant Award Agreement and Special Conditions.

McClay also requested approval to purchase a laptop and color printer for the Deputy DA, as budgeted in the 2010-2012 VAWA Rural Grant estimated at $1,714.00. She noted the current laptop used by the DDA is old and unreliable. The color printer would be a new addition to the office and used by the DDA to print photos and other color documents for domestic violence cases. A quote from Grant ESD for GovConnection had been provided for a ThinkPad T430 Lenovo system / $1,183.00; 8GB of memory / $46.00; and HP LaserJet Pro 400 color printer / $485.00. Webb noted that the equipment was already addressed within this year’s budget. McClay explained the printer option would change from the model originally quoted since the Treasurer was able to locate a more cost effective printer like one used by the Health Department and Children and Families. MSP: Webb/Myers-- to approve the laptop and color printer purchase as discussed.

LIFE INSURANCE CARRIER. As recommended by Hermann Financial Insurance Agent Kim Hilton, court members approved Mutual of Omaha as the county’s long term disability, group life / AD&D insurance carrier effective October 1, 2012. The change was made because a very competitive rate was available with Mutual of Omaha that provides significant cost savings. Treasurer Kathy Smith said the agency would be visiting the county in the coming weeks to fully explain the program. It was noted that a 25% acceptance rate is required for other benefits. MSP: Webb/Myers – to accept the Mutual of Omaha insurance carrier as of October 1.

BUDGET RESOLUTION. The court reviewed and signed Resolution 12-47 Making Transfer from Contingency / General Fund in the amount of $47,800.00 to cover a Correction Officer’s position that was not calculated in the grand total for the fiscal year for the Sheriff’s Office.

CPI-W RATE ADJUSTMENT. Treasurer Kathy Smith spoke with the court about the need to adjust the CPI-W rate of 3.2% approved for FY 2012 Exhibit A. That rate was mistaken. Smith explained how the CPI-W increase was calculated last January at 3.55% using the standard formula. LGPI’s December newsletter had listed the rate at 3.2%. Smith had used that rate during subsequent Budget Committee meetings. Last week Sgt. Steve McGuire made Smith aware of the annual average CPI-W rate of 3.6%. Smith reported the rate for the Sheriff’s Union will be changed from 3.2% to 3.5% to comply with the negotiated cap. She said the court needs to decide if unrepresented employees should change to 3.5% or 3.6%. Smith pointed out that during negotiations the county repeatedly stressed it wanted the Sheriff’s union to stay on the county’s wage scale. Therefore, she recommended the rate for all unrepresented employees’ be set at 3.5%. However, Webb felt unrepresented employees should be increased 3.6% since that is one way to honor those employees who are considerably more trouble-free than those represented by a union. He added that we’re already doing something different for Road Union employees who are capped at 3%. Webb wanted to communicate that unrepresented employees are being as good or better than unrepresented employees. Myers and Webb talked about the likely impact on future labor negotiations. MSP: Webb/Britton – to increase unrepresented employees’ COLA rate to 3.6% and Sheriff Union employees to 3.5%. Smith explained each employee’s wage will be recalculated and retroactively adjusted in the October pay period.

9:50 am – News Reporter Scotta Callister entered

SRS FUNDING / CITIES AND SCHOOLS. Cities, school districts and concerned citizens in Grant County met with the court to request a share of Title 1 SRS and Community Self-Determination Act funding to counties that was reauthorized for FFY 2012. Cities were represented by Carole Garrison, Peggy Gray, David Holland, Chris Labhart, Don Caldwell, Dorman Gregory, Merle Metcalf, Ruthie Moore, Susan Horn, Carrie Ussery, and Doug Gochnour. Schools were represented by Earl Pettit, Mark Witty, Ryan Gerry, Robert Waltenberg, Roy Durfee, and Debbie Gillespie. Other attendees were Budget Committee members Hal Smith and Karla Averett, County Road Department reps John Eley and Mark Hensley. Mike Cosgrove and Zach Williams were also present. Budget Committee members had previously asked to reconsider the issue, if SRS is reauthorized for 2012. The schools have asked to receive $1,000,000.00 over two years. The cities have requested $250,000.00 or half of what the court decides to give the schools.

Webb said the conversation today has to do with the Road Reserve Fund. State statutes allow the county to give money to cities and schools that is surplus to our annual operating needs. Webb reported, according to what the Road Department actually received this year (excluding the SRS funds) there is a surplus of $120,000.000. He added that he didn’t know what to do about the 2012 reauthorized funds of over $3 Million, because they are not surplus according to statutes. Webb explained that for several years now the county’s intent is to operate the department with the interest earned on principal, since further federal funding is not expected. Last year, the county received very little interest. He said the county cannot continue to fund cities and schools without compromising its obligations. Webb believed the schools’ and cities’ needs are critical; however, the Forest Service and state health care are in the same situation. There simply isn’t enough money to take care of their obligations -- so business has to be operated differently. Given the history of schools asking for money, even in the best of times, Webb was not willing to grant their request. He added that Grant County is the only county in Oregon to have been extremely generous with schools over the years. He wonders how other small schools in Oregon are dealing with their budget constraints. Hal Smith supported Webb’s position and said he believed that responsibility for tax dollars belongs to the county.

Waltenberg previously understood schools could come back with a request if SRS is reauthorized, but he felt, perhaps that was false hope. Commissioner Myers said this topic has not been discussed outside of this setting, so he felt it’s still worth discussing. He noted the county has recently committed to $25,000.00 in matching funds for a Meyer Memorial Trust Grant for the feasibility study. He wanted to see how that study turns out, and how the county can help at that point. As a former Canyon City Mayor, he understood the needs of small cities which are no less than the schools’. Waltenberg reported that the state’s quality education study, done several years ago, shows schools are clearly underfunded to provide quality education.

Karla Averett understood all entities need to be fiscally responsible and are doing their best to meet their obligations. But, she believes the whole county needs to work together to help fill the need. Webb believed it was important to work together, but the Road Reserve Fund will be exhausted within 10 years if the county continues to meet the needs of schools and cities.

Cody Wilson didn’t understand why all school districts hadn’t started working together to reduce costs several years ago when they knew future funding would be cut.

With regard to cities, Britton reported there is going to be discussion at the Southeast Area Commission on Transportation about altering road fund formulas. He said in Ada County ID (Boise) the county takes care of not only county roads, but all of the city streets. Britton felt it might be beneficial for the whole county to look into a different model. John Eley suggested each community could submit infrastructure project proposals to the county for review. It would hold the cities accountable to the county and at the same time allow them autonomy to work together for the good of the entire community. Webb thought the county would support the concept since it’s a different way of taking care of obligations.

Peggy Gray said the root of the problem is loss of population. Through collaboration around new business development, she said the community is now seeing new prospects for additional population. But, in the interim, Gray believes funding assistance from the county is needed.

Britton respected what Gray was saying, but pointed out the court has been working diligently to protect and enhance Grant County’s existing businesses.

Mark Witty said there would be no discussion if SRS funds were not reauthorized for 2012. Since it was reauthorized, schools are now asking for a share of the county’s portion. He added, since it is unlikely those funds would be extended in the future, there is no point in schools asking in the future.

Other discussion took place about the public perception that our schools are top-heavy in administration -- five superintendent positions are being funded for a small student population.

Webb preferred not to make a decision today. The commissioners agreed, so the court would address the issue at a future meeting.

11:10 am – Sharon Mogg and Leslie McLeod entered

PUBLIC HEARING. At 11:10 am the court opened the first public hearing on an Ordinance Amending and Re-stating the existing Ordinance Providing for the Administration, Collection, and Appropriation of Transient Room Taxes. Chamber of Commerce Manager Sharon Mogg and Leslie McLeod were present.

Webb reviewed the title and section headings of the proposed Ordinance and then asked for proponent and opponent testimony.

Treasurer Kathy Smith confirmed that additional language was changed about payment for the annual audit – Section 22 (8).

Chris Labhart asked if there were other amendments to the ordinance. It was explained that language was added to clarify penalty and interest, and the annual audit of transient room tax records. Mogg addressed the audit and explained the requirement for an annual audit would be done under the future administration by the Chamber.

Webb asked for further opponent or proponent testimony, but none was offered. MSP: Webb /Myers – to continue the hearing until 11:00 am on September 26, 2012.

CCS CONTRACT. Community Counseling Solutions Director Kimberly Lindsay spoke with the court by phone about the revised Amendment to the Contract between Grant County and Community Counseling Solutions. She explained corrections and changes made to end the contract term on December 31, 2012 and reflect adjusted salary amounts, including Tim Neilsen, as previously discussed. Lindsay added that the new Nurse Supervisor position may need to be addressed in this contract in the future. It was felt the document could be amended later as needed. Webb suggested signing the contract today, and amending it later when the new employee is hired. The amended contract was signed by all court members. Webb and Lindsay briefly spoke about John Combs’ new job description, noting it has not come back yet from LGPI.

NURSE SUPERVISOR. Community Counseling Solutions Director Kimberly Lindsay spoke with the court by phone about hiring the new Nurse Supervisor as a county employee, or as a CCS employee. CCS will take over operation of the Health Department on January 1, 2013. Lindsay

said it was up to the court to make the decision. Britton preferred the new hire be a CCS employee. Myers felt that made more sense. There was a consensus of the court.

11:45 am – John Combs entered

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. Environmental Health Specialist John Combs proposed Environmental Health Program fee increases associated with Oregon HB 2868. A list of Proposed Environmental Health Fee Increases for Grant and Harney counties was provided for review Exhibit B. CCS Director / Public Health Administrator Kimberly Lindsay participated by phone. Combs said license fees for Grant and Harney counties have never been raised above the state standard. But, now, these fee increases are needed to cover the true cost for providing the service within a large geographic area. According to ORS Chapter 624 the Local Public Health Authority is allowed to adjust fees within a range of 20% above or below the state fee. Combs noted that Wheeler County’s fees are currently higher, but most are not set at the 20% allowable increase. Those fees will be increased to the amounts shown on the list of proposed fee increases. Webb indicated that Combs would continue to track costs to see if fees need to be adjusted further. Lindsay and Webb talked about the need to contact Harney County Judge Grasty about the fee adjustment. MSP: Britton/Webb – to approve Mr. Combs’ proposed Environmental Health Fee Increases for Grant and Harney counties. Combs talked about changes in the “Temporary Restaurant Licensure” fee and the new fee description for an “Operational Plan Review” of the Intermittent and Seasonal Temporaries. He also asked about possibly charging a $1.25 surcharge per motel room as part of the license fee; however, it was the consensus of the court not to do that at this time.

11:55 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary


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