Aug. 29, 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.

9:00 a.m. – Call to Order. Present were Judge Mark R. Webb, Commissioners Scott W. Myers and Boyd Britton, Commissioner Candidates Mike Dougharity, Chris Labhart, Mike Cosgrove, MRFD Petitioners Leon Skiles and Jerry Cowger, Chamber of Commerce reps Sharon Mogg, Sandie Gilson and Craige McMillan, Greg Bremner, Secretary Mary Ferrioli and Dave Fronapel. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Dave Fronapel.

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


Webb reported on his trip to Boardman Monday to discuss the Acute Care Facility and to Walla Walla Tuesday to participate in a forest tour. Webb had attended a meeting in Portland last Friday that Senator Wyden convened for the Congressional delegation, state representatives, a Malheur Lumber rep, Susan Jane Brown and forestry representatives to address options for delaying or preventing closure of Malheur Lumber, as well as ways to increase harvest and treatment levels.

Myers had met with Senior Manager Veanne Weddle and a client yesterday at the Senior Center.

Britton had attended an American Forest Resource Council meeting last week to participate in discussion on current difficulties and challenges in the natural resource industry. He also had some informal meetings about the pending closure of Malheur Lumber Company.

9:20 a.m. – MRFD Petitioner Roy Peterson entered

DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICIES: Roadmaster Mark Hensley and Safety & Risk Manager Greg Bremner addressed the need to update the county's drug and alcohol policies to comply with state and federal requirements. A new program is needed with additional training for the crew and management to bring the county into compliance. Hensley said training is starting and policies are being reviewed now. He suggested that Bio-Med Company resources and/or legal counsel Trent Whitford be used to put together the new policy. Bremner explained his previous involvement with the Bio Med representative and Trent Whitford about the various requirements needed to become a Department Employer Representative (DER) with regard to pre and not post accident drug testing, record keeping, and policy plans that must be in place. Bremner suggested using a combination of the two. Webb recommended combing the two, since Bio Med would be a good resource for trainings, etc. and Trent Whitford would be best for confidentiality, labor contract concerns, other sensitive issues, and policy language. Bremner explained he would be working with Bio Med to bring records, plans and pre-hire forms into compliance with the Department of Transportation. Some discussion followed about liability concerns around these issues. Myers asked if City-County Insurance could also be used as a risk management resource. Webb suggested making contact with CCIS to find out. MSP: Britton/Myers – to move forward with involvement with Bio Med, Trent Whitford, and CCIS for the purpose of bringing the Road Department's drug and alcohol policy into compliance.

9:35 a.m. – Surveyor Mike Springer, Assessor Lane Burton and Clerk Brenda Percy entered.

MONUMENT RURAL FIRE DISTRICT. Legal counsel recently provided the court with a new Order for Holding Election Submitting to the Electors the Question of Formation of the Monument Rural Fire District based on the court's August 15, 2012 public hearing. The new Order modifies the boundaries of the Monument Rural Fire District as previously established by Order 2012-08 signed on June 7, 2012. Assessor Lane Burton displayed the newly revised district boundaries map and then Webb recited pertinent languaged contained within the Order.

In response to Jerry Cowger's questions, Burton explained that new boundaries were determined starting with the petition's original legal description and then adding and subtracting written requests submitted at both public hearings. He noted 100% participation was not achieved because some landowner names within the legal description had not signed the petition or a statement requesting to be included in the district. Surveyor Mike Springer indicated the first map he prepared was from the original legal description by state forestry, included in the petition. Webb indicated the legal description didn't match from the start, which is the problem. Webb also stated that 100% participation wasn't obtained because some landowners in the original description did not submit a request to be removed from the district.

The petitioners asked for a copy of the Order and legal description. Burton said he would provide Jerry Cowger with an electronic copy of the new legal description. Two copies of the district map were given to the petitioners at the close of the meeting. Order 2012-10 was signed by all court members and would be filed at the Clerk's office today.

9:45 a.m. – Kathy Stinnett and Bob Quinton entered

JP CONFERENCE. Justice of the Peace-elect Kathy Stinnett said she was invited to attend the Oregon Justices of the Peace & Municipal Judges Association Conference in Seaside from September 26-28. Membership fees for 2012 have been waived. She said the $500.00 available for the travel line was for the Clerk's conference, but she won't be attending. Total cost for the Judge's conference is estimated at $968.50 including registration, 3 nights lodging, 4 days' meals, and mileage. She requested a $500.00 transfer from Contingency to cover the budget shortfall.

MSP: Webb/Myers – to approve Ms. Stinnett's attendance at the Oregon Justices of the Peace & Municipal Judges Association Conference in Seaside September 26-28.

9:55 a.m. – Sue Newstetter and News Reporter Scotta Callister entered

TRANSIENT ROOM TAX. Court members continued last week's review of proposed revisions to the Transietn Room Tax Ordinance. Local business owner/tax payer Sue Newstetter had asked to speak with the court this week about concerns she has with the Ordinance. Newstetter was very much in agreement with the Ordinance and felt it was needed to collect transient room taxes efficiently. She felt the Ordinance did a good job of spelling out details and suggested a reference to the Services Agreement be included (Pg 11 Section 7). She also recommended that during the first three quarters the Chamber submit the materials quarterly since this is a new process and that might prevent problems during the transition (Pg 2 Section 2.2). Chamber Manager Sharon Mogg and Chamber rep Bob Quinton both felt those were good suggestions and agreed with those changes. Newstetter further suggested the county follow statutory procedure for a new Ordinance i.e. posting notice of two public hearings. Since the Chamber would now manage and enforce room tax collection, she believed some people may be interested in challenging the process in the future. If so, a challenge to public procedure could invalidate the Ordinance per ORS 203.060. Mogg did not want to see any problems in the future. She pointed out the Chamber has undergone a four year process, with attorney fees, to make these changes. Quinton, former John Day City Mayor, supported following the statutes for the adoption of the Ordinances. The consensus of the court was to move forward with the public hearing process.

Chamber Manager Sharon Mogg and Webb had reviews new language that addresses the audit. Webb noted the audit cost had not been included in the 95% – as requested – since the 5% does not cover audit and attorney fees. Treasurer Kathy Smith noted the county's auditor may have been auditing the tax collection through the Assessor's office, but she wasn't sure. Mogg planned to have all of the recommended changes made to the Ordinances and Services Agreement as soon as possible so the public hearings can be scheduled.

10:30 a.m. – Sally Bartlett, King Williams, Zach Williams, Greg Jackle, Mark Witty, Ryan Gerry and Debbie Gillespie entered.

SCHOOL SUSTAINABILITY STUDY. GREAT Corp. President King Williams and several school representatives (identified above) requested a $15,000.00 contribution from county Secure Rural Schools funds plus a $10,000 in-kind match to support a $100,000.00 “Grant School Sustainability Project.” The in-kind match represents work performed by Grant County Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett. GREAT is requesting $75,000.00 from the Meyer Memorial Trust. The nine month project would begin October 15, 2012 and provide a complete analysis of the school systems in Grant County, a comparision of our schools to other rural-frontier school districts in Oregon and other states, and provide at least 3 options for future funding and collaboration that can be implemented by the local citizens. The objective is to assist GREAT and five independent school districts to develop a sustainable plan to provide a quality educational opportunity for all Grant County students. The desired education delivery system would be one that meets the stated constraints and is fiscally responsible to stay within the school's available financing. If the grant is approved, GREAT plans to solicit a Request for Proposal for a qualified research firm to prepare a feasibility study that comprises a general review, overall analysis, population dynamics, collective bargaining agreements, service contracts, and a road fund analysis.

Williams provided background on the school funding process that's taken place over previous budget cycles. He said we wouldn't see anything until next school year, which means schools go through this year wihout assistance. On behalf of the schools, Williams asked for additional funding for the schools from the county's reauthorized one year extension of SRS funds.

Bartlett explained the $100,000.00 grant would hire consultant to complete a study to identify what funding was needed to support a good quality and independent education system that is sustainable for our communities. Three important priority needs came from the meeting this summer – sustainable funding, good quality education, and independence for each district.

Myers thought the grant support request was an opportunity for the county to have a stake in what change may come in the future. He believed it was reasonable on the part of the County Court to participate as a partner with the schools.

Superintended Mark Witty talked about the consensus building meetings that took place and the sharing of an employee among districts this year. He believed the education system cooperators would remain engaged throughout this process. He advocated for the county to maintain financial support of the schools. Superintendent Debbie Gillespie talked about the districts' service delivery challenges and the ongoing cooperation and sharing of tranportation services.

Hospital board member Chris Labhart expressed how important it is to the entire community to maintain viable school systems. He supported the schools' funding request.

Webb supported the study, but thought funding for two years was another thing. He felt an outside consultant's view was important and wanted to believe it would lead to the schools' ability to operate within the budget constraints. Webb was not interested in financing the study if it is not utilized to achieve the stated objectives. Myers pointed out that the meeting today was to discuss support for GREAT's Meyer Memorial Trust grant application. Webb added that interim funding could be discussed, but the court previously made a commitment to the Budget Committee to participate in those talks. He added that he thought it was likely SRS funds would no longer be authorized.

School board member Greg Jackle talked about the cooperative relationship the school boards and the ESD have had over the past few years. He believed the sharing among districts in Grant County was probably not being done elsewhere in Eastern Oregon.

MSP: Webb/Myers – to support the Meyer Memorial Trust grant contribution of $15,000 plus $10,000.00 in-kind support from the Economic Development Department. Kathy Smith confirmed that funding would come from the Road Department. Britton sought assurance from school representatives that they would adhere to the study's recommended options. Webb felt that could be revistited when the funding issue comes up. He felt the option parameters were reasonable and credible, but may be unrealistic under future funding. Myers would like to see any future funding tied to results of the feasibility study, if practical. Webb pointed out that funding, discussed earlier, was for the schools' transition into the future. Britton voted no because he felt the districts could work this out themselves, and the Budget Committee was told they would be included in making any decision on future funding for schools.

PUBLIC HEALTH. Community Counseling Solutions Director Kimberly Lindsay and the court reviewed and discussed the state's Civil Rights Self-Assessment for the Public Health Department. Lindsay participated by phone. She explained the assessment was reviewed with the County Court. It was noted that some required physical changes, such as relocating soap and towel dispensers, could be assigned to Nick Miller. It was determined that other items could be handled by a court representative working directly with CCS to resolve the deficiences. Judge Webb agreed to be responsible for follwing through with CCS to access the other corrective actions.

Public Health Administration. Last week the court gave Community Counseling Solutions Director Kimberly Lindsay authority to modify the administrative services contract between Grant County and Community Counseling Solutions to reflect changes discussed at last week's meeting. Lindsay provided the contract amendment and explained three changes she made: to include Nurse Practitioner Tim Neilson with CCS' costs, to end the contract term on December 31, 2012, and to adjust the total amount of other CCS costs from an annual amount to a six month period. CCS is to take over the operation for the Grant County Public Health Department as of January 1, 2013.

Webb and Lindsay talked about Tim Neilson being named “Coordinator,” John Combs' job description modification, and the associated increased cost. It was noted the sum of $87,900 would be payable to CCS on a monthly basis at the end of each pay period. Webb provided the court with the newly revised contract, as discussed, and it was signed by all court members.

12:00 p.m. – Lunch Recess. The meeting reconvened at 2:00 p.m. Present were Commissioners Myers and Britton, the Court Secretary, Grant SWCD reps Jason Kehrberg and Matt Wenick, Commissioner Candidate Mike Cosgrove, and Elain Eisenbraun. Judge Webb was attending another meeting this afternoon.

TITLE 2 PROJECT PROPOSALS. Commissioners Myers and Britton, and the individuals listed above, reviewed proposed Title 2 Project submitted by Grant Soil and Water Conservation District and Elaine Eisenbraun. The county's complete review and prioritization of all project was to be done next week when a full court is present.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Britton – to approve the Aug. 22 minutes as amended.

3:00 p.m. – Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary

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