IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT
Access the court’s weekly Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at www.gcoregonlive2.com
JUNE 24, 2015
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 Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Secretary Mary Ferrioli, Jim Sproul, Billie Jo George and Pastor Al Altnow. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Altnow.
CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved year-end claims.
AGENDA. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to accept the agenda with a discussion on RAC appointments
Labhart attended Blue Mountain Hospital budget and board meetings Thursday and drove the VA van to Burns Friday. Monday Labhart attended a Regional Community Advisory Council meeting in
La Grande and will have a Local Community Advisory Council meeting at the airport today at noon.
Britton attended the full Collaborative Group meeting last week. His team played in the CASA Golf Scramble last Saturday. He has been visiting about Title 2 with NE Oregon Forest RAC Coordinator Jeff Tomac, Pam Harney of Oregon Wild, and local member Jack Southworth about the need to nominate people to serve on the RAC. Yesterday he had a video interview with a company contracted by Oregon Department of Forestry and Eco Trust about his thoughts on collaboration and advocating for more involvement from our state agencies in federal forest management.
Myers met with some representatives of the Stock Growers, Bisnett Insurance and the Fair Board, and the Fair Manager, last Thursday about how entities can insure liability for alcohol being served on the fairgrounds. The Stock Growers agreed to run the beer booth at the fair. Friday he met with Malheur NF Supervisor Steve Beverlin at his office about listening sessions and public meeting dates regarding the Forest Plan Revision. Myers’ team played in the CASA Golf Scramble and he helped serve breakfast at the BMW rally. He traveled to Baker City yesterday for a Community Connections of Northeast Oregon board meeting. Monday he donated blood at the Red Cross blood drive. Tomorrow he will attend the Road Advisory Board meeting at 4 pm. Myers noted that final inspection for the elevator installation is planned for Monday, June 29.
9:10 am – Kathy Smith entered
MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the June 17 minutes as corrected
530. E. MAIN. The court acknowledged notice received from Blue Mountain Forest Partners that it will vacate use of office space at 530 E. Main, No. 7 in John Day by July 31, 2015.
9:20 am -- Chris Cook and Larry Blasing entered
DISTRICT ATTORNEY. District Attorney Jim Carpenter previously requested signature on Intergovernmental Agreement No. 148542 with Department of Human Services to provide legal services for Child Welfare dependency cases. The agreement provides the balance of state funds related to the Title 4 Entitlement federal agreement the court signed on March 11, 2015. The maximum amount payable to the DA office in 2015-2017 is $30,000.00 based on the actual amount of reimbursable costs and percent of staff time spent on juvenile dependency cases. Quarterly reporting to the DHS office will be done by the DA office; funds help support Office Manager and Legal Assistant salaries. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to allow Judge Myers to sign Intergovernmental Agreement No. 148542 with Department of Human Services
BUDGET RESOLUTIONS. Court members, also acting as governing body of the Extension Service District, reviewed and signed the following resolutions. Resolution 15-11 Making Cash Loan from General Fund to County Fair Fund in the amount of $30,000.00 to pay the month end bills and payroll until July. Treasurer Kathy Smith pointed out that last year’s cash loan was $11,000.00 so the fair is going even further into the red. She recommended that someone address the problem with the Fair Board this fall; she would like a plan in place by October. Discussion followed about how this problem has been occurring over the past few years. It was noted the Fair Board has been doing its best to try and resolve the situation. It was generally understood that some other way needs to be found to operate the fair. Resolution 15-12 Making a Cash Loan from General Fund to Domestic Violence Fund in the amount of $18,000.00 since reimbursement revenue will not be received until July; Resolution 15-13 Adopting the Annual Budget, Imposing Taxes and Making Appropriations for FY 2015-2016 for Grant County in the total amount of $21,288,012.00. Resolution 15-09 Making Budgeted Transfers, Grant County Extension and 4H Service District, from District General to District Reserve Fund in the amount of $2,000.00 and Resolution 15-10 Adopting the Annual Budget, Levying Taxes and Making Appropriations for FY 2015-2016 for Grant County Extension and 4H Service District in the amount of $256,933.00.
PUBLIC HEARING. At 9:30 am a public hearing was opened to consider the Petition by Landowner for Annexation to the Mt. Vernon Rural Fire Protection District filed by Chris and Spring Cook pursuant to ORS 198.857 and ORS 478.140. The 5.0 acre portion of property is located at Township 14 S, Range 30 E, Section 01, Tax Lot 500. Oregon Department of Forestry previously approved annexation of this property into the forest protection district. Chris Cook was present.
Myers asked for one round of proponent and opponent testimony on annexation into the Mt. Vernon Rural Fire Protection District. The only comment heard was from Jim Sproul who asked Mr. Cook about the location of his property and the surrounding landowners. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to dispense with the rest of the rounds of testimony. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to close the hearing on the Petition for Annexation of this property. MSP: Labhart/Britton -- to approve 57525 Cayuse Lane, Mt. Vernon OR 97865 to be annexed into the Mt. Vernon Rural Fire Protection District as outlined. The court signed the Petition and Order 2015-01 Annexing Territory Described in Exhibit A to the Mt. Vernon Rural Fire Protection District.
9:45 am Gregg Smith, News Reporter Tim Trainer, and Mark Witty entered
SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3. Outgoing School District No. 3 Superintendent Mark Witty thanked the County Court for its strong collaborative relationship with the county’s schools over the 17 years he served the district. Witty expressed gratitude for the productive relationship between the county and the schools which resulted in outstanding benefits for students. Witty said SRS funds are no longer tied to personnel costs, so the school has been able to use the money to fill the gap in State School Funds and have some flexibility to preserve and expand programs and student services. Witty believed the school district would have been devastated without the county’s support. Other discussion followed about the county’s economic environment, the changes he’s seen in student population over the years, and the hope he has for future economic growth in Grant County. Witty also believes in collaborative efforts between the county and the Forest Service to bring back multiple use forest management, since it’s such an important factor in this community’s ongoing social and economic health.
GEOGRAPHIC NAMES. Historian and local citizen Gregg Smith provided informational handouts, displayed a Nez Perce dictionary, and said he hopes to engage in a dialog with the Forest Service to see if a geographic name change from Summit Creek back to the original name “Klatawa” Creek would be possible. Klatawa is a Chinook Jargon word meaning “to go,” or “to travel.” Smith also provided historical information and maps about Passport in Time Projects with the name Klatawa – Following the Obsidian Trail with a focus on testing sites along the proposed travel routes to and from the Malheur Headwaters. Smith was concerned about pressure from the Umatilla Tribe to change so many geographic names with unsubstantiated, and historically inaccurate and geographically historic names. He would welcome a county letter of support for the name Summit Creek being changed back to the original name “Klatawa” Creek. Billie Jo George asked Britton what he thought. Britton talked about his involvement in the geographic names process including a previous visit to Washington DC to meet with the U. S. Board on Geographic Names. He said there has been no response to the county’s invitations to come to Grant County and speak about the board’s name change proposals. Britton believes the county must maintain active involvement by continuing to raise concerns about the geographic names process. The court was in support of Smith engaging with the Forest Service regarding the original name “Klatawa.”
10:25 am – Kathy Stinnett and Glenn Palmer entered
BATES POND. Historian and local citizen Gregg Smith proposed sending a letter to Oregon Parks and Recreation Department about the need to clean-out and renovate Bates Pond which is desired by ODF&W, Grant SWCD and Grant County. He explained that the Pond has been filling up with silt and weeds. The letter notes that the Pond has a strong cultural, economic and recreational value to the county, so a plan to renovate Bates Pond is needed in the Master Plan for Bates State Park. The court signed the letter to the OPRD Director as presented.
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE. Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett requested approval to start using Credits, Inc. to provide collection services for Justice Court. Stinnett said collection agencies were previously used for delinquent money judgments, but the office has been actively enforcing collections on their own for several years. Since these tasks have been so time consuming with a poor success rate, she recommends entering into an agreement with Credits, Inc. which would involve no cost to the county. Stinnett noted that Credits, Inc. is a preferred service provider since it interfaces with the office’s current software. Also, accounts would be assigned to another agency or use Circuit Court if legal action needs to be taken. When Britton asked, Stinnett said there’s approximately $50,000.00 outstanding this year. She added that she would like to turn over collections for the past five years. The court suggested that Stinnett contact Credits, Inc. to clarify language on the 9% interest rate and ask about inserting an opt-out clause. Sheriff Palmer applauded Stinnett for her efforts because contracting out collections will also alleviate staff time as well as other costs for the Sheriff’s office.
11:00 am – Zach Williams entered
EAGLE PEAK. Sheriff Glenn Palmer updated the court on a proposal by Alexandra Communications, Inc. to purchase and install a new radio tower at Eagle Peak. He provided maps of the area showing that the tower site is on county property. Palmer had been in contact with some individuals who gave positive reports about this company and others who gave negative reports. Palmer stressed the need to find another solution for communications at Eagle Peak and continue upgrading our important radio communications system. Myers has been in contact with certain individuals about the situation at Eagle Peak and asked for an opportunity to consider a couple more options. This matter would be discussed further in the near future.
RAC MEMBERS. At Labhart’s request the court discussed a June 16, 2015 letter from Jeff Tomac, Northeast Oregon Forests RAC Coordinator, about nominees being sought for the Resource Advisory Council and the process for making nominations. Local citizens Ken Holliday and Jack Southworth currently serve on the RAC, and Harney County Judge Steve Grasty. Five members from three separate categories (15 in all) serve on the RAC. Court members planned to make contact with citizens who may be interested in serving on the RAC to represent interests in Category B or C. Follow up discussion would occur at a future meeting of the court. HHaH
PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul asked if the court heard from the Forest Service about the Wolf Project. They had not. It was noted Myers personally has standing in the Big Mosquito and Elk 16 projects, but the court does not.
Billie Jo George talked about her conversation with Malheur NF Supervisor Steve Beverlin who told her the Forest Service cannot take RS 2477 roads into account because the county only had two roads on the list of those roads. She asked if a group of three volunteers she knows could perform research on possible RS 2477 status roads, with the objective of getting more roads designated. Britton said the county had done this before and simply declared the RS 2477 designation, but does not have to maintain it. A few years ago the county employed a Road Historian at the Road Department, but the position is no longer filled. Labhart thought this was a public record process which George could research herself. She felt, after the research is done, the court should do something with the information. Other discussion took place about dates associated with the RS 2477 law and possible roads that may qualify for RS 2477 designation, if it serves a public interest. News Reporter Tim Trainer and the court brief discussed a medical marijuana ban in the county and Measure 91 legislation currently going on in Salem.
11:30 am -- Adjourned
Mary R. Ferrioli
County Court Secretary