Grant County Court minutes from March 13, 2019:

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 Commissioners Jim Hamsher and Sam Palmer, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Katy Nelson, Curtis Perry, Rick Minster, Reporter Rick Hanners, Jim Spell, Economic Director Allison Field, Undersheriff Zach Mobley, Judy Kerr, Road Master Alan Hickerson, Sheriff Glenn Palmer, and Pastor Wes Aasness. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Aasness.

9:02 am Dan Becker entered.

Commissioner Hamsher advised Judge Myers was out today at a doctor’s appointment and requested everyone keep him in their prayers and set aside political strife.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants # 111-119.

HAND CHECK. The court approved a hand check to Bank of Eastern Oregon for the County Court Visa bill on March 4, 2019.

AGENDA. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer-- to accept the agenda as presented.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Palmer took a pediatric life support class on the 5th which he passed. Palmer attended his first Budget Committee Meeting on March 6th. Palmer talked with Nick Green about some of the park project the City of John Day is proposing the afternoon of the 6th. Palmer spoke to Andrew Epstein from the Oregon Health Authority by telephone regarding compliance needs for the health department and received a 90 day extension to address remaining issues. Palmer attended a meeting the City of John Day regarding the park proposal where neighboring landowners were updated on the plan. Palmer met with Sherry Webb from the Department of Human Services (DHS) about foster care needs in the community. Palmer met with Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett on March 7th about her judicial responsibilities, budget, and office needs and how the court might be of assistance. Palmer also spoke with Predator Control Agent Nick Lulay about the amount of funding available in the current budget to ensure the costs didn’t go over for this fiscal year. Palmer and his wife attended the dance showcase and spaghetti feed to support the Grant Union Dance Team and also participated in the Special Olympics basketball game in Prairie City. He talked with the District Attorney (DA) about the proposed countywide gun ordinance and reported it is still under review by the DA.

Commissioner Hamsher traveled to Washington, DC on March 1st and returned March 7th. He reported he was appointed to the National Association of Counties (NACo) Public Lands Steering Committee.

9:08 am Reporter Logan Bagett.

Hamsher met with several officials while in Washington, DC: James Hubbard (Undersecretary Department of Agriculture), Daniel Jiron (Acting Deputy Undersecretary Department of Agriculture), Doug Crandall (Director Legislative Affairs US Forest Service), Vicki Christiansen (Chief US Forest Service), Debbie Pressman (Senior Advisor to Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture), Tim Williams (Deputy Director External Affairs Department of the Interior), Andrea Travnicek (Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish & Wildlife and Parks), Karen Budd-Falen (Deputy Solicitor for Parks & Wildlife), Malcom McGeary (Senator Wyden’s Advisor for Energy & Natural Resources), Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Merkley and staff and Congressman Walden’s staff. Hamsher participated in a press conference with Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley to discuss SRS and PILT funding.

9:09 am Beth Spell entered.

Hamsher took part in a Proposed Resolution meeting for the NACo Public Lands Steering Committee. Hamsher listened to a speech by Kelly Ann Conway about opportunity zones and heard updates from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson discussing how counties can plan for the future of the economy with the founder of America Online Steve Case and Senator Marc Rubio. Hamsher spoke with ODOT representatives this week to discuss the proposed deer composting site near Prairie City. Hamsher telephonically attended a Veterans Steering Committee and a Federal Lands Management Steering Committee meeting with the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC). Hamsher talked with the Hunters Education Coordinator about the Safety Program that will happen this upcoming Satruday. Hamsher encouraged those with questions about his trip to Washington, DC to ask him.

MINUTES. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the February 27th minutes as presented.

SHERIFF. Undersheriff Zach Mobley discussed the job duties, wage scale and current job description for the Civil Deputy position with the court. Mobley explained how things have changed with the job duties of the Civil Deputy including the addition of new duties. The current Civil Deputy is also certified in Corrections and fills in as needed. The current salary was set when this position was strictly clerical without the Corrections functions. Mobley pointed out with the new law in effect regarding pay equity he is concerned the current pay scale is not appropriate. He explained projected revenues for Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) for the upcoming year and the changes they have made to this program. Mobley also requested court approval to present a request for part time help for the civil department to the budget committee. The part time help would allow programs to be implemented that are currently not in place because of limited staffing. Mobley suggested the part time help would be at 30 hours per week and the projected revenues from CHL would not be as high without this help. Office hours could also be increased. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve presenting the requested part-time position to the budget committee.

ROAD DEPARTMENT. Road Master Alan Hickerson requested court approval to present a request for an additional equipment operator for the Long Creek division to the budget committee. Hickerson introduced Kelly Brown who works in the Long Creek division. Hickerson said there are only three crew members in Long Creek and it makes it difficult when flaggers are needed. Palmer asked if this was a safety issue and Hickerson advised it is. MSP: Palmer/Hamsher – to approve presenting the requested additional crew member to the budget committee.

Hickerson also asked the court to approve a contract with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for signs on the Middle Fork. Hickerson explained the background of the Middle Fork project. The grant for the project is in the amount of $28,000. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve the contract with ODOT.

9:30 am Aimee Rude entered.

LAKE CREEK CAMP. Economic Development Director Allison Field presented a proposed contract to the court with Lake Creek Youth Recreational Camp, Inc. (LCYRC). Field explained the background of how the request for assistance began. The board of LCYRC is in need of technical assistance for strategic planning and administrative support and has requested assistance from Grant County Economic Development (GCED). County Counsel has reviewed the contract. The term of the contract would be for 2 years and LCYRC would agree to pay GCED for administrative service support from any grants received up to the amount of $30,000 in any given year of the contract.

MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the contract with LCYRC and circulate for signatures.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK. The court members had reviewed the revised Employee Handbook. The handbook was recommended by City County Insurance (CIS) and was created with their assistance. It had been reviewed several times by CIS and County Counsel prior to court review. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to adopt the revised Employee Handbook effective March 13, 2019.

RESOLUTION 19-08. Treasurer Julie Ellison had prepared Resolution 19-08 for approval. The resolution transfers $5,000 for grant match funds for the District Attorney’s office from general fund contingency to general grant match. Hamsher read Resolution 19-08 to those in attendance. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve Resolution 19-08 and circulate for signatures.

RESOLUTION 19-09. This resolution transfers $5,000 from DA Revolving materials and services to personnel services in order to keep this fund from going over budget in personnel services. Hamsher read Resolution 19-09 to those in attendance. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve Resolution 19-09 and circulate for signatures.

TITLE III ADMINISTRATION CONTRACT. The court agreed to have former Economic Director Sally Bartlett continue to administer the Title III program until the end of August at the last court meeting. A contract was prepared and reviewed by County Counsel for the agreement. Bartlett will be paid $500 per month retroactive to February 1, 2019. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the contract with Sally Bartlett and circulate for signatures.

OBLIGATING TITLE III FUNDING. The court reviewed a letter from Sally Bartlett to obligate Title III funding from May 2018. The court initiated the funds during the December 19, 2018 court meeting and must now obligate them since the 45 day waiting period has ended and no comments were received. The amount of the obligation is $81,486.79 as verified by the Grant County Treasurer.

Project 1: Firewise Communities Program: $2,000;

Project 2: Search and Rescue and other emergency services: $75,000; and

Project 3: Community Wildfire Protection Plan: $4,486.79.

MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to obligate the Title III funds as presented.

COURT LETTER HB 2370.The court members reviewed a letter to the House Committee on Natural Resources supporting House Bill 2370 which would allow local communities to vote to allow dogs for cougar hunting with their counties. MSP: Palmer/Hamsher -- to approve the letter and circulate for signatures.

OHA AGREEMENT #154111 – 10TH AMENDMENT. The court had reviewed the Tenth Amendment to Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Agreement 15411 for the financing of public health services. The amendment increases the funding for public health emergency preparedness and response by $7,648 and modified some program elements. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve OHA Agreement 154111-10 and authorize Commissioner Palmer to sign.

OHA AGREEEMNT #154111 – 11TH AMENDMENT. The court had reviewed the Eleventh Amendment to Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Agreement 15411 for the financing of public health services. The amendment increases the funding for public health emergency preparedness and response by $3,704 and modified some program elements. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve OHA Agreement 154111-11 and authorize Commissioner Palmer to sign.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Hamsher offered those in attendance an opportunity for public comment. None was received.

9:39 am The court took a short break. 9:50 am Carol Waggoner and Christal Culley entered.

10:16 am The court returned to session.

FAIRGROUNDS. Fair Manager Mindy Winegar presented several requests to the court.

Tree Removal: Trees behind the pavilion are causing the floor in the pavilion to be unsafe. The Road Department has offered to take the trees down and community service workers could assist with clean- up. Once the trees are removed someone would need to be hired to grind the stumps and kill the roots. Laurie Wright pointed out the Safety Committee has noted this several times because the roots are also causing damage to the wall next to the large door on the north side of the pavilion. Raymond Fields operates a tree service and had the ability to grind the stumps and kill the roots. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to move forward with the tree removal on the north side of the pavilion.

RV Park: The RV Park needs new picnic tables. There is enough money in the current budget capital outlay line to purchase 10 this fiscal year. Winegar obtained three quotes: Uline $6,383.03; AAA State of Play $7,420; and Park Warehouse $8,002.81. Winegar recommended purchasing the tables from Uline and added they are metal tables that would last for years with no maintenance. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve purchase of the picnic tables from Uline.

In the future Winegar would like to add more RV spaces and another small restroom with showers to the RV Park. Winegar reported the RV Park is completely full several times a year. Current security at the Fairgrounds was discussed and Hamsher said this is something that should be budgeted for in the future.

Grounds: Groundskeeper Dusty Williams is continuing work on the grounds. Winegar advised they plan to continue the split rail fence around the big yard and it will have man gates and a fire lane gate. The hope is that this will keep people from driving on the lawn.

Carl and Betty Sheedy Memorial: The family of Carl and Betty Sheedy, with the assistance of the 4-H small animal kids, is working to update the small animal barn. Updates will include new siding to match the sales barn, insulation, exhaust fans and new exterior doors. The Heritage Foundation is funding the updates.

Heritage Foundation: The foundation is working to get more electricity in the barn because more is needed, especially during fair.

Walking Path: Winegar would like to develop a walking path that would be more appealing to guests and the community and believes it is important to work with the City of John Day on their planned new path systems.

Fair 2019 Headliner Act: Winegar has been negotiating with Parmalee for a headliner act and requested approval to hire them for $25,000 plus backline (which is musical instruments for the band) that would be provided by the sound and stage company already under contract. The backline would be in addition to the current sound and stage contract. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve the requested entertainment for the Fair. Palmer would like to see a lot of advertising for this event.

Fair 2019 Entertainment: Winegar requested approval to hire ground entertainment Giddy Up Production for $3,600 for 4 days and to hire a Hypnotist and Magician for an estimated $3,600. The court reviewed a contract with the Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers to provide entertainment during the 2019 Fair at a cost of $700. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve the requested entertainment for the Fair.

Fair Sponsorship and Vendors: She further asked for permission to sell political banners as sponsorship. The fair currently rents booths that are used for political purposes. Last year $500 had to be refunded because current county policy does not allow political banners or signs on county property. Winegar is requesting this be allowed from July through August of each year. Hamsher expressed concern that this could look like the county endorsed a particular candidate and might also open the door for other polarizing issues to be advertised. Palmer suggested setting sizes for potential signs. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to table this discussion until all court members are present. Hamsher added Fair is a fun time for community members without politics being a part of it.

Purchasing Supplies: Winegar believes Department Heads should have the ability to purchase their own office supplies instead of utilizing central supply. This would be a time saver for departments and she feels managers will be fiscally responsible and find the best prices they can. Winegar explained the current process for ordering supplies.

9:50 am Surveyor Mike Springer.

Capital Outlay: She suggested the court review the amount of money departments are allowed to spend before requesting court approval. If money has been budgeted and approved by the budget committee management should have the authority and be trusted to spend the budgeted funding wisely. Hamsher recommended for budgeted items the County Judge could okay the purchase without bringing it to court. Hamsher would like the Judge to have more leeway regarding decisions like this. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to give the County Judge discretion to approve purchase of previously budgeted items.

Credit Card: Winegar requested a permanent increase in the Fairgrounds credit card spending limit so that she isn’t forced every year to request a temporary increase for Fair time. Winegar would like a permanent increase of $6,000 to $10,000. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve permanently raising the Fair credit card limit to $6,000.

Groundskeeper Job Description: Winegar asked for permission to request job placement review by the Local Government Personnel Institute (LGPI) for the Groundskeeper and Office Support position. Wright will contact LGPI to find out what the cost for a job description review is now that the County is no longer a member. Hamsher suggested discussing this at the next court meeting.

Hamsher also asked Winegar to look further into expansion costs for the RV Park.

SURVEYOR. Surveyor Mike Springer presented a re-plat map to the court for approval and signature. Springer explained the re-plat must be approved by the County Court pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes and explained the re-plat is necessary to change lot lines within a former subdivision. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve signature of the re-plat map.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Hamsher once again offered an opportunity for public comment from those in attendance. None was received.

11:07 am -- Adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

Administrative Assistant

**** 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 ****


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