Grant County Court minutes from Dec. 30, 2020:

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 Jim Hamsher and Sam Palmer, Administrative Assistant Kim Puckett, Roadmaster Alan Hickerson, Reporter Logan Bagett, Reporter Steven Mitchell, and Scott Knepper. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag.

CLAIMS. The court had approved claims & extension warrants #181.

HAND CHECK. The court approved outside of normal claims day checks#60891 & 60892 AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Palmer-- to accept the agenda as presented.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Judge Myers went to a County Safety meeting on the 15th. On the 18th he had a phone meeting with Kimberly Lindsay regarding Covid-19 vaccine. He said we should get an update January 1st. On the 23rd he signed claims. He attended the Intergovernmental Council (IGC) meeting on the 29th at the John Day Fire Hall.

Commissioner Palmer sat in on a phone meeting with Kimberly Lindsay regarding the vaccine. He helped with interviews for the Assessor’s Office. He attended, via phone, a Conveners meeting with Blues Intergovernmental Council (BIC). Palmer sat in on the BIC meeting and BIC subcommittee meeting. He also met with State Representatives and Senators.

Commissioner Hamsher attended the Natural Resources Advisory Committee (NRAC) meeting by phone. He had a couple of phone meetings with State Senators & Representatives. He took part in some County Commissioner briefing calls from the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC). Hamsher attended a National Association of Counties (NACO) Public Lands Steering Committee call. He attended a Whitehouse briefing. He participated in job interviews for the Economic Development Assistant position. He had several discussions with local businesses on what the risk levels are. Hamsher said Grant County remains on the low risk list until January 14th and then will be reassessed then. He had some communication with the Governor’s office and since then the President signed a bill on Sunday that extends the Coronavirus Relief Fund money until December of 2021.

MINUTES. MSP: Hamsher/Myers-- to approve the minutes as presented.

ROAD DEPARTMENT. Alan Hickerson, Roadmaster, addressed the court regarding the purchase of the Rocking Nine Rock Pit. An offer has been made and they would like to forego the appraisal process.

MSP: Myers/Palmer --to authorize Roadmaster to continue working towards the purchase of the Rocking Nine Rock Pit. Hickerson also discussed the purchase of a big used sander for $1,000. MSP: Palmer/Hamsher --to approve the purchase of the sander.

David Thunell entered at 9:20, Megan Workman entered at 9:21

ASSESSOR. David Thunell, Assessor, discussed Property Statutes. The Assessor’s office received judgement on a property in 2018. Family members would like to have preference in purchasing the property back. Thunell consulted with legal counsel and the Court has the option to give them priority preference in a purchase. MSP: Myers/Palmer -- to authorize the sale at public auction to all bidders as other properties have been and that the family not be given special preference. Shannon Springer entered at 9:35am.

PLANNING. Shannon Springer, Planning Director discussed the information received about agriculture related flood regulations and requested direction from the Court about whether to incorporate any of the information in the proposed Flood Ordinance. Commissioner Palmer asked what the consequences were if the County did not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Would it keep property owners from getting assistance in the event of an emergency or only increase the cost of flood insurance. Springer said that if the County is not a member of the NFIP then neither property owners or the county are not eligible for assistance in the event of an emergency, we are not eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation dollars and people are not eligible for flood insurance through NFIP. Private insurance could be more costly if it is available. Commissioner Hamsher stated that he understood that if a community does not participate in the NFIP property owners within flood zones can have a difficult time securing flood insurance. Commissioner Palmer asked for confirmation that this is an all or nothing deal. If a person has a piece of property that may or may not flood on Bear Creek, and someone in Dayville is at high risk due to the river affecting their property are they both subject to the same rules? Springer said that in order to participate in NFIP we have to adopt all flood hazard maps provided by FEMA. All property within designated flood hazard areas is subject to the flood management ordinance. Springer said the hearing on the flood ordinance has been continued to January 13th at 9:15am.

COMMITTEE VOLUNTEERS. Volunteer applications were reviewed by the court along with member resignations.

Budget Committee: Volunteer applications were reviewed by the court. Bob Quinton requested re appointment to this board. Christopher Camarena Sr. requested appointment to this board. By consensus the Court is requesting a letter of interest from both potential appointees and will discuss at the next court meeting.

Natural Resources Advisory Committee: Volunteer applications were reviewed by the court. There is currently two vacancies. The board had a unanimous vote on recommending the court appoint Howard Geiger and Brett Morris. MSP: Palmer/Hamsher --to appoint Howard Geiger and Brett Morris with terms to expire December 31, 2022.

TREASURER. The court reviewed and approved budget resolutions. MSP: Myers/Hamsher --to approve and sign Resolution# 20-34 in the matter of appropriating specific purpose grant funds Economic Development Revenue Covid 19 Assist $563,153.00 to Expense Covid 19 Assist $563,153.00. MSP: Myers/ Palmer- to approve Resolution# 20-35 in the matter of making budgeted transfers from Road to School Forest $383,468.00 and from Road to Cities-Streets-Bridges $437,254.00.

MARIJUANA ORDINANCE. The court reviewed the Marijuana Ordinance#2020-04. MSP: Myers / Palmer --to approve the Marijuana Ordinance and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Revenue. After further review it was discovered that passing this before year end was not as crucial as the Court thought.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY. Jim Carpenter, District Attorney said the WiFi that is used in their office for court appearances, general web access, and case management software has become spotty and unreliable. He has consulted with Robert Waltenburg and it is recommended that the office purchase the appropriate equipment in order to update the WiFi service to acceptable levels. There are funds in the DA budget which, if reallocated, could be used to cover the purchase price of $748.83. He is requesting that the court approve the purchase of the new equipment. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer--to approve the purchase of the equipment.

SOLUTIONS AUDIT. Grant County respectfully submitted the following corrective action plan in response to deficiencies reported in the audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020. The audit was completed by the independent auditing firm Solutions, CPAs PC, in John Day, Oregon. MSP: Palmer/Myers-- Judge Myers acknowledged the alleged findings by the auditors in relation to the new Courthouse roof. MSP: Myers/Palmer --to approve the Solutions audit as presented.

Judge Myers recited the State Attorney General’s Sample Script to Announce the Start of Executive Session. The court entered executive session at 10:20am.

EXECUTIVE SESSION. 10:20am Executive Session pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(f) to consider information or records that are exempt by law from public inspection, and Executive Session pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(h) to consult with counsel concerning the legal rights and duties of a public body with regard to current litigation or litigation likely to be filed. Judge Myers recited the State Attorney General’s Sample Script to Announce the Start of Executive Session. Present were Judge Myers, Commissioner Hamsher, Commissioner Palmer, Administrative Assistant Kim Puckett, Attorney Dominic Carollo via phone, Sheriff Glenn Palmer, Human Resources Manager Laurie Cates, Reporter Steven Mitchell, Reporter Logan Bagett. The court left executive session at 11:17am. The court returned to regular session at 11:17am. MSP: Myers/Palmer--based on the information provided from legal counsel discussed during executive session and pending county counsels final review of responsive records to direct county counsel to draft a proposed response letter to the Blue Mountain Eagle for the County Court signatures that makes determinations on public interest exemptions and exceptions to exemptions and the decision on a fee waiver or reduction.

11:20 am Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Kim Puckett

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 Kim Puckett at 541-575- 0059 or puckettk@grantcounty-or.gov **

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