Grant County Court minutes from Jan. 8, 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, Ted Williams, Frances Preston, Judy Kerr, Katy Nelson, Rick Minster, Nancy Collins, Anthony Urioste, Haley Walker, Mary Walker, Ryan Palmer, Alan Hickerson, Reporter Rudy Diaz, and Pastor Wes Aasness. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Aasness.

AGENDA. MSP: Myers to accept the agenda as presented with a few additions.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. On December 27th Judge Myers had a Special Executive Session to discuss personnel issues. January 2nd he attended a special farewell to Judge Cramer after 23 years as an elected Circuit Court Judge in Harney and Grant County. January 6th Myers traveled to Ontario with Commissioner Hamsher for an appointment to Senate District 30, Senator Lynn Findley, they will likely host a meeting appointing a replacement for Findley in the House of Representatives. On the 7th Judge Myers conducted a wedding in the Courtroom. Myers will be traveling on the 13th to the Association of Counties (AOC) Day in Salem at Local Government Center weather permitting.

Commissioner Palmer went to the Local Community Advisory Council (LCAC) meeting on December 18th at the Fire Station. On the 20th he went to the Blues International Council (BIC) Meeting in Pendleton. Palmer attended the Executive Session to discuss personnel issues on the 27th. He then drove down through the Ritter country to look at some of that, on the way back he stopped to look at a radio site proposal on Long Creek Mountain. January 3rd he attended another Executive Session. January 4th he went to the Oregon Precinct Committee Person (PCP) Meeting at the Airport. January 5th Palmer attended Representative Merkley’s visit in Mt Vernon. January 6th he attended by phone the vote for the State Senate seat. He also attended Judge Cramer’s retirement.

Commissioner Hamsher attended both Executive Sessions. He went to Judge Cramer’s retirement on January 2nd. He attended the Merkley Town Hall in Mt Vernon. He traveled with Judge Myers to Ontario for an appointment to Senate District 30, Senator Lynn Findley. Hamsher met with the Supervisor from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and facilitated a meeting between them and the land owner where they are trying to put in the deer compost site.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Palmer -- to approve the December 11th (Amended) December 18th, 27th and January 3rd Minutes as presented.

SAFETY COMMITTEE: Ted Williams, Emergency Management Coordinator, addressed to the court the need for a Physical Security Risk Assessment and asked approval to obtain proposals. The purpose of the assessment is to identify risks. Commissioner Hamsher suggested to continue looking for potential grant opportunities. MSP: Myers/Palmer --to authorize moving forward and locate a budget place and look at the best way to put out the request for proposals.

Shannon Springer entered 9:21am

Tracy Blood and Lisa Weigum entered 9:30am

MEDICAL TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS (MASA): Tony Urioste, presented to the court a presentation on the MASA Membership. MASA provides an alternative or additional voluntary air/ground ambulance insurance for employees. MSP: Hamsher/Myers -- to approve offering this benefit to county employees.

Julie Ellison entered 10:25am

COMMUNITY HEALTH IMPROVEMENT COALITION: Tracy Blood & Lisa Weigum presented to the court a follow up request for funding. MSP: Myers/Hamsher --to fund the amount available for their assistance which is $2939.50 and include the next quarter marijuana tax money. MSP: Myers/Palmer-- Due to recent information the court will obligate $4322.49 to the program instead of $2939.50.

PLANNING DEPARTMENT: Shannon Springer, Planning Director discussed with the court the Ordinance 2020-01 amending the Comprehensive Plan related to a significant Aggregate site known as the Meadow Brook Quarry. Ordinance 2020-01 amends County Ordinance 2019-01. MSP: Palmer/Myers --to adopt and sign amended County Ordinance 2020-01.

Logan Bagett entered 10:57am, Paula Guenther entered 11:01am, Joe Bennett entered 11:11am.

ROAD DEPARTMENT: Alan Hickerson, Road Master, discussed with the court the purchase of a new Flat Bed. Last year the 2017 Ford F-250 had an incident with a blown rear tire which took out the lower part of the pickup bed. Hickerson has two quotes from two body shops in John Day, the lowest being $2871.61. After reviewing the predicament they came to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to replace the pickup bed with a flat bed. The Road Department already has four flatbeds in the fleet which are real workhorses of the fleet and used almost every day. Hickerson received from two Flat Bed distributors/fabricators. Payne Flat Beds, the third quote, was quoted over the phone. The Road Department purchased the last two flat beds from Payne Flat Beds, a quality Bradford flat bed at a fair price. If the flat bed is approved they will need to set the pickup up with a fuel tank/tool box combo. Flat Bed quotes were from Double Diamond $4,278, Pioneer West Inc. $2,820, and Payne Flat Beds $2,675. Toolbox/Fuel Tank quotes were from Northern Tool $1,399.99, RDS Equipment $1,217.06, and Les Schwab $1,150. MSP: Myers/Palmer --to approve the purchase of the flat bed, fuel tank/tool box combo.

ROAD DEPARTMENT: Alan Hickerson, Road Master, discussed with the court additional staff training hours needed. Kathy Gillam, Office Manager, has announced her retirement after 26 years and her last day will be Feb 1st. Tammy Workman will be transitioning into that position and her current part-time position will be posted. MSP: Palmer/Myers –to approve the additional training hours.

Zach Mobley entered 11:31am, Kathy Stinnett entered 11:32am

UMATILLA NATIONAL FOREST: Paula Guenther discussed with the court activities and upcoming projects for 2020. She discussed the new Natural Resource Advisory Council and their potential role in collaboration for the Davis Farm Bill CE, with Commissioner Hamsher following up with her on that topic. Also that I will have our new Road Manager, Ethan Morrison, follow up with Allen Henderson about winter travel cautionary signs for the 10 Road and through travel to Granite not possible during winter.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE: Undersheriff Zach Mobley discussed with the court recent crimes within the county. Mobley states there have been a lot of theft and burglaries and, they would like to set up a tip reward program requesting the public’s help. In the last 4 months the Sheriff’s office has received 25 theft reports, and 3 burglary reports, John Day City Police has received 12 theft and 5 burglary reports. John Day City Manager, Nick Greene is in support of this and is willing to add funds to the program. Mobley will also be asking The City of Prairie City and Canyon City to help support the program. Mobley plans on doing a press release to all our local media outlets requesting the public’s help. Mobley believes if a reward is added there is a much better chance of getting these cases solved. Commissioner Hamsher suggested discussing a community neighborhood watch program as well. MSP: Myers/Hamsher --to fund the $1,000 for the tip reward program.

COURTHOUSE HOURS: The discussion was brought to the court about changing the courthouse hours. The court members would like the Department Managers, to discuss, this at their next meeting.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The District Attorney’s Office has a designated death investigator, Richard Tirico. Dispatch has been notified that Tirico is to receive the first call out for any unattended death or otherwise where a death investigation is necessary. In the event that Tirico is not available, then dispatch would contact, Sheriff Glenn Palmer, and if the Sheriff is not available, Gretchen Ladd. Since his appointment, Tirico has responded to every call out for a death investigator. The county has budgeted, and historically paid, $210.00 per month to the hospital as a stipend for a medical examiner. While the county has been without a medical examiner, the District Attorney has stopped the payment of the stipend. It is proposed that the stipend be paid monthly to Tirico, beginning January 2020. This stipend would be reviewed regularly to assess Tirico’s performance and availability as a death investigator. MSP: Myers/Palmer --to table the decision until additional conversations with the District Attorney can take place.

FAIRGROUNDS: Mindy Winegar, Fairgrounds Manager is requested approval to attend the Oregon Fair Conference. MSP: Hamsher/Myers --to approve the request to attend the Conference.

PUBLIC COMMENT. None received

12:20 pm Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Kim Puckett

Administrative Assistant

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