Grant County Court minutes from July 27, 2016:
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, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Mike Cosgrove, Jim Spell, Beth Spell, Judy Kerr, Logan Bagett, Jim Hamsher, and Pastor Wes Aasness. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Aasness.
CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved month end claims.
AGENDA. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to add a hand check for recall postage in the amount of $850 as an emergency addition. MSP: Myers/Labhart to accept the agenda as amended.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Labhart hosted Senator Wyden’s town hall meeting at the Canyon City Community Hall on July 20th and attended the County department head meeting on July 21st. On July 22nd Labhart went to the County Wildfire Protection Plan meeting at the John Day Fire Hall and reported on the addition of two new fire wise communities. He attended the FEMA Flood Zone meeting at the John Day fire hall on Monday, July 25th and then went to a Restore Oregon meeting at Depot Park in Prairie City on July 26th. Labhart will attend a Grant County Local Community Advisory Council meeting this afternoon and on August 2nd will travel to a Work Force Board meeting in La Grande. Labhart wanted it on the record the court received a letter from Lou Yost of the National Geographic Names Board stating they would be reviewing the county’s name proposal requests on August 11th.
Commissioner Britton participated in a video production last week with Marcus Kaufman from the Oregon Department of Forestry regarding forest restoration and collaboration. Britton attended Senator Wyden’s town hall last week and although he had to leave early he stated it was an interesting meeting. Britton has been in contact with Jennifer Runyon of the National Board of Geographic Names and was told the county’s request for the names of Sullens Meadow and Sullens Creek will be reviewed further at their August 11th meeting. Britton stated he personally has no issue with Native American names, but he does have a problem with how our county was treated by the Oregon Geographic Names Board, and their failure to follow the policies and procedures of the National Geographic Names Board.
Judge Myers reported last Thursday he attended the McRae Scholarship committee meeting to select applicants to receive the scholarship. Last Thursday he attended a department head meeting at the courthouse and also attended the FEMA flood mapping meeting July 25th. Myers oversaw a probate hearing on Tuesday the 26th. This upcoming Monday a film crew from Australia will be in Prairie City to take a motorcycle ride and film the area around Strawberry Mountain and Myers will join them representing the county.
HAND CHECK. A hand check in the amount of $850 to pay for postage for the recall election ballots had been presented to the court. MSP: Myers/Britton – to approve the hand check in the amount of $850 for recall postage costs. Labhart asked if there was any financial expense to file a recall election because the cost to the taxpayers for the recall is estimated to be around $5,000. Myers said there is no fee and the cost is on the county. Britton advised the audience that if the recall fails and another recall was to be filed those filing would be required to pay the cost of the first recall election prior to filing another.
MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the July 20th minutes as amended.
9:10 am Kathy Smith entered.
COURTHOUSE DOOR SYSTEM. Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright presented information to the court regarding updating the courthouse door system. The current system doesn’t work consistently and will sometimes lock or unlock on its own. Wright said the system is ran through her computer and she used to be able to reset the system when something went wrong, but now she is unable to do so. Wright spoke with the contractor who installed the original system and was told it is old and that is probably why she cannot update it from her computer any longer. An upgrade is available that would utilize some of the current components and would run through a network configuration. It would be much more reliable and secure. The quote for the upgrade is $1,264.50. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to approve the upgrade to the courthouse door system in the amount of $1,264.50 to be paid out of the courthouse reserve fund.
EXTENSION & 4H LEASE. The court reviewed the lease with the Grant County Extension & 4H Service District for Suite 10 county building located at 530 E. Main St., John Day. The lease expired on June 30, 2016. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to approve the lease and circulate for signatures.
EXTENSION DISTRICT BUDGET RESOLUTION 16-21. The court reviewed Extension District Budget Resolution 16-21 to adopt the budget for fiscal year 2016-17. Treasurer Kathy Smith pointed out this resolution should have been adopted by June 30th and filed with the Assessor by July 15th. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to adopt Resolution 16-21 and circulate for signatures.
9:24 am Sean Hart and Kay Steele entered. 9:25 am Eva Harris entered.
FAIR CONTRACT. The court reviewed the contract sent by Fair Manager Mary Weaver for the Old Time Fiddlers to perform at fair this year in the amount of $700. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the contract as presented and circulate for signatures.
AGGREGATE STORAGE LEASE. The court reviewed an Aggregate Storage lease agreement between the Road Department and Ingle Butte Ranches, Inc. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the lease agreement and circulate for signatures.
9:27 am Dave Traylor entered.
LIBRARY ROOF. Library Board Chairman Kathy Smith requested the court look into fixing the leaking roof at the library. The roof is almost flat and in need of repair and has leaked in the past causing destruction of microfilm and books. Myers and Property Maintenance Specialist Nate Hughes have patched the roof and Myers estimated the current patch should last around 5 years. Myers explained the patch they applied and said it isn’t a permanent fix; it’s a temporary one and is currently not leaking. Britton asked about the feasibility of placing a sub-roof on the building and then covering that with tin. Myers said an architectural study would have to be done to ensure the exterior walls could hold the weight.
9:31 am Kathy McKinnon entered.
Britton suggested having an engineer look at the building and asked if Hughes had the capability of constructing a roof like this. Myers doesn’t feel Hughes would have time and also a licensed contractor would need to be hired for the project. Another option discussed was replacing the membrane on the current roof. Labhart asked why this wasn’t budgeted for in this budget year. Smith said she wasn’t aware of the amount of damage, she just thought there was a leak. Kathy McKinnon added there could be mold in the walls and carpet. Smith is concerned that even though the roof is currently not leaking if another large storm comes through it might and that would result in more damage to books. Myers agreed with Smith. It was pointed out that if the Library moves into a new building the current one would still not be able to be sold or used without repairing the roof. The court decided to table the decision on a new roof until Judge Myers can research the best option for replacement, either a pitched sub roof with tin or new membrane.
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT COMPUTER REQUEST. Sheriff Glenn Palmer had sent a written request to the court to purchase a new computer for the civil deputy. ESD recommended the purchase of the new computer and the current one is failing. A quote from ESD was attached to the request in the amount of $615.00. Treasurer Kathy Smith said she will get two other quotes as county policy requires since only one was provided. Labhart stated this is the department head’s responsibility and so this should be sent back to the Sheriff’s Department to get the two additional quotes. Smith advised she would take the funds out of the Sheriff’s capital outlay fund since there is currently $25,000 in the fund that may not all be utilized this year. Smith will transfer funds back into this fund if needed in the future. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve purchase of the computer to be paid out of the Sheriff’s capital outlay fund with a transfer from contingency later if necessary.
PUBLIC MEETING LAW. Beth Spell requested the court begin requiring county committees to post their agendas, meeting notices and minutes on the county website for public view. Spell said the reason she is bringing this subject up is because there isn’t any place a citizen can go to find information about the county’s volunteer committees such as agendas, meetings and minutes. Spell said on the current county web page there is a heading for committees and she suggested a place be added where the committees post this information. The committee’s should each appoint a recorder to post this information on the site.
9:51 am Steve Beverlin entered.
Labhart told Spell she was correct in what the public meeting laws require and added he believes in transparency and doesn’t see a problem with this idea at all. Myers agreed we have been lacking a public place for citizens to go for information. Eva Harris would like clarification on the different publication requirements for boards versus advisory committees. Spell read the ORS to the audience and it seems the requirements are the same for both. Discussion followed about public meeting requirements and committees providing minutes to the court. Kerr supports what Spell is saying and added the minutes should be provided to the court. Steve Beverlin supports this concept completely and said they have been trying to get the Public Forest Commission to comply with the public meeting laws as required and this has been difficult. Beverlin said the Forest Service strives for transparency and would like to see the law followed by all. Myers told the audience information is not purposely withheld, but the county is behind the times technologically and this needs to be addressed. Labhart suggested tabling the discussion and having the web master come in to give a presentation. Kerr suggested starting smaller and requiring the public bodies to post meeting notices, agendas and minutes as required by law. Harris said all public bodies should be following the law. Smith asked if the public meeting law describes the definition of publication. Spell read the rule to those in attendance. Discussion followed about different publication requirements. Wright explained how the current webpage is set up. Kerr read a portion of ORS 192.650 aloud. Myers said the committee chairs will be contacted about these issues. Britton asked Dave Traylor if the Grant County Public Forest Commission kept meeting minutes. Traylor said they did and if someone wanted to see them they just needed to contact any Public Forest Commission member and they could view them.
10:09 Haley Walker entered.
COUNTY TRAVEL/MILEAGE POLICY. Commissioner Labhart advised those in attendance of the input received from department heads at last week’s meeting regarding revising the county’s travel and mileage reimbursement policy. Labhart reported the consensus of the department heads was instead of having a specific mileage rate it was recommended to follow the current IRS rate, up to $125 plus tax for lodging, $50 for meals but will increase to $60 if your destination is one of eight cities listed as more expensive. Smith asked when the IRS rate is established or how often it might change and was concerned about keeping track of the possible mileage rate changes. Smith would prefer the mileage be a set rate for budgeting purposes. Spell said she looked the IRS information up on her phone and typically the IRS rates are set in December and published in January of each year. Labhart wanted to make sure it is placed in the policy that the cost for meals is based on the final destination and for lodging the employee must request the government rate. Labhart discussed the issues with personal credit card use and said department heads all agreed that each department should have a county credit card for employee use. Britton doesn’t feel our current travel policy is a problem and feels our current meal rate of $40 is sufficient. Harris is concerned that if an employee used a personal credit card for county business it could open the entire account up for public inspection. Discussion followed about the problems with employees using personal credit cards. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept the hotel rate of $125 plus tax and to increase the meal rate to $50, and to leave the mileage at the current rate of 45 cents per mile. Myers and Britton voted yes, Labhart voted no because he would prefer the changes he proposed.
AIRPORT GATE & SIGN. Gate: Airport Manager Haley Walker presented quotes received for the Forest Service Gate project. Walker said she believes the gate project discussion began in around 2013. This gate is imperative to keep wildlife off the runway and is a large safety issue. The quotes were from Red’s Electric in the amount of $2,080 and North River Electric in the amount of $10,504. The road department will provide the asphalt cold patch and Robert Watt has agreed to trench the asphalt free of charge. Beverlin asked where the alternate access will be while construction is going on and Walker told him there is another gate to use for access. The Forest Service has purchased all of the new gate parts and spent just under $3,000. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the installation of the gate and award the job to Red’s Electric in the amount of $2,080 with a project completion date no later than August 30th, to be paid out of airport contingency.
Entrance Sign: Walker also gave the court quotes for a stone entrance sign at the airport that was previously approved by the court. Walker reached out for 3 quotes and has only received quotes from two of the businesses she contacted. One quote was from Montana Rock Works in the amount of $2340 + shipping of around $900-$1500 without placement. The other quote was from Ontario Rock & Landscape Supplies in the amount of $1,970 including delivery & placement. Walker said the sign is important so patrons know they are arriving at the Grant County Regional Airport and not just a Forest Service facility. Traylor asked how large of a rock we are talking about and Walker said 66” x 66” x 24”. Beverlin asked if the Forest Service sign will remain where it is and Walker said there are no plans to move it. The sign will be funded by a transfer of funds from the airport contingency. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the purchase of the stone entrance sign from Ontario Rock & Landscape Supplies in the amount of $1,970 to be paid from airport contingency.
Internship: Walker said there is an opportunity to provide information to local youth regarding aviation with a possible internship. Members of the airport commission are in support of this idea. Walker would like to visit with high school seniors this year. Walker’s idea is to begin with an internship and possibly work into a work study type of program where the student’s get some sort of school credit for working at the airport. Labhart would like the student’s to get school credit for the work they perform. Harris asked if runway maintenance would also be included in this and Walker said it would along with working alongside her to see the managerial side of airports. Walker said this would be a paid internship at the current rate of $12 per hour and would not affect her budget because they would be a temporary part time employee during the summer months. Walker is estimating a 10 week program. Beverlin said the Forest Service would be willing to cooperate with the airport and allow the intern to also see how the Forest Service side of things works at the airport. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to authorize Walker to continue her research and development of the internship program.
VOCA GRANT. Victim Assistance Program Manager Andrea Officer had presented the final VOCA Grant to the court for approval of submission. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the final VOCA Grant application and authorize Judge Myers to sign.
PUBLIC COMMENT. Labhart said he was approached by a citizen about the room next to the courtroom not being utilized. Myers said it is being somewhat used. Labhart suggested making the room Judge Myers office and then purchasing a conference table for the courtroom for the court members to sit at. Labhart said he spoke with Clerk Brenda Percy and she isn’t using the room; it is just being used for storage.
11:09 am -- Adjourned