Grant County Court minutes from March 27, 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, Frances Preston, Katy Nelson, Pam Powell, Russ Powell, Dan Becker, Judy Kerr, Dave Traylor, Reporter Rick Hanners, Road Master Alan Hickerson, Office Manager Kathy Gillam, and Pastor Al Altnow. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Altnow. Judge Myers was out on medical leave.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrant #120 on March 20th.

HAND CHECK. The court approved a hand check for Community Corrections Training costs of $225 on March 25th, 2019. The court approved a hand check to Jim Hamsher to reimburse him for travel costs from his trip to Washington, DC. Commissioner Hamsher declared a conflict for the check written to him.

AGENDA. Commissioner Hamsher stated an addition needed to be made to the agenda to allow for a presentation and funding request from Search and Rescue. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to accept the agenda as amended.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Palmer attended a Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation (GEODC) meeting in Pendleton on March 15th that was very well attended and where economic development for the entire region was discussed. The evening of the 15th Palmer went to a dinner at the American Legion to celebrate its 100 year anniversary. March 16th Palmer attended a funeral service for Lee Hyder and on the 20th participated in an all-day Budget Committee meeting. Palmer went to the Eastern Oregon Counties Association (EOCA) meeting at the Airport and on the 25th attended a Farm Bureau meeting that evening. Palmer participated in a telephone call with Senator Merkley on March 27th.

9:07 am Mitch Tesky, Shane Giffin, and Reporter Logan Bagett entered.

Commissioner Hamsher reported Judge Myers is scheduled for surgery on April 4th and asked everyone to please keep him in their prayers. Hamsher talked with Scott Fairley from Business Oregon. Hamsher was interviewed by Reporter Rick Hanners about his trip to Washington, DC and thanked Hanners for the nice article he wrote for today’s paper. Hamsher spoke with residents and Forest Service employees regarding the Forest Plan Revision. On March 15th Hamsher went to the American Legion dinner to celebrate its 100 year birthday and added he would like to personally thank Veteran Services Officer Katee Hoffman and her Assistant for their good work. Hamsher briefly attended the CASA dinner in John Day the evening of the 15th. Hamsher continued to speak with representatives of the Wildlife Advisory Board about mule deer numbers, the wildlife control agent and requesting assistance from municipalities to fund this position. He met with the Community Task Force about how marijuana tax revenue is spent on projects. Hamsher attended an EOCA meeting on March 22nd at the Airport where the Blue Mountain Forest Plan was discussed along with plans moving forward. The EOCA also talked about the current lobby structure and agreed to oppose House Bill 2835. It appears that other counties plan on joining EOCA and this should lower the due structure for all members. Hamsher met with several Department Heads and also spoke with Congressman Walden’s Field Representative regarding the upcoming Town Hall and Forest Plan Revision. On March 20th he participated in a Budget Committee meeting. Hamsher met with Allison Field of Economic Development about the possibility of locating grant funding to assist the Grant County Historical Museum. March 25th he attended the Farm Bureau meeting. He continues to discuss the Forest Plan Revision with Harney County Commissioner Owens and has also been speaking with Senator Bentz’s staff. This afternoon Hamsher will participate in a telephone conference call with Senator Merkley. On March 30th he will attend Congressman Walden’s Town Hall in Mt. Vernon and on April 9th he will participate in a respectful workplace training put on by City County Insurance (CIS).

MINUTES. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the March 13th minutes as presented.

ROAD DEPARTMENT. Road Master Alan Hickerson presented three requests to the court.

Dura-patcher: Hickerson said last year his department borrowed a Dura-patcher from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and they were very impressed with the results. Hickerson explained how a Dura-patcher works and ODOT Regional Manager Shane Giffin further explained the machine and the benefits of using it. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that the machine can be borrowed again because it is shared throughout the region and Hickerson would like to purchase one.

Hickerson checked prices and new machines retail for around $97,000. He found a used 2007 Dura-patcher from MetroQuip in Meridian, Idaho for the price of $36,000 and requested court approval to move forward with the purchase to be paid from the Road Department capital outlay line item. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve purchase of the 2007 Dura-patcher from MetroQuip for $36,000.

Communication Site Lease: The court reviewed an Intergovernmental Colocation Agreement (IGA) with ODOT for the County to lease space on the communications tower at Aldrich owned by ODOT. The cost of the lease is $1475.10 annually. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the IGA with ODOT and circulate for signatures.

Revised Job Descriptions: Hickerson asked for court approval to submit two revised job descriptions to the Local Government Personnel Institute (LGPI) for wage scale placement. The Safety and Risk Manager and Office Manager descriptions were revised to more accurately reflect the duties of the positions. The cost for LGPI review is $170 per description. Human Resource Manager Laurie Wright advised she assisted with the revisions to the descriptions. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the revised job descriptions and send them to LGPI for placement review.

FAIRGROUNDS. The Fair Manager had requested approval to have LGPI review the Groundskeeper – Office Assistant position for grade placement at the last court meeting. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve sending the Groundskeeper-Office Assistant description to LGPI for placement review.

JAIL NURSING SERVICES. The court reviewed an Agreement for Professional Nursing-Medical Services with Community Counseling Solutions (CCS). The agreement provides the services of a Registered Nurse for inmates in the Jail at a cost of $502.00 per month and would be effective from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the Agreement for Professional Nursing-Medical Services with CCS and to authorize Commissioner Hamsher to sign as Judge Myers designee.

9:28 am Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett entered.

EASTERN OREGON COUNTIES ASSOCIATION. The court reviewed an invoice for dues from the Eastern Oregon Counties Association (EOCA) for fiscal year 2019-2020 in the amount of $10,500. Hamsher advised he will have a more accurate number by next week regarding what the dues will actually be. The discussion was tabled until a future court date.

OREGON HEALTH AUTHORITY AGREEMENT 153123-5. The court members reviewed the Fifth Amendment to Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Agreement 153123. The agreement modifies the financial assistance award by $0.02. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the Fifth Amendment to OHA Agreement 153123 and authorize Commissioner Palmer to sign.

DAVID BERNHARDT LETTER OF SUPPORT. The court reviewed a letter of support to Senator’s Wyden and Merkley for appointment of David Bernhardt to lead the Department of Interior. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the letter and circulate for signatures.

FOREST PATROL AGREEMENT. The court reviewed an agreement with the United States Forest Service (USFS) to reimburse the Grant County Sheriff’s Office for providing forest patrol services and would expire on December 31, 2019. MSP: Palmer/Hamsher -- to approve the agreement with the USFS and authorize Commissioner Hamsher to sign as Judge Myers designee.

9:32 am Sergeant Danny Komning entered.

PILT FUNDING. The court had prepared a letter to several US Legislatures to request that the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program is fully funded. Frances Preston would like it made clear to legislatures that we need mills in Eastern Oregon so the community can be self-supporting. Hamsher explained that this is payment in lieu of taxes for federal land in the county. MSP: Palmer/Hamsher -- to approve the letter and circulate for signatures.

OREGON HOUSE BILL 2184. The court had prepared a letter to Oregon Representative Lynn Findley requesting support and passage of House Bill 2184 to expand the Oregon Universal Service Fund surcharge to apply to cell phone providers as well as landline communications. The funds from this bill would assist with paying for broadband in rural areas. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer -- to approve the letter to Rep. Findley and circulate for signatures.

9:36 am The court took a short break. 9:44 am Deputy Dave Dobler and several Search and Rescue volunteers entered. 9:46 am The court returned to session.

JUSTICE COURT. Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett advised the court that due to a staff change in her department she is not expecting to have a Department Assistant until possibly June. This position was funded in October of 2018 and there is approximately $10,000 remaining in the budget along with $975 in the temporary relief help line. Stinnett would like to temporarily allow the Justice Court Clerk to work 40 hours a week instead of 32 until the end of this fiscal year. MSP: Palmer/Hamsher -- to approve a temporary increase to 40 hours per week for the Justice Court Clerk.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Dave Traylor said there is a lot of runoff coming down into Canyon Creek with a lot more melting snow in the mountains. He asked if there was a contingency plan in place for potential flooding. Hamsher said the Emergency Management Coordinator has been keeping a close eye on this daily and has plans to place equipment in places when and if needed. Frances Preston attended a meeting at the Forest Service and said there are no plans until the end of the summer with regard to the Forest Plan Revision. Preston believes the public needs to be involved in all meetings moving forward. Hamsher said with the new leadership trust might be able to be restored with communities and they now understand the importance of listening to the public. Palmer said Forest Service leadership was being misinformed internally about the people here and how rude and violent citizens might be. He said once the Forest Service employees actually came here for the meeting they were pleased with how it went and the response from citizens.

SEARCH AND RESCUE. Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator Deputy Dave Dobler updated the court that since he took over there have been 16 missions conducted by SAR, including one that lasted three days. Several SAR volunteers were in attendance. Dobler explained they conduct several fundraisers throughout the year for SAR costs, but there are also trainings that must be attended. Dobler advised the court that SAR will be traveling to Humbolt Elementary, the Seneca School and Prairie City School over the next two months to give presentations to 400 to 450 children. Dobler asked for court assistance to provide educational materials and handouts to the children. The SAR program is spending about $1,300 for the educational materials and supplies and needs an additional $2,500 in assistance from the County. Hamsher said the City of Prairie City has a large amount of bottled water and would be willing to donate this to SAR to help lower costs. Dobler read three emails to those in attendance from families who have been assisted by SAR. Mr. Westervelt was rescued by SAR and has offered to donate $2,500 if the court also agrees to provide $2,500 in funding. Commissioner Palmer advised he is a member of SAR and recused himself from discussion regarding this request. MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to approve the funding request of $2,500 to SAR.

10:12 am The court took a break until the public hearing until 11 am. 10:55 am Planning Director Hilary McNary entered. 11:00 am The court returned to session.

Commissioner Hamsher, Commissioner Palmer, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Dan Becker and Planning Director Hilary McNary were in attendance for the public hearing.

PUBLIC HEARING – ORDINANCE 2019-06. The hearing opened at 11:02 am for Ordinance 2019-06 – In the Matter of Revising and Establishing Fees Related to Building Permits in Grant County and Declaring an Emergency. Hamsher asked Planning Director Hilary McNary to conduct the hearing and McNary read Ordinance 2019-06 by title. McNary reported these fees are associated with the department going live for e-permitting and to ensure they are in compliance with all required feeds. McNary said the Ordinance was published so it only needed to be read by title today. McNary offered public testimony as follows:

Proponent: None received.

Opponent: None received.

Neutral: None received.

Hilary asked the only attendee (Dan Becker) if he wished to add any input and he indicated he did not. McNary closed public testimony. Discussion followed regarding the potential changes to the permitting process. McNary advised the amount of money sent to the State from permit fees will remain the same as it has been.

MSP: Palmer/Hamsher -- to close the public hearing. The second reading will be April 24th at 11 am and will be noticed the week prior in the newspaper.

11:13 am MSP: Hamsher/Palmer – to adjourn the meeting.

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 ****


Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.