Grant County Court minutes from Nov. 7, 2018:
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, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Jim Sproul, Commissioner Elect Sam Palmer, Economic Development Director Sally Bartlett, Rick Minster, Shelley Whale-Murphy, Beth Simonson, Frances Preston, Vicki Thompson, Reporter Rick Hanners, Roadmaster Alan Hickerson, Economic Development Specialist Allison Field, Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett, Reporter Logan Bagett and Pastor Al Altnow. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Altnow.
9:08 am Dan Becker entered.
HAND CHECK. The court approved a hand check on October 29th to Dennis Dillon Nissan ($20,000) for a county car.
AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to accept the agenda as presented.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Judge Myers traveled to Boise, Idaho on the 29th of October to purchase another county vehicle for employee use. The vehicle is a 2016 Chevy Equinox AWD just like the SUV purchased a year and a half ago, but has lower miles than the current 2017 SUV. October 30th Myers went to La Grande for a Northeast Oregon Housing Authority board meeting.
9:11 am Haley Walker entered.
Myers attended the fundraiser for Mikayla Meyerholz on November 3rd and on November 4th went to the Healthy Smiles Fundraiser featuring Christopher Duffley. Myers performed a wedding on November 5th and yesterday traveled with Veanne Weddle to Monument to deliver meals in Long Creek and Monument.
Commissioner Hamsher attended the Meyerholz fundraiser as well along with the Christopher Duffley fundraiser. Hamsher has not yet received information on the proposed cell sites in the northern part of the county, but is hopeful he will hear something today. Hamsher reported the wetland survey has been completed for the Prairie City water project and grant proposals are moving forward.
Commissioner Raschio was absent because he was in a hearing in Circuit Court.
MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the October 24th minutes as presented after Commissioner Raschio’s review and approval.
PUBLIC HEARING – COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT. Judge Myers moved to open the public hearing at 9:15 am, Hamsher seconded, motion passed. Economic Development Director Sally Bartlett explained this is a public hearing and proponent and opponent testimony will be offered. Bartlett advised she requested court approval at the end of September to submit an intake form with the state to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The state approved the intake form and further application for the CDBG to build a domestic violence shelter. Heart of Grant County is a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Bartlett said the organization has moved several times and the current location is not a good one. Bartlett summarized the services provided by the Heart of Grant County over the past 10 years. Over the last two years shelter nights have doubled and the current facility has reached capacity a couple of times and also has safety issues. Bartlett reported when this project was first being discussed the organization did not have property, but has since purchased a piece of land. She said there was a lot of work put into selecting the location. Bartlett said they are asking for 1.5 million to construct the shelter and the Heart of Grant County will be responsible for supplying all the interior needs. If the court gives approval today to apply for the application it will be submitted and if selected for grant award the construction should start next spring. The 1.5 million would include the design and architectural work as well. Vicki Thompson asked where the property purchased is located. Bartlett told her the location, but said they try not to talk about this for security reasons because it is a shelter. Frances Preston asked if there would be a problem with the Heart of Grant County owning the property and the county owning the building. Bartlett explained after 5 years the building could be deeded to the Heart of Grant County and explained in order to qualify for the CDBG a non-profit must partner with a government agency. The government would enter into a lease with the non-profit for the 5 years to ensure the building wasn’t used for anything other than what the grant was for. Sam Palmer asked if there would be accommodations for men that were victims of domestic violence as well and will victims from out of county or state also be accommodated. Bartlett believes this will be mainly for Grant County residents and the shelter would accept anyone who was a victim. Heart of Grant County Executive Director Shelley Whale-Murphy said there have been times when they have transferred a victim to a different shelter at their request and believes they may accept victims from other areas who wish to come here. Whale-Murphy said they listen to each case and the details of the case when deciding things like this. Judge Myers offered proponent testimony.
Proponent testimony: Rick Minster of John Day advised he supports the county application for a domestic violence facility. Vicki Thompson of Mt. Vernon supports the application for a domestic violence shelter. Jim Sproul also supports this application, but suggested the Heart of Grant County look at current vacant commercial buildings that might be remodeled and serve the needs. Sam Palmer of John Day spoke in favor of the application and a safe facility for victims of domestic violence. Dan Becker of Prairie City is in favor of the shelter, especially to help children who are victims of domestic violence.
Opposition testimony: None was received.
Neutral testimony: None was received.
MSP: Myers/Hamsher – to close the hearing. Myers said Bartlett asked him to sign the application once it is completed and he is fine with doing this as long as the other commissioners can review it first. Bartlett explained she has had trouble in the past with getting signatures when court members are unavailable and that is why she asked for this approval.
9:39 am Julie Ellison entered.
MSP: Hamsher/Myers – to approve application of the CDBG grant and authorize Judge Myers to sign after review of the application by the other court members. Hamsher stated it is sad that we need a shelter here, but it is necessary to protect victims.
PLANNING DEPARTMENT. Planning Director Hilary McNary sent a written request to the court for approval to purchase a digital recorder for Planning Commission meetings. They currently utilize a cassette tape recorder that is experiencing operational malfunctions and provides poor audio quality. McNary would like to purchase the same type of digital recorder used by the County Court which is the Marantz PMD 620 MKII. She pointed out that having two of the same type of digital recorders would be good to have in the event something goes wrong with one unit because there would be a backup available for either court meetings or planning meetings. McNary provided several different quotes ranging in cost from $129.99 to $1099.99. The cost of the Marantz digital recorder would be $418.45 which includes three microphones and would be paid from the Planning Department supply line. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve purchase of the Marantz PMD 620 MKII.
PUBLIC HEALTH ADMINISTRATOR. The court discussed tabling this discussion until a future court date. MSP: Hamsher/Myers – to table this discussion until a future court date.
COURTHOUSE LED LIGHTING. The court reviewed two quotes received to upgrade the courthouse lighting to LED. Red’s Electric Service provided an estimate of $14,520 and S&C Electric provided an estimate of $20,000. Myers believes most of the cost of the upgrade would be covered by rebates offered from Oregon Trail Electric Coop. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to award and accept the quote of Red’s Electric in the amount of $14,520.
AIRPORT. Airport Manager Haley Walker explained that the Airport received overpayment of grant funds from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) during the Connect Oregon IV runway project. Walker advised ODOT recently completed an audit of the project where it was discovered errors were made in the accounting and billing of the project. Walker reported the errors totaled $55,925.92 in overpayments to the Airport. Walker said the Airport budget does not have the funding to pay this amount and so she is asking for assistance from the general fund contingency. ODOT has agreed to accept payment of $55,925.92 as satisfaction in full. Walker requested a settlement with ODOT because there were errors made on their side as well, but was told the Airport would need to pay this back. Walker said originally ODOT claimed over $100,000 in overpayment, but Walker was able to work with them to reach the current figure. Walker was not employed by the county when this project was completed. Walker has put checks and balances into place at the Airport for grant funding so this does not occur again. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve payment of $55,925.92 to ODOT from the general fund contingency and to authorize Judge Myers to sign the agreement letter.
RESOLUTION 18-33. The court reviewed Resolution 18-33 which receives and appropriates funds for the VOCA grant in the District Attorney’s Office in the amount of $1035. Myers read the Resolution to those in attendance. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve Resolution 18-33 and circulate for signatures.
DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY. A revised job description for the Deputy District Attorney was reviewed by the court. This description more accurately reflects what the new Deputy DA will be doing in the department. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to adopt the revised Deputy DA job description.
MEDICAL EXAMINER. District Attorney Jim Carpenter sent a written request to the court to appoint a Medical Examiner. Carpenter advised Dr. Betza tendered her resignation as Medical Examiner effective November 1st. Carpenter met with April Beiber, PA who expressed interest in becoming the Medical Examiner. Beiber has previous experience in the State Medical Examiner’s office and is spoken of highly there. Carpenter also contacted the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office and said they are willing to appoint Beiber upon approval from the court. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to appoint April Beiber, PA as Grant County Medical Examiner effective immediately.
ASSESSOR. Assessor David Thunell presented two requests for property tax refund to the court.
Order 2018-06: To refund $798.17 to Robert & Rosita Stanbro because the amount billed was in error and the property should have been under special assessment for farm deferral. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the tax refund of $798.17 to Stanbro and Order 2018-06 and circulate for signatures.
Order 2018-08: To refund $3,046.30 to Land Title Company because this was a double payment and should have been paid by the lending company. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the tax refund of $3,046.30 to Land Title Company and Order 2018-08 and circulate for signatures.
COURTHOUSE MATTERS. Christmas Potluck: The court discussed a date for the employee Christmas Potluck. December 11th from 12 pm to 2 pm was decided upon.
Christmas Eve: The court discussed closing county offices on Christmas Eve because it falls on a Monday this year and it is anticipated that most employees will be gone. Myers advised some staff members have requested that the county gift Christmas Eve off to employees. Myers added this will not be done every year and the court is not setting precedent with this decision. MSP: Myers/Hamsher – to gift Christmas Eve off to employees with pay.
December Court Dates: December 12th will be a regularly scheduled court dates and December 26th would be the other. The court discussed changing the December 26th date because of the Christmas holiday. MSP: Myers/Hamsher – to hold court on December 19th instead of the 26th.
VETERAN SERVICES. The Veteran Services budget has funding to allow purchase of a vehicle for the Veteran Service Officer (VSO). Currently the VSO utilizes her own vehicle for outreach and travel to meetings and is reimbursed for mileage. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve purchase of a vehicle for Veteran Services in the amount of $25,000 or under. Hamsher publically thanked Katee Hoffman for the good work she is doing for our veterans.
10:12 am Senior Programs Manager Veanne Weddle entered.
ORDER 2018-07. The court reviewed Order 2018-07 – In the Matter of Investing County Funds in Authorized Institutions. The Order authorizes the Treasurer, with the approval of the County Governing Body, to invest County monies. Treasurer Julie Ellison prepared the Order to include the following financial institutions: US Bank (John Day Branch), Bank of Eastern Oregon (John Day Branch), Umpqua Bank (John Day Branch), Wells Fargo (Portland Branch), Time Value Investments Inc., Local Government Investment Pool (State Treasurer, Salem), and Old West Federal Credit Union (John Day Branch). Ellison has also prepared a letter to the Bank of Eastern Oregon for court approval to authorize her to open a municipal money market account. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve Order 2018-07 and the authorization letter and circulate for signatures.
ROAD DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS. Snow Removal – Columbia Basin Helicopters: The contract with Columbia Basin Helicopters Inc. for snow removal in the Granite area was reviewed by the court. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to award and approve the contract with Columbia Basin Helicopters Inc. and circulate for signatures.
Maintenance Shop Improvement Project: One quote was received by the Road Department for the Maintenance Shop Improvement Project which is to enlarge the pit in the mechanic’s shop. After notifying ten local contractors about the project only one provided a quote and that was Mike Voigt Construction who quoted $13,125. Joe Hitz of Sisul Engineering recommended accepting the quote and issuing a Notice of Award to Mike Voigt Construction. The court reviewed the Notice of Award and Contract with Mike Voigt Construction. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to accept the bid and approve the Notice of Award and Contract with Mike Voigt Construction and authorize Judge Myers to sign.
SENIOR PROGRAMS. Senior Programs Manager Veanne Weddle presented a request to the court to increase the wages for Head Cooks and Assistant Cooks at the Senior Centers. Weddle explained currently the Assistant Cook wage is $10.70 per hour and the Head Cook wage is $10.81 per hour. The county pays $12 per hour for temporary relief help that does not require any specialized skills. Weddle explained the different skills required for these positions. She pointed out the Cooks not only work directly with the public; they also provide all of the cleaning in the kitchens and have always passed their health department inspections. Weddle said the Cooks in Monument have both been there for over 20 years. Weddle said the county pays 10 hours per cook per Senior Center per week, but the John Day Senior Center pays for an extra day. Weddle proposed $12 per hour for Assistant Cooks and $12.50 for Head Cooks and said the John Day Senior Center is in support of this increase. The increase would cost under $10,000 per year to the county. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve an hourly rate of $12.50 for Head Cooks and $12 for Assistant Cooks effective for the November pay period.
PUBLIC COMMENT. Sam Palmer asked if the Senior Center rented the building in John Day. Myers advised the John Day Senior Center owns the building and the county only provides the Cooks and Program Manager Weddle. Jim Sproul asked for an update on the sale of the public health building. Myers said he spoke with Surveyor Mike Springer about the property line yesterday and believes the court will accept the adjusted property line. Sproul suggested putting language in the sale deed to ensure the parking will remain available for county use. Hamsher agreed that language should be added to make sure a fence can’t be constructed just to protect the county. Myers congratulated Sam Palmer for his election win.
10:28 am – Adjourned.