IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT
OCTOBER 30, 2013
Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the
radio station in Grant County 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 Boyd Britton and
Chris B. Labhart, Secretary Mary Ferrioli, Hank Lissman, and Reverend Flora Cheadle. A
Pledge of Allegiance was given to the US flag. The invocation was given by Reverend Cheadle.
AGENDA. Commissioner Britton asked to discuss the court’s earlier decision about the Grouse
Mountain land exchange, and the Blue Mountain Forest Partners office space. Labhart felt the
Grouse Mountain issue should be scheduled on the agenda so the public is able to participate.
Labhart suggested that we add a 10-minute allotment at the beginning of each week’s agenda
for public comment.
GROUSE MOUNTAIN LAND EXCHANGE. Britton wanted to confirm the court’s position about
the land exchange, in its July 12, 2013 letter to Oregon Parks and Recreation Director Tim
Woods. Myers didn’t think the court had changed its mind, but if the court does change its
position the public should be notified of that discussion. Labhart agreed that the public should
be notified ahead of time about this important discussion. Britton understood the Parks
Commission will be making the decision in the near future. Labhart indicated he would be
absent at next week’s meeting. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept the agenda with adding
discussion at 10:00 am on the Grouse Mountain Land Exchange and discussion at some
point about the Blue Mountain Forest Partners office space. Labhart voted no because he
didn’t think the addition was an emergency.
9:10 am -- Sue Horn and Jason Hatfield entered
ANNOUNCEMENTS.
Labhart drove the Vet’s van to Boise last Thursday. He suggested sending a letter in support of
the current physician’s operation at the VA Clinic in Burns. Labhart will be attending a
Community Advisory Committee meeting at noon today at the Health Department. He planned
to be elk hunting out of county next week.
Myers attended a Community Connections of Northeast Oregon quarterly board meeting
yesterday in La Grande.
Britton and his wife will sponsor the senior meal this Thursday. Britton will travel to Tillamook for
an Oregon Geographic Names Board meeting this Friday.
9:35 am -- Gail Enright and Jim Sproul entered.
HAND CHECK. On October 24 Judge Myers signed a hand check to the Sheriff in the amount
of $1,853.00 to cover October’s VAWA law enforcement investigator hours.
MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the October 23 minutes as presented.
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323 S. HUMBOLT. Surveyor Jason Hatfield and Road Master Susan Horn reviewed and
discussed the county’s options for dividing separate tax lots on surplus property formerly used
for Road Department operations at 323 S. Humbolt in Canyon City. Hatfield had provided a
sketch showing Tax Lots 400, 500, 901, 1700, and 1800 where some lines actually go through
existing structures. The sketch also shows R.O.W lines, 1995 proposed R.O.W. along CR 51 /
Adam Drive, and proposed R.O.W. to be acquired from the Town of Canyon City. The court was
asked for direction on making lot line and R.O.W. adjustments. Hatfield said a 1995 survey
shifted lines associated with installing a new bridge, but had not followed through as expected.
Horn had already talked with legal counsel about the need to include R.O.W. language in the
pre-sale documents. Labhart and Britton both felt zoning should be addressed before tax lots
are considered -- zoning and R.O.W. acquisition was an issue with the Town of Canyon City.
9:35 am -- Lane Burton entered
Discussion took place about lot lines adjacent to CR 51 / Adam Drive that had changed,
encroachment that will require a tax lot adjustment, the residential zoning designation, and need
to complete surveys for R.O W and tax lot lines on lots 31 and 32, and the alley. Assessor Lane
Burton personally recommended retaining the existing tax lots since they are already under a
single ownership. Jim Sproul suggested selling the tax lots subject to a future county R.O. W.
adjustment. Burton said the problem there is no R.O. W. record for CR 51 exists, which came to
light when the county decided to sell the surplus property. Hank Lissman asked about the public
bidding process and a possible requirement that the property be sold intact. Britton suggested
that we go forward with authorizing the surveys to straighten out the lot lines for this property.
9:45 am -- King Williams entered
Labhart noted that other public entities could be offered the first right of refusal. He proposed
authorizing Surveyor Jason Hatfield to conduct surveys of Tax Lots 500, 1700, and 1800; and
line adjustments on lots 31, 32, 34, 29 and 30. Britton was not comfortable making the decision
today, and asked for additional time to consider the issues. Jim Sproul suggested that we
survey CR 51 now, and take care of the lot surveys later. Hatfield clarified that he is not working
on behalf of the County Surveyor as these are not typical County Surveyor duties. He would be
working for Benchmark on this surplus county property. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to authorize
Jason Hatfield of Benchmark Surveying to conduct a survey on CR 51 and S. Humbolt St.
GROUSE MOUNTAIN RANCH. Britton had asked to discuss the court’s current position on the
Grouse Mountain State Park land acquisition. Britton has been attending Oregon Park
Commission public meetings and wants to confirm that the court is still in opposition to the land
exchange. The Parks Commission will be making the decision in November. Britton said he’s
not only attending meetings, but would be contacting State Representative Cliff Bentz and State
Senator Ted Ferrioli about the court’s position. For the benefit of those present, Myers recited
the court’s July 12, 2013 letter to OPRD Director Tim Woods. Britton recited a September 24,
2013 letter of public comment to OPRD from the Grant County Farm Bureau, Grant County
Livestock Association, Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, Jeff Thomas, Jack Johns, Assessor
Lane Burton, Commissioner Boyd Britton, State Rep Cliff Bentz, et al.
Labhart indicated he had visited with the OPRD Director and Deputy Director about restoring tax
revenue, allowance of some hunting, law enforcement, and paying fire protection rates. Based
on that conversation, Labhart said he changed his mind and would no longer support the court’s
July 12th letter. Myers said he has not been compelled to change his opinion and agreed that we
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have plenty of public lands already. Gail Enright and Jim Sproul spoke in support of the public’s
opposition to the state’s acquisition of Grouse Mountain Ranch property. King Williams pointed
out the lack of any guarantees for promises the state is making about tax revenue, hunting,
water issues, etc., due to funding restrictions. Britton believed, if the acquisition goes through,
any voluntary PILT payment should be at the full amount without any agricultural exemption.
10:25 am – News Reporter Scotta Callister entered
BLUE MOUNTAIN FOREST PARTNERS. Britton said he understands BMFP Director Vernita
Ediger needs some office furniture and proposed the county loan the needed furniture. He also
wanted the county to sponsor the cost of BMFP office space at 530 E. Main in John Day. Myers
noted the county is currently waiving meeting room fees at the airport for BMFP. King Williams
said that fee waiver is based on participation by the Forest Service. Labhart understood Ediger
needs the furniture now. Myers said he’s already obligated to find some furniture. Britton felt it
would be appropriate for the county to consider waiving the rent requirement to show support for
BMFP. Ms. Ediger plans to attend a court meeting to provide more information before the
decision is made.
FIRE PATROL ASSESSMENT. The court reviewed and approved a FY 2013-2015 Contract
with Oregon Department of Forestry / Central Oregon District for $1,000.00 per fiscal year for
providing maintenance of the Oregon Forestry Fire Patrol Assessment. The rate remains the
same as the previous contract. Assessor Lane Burton previously indicated that he approves of
this continuing contract. MSP: Labhart/Britton -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the
Contract with Oregon Department of Forestry for Fire Patrol Assessment computer
program maintenance.
BUDGET RESOLUTION. The court reviewed and signed Resolution 13-46 Making Intrafund
Transfers / Commission on Children and Families in the amount of $19,600.00 from Personal
Services to Materials & Services to administer the new Department of Education Services
Continuity Grant funds. Myers recited the resolution in its entirety. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to
circulate for signatures Resolution 13-46.
RUNWAY 9-27 REHAB PROJECT. Court members reviewed and approved Amendment No. 2
to Connect Oregon IV Grant Agreement for the Runway 09-27 Rehabilitation Project. The
Oregon Department of Transportation requested the update to reflect changes in the timeline for
this project resulting from missing the summer work window. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to
circulate for signature Amendment No. 2 to Connect Oregon IV Grant Agreement for the
Runway 09-27 Rehabilitation Project pending acceptance by legal counsel.
10:40 am -- Brenda Percy and Kathy Smith entered
NON-PARTISAN COMMISSIONER. The court reviewed and discussed an Ordinance proposed
by Commissioner Chris Labhart to designate the office of County Commissioner as nonpartisan,
and referring for the May 2014 Primary Election. Clerk Brenda Percy and Treasurer Kathy Smith
were present. Britton distributed Harney County’s August 2012 Court Order on Ordinance 201271 Referring to voters whether to treat the office of County Commissioner as “nonpartisan”
beginning in 2014. He noted that it was passed with 76% of the vote in Harney County. Labhart
said our last Primary Election had a significant drop in registered voters. He didn’t think it was
fair to exclude some voters from participating in the Primary Election. Labhart added that
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Commissioner is the only partisan position in Grant County. Myers supported taking this action
in Grant County since other County Courts have already done it. Britton also supported this
idea.
10:45 am – Lane Burton entered
Discussion followed about putting this question on the May Primary Ballot. Treasurer Kathy
Smith asked if the Commissioner could be elected in a May Primary, or would have to go to the
November General Election like the Clerk, Treasurer, and Sheriff. Percy indicated that legal
counsel would be able to address these issues. Britton suggested moving forward based on the
document used by Harney County. Myers supported the proposal and suggested sending the
document to legal counsel for review and recommendation about the appropriate process.
Myers would contact Ron Yockim about creating the proper documents necessary to proceed.
DEPARTMENT HEAD EVALUATION. The court reviewed and discussed a non-elected County
Department Head Evaluation Form proposed by Commissioner Chris Labhart. He felt a better
evaluation form was needed. Labhart had also asked Personnel Manager Brenda Percy to
review the proposed document. Labhart felt he was not getting answers to things he wants to
address with the County Court’s current evaluation form. He explained that the new form’s
rating of 1 to 5 would be done as a self-evaluation. Britton thought it was a good concept, but
felt how Department Heads are dealing with their employees was missing and expressed
concern about the expectation for public speaking. Britton suggested that Percy and Labhart
work together to refine the language. Britton also suggested adding the option for the evaluation
process to be more frequent than annually, if more documentation is needed. Percy asked for
clarification about how the employee’s self evaluation would be used. She said a different
supervisor’s evaluation document would be needed for the personnel file. Myers suggested that
we talk with CIS about risk management to see if any liabilities are attached, and if they have an
approved sample evaluation form. Labhart added that he created the form from the City of John
Day’s form that was approved by a lawyer. He agreed the public speaking item may not be
appropriate for some Department Heads. Smith pointed out that a budget question is something
she would like to have input on so Department Heads have a better understanding of the budget
process. Smith added the county has a lot of new Department Heads that have not received
training on hiring / firing and employee evaluation. Labhart and Percy planned to work together
on the new form. Percy said she would be in contact with Tamara Jones at CIS. Based on
Smith’s inquiry, she was invited to submit budget questions for the new evaluation form.
EQUIPMENT UPGRADES. Assessor Lane Burton noted that Microsoft will no longer support
the current Windows program, so upgrades are needed for some offices. Treasurer Kathy Smith
said ESD will be sending her a list of current county equipment that will need to be upgraded.
11:00 am -- Roje Gootee and Vic Shuck entered
PRIVATE FORESTLANDS COLLABORATIVE. Oregon State Committee for Family
Forestlands member Roje S. Gootee discussed development of the Private Forestlands
Collaborative in the Ritter area. She felt this project may potentially be of interest to the court
because it links to the county’s Title 3 Healthy Private Timberlands Project study. Gootee said
that last year Vic Shuck assisted her with the committee’s eastern Oregon tour to view local
private land management problems and ecosystem challenges – juniper encroachment, getting
private wood to local sawmills, haul distances, and limited types of wood processing facilities.
The idea is to have local groups cooperating more to consolidate and share contracts. The
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private lands collaborative project area involves a core group of cooperative landowners, about
10,000 acres, and eleven different agencies to support and provide technical assistance. She
talked about a three-year $300,000 grant application proposal that is being considered by
Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon Forest Resources Institute. Other agency funding
pools may be included in the future if enough private owner interest and land area develops.
Gootee noted that she would personally abstain from this project due to her conflict of interest.
The court thanked her for participation in the forestlands collaborative and offered to provide
any assistance they can
11:45 am -- Adjourned
Respectfully Submitted,
Mary R. Ferrioli
County Court Secretary
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