***Monday, February 19, 2018, Commissioners did not meet due to the President’s Day Holiday.
***Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at 9:00 a.m., Commissioners met in regular session with Chairman Dan Dinning, Commissioner LeAlan Pinkerton, Commissioner Walt Kirby, Clerk Glenda Poston, and Deputy Clerk Michelle Rohrwasser.
9:00 a.m., Commissioners held an elected officials/department heads meeting. Present were: Chairman Dan Dinning, Commissioner LeAlan Pinkerton, Commissioner Walt Kirby, Clerk Glenda Poston, Solid Waste Department Superintendent Claine Skeen, Treasurer Sue Larson, Road and Bridge Department Superintendent Clint Kimball, Courthouse Maintenance John Buckley, County Noxious Weeds Department Superintendent Dave Wenk, Chief Deputy Clerk Tracie Isaac, Sheriff Dave Kramer, Probation Office Assistant April Isaac, Chief Probation Officer Stacy Brown, Prosecutor’s Office Manager Tammie Goggia, Assessor Dave Ryals, and Extension Office Educator Amy Robertson.
Mr. Buckley informed Commissioners that the Courthouse boiler has been going out in the evening the last four nights in a row.
Chairman Dinning stated that some people are sensitive to scented candles, etc., so please don’t light these types of scented candles or waxes in the offices.
Chairman Dinning said Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP) is spending up to $50,000 to find out what happened to the county’s computers as a result of a virus. Commissioners said if a county employee receives an email at work from another county employee or another familiar person, please make sure these are legitimate emails before opening them. Clerk Poston said she feels the cost to determine the virus will be closer to $70,000. Those present discussed how to better determine if the email sender is authentic. Chairman Dinning asked that the elected officials and department heads go back and notify their employees of this.
Chairman Dinning mentioned to those present that engaging in signing petitions in the Courthouse is not permitted and Commissioners asked that these things be taken care of outside of the Courthouse.
Commissioners went around the room and asked for department updates.
Assessor Ryals said his office has nothing new to report.
Ms. Robertson listed the various spring classes to be held by the University of Idaho County Extension Office. The University of Idaho will have two internship positions available and Ms. Robertson said she is waiting to obtain the job description for these positions.
Mr. Kimball said he has nothing new to report. Road and Bridge crews are just out there working and if the weather cooperates, they try to do more. Those present spoke of the snow drifts on the roads.
Mr. Buckley said things are going well, except for the boiler. Mr. Buckley added that it has been a help having Tom Joyce working with him.
Chief Deputy Clerk Isaac said she will soon send out the 2018 W4 forms. Chief Deputy Clerk Isaac also mentioned that in the middle of the paychecks it shows what the employee is claiming so employees should check that to make sure that information is correct.
Mr. Wenk said he is accepting applications for the treatment of noxious weeds until March as well as applications for timothy grass seed.
Sheriff Kramer said the two local girls who ran away have been located and are safe and he spoke of having good cooperation with other agencies in locating these girls. The Sheriff’s Office is otherwise staying busy.
Ms. Brown said the Probation Office is staying busy.
Ms. Isaac said she was contacted by Aimee Christopherson with Hope House about using the meeting room at the armory, but the dates that Ms. Christopherson needs have changed. Ms. Isaac said there are concerns with the use of the meeting room over the weekend with regards to access and use, such as if Boundary Emergency Manager Mike Meier needs to use the room for an unexpected emergency.
Treasurer Larson said she is busy with a couple administration cases, tax deeding and tax deed sales, etc.
Mr. Skeen said he is just staying busy.
Clerk Poston said the county’s audit for year 2017 is done and there were no findings to report. Chairman Dinning thanked those present as the results of the audit can be attributed to their work.
Chairman Dinning urged those present not to take their good relationships with coworkers for granted as other counties do experience strife.
Chairman Dinning commented that Commissioners and Clerk Poston have met with the National Guard regarding the armory building and the process is now with the State Land Board to put the property up for auction for other state agencies. The thought is that no other state agency will want the armory since the county has one-half interest in it. The auction is just a part of the process before the county can acquire it.
Chairman Dinning informed Mr. Skeen that he can put a flat deck on the landfill truck.
The elected officials/department heads meeting ended at 9:16 a.m.
Road and Bridge Department Superintendent Clint Kimball remained after the meeting.
Commissioner Pinkerton moved to sign the Cooperative Law Enforcement Agreement and Exhibit A, which is the Cooperative Law Enforcement Annual Operating Plan and Financial Plan between the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office and the USDA, Forest Service Idaho Panhandle National Forests, FS Agreement #18-LE-11015600-002. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Pinkerton moved to reappoint Jeanne Robinson to the Restorium Board with a term to expire January 2021. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Pinkerton moved to sign the Certificate of Residency for Julie Newcomb. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.
Commissioners discussed various groups wanting to rent the meeting room in the armory. Chairman Dinning said the concern is when access is granted for the restrooms, it opens up the potential for access to the Probation Offices as well.
9:30 a.m., Road and Bridge Department Superintendent Clint Kimball provided a department report. Mr. Kimball said Road and Bridge has been working on the usual things. This week Road and Bridge was going to move the excavator and start work on Lions Den Road. Pine Island Road really looks different now that the trees are gone, according to Mr. Kimball.
Mr. Kimball mentioned there being an issue on Black Mountain Road. There is a creek that flows through that area and for quite some time there has been a water issue. Mr. Kimball said a woman who owns property there asked him to look at this problem so he took elevations. Road and Bridge used a metal detector to see if they could find culverts and there was one that was found stuffed with straw bales. The work to be done to clear the blockage was opposed by this property owner as she didn’t want any chemicals associated with farming to flow onto her property. Mr. Kimball explained that this culvert was probably filled prior to this person purchasing the property and someone had probably installed an approach. Mr. Kimball stated that the current property owner may not have been aware of how the water would drain in the spring time.
9:36 a.m., Commissioners took a brief telephone call from Probation Office Assistant April Isaac to discuss renting the meeting room at the armory. The call ended at 9:37 a.m.
Commissioners resumed their meeting with Mr. Kimball.
Mr. Kimball mentioned the letter he would like Commissioners to sign about pursuing funding for the Deep Creek Loop project, mile post 1.1.
Mr. Kimball and Commissioners reviewed funding options for the Deep Creek Loop project as presented by Mr. Kimball. The paving portion of this project has become a part of the STP-rural. If the county chooses alternate funding through the emergency relief funds (ERF), the funds would be available now, but at a 10% match instead of the 7.34% match for Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) funds. The plus side is the county can use its own resources without adhering to Davis-Bacon wages, which would be a savings, according to Mr. Kimball. Mr. Kimball said the third thing is that it is a tight squeeze, but he is trying to get the Snow Creek Bridge and Caribou Creek Bridge projects done at the same time.
Commissioner Pinkerton moved to sign the letter to the Federal Highways Administration as it pertains to seeking another funding source for the Deep Creek Loop Project for mile post 1.1. Commissioner Kirby second. Motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Kimball spoke of needing to secure financing for his department’s loader, which has a payment due for March. The amount to be financed will be $155,000.
Commissioners reviewed the financing options Mr. Kimball had presented. Chairman Dinning determined that Columbia Bank would be providing a better deal. Mr. Kimball had sought quotes from Mountain West Bank, Columbia Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and Caterpillar Financial. Both Caterpillar Financial and Wells Fargo Bank responded that they were unable to provide a proposal.
The proposal from Mountain West Bank is as follows: for a five year term, payments would be $33,403.85 and the interest rate is 3.88%. For a seven year term, payments would be $24,824.45 and the interest rate is 3.99%.
The proposal from Columbia Bank is as follows: for a five year term, payments would be $33,326.93 with an interest rate of 3.53%. For a seven year term, payments will be $24,733.94 with an interest rate of 3.68%.
Commissioner Kirby moved to proceed with Columbia Bank to finance $155,000 for the Road and Bridge Department’s 2010 Caterpillar 972H wheel loader for a term of seven years, with annual payments of $24,733.94, first payment due by march 20, 2018, and with an interest rate of 3.68%. Commissioner Pinkerton second. Motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Kimball said road signs keep getting stolen. Black Mountain Road and Mirror Lake Road are two road signs to name a few that have been stolen. Mr. Kimball said he can tell that one sign has been taken down with a saw.
The meeting with Mr. Kimball ended at 10:09 a.m.
Commissioners tended to administrative duties.
10:15 a.m., Assessor Dave Ryals joined the meeting.
Chairman Dinning discussed House Bill 462. Assessor Ryals said there is a Committee on Forest Land Taxation Methodology (CFTM), which is a group of Assessors and Commissioners who meet with industrial forest land owners; timber companies mainly. The CFTM Committee was established to set rules that the State Tax Commission adopted as to how forest land is assessed. Assessor Ryals said a number of years ago forest landowners requested that they get special treatment regarding their assessments. Whatever method was used was to expire in year 2022 for the discounted rates we have now. What occurred was that in some counties the Assessor revalued some of the lands based on poor, medium, etc., conditions and the group of lobbyists for the forest land landowners did not like how that occurred. They have legislation going through that will roll back all values to the 2016 levels. That pertains to all timberland value, excluding industrial. Assessor Ryals said the classification would roll back. Chairman Dinning said the Idaho Association of Counties is taking a stand against that because these landowners had the opportunity to come before the Board of Equalization to challenge their assessments, but they didn’t do that. Chairman Dinning said it doesn’t mean anything other than this year’s value will be the year 2016 values until year 2021. Assessor Ryals said not until year 2021, but until they work out a new method for determining new soil classifications. Assessor Ryals added that the original CFTM Committee, which has been formed since the beginning, were talking about how to value this, what discount rates to use as projecting the future, how to project that, what expenses do we use, and growth. It’s complicated and an economist had to be hired to work with the CFTM Committee on the rates, but they did not touch the classifications. Assessor Ryals mentioned using habitat typing. There is criteria, according to Chairman Dinning. Assessor Ryals said a couple counties felt that soil typing was wrong and they wanted to change that methodology. Now the legislature is being used to appeal that method, according to Assessor Ryals. The CFTM Committee met in January 30th with the industry side. The Committee met and concerns were expressed regarding methodology and the Committee said if they could find another way to assess timberland, let them know and they would look into it. Kootenai County Assessor Mike McDowell said his office had sent out advanced notices so there was plenty of time to appeal, according to Assessor Ryals. The bill has passed the House, but not the Senate as of yet. There was not a single “no” vote on this bill, according to Assessor Ryals. Some lands went down a classification, but others increased enough so it got the landowner’s attention. This will shift the tax to other categories, according to Chairman Dinning. Assessor Ryals said so that Commissioners know, Boundary County has the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) soil survey that he uses. This is boots on the ground and not habitat typing. Boundary County has not made any changes and rarely does, according to Assessor Ryals. Nothing that happens with this is really going to affect us unless they force us to use some other type of determining classification besides the soil survey. Commissioners may be forced to hire a forester in the future. Commissioner Pinkerton said this is bullying the counties and the state.
10:27 a.m., Boundary Economic Development Director Dennis Weed joined the meeting.
Commissioners discussed submitting a letter to weigh in on the matter regarding the House Bill 462.
Assessor Ryals left the meeting 10:29 a.m.
Commissioner Kirby moved to approve the minutes of December 18 and 19, 2018, January 29 & 30, 2018, and February 12 & 13, 2018. Commissioner Pinkerton second. Motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weed informed Commissioners that he is still working with a firm on negotiations with the Albertsons Corporation as it pertains to the purchase of the building that formerly housed Atkins Harvest Foods. The parties involved had arrived at the same number for a purchase price within $50,000. The investing group does want the building, according to Mr. Weed.
Next Monday Keller Associates will meet with Commissioners and Mr. Weed to go over possible costs for the regional sewer feasibility study. Mr. Weed listed various grant lending agencies he is working with as well as Idaho Forest Group as they have land that is involved in the study.
Mr. Weed said he is working with several companies on financing and growth in Boundary County. Some companies are looking at expanding and bringing different businesses to the county. Those present discussed Mr. Weed speaking with someone interested in moving their business to Boundary County and if this business owner needed a building, maybe Panhandle Area Council could finance that for this person.
Mr. Weed said he has the 501©3 status set up and the bylaws done for the Bike and Hiking Trails Committee so now the committee just needs to elect officers.
Mr. Weed said he wants to work on creating a path along the dike that reaches the ballfields without having to go onto the highway. People would be able to sit along the river when they’re on a walk on a nice day.
Mr. Weed said Yoder’s Market is doing very well so that was a good move for them. Mr. Weed said he had heard Road and Bridge wasn’t successful in their request for grant funds to improve Tobe Way and Plato Drive so he will talk to Mr. Kimball about chipsealing.
The meeting with Mr. Weed ended at 10:55 a.m.
Those present briefly discussed public defense matters.
Chairman Dinning left the meeting to tend to another matter.
Commissioner Kirby moved to appoint Commissioner Pinkerton Acting Chairman in the absence of Chairman Dinning. Commissioner Pinkerton second. Motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Kirby moved to deny the request made by Hope House to rent the meeting room at the armory as this facility is a place of business and it’s prudent to keep this facility freed up and usable. Acting Chairman Pinkerton yielded the chair to second. Motion passed unanimously.
Commissioners recessed until their next meeting at 11:30 a.m.
11:25 a.m., Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Field Manager Kurt Pavlat and Principal Acting Field Manager Debbie Paul joined the meeting to update Commissioners on BLM management. Mr. Pavlat explained that Ms. Paul is the Principal Acting Fuel Manager when he is not around.
Mr. Pavlat thanked Commissioners for the opportunity to visit with them. Mr. Pavlat informed Commissioners that the BLM doesn’t have a lot of property in this area. Ms. Paul said the BLM has 4,400 acres, which is not a lot when there is primarily Forest Service land, but that number is not expected to change. The BLM doesn’t have any vegetation projects at the moment and the last project was the Two Tail project. The Parker Ridge fire occurred within the BLM’s wilderness study area (WSA) so they don’t have plans to do anything other than monitoring and hope the area is recovering. Mr. Pavlat and Ms. Paul spoke of doing erosion control and grass seeding and letting the area run its course and come back naturally.
Ms. Paul said the Hideaway Islands are monitored and are treated for noxious and invasive weeds that pop up. The BLM does monitor this area and the fact that it is an island makes it more challenging. It was said there are no minerals on BLM lands.
Ms. Paul said the BLM has 15 permanent staff members with a couple seasonal staff that they pick up each year in the Recreation Department. There are also a couple interns in the Forestry and Weeds Program and they help wherever they can. The budgets for the BLM are static and most likely will be declining over time.
Ms. Paul said there is currently a hiring freeze on GS-12 positions and management is looking at eliminating a top heavy situation that was observed over the year. The goal is to try go get more people out in the field. Acting Chairman Pinkerton asked about the positions. Ms. Paul said she is a forester, which is a GS-11, and GS-12’s and above are more management positions. Most specialists are in the GS-9 to GS-11 category, according to Ms. Paul.
It was said a BLM representative, usually Mr. Pavlat, attends the Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative (KVRI) meetings. Mr. Pavlat said within the administration and new secretary there is a new or renewed emphasis on multiple use on energy extraction of resources, which the BLM doesn’t have much of in this district so it is status quo. Mr. Pavlat said the BLM is just trying to be a good neighbor and he mentioned working with the Forest Service if there is a Forest Service project adjacent to BLM land.
Commissioners didn’t have any questions.
Mr. Pavlat said the BLM is trying to be as effective as they can in management and he mentioned the amount of paperwork involved no matter the acreage size. One document can generate many timber sales.
Those present spoke of KVRI meetings and Mr. Pavlat said the KVRI is a great collaborative.
Commissioner Pinkerton brought up wilderness study areas (WSA). Mr. Pavlat said WSAs are the parcels along the Westside near Parker Ridge and the BLM is required by law to manage these parcels as wilderness until Congress removes them. When that was inventoried in the 1980’s, it was BLM’s feeling that that area not be designated wilderness for many reasons, but Congress is the only entity that can change that designation. Commissioner PInkerton said politically it is a “lose lose” situation.
The meeting with Mr. Pavlat and Ms. Paul ended at 11:44 a.m.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.
The Idaho Association of Counties legislative conference call for District 1 took place at 3:00 p.m. The call ended at 3:45 p.m. There was no quorum.
DAN R. DINNING, Chairman
GLENDA POSTON, Clerk
By: Michelle Rohrwasser, Deputy Clerk