As a result of both Commissioner Eliason and Commissioner Lewis being under quarantine for COVID, Monday’s meeting was held partly through Zoom. In addition, the Commission completed a number of the items from the agenda on Friday morning at 8:00am.
Swimming Pool Manager
The commission was approached about the need to hire a new swimming pool manager, as a result of last year’s manager being called on a mission. Permission was sought to advertise for a manager’s position at the pool. The Commission inquired about the number of ads that would be required, and the location of the ads. The Swimming Pool management requested to advertise as long as was needed until the position was filled, with The Enterprise, Facebook, and other outlets as needed. A motion to approve the advertising was approved.
Simulcast Horse Racing License
A request to provide a simulcast license to the former Les Bois Park in Boise for racing simulcasts was presented. The simulcast requires a license from a track which hosts live races. Leasing the license to Midnight Racing comes with a 1% of gross receipts return. Based on an estimate of $4million dollars in the projected handle would amount to $40,000 to the county for the transfer of its simulcast license. There are currently only a few active simulcast racing licenses in the state. The lease was requested for a 10 year time period. The simulcast license in Oneida county is reported to have been dormant for nearly 20 years. There are not any current plans to activate the license for simulcast in the county. The money would partly be routed to make small track improvements, as well as other destinations. The former Les Bois park stopped live racing in 2015, which added considerable revenue to the state racing fund. The argument was made that reinvigorating racing throughout the state as much as possible would be beneficial to the county, without any perceivable drawbacks. Cody Brower asked for a formal document to review with regard to the contract. He mentioned issues of liability, circumstances of re-acquiring the license in the contingency of the license going inactive, and other contractual details. He suggested that the county didn’t actually have a license at the moment, but rather had the ability to apply for one, which Ada County could then pursue obtaining. Brower indicated that the license needed to be applied for every year in order to maintain the simulcast license for Ada county. Failing to renew the license in Oneida County would obviate the validity of the license in the county it had been leased to. A motion to apply for a license for simulcast racing in Oneida county was made and approved.
The developer approached the Commission about approval for the Final PLAT of the Williams subdivision. The requirements for Final PLAT approval were recounted including the road and fencing issues, which had been signed off by the Road Department. Williams was seeking the Commissioners signatures to proceed. The Commissioners deferred to Building Inspector Mick Udy and the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendations as the whether the development deserved approval. A few of the right of way particulars related to the easements from the frontage and within the subdivision were discussed as final issues. The Commission decided to tentatively approve the PLAT on the contingency that the escrow account was put in place, and sign the documents at the Friday meeting. This ultimately had to be delayed, due to unforeseen circumstances. The PLAT finalization was moved until the next meeting.
TV Translator Board Members
Harry Sherman, Chair of the TV Translator Board addressed the Commission to discuss the status of the Board. Sherman reported that most of the members of the board were in place, with the exception of a member from the Holbrook area. Currently, there are 4 members of the board, which ultimately requires 5. Ken Eliason has been in contact with a potential member, but has not received a firm response. The current members are Mike Asay, Doyle Waldron, Randy Thomas, and Harry Sherman. The terms of service for the four were discussed. Since the members are essentially new to the board, each of them has an expectation of a three year term, though the Commission is interested in staggering the terms in order to create a more fluid turnover within the board. Sherman suggested that he would be providing information about the function and scope of the Translator board through The Enterprise, which might increase interest and aid recruitment for the board. The state outlines monthly meetings, though they are not mandated to be in person. Sherman plans to host in-person meetings on a quarterly basis, and teleconference meetings during the other months. This week’s meeting will celebrate the tenure and accomplishments of Norm Jaussi, long time member.
The Idaho Office of Emergency Management awarded $18,984.08 in SHSP funds for the 2021 grant. A motion to approve the grant was put forward and carried.
Tax Cancelation Request
Kathleen Atkinson from the Assessor’s office approached the Commission about a re-appraisal that affected a tax claim. As a result, a tax cancellation of $276.13 dollars was required. The determination was to credit the amount against the second half of the year’s taxes on the property.
District 5 Meeting
The Commissioners agreed to attend the District 5 meeting in Boise on February 1st.
Panic Button System
Dallas Jones from the Sheriff’s Department spoke with the commission to update them on the camera/security/panic button issue discussed at a previous meeting. A number of companies have been contacted about providing services to the county for a panic alarm system for the courthouse, annex, probation, and the Event Center. A total of 23 buttons were originally involved—which also includes the Crisis Center, the Library, City Hall and others. The cost for the current units would be $20,000 to remain with the same company. The original installation was paid for through a grant. In the current situation, the purchase will not be grant funded. The county specifically is considering 18 panic buttons, which exclusively cover the county owned buildings (excluding City Hall, the Library, and the Crisis Center). The 18 buttons involved in this case would have a price tag of between $3,00 and $4,000 dollars through a new bid. The system is anticipated to have a life of roughly 5 years, and replacement would not be covered by a service warranty. The previous contract discussed was with M2, which does offer a service contract and rents, rather than sells, the equipment. The bid for M2 was approximately $1,800 dollars a year. The Sheriff’s Office was especially concerned about making sure that whichever company was selected, the Crisis Center be added in to the panic button system under the contract. While the current panic buttons are still working, the system is outdated, and no longer under warranty. Commissioner Eliason raised the possibility of searching for a grant to cover the costs. Otherwise, the funding will be drawn from the contingency fund. Chairman Lewis requested an inventory of the current buttons, and which ones were active and functional. This would also allow each department to determine what a sufficient number of buttons withing their department would be. Chairman Lewis felt that a clarification about the status of the current system and future needs was essential to moving forward.
The current E-911 system was purchased on a grant for over $200K in 2019 and has experienced a number of issues ever since. The need for a new system, or an effective fix for the current system, was deemed to be urgent.
Gabe Jimenez spoke to the commission on his recent report. There are currently 5 felons and 1 misdemeanor individuals in drug court. Drug court is a “problem solving court”. Drug testing and updates are handled by the probation office during the week, though Thursday’s official meetings with individuals are handled by Felony P and P.
County Property Overlap
The county’s property description overlaps with private property descriptions in several areas of the county, including near the old St. John’s church area. In this case, the overlap is primarily on the corner sections of maintained county roads. The county generally has a 60” easement on its roads, to allow for access to plowing and other maintenance needs. The Road department felt that quit-claiming the overlapping section to private landowners who would be willing to fence the property would be the most reasonable solution. A discussion was had over the exact acreage involved, which was believed to be between a half and less than a full acre on the corners in questions, which would be reduced by the easement. The Commission did not feel that at present it had enough information to make a decision on the question, and requested a more complete survey of the property involved.
Cherry Creek Development
William Porter addressed the Commission on behalf of the Cherry Creek Development. JUB Engineering had completed the final review of the PLAT for the Cherry Creek development. Fencing was one of the final elements of the PLAT to be verified. Road issues related to the future Phase two element of the construction were also discussed. All of the roads in question were being constructed to the current county standards. Building Inspector Mick Udy felt that the development was suitable for county approvement under its current status. Porter asked the Commissioners to approve the PLAT map, and to subsequently approve the subdivision agreement during a future meeting. The motion to approve the PLAT map for the Cherry Creek Subdivision, which was approved. A decision to consider the subdivision agreement at a future meeting was also made for the next meeting.
A public hearing concerning the vacation of a small right of way on the abandoned Highway 191 south of Malad was motioned, and approved.
Attorney Brower explained that criminal prosecutions were down recently, but that civil matters were occupying the balance of the time. Two felony July trials are scheduled for the beginning of next month. Given that Oneida county’s current COVID numbers are significantly over the allowable limit for jury trials, Brower predicted that those trials would likely be rescheduled closer to the summer. The summer is also the time the courthouse will be undergoing remodeling and the trial docket will be managed at the Event Center.
Contractor Office for City Wastewater Project
While the contractor for the City Wastewater Project is in town, for a period of potentially two or so years, they are occupying a space on county property near the Fairgrounds. The County is interested in ensuring that the contractor has documented a commitment to signing a liability agreement with the county in the event of any hazards or issues that might arise. The county clarified that they have not formally signed or approved the arrangement with Whitaker Contractors yet. A motion to accept an arrangement on the contingency that the contractor signed formal documents laying out the liability agreement was made and carried.
Industrial Park Road Gift to the City
During the most recent City Council meeting, the county offered the Industrial Park road’s ownership over to the city, which accepted the offer. On the advice of Cody Brower, a resolution was discussed to “dedicate” the easement to the city, along with a documented description of the property in question. A motion was made to formally draft a resolution dedicating the Industrial Park road to the city and carried. Cody Brower planned to work with Road and Bridge and the Assessor to create the language for the resolution.
Personnel Policy Change for Work on Holidays
Brower discussed the need for all new employee hires to be familiar with personnel policies as a matter of hiring. Lon Colton explained that such a practice is a part of the standard employment process. One policy in question was the issue of holiday hours. The current policy regulates the pat scale arrangment for fulltime employees who work on holidays.
Brower suggested a simpler system where any employee working approved shifts during holidays automatically be paid time and a half, rather than a mix of comp time and emergency hour designations. He further held that the policy of the county should generally explain that holidays were not intended as work days for county employees. At the heart of the issue was a desire to eliminate the trade-days mechanism.
The decision was made to attempt to formulate specific language surrounding the policy issues involved before making any changes. The Commissioners planned to move forward with the discussion after laying out a clear, written version of potential changes to the holiday pay schedule.
Cell Phone and Credit Card Policies
The Cell phone policy outlined in 2018 was discussed as a basis for examining potential changes. This policy, currently in effect, replaces all previous cell phone policies for use and compensation. Copies of the policy were distributed to the commissioners, who were instructed to study the regulations and be ready to discuss changes during the next meeting.
Similarly, the current policy regarding credit card usage by departments within the county was also distributed, along with suggestions for potential changes. The original purpose of the credit cards in 2010 was for travel expenses, though the scope of their usage has greatly expanded since that time. The various pros and cons of using cards to centralize expense itemization were discussed. This commissioners were also advised to study the current policy for a more complete discussion at a later meeting.
UP Land on Depot Road
The Road department spoke to the commission about Depot road, and its status with regard to Union Pacific. The Road Department is interested in straightening the road to prevent slide-offs and other issues during the winter months. It was reported that UP had not yet spoken directly with the Road department, but rather wanted to speak with the County Commissioners themselves before making any decisions about the road. Commissioner Bob Christophersen was tasked with investigating the legal status of the property in question with the Assessor’s office. Any construction on the road would not be scheduled until after the city’s adjacent Bannock Street projects were completed, sometime after 2024. A motion was made to begin exploring the legal status of the property and contact the railroad, which was carried.
6 month review of Road Supervisor
Commissioner Christophersen reported positively as a report on Diana Dredge’s six month review. She was hired into the position of Road and Bridge director during the summer, and will complete her sixth month in February. Her performance was praised by the commission, and she was given a raise.
Approval of Commissioner Districts
The decision made in a previous commission meeting to change to boundaries of the commissioner districts slightly was determined to be in need of an official resolution, which was made and carried. The districts were realigned in order to bring the population numbers into closer aligment with one another.