Thursday, March 29, 2012

Highlights Of The March 28, 2012 Clatsop County Board Of Commissioners Meeting

Clatsop County Board of Commissioners

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 regular meeting

Official minutes available once approved by board

Strategic Plan adopted

The board adopted the Clatsop County Strategic Plan. The strategic plan is designed to provide a framework for planning and pursuing the various major projects proposed by the county.

The document lists a total of 42 items, including projects already underway such as the Ensign Lane extension at the North Coast Business Park, Highway 101 flooding solution and Emergency Operations Center addition, as well as future initiatives such as the county comprehensive plan update and Clatsop Plains wastewater solution. The plan also includes the projects’ cost, potential funding sources and estimated time for completion.

The items were prioritized by the county planning commission and board of commissioners.

County Manager Duane Cole told the board that the plan is intended to be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it reflects the county’s goals.

Ocean planning discussed

The board discussed the proposed addition of a Goal 19-Ocean Resources planning element to the county’s comprehensive land-use plan.

Community Development Director Hiller West explained that the State of Oregon reserves jurisdiction for regulating uses in the Goal 19 area, which covers the three-mile stretch of ocean off the coastline. As a result, the county has refocused its work on policy-making and setting up a framework for allowing public participation in the state’s reviews of proposed offshore developments.

West noted that the Goal 19 element does not regulate fishing.

The county Planning Commission hosted public workshops on the Goal 19 element and policies in December through February, and held a public hearing March 10. The board of commissioners scheduled a public hearing on the issue April 25.

No action on Wauna fee request

The board declined to take action on a request from the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District Board of Directors to include the district in the distribution of funds from the Wauna Mill Strategic Investment Plan Community Service Fee.

The fee was established in 2007 through an agreement between Clatsop County, the State of Oregon and Wauna Mill owner Georgia-Pacific. The fee provides payments to local taxing districts in lieu of property taxes that were waived under the Lower Columbia Maritime Enterprise Zone, through which Georgia-Pacific received tax breaks for a new paper-making machine installed at the mill in 2004.

The service fee totals up to $500,000 a year and is disbursed to 10 taxing districts: Clatsop County, Rural Law Enforcement District, Road District #1, Port of Astoria, Sunset Empire Transportation District, Clatsop Care Center District, 4H and Extension Service District, Clatsop Community College District, NW Regional Educational Service District and Clatskanie School District #6J. Under the agreement Georgia-Pacific will pay the fee through 2022.

Robert Keyser, president of the Clatskanie Fire board, said that the district provides advanced life-support responder service to Westport and other areas along Highway 30 in eastern Clatsop County. Rising costs are forcing the district to consider dropping the service to the area, which is not within the district’s taxing boundaries.

County Manager Duane Cole told the board that the county board of commissioners in 2007 relied on state administrative rules to make the service fee available only to taxing districts whose boundaries include Wauna Mill, and who as a result had property tax revenue withheld under the enterprise zone tax break. Wauna Mill does not lie within the Clatskanie district’s boundaries, he said.

Cole also noted that the service fee was approved by the county Board of Commissioners in January 2007 following a six-month-long public process, and that the county received no input from the Clatskanie district at that time.

Commissioners said that the issue could be addressed by the newly re-activated Ambulance Service Agreement Advisory Committee.

Building fees updated

The board approved a new permit fee schedule for the county Building Codes Division. The update is the first since 2003 and includes adjustments to existing fees as well as the inclusion of fees for new permits.

Community Development Director Hiller West told the board that under state law, local building permit services must be entirely fee-supported. Since 2008, revenue from permits has been insufficient to cover the costs of permit processing and inspections in the Clatsop County office, and the shortfall has been covered by contingency funds.

The new fees take effect July 1. Projects permitted before that date will not be subject to the new fee schedule.

Jail nurse position expanded

The board approved an increase in the Clatsop County Jail nurse position from 0.5 FTE (fulltime equivalent) to 1.0 FTE in the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year budget. The increase will allow the jail nurse to provide services to the county Juvenile Department detention facility in place of the Oregon Youth Authority, which is reducing its nursing staff. It will also increase hours of service at the county jail with the aim of reducing inmate hospital trips and medical-based grievances.

The increase will come from the money the Juvenile Department currently gives to the state to contract for nursing services, as well as projected savings in overtime pay to the current jail nurse.

Other Business

-Approved a letter supporting the Oregon Board of Forestry’s consideration of “conservation area” designations for state forest lands.

-Approved a $67,897 contract with Bergeson Construction for the repair of a bridge on Hill Road in the Hamlet area.

-Postponed making an appointment to the Southwest Coastal Citizens Advisory Committee.

-Appointed Michael Autio and Mike Nelson to the Clatsop County Fair Board.

-Approved a proclamation recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 325-1000 ext. 1312

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