Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 14, 2012 Highlights For Clatsop County Board Of Commissioners Regular Meeting

Ambulance plan update approved

The board adopted an update to the county’s Ambulance Service Area Plan, the first such revision since the plan was originally adopted in 1996.

The ASA Plan spells out the scope of work requirements for the local ambulance service provider, including staff training and licensing, equipment, communications, response times and mutual aid agreements with other agencies.

The ASA Plan is a separate document from the franchise agreement between the county and the current ambulance service provider, Medix Ambulance Service Inc., which was renewed for a 15-year term in 2001.

Land sale approved

The board approved the sale of a 4.57-acre parcel on Highway 202 south of Astoria to the Walluski Western Ltd. Company. The company approached the county last year about purchasing the site, which adjoins Walluski Western’s current operations. The property formerly housed the county animal shelter and currently provides space for the Sheriff’s Office inmate work crew program, including storage for firewood cut by the work crew and provided to local residents in need.

Walluski Western will pay $135,000 for the property and use the buildings on the site to house milling and machining equipment that will employ four people. The county plans to construct a new facility for the work crew at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, using the proceeds of the land sale to fund the project.

Manager criteria approved

The board adopted standards and criteria for the hiring of a new county manager. They include minimum educational and professional requirements, as well as broad management and financial knowledge in the public sector, leadership abilities and communications skills, among others.

The county is recruiting a replacement for County Manager Duane Cole, who is retiring from service May 31. The standards and criteria will guide the recruitment and selection of the new manager, whom the board hopes to select by the end of May.

Ocean energy discussed

The board heard a presentation from Belinda Batten and Meleah Ashford from Northwest Marine Renewable Energy Center on issues surrounding proposed offshore wave-energy development and the organization’s plan to establish a wave-energy research facility on the Oregon Coast. Clatsop County is one of four areas currently under consideration for the site, which would provide space for in-ocean testing of energy devices, as well as research into environmental impacts. In Clatsop County the center’s attention has focused on Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center in Warrenton, which is pursuing a renewable energy initiative.

Board Chair Peter Huhtala urged Batten to seek the input of local fishermen as part of the process.

Employment numbers reviewed

The board heard a presentation from Shawna Sykes and Eric Knoder of the Oregon Employment Department on jobless numbers for Clatsop County. The local seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is currently 7.8 percent, lower than the statewide figure, and the past three months have seen a strong rate of job growth, they noted. But the rebound has been uneven, with manufacturing and retail trade positions returning but leisure and hospitality jobs lagging. Real wages in the county are at 2002 levels, they said.

Dredging comment endorsed

The board voted to send a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking that the agency withdraw a draft environmental assessment on dredge disposal plans for the Lower Columbia River. The vote came after comments from Dale Beasley, president of the Columbia River Crab Fishermen’s Association, who told the board that the draft document lacks data on the impact of dredge disposal at the mouth of the Columbia River on wave amplification and crab mortality.

Other Business

In other business the board:

-Approved an amendment to the 2011-12 Public Health agreement with the Oregon Health Authority to account for increased grant revenue of $4,900 for the Tobacco Prevention and Education and $16,200 for Women, Infant and Child (WIC) programs.

-Approved adjustments, effective April 1, to service fees for the Public Health Department to reflect statutory and regulatory changes to the Environmental Health Program and changes to Community Health and Family Planning services.

-re-appointed Russ Farmer to the Clatsop County Budget Committee

-appointed Terri Coulombe and David Hablewitz to the Clatsop County Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

Tom Bennett

Community Relations Coordinator

(503) 325-1000 ext. 1312

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