Boundary County Commissioner minutes, January 25-26

***Monday, January 25, 2021, at 9:00 a.m., Commissioners met in regular session with Chairman Dan Dinning, Commissioner Wally Cossairt, Commissioner Tim Bertling, Clerk Glenda Poston, and Deputy Clerk Michelle Rohrwasser.

Commissioners gave the opening invocation and said the Pledge of Allegiance.

9:00 a.m., Road and Bridge Department Co-Superintendents Renee Nelson and Randy Morris joined the meeting via conference call to give the department report. A written report was provided.

Ms. Nelson discussed work Road and Bridge has been tending to. Ms. Nelson questioned the status of Commissioners’ decision as it pertains to the request to plow the parking lot area for the Section 16 trails in the event of a heavy snowfall. Chairman Dinning said he doesn’t really see a problem with it and since the county is the entity that entered into an agreement with Idaho Department of Lands, Commissioners have the authority to permit that.

Ms. Nelson said this Wednesday’s Boundary Area Transportation Team (BATT) meeting is a joint meeting with the Bonner County Area Transportation Team (BCATT).

Ms. Nelson said there is a parcel of land that the landowner would like to divide and the City of Moyie Springs felt the county should have some say on the approach because it’s a county road or the road is at least county maintained. Ms. Nelson said she checked with County Mapper Olivia Drake and learned this area was deeded to the county and it occurred before the City of Moyie Springs was formed. This part of the road is located within the City of Moyie Springs so it should be included in the city’s jurisdiction. Ms. Nelson said Road and Bridge maintains the city’s section of this road, but there is nothing in writing about it. Ms. Nelson said if there isn’t already an agreement in place, would Commissioners be interested in an agreement. Chairman Dinning said as far as road approaches, whether the county maintains it or not, it would be the City of Moyie Spring’s approval on that for the approach and if they want to default to the county, would there be issues with that approach. Mr. Morris said he doesn’t think it would be a problem. Anything within the city limits would be the city’s jurisdiction. Mr. Morris said the county is just discussing 3/10ths of a mile. Commissioners agreed that forming an agreement would be a good idea.

Commissioners and Ms. Nelson discussed documents associated with the Riverside Road Improvement project. Ms. Nelson said she will work with the landowners involved and also the Assessor’s Office regarding valuations for a temporary construction easement. Chairman Dinning said his concern is making sure all Commissioners are made aware if one Commissioner is authorized to sign a document.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to sign the Riverside Road temporary construction letter to the Davidson family. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

The call to Ms. Nelson and Mr. Morris ended at 9:20 a.m.

9:30 a.m., County Civil Attorney Tevis Hull joined the meeting via conference call.

Chairman Dinning discussed receiving an email from Yvonne Dingman with Idaho Transportation department regarding an agreement for a temporary easement pertaining to the armory project. Ms. Dingman will forward the existing agreement to Attorney Hull to amend.

Chairman Dinning said Commissioners signed the temporary easement letter to the Davidson family for the Riverside Road Improvement project. Attorney Hull said a packet of information still needs to be sent to the Davidsons.

Commissioners informed Attorney Hull that they had a discussion with Road and Bridge Co-Superintendents Renee Nelson and Randy Morris and that any of the road approaches or road standards within the city limits of Moyie Springs are the responsibility of the City, but the county will provide maintenance and work on an agreement for that.

Attorney Hull said he did send the county audit letter to County Outside Auditor Leonard Schulte.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to go into executive session pursuant to Idaho Code 74-206(1)b, to consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, or public school student. Commissioner Bertling second. Commissioners voted as follows: Chairman Dinning “aye”, Commissioner Cossairt “aye” and Commissioner Bertling “aye”. Motion passed unanimously. The executive session ended at 10:50 a.m. No action was taken.

The call to Attorney Hull ended.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to grant an extension of time to receive property taxes for year 2020 for parcel #MH60N01W01194AA and to accept payments of $75.00 every two weeks until the tax amount is paid in full. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to sign the Property Tax Cancellation form for tax year 2020 for Parcel #MH60N01W233156A as the mobile home is used for storage and the property owner is paying for solid waste and translator fees on another mobile home on the property so the fees on this parcel are duplicate. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to sign the final federal financial forms for Airport Improvement Project grant #3-16-0004-016-2019. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to sign the Certificate of Substantial Completion for the Boundary County Airport snow removal equipment building. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

Commissioners discussed having no issues with the request for the county to plow the parking lot of Idaho Department of Lands Section 16.

Commissioner Bertling moved to approve plowing the Section 16 parking lot in the event of a major snow fall. Commissioner Cossairt second. Motion passed unanimously.

Commissioners discussed matters pertaining to the makeup of the Panhandle Health District Board and how it’s felt that members of the Panhandle Health District Board of Health should be elected officials. Chairman Dinning said he doesn’t know what Commissioner Bertling will be faced with as a new Board of Health member. Commissioner Bertling said he thinks it’s a personal choice as far as wearing a mask and he added that people need to take responsibility for their health. As far as a mandate, Commissioner Bertling said he feels masks can be suggested, but he cannot suggest a mandate.
10:03 a.m., Boundary Ambulance Service Chief Jeff Lindsey and Boundary Ambulance Service District Board Chairperson Nancy Russell joined the meeting.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to recess as the Boundary County Board of Commissioners and to convene as the Boundary County Ambulance Service District Governing Board. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

*Please see Boundary County Ambulance Service District Governing Board meeting minutes*

10:21 a.m., Commissioner Cossairt moved to adjourn as the Boundary County Ambulance Service Governing Board and to reconvene as the Boundary County Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to sign the Property Tax Cancellation form for tax year 2020 for the following parcels: RPB00000279170A, RP65N02W233611A, MH65N02W260152A, RP65N02W234222A, RP65N02W260152A, RP008250000270A, RP01140001004AA, RP60N01E073023A, RP60N01W153016A, RP61N01E020620A, RP62N02E286897A, RPB00000226690A, RPB06700000120A, RPB0820003005AA, RPB08200030110A, RP60N01W237360A, RP61N01W246016A, RP60N01E062540A, RP60N01W242500A, RP62N02E267211A, and OC61N01E218850A and to cancel the late fees for these parcels totaling $337.04 as the late charges were assessed in error. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

10:31 a.m., Bonners Ferry District Forest Ranger Kevin Knauth and Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative (KVRI) Facilitator Rhonda Vogl joined the meeting via conference call to update Commissioners on various Forest Service and KVRI projects.

Mr. Knauth introduced himself to Commissioner Bertling. Mr. Knauth spoke of the current process of hiring Forest Service fire personnel and also hiring summer help. Fire wood permits still need to be issued, but they are free. The permits allow for up to 12 cords of wood. Mr. Knauth said he will see if permits are going to be extended sometime between now and March. Mr. Knauth said the permits used to cost $4.00 per cord and there was a five cord minimum at the time. The Westside Restoration project is a big project for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This project is in the Selkirks and the Forest Service just had 17 public comments come in. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies submitted a comment totaling a little over 200 pages. Mr. Knauth said the Forest Service will work on addressing those comments and he further explained this process and the next steps. Commissioner Bertling questioned how many comments were from local people. Mr. Knauth said he didn’t have that answer, but there were certainly comments made from the local community. Chairman Dinning asked about time frames. Mr. Knauth said if moving forward on the Forest Service’s own time frame and everyone was ready, they would address comments over the next three weeks and they would make changes as necessary as a result of some of the comments, then work on a draft decision. The draft decision could be ready most likely near the end of February. The challenge is that the Forest Service typically doesn’t go out with a draft decision until the biological opinion comes back from US Fish and Wildlife Service, but that organization is short staffed right now. It can take approximately 135 days to get a response back from US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Mr. Knauth provided an update on timber sales. The Boulder Dash sale sold 4.7 million board feet and the Robin Hood sale sold 5.5 million board feet. Mr. Knauth said 10.2 million board feet sold in fiscal year 2020. For year 2021, the Timbuck Stew project in the Boulder Creek area was to Idaho Forest Group and that sale will have a lot of work and in addition, it consists of 17 million board feet. Projects for fiscal year 2021 will be a little bit busier, according to Mr. Knauth.
Ms. Vogl said tonight’s KVRI meeting will consist of presentations from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and they will talk about the Partners Program, Mr. Knauth will give a presentation on the Westside Restoration Project, the annual report review will be given on the Community Forest Landscape Restoration Project. Ms. Vogel informed Commissioners that the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and Armory Corp of Engineers will provide information on the Libby Dam system and an operational request for temporization for burbot spawning and egging. Ms. Ireland will discuss the selenium matter. Ms. Vogl stated that there will be discussion regarding a KVRI Board member who wishes to retire.

The call to Ms. Vogl and Mr. Knauth ended at 10:58 a.m.

11:00 a.m., Selkirks Pend Oreille Transit (SPOT) Executive Director David Sims joined the meeting. Mr. Sims handed Commissioners a Power Point Presentation containing various information pertaining to SPOT and reviewed it with Commissioners. Information included the SPOT District 1 providers, the history of his service, its organization and how it’s governed. Mr. Sims listed the Joint Powers Organization Board members as well as the members of the Boundary County Service Development Advisory Committee. Mr. Sims reviewed funding, to include the federal grant programs and what those monies fund. Federal grants require local match funds. Every two years SPOT has to apply for funding through the Idaho Transportation Department. Operating costs are mainly fuel and staffing, according to Mr. Sims. Private organizations also provide funding for routes and Mr. Sims listed various companies that support the service. Boundary and Bonner County funds are accounted for separately so they don’t mix, according to Mr. Sims. There are two fixed routes in Bonner County and this is the third season of the mountain route to Schweitzer Ski Resort. This route provides approximately 55,000 rides per year. There is also paratransit routes for people who are not able to ride the regular fixed routes and there is also a demand route in Boundary County. Mr. Sims explained how the demand routes work. The bus initially just went to Bonners Ferry, but the route has extended to Moyie Springs and parts of Paradise Valley. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the bus takes people to multiple locations in Sandpoint. Mr. Sims explained that service is open to everyone and there is no charge.

Mr. Sims said COVID-19 has drastically reduced ridership as people are limiting their activities and some destinations are closed. In Boundary County the Senior Center is closed so that ridership is down. Mr. Sims spoke of SPOT having increased their sanitizing schedule. SPOT buses are allowed to be used to help deliver food in Bonner and Boundary counties. Clerk Poston spoke to Mr. Sims about SPOT in relation to the armory and notifying State Probation Officer Ron Pell. Chairman Dinning also mentioned there being a veterans clinic in Sandpoint.

Mr. Sims said SPOT would like to have a new representative from Boundary County. Commissioner Bertling asked what time the meetings take place. Chairman Dinning said Commissioners would talk about representation.

Mr. Sims listed the financial contribution amounts from the various supporters. Boundary County provides $3,500.00.

The meeting with Mr. Sims ended at 11:20 a.m.

Chief Deputy Clerk Nancy Ryals joined the meeting at 11:22 a.m.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to sign the Certificate of Denial on Appeal for indigent case 2020-11. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.
Chief Deputy Clerk Ryals left the meeting at 11:24 a.m.

Commissioners recessed for lunch at 11:50 a.m.

1:30 p.m., Commissioners reconvened for the afternoon session with Chairman Dan Dinning, Commissioner Wally Cossairt, Commissioner Tim Bertling, Clerk Glenda Poston, and Deputy Clerk Michelle Rohrwasser.

1:30 p.m., Commissioners held a public hearing to consider the request made by property owner Dayton Skrivseth for a variance to the Boundary County Road Standards Ordinance. Present were: Road and Bridge Department Co-Superintendents Renee Nelson and Randy Morris, Bill Henshaw, and Clint Roney; and participating via conference call was Rachel Steele, representing a resident who resides at 848 Roosevelt Road. The hearing was recorded.

Chairman Dinning stated for the record that a comment letter was provided to Commissioners at this hearing from Ms. Nelson, but that the letter had been received within the time frame required. The letter was from Clint and Teri Roney. Chairman Dinning explained that the hearing was to be opened and heard today, but at this time and upon the advice of the county civil attorney, this hearing is going to be continued to next Monday, February 1, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.

The hearing ended at 1:35 p.m.

Commissioners tended to administrative duties.

2:31 p.m., Treasurer Sue Larson joined the meeting to review her report of county accounts. Treasurer Larson said she had talked about getting a bond before so she did get two step bonds because of their rates. Both bonds have only one time they can be called, but the rates are better. Chairman Dinning asked Treasurer Larson to explain a sweep account. The diversified bond fund and the state pool are doing fairly well as compared to other accounts. Treasurer Larson briefly mentioned the December tax collections for years 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Treasurer Larson informed Commissioners of a matter regarding money orders. Treasurer Larson said she contacted County Civil Attorney Tevis Hull about it and he suggested having a policy referencing what forms of payment the county will and will not accept.

Commissioner Cossairt moved to approve the Treasurer’s Statement of Accounts dated December 31, 2020. Commissioner Bertling second. Motion passed unanimously.

The meeting with Treasurer Larson ended at 2:48 p.m.

There being no further business, the meeting recessed until tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

***Tuesday, January 26, 2021, Commissioners met in regular session with Chairman Dan Dinning, Commissioner Wally Cossairt, Commissioner Tim Bertling, Clerk Glenda Poston, and Chief Deputy Clerk Nancy Ryals.

9:00 a.m., Commissioners held an elected officials/department heads meeting. Present were: Chairman Dan Dinning, Commissioner Wally Cossairt, Commissioner Tim Bertling, Clerk Glenda Poston, Chief Deputy Clerk Nancy Ryals and Noxious Weeds Department Superintendent Dave Wenk in the Commissioners’ room; and via conference call were: Assessor Dave Ryals, Prosecutor’s Office Manager Tammie Goggia, Sheriff Dave Kramer, Treasurer Sue Larson, Extension Educator Amy Robertson, Chief Probation Officer Stacy Brown, Solid Waste Department Superintendent Claine Skeen, Courthouse Maintenance John Buckley, Restorium Administrator Karlene Magee, Road & Bridge Co-Superintendent Randy Morris, Veterans Service Officer Ron Self, Emergency Manager Andrew O’Neel, and Deputy Clerk Pam Barton.

Chairman Dinning informed those participating in the meeting that in the past if employees have COVID hours for whatever reason, they reported that by putting a “C” down on their time sheet. The county no longer needs that. Now if you test positive or someone in your household tests positive for COVID or you are quarantined according to Panhandle Health District rules, that is the only time you would note your time on your timesheet as COVID hours.

Deputy Clerk Pam Barton informed everyone that the government is tracking COVID testing and employees will receive a document showing COVID time with their pay this month. Going forward, employees need to specify whether COVID time being taken is for the employee or for family. There have been a lot of people covering for those out for COVID reasons and Deputy Clerk Barton thanked everyone for that. Deputy Clerk Barton reported that time sheets were edited by the county outside auditor this year. Deputy Clerk Barton stated that timesheets need to be clear and accurate. Clerk Poston commented that some of the timesheets are not legible and contain a lot of ink and erase marks. Clerk Poston asked that employees take a little more time and be neater on their timesheets.

Chairman Dinning said that everyone should have received an email regarding vaccinations for COVID-19 and Commissioners need to know how many employees want to be vaccinated.

There will be something out of the legislature this year that will severely restrict budget authority, according to Chairman Dinning. One proposal will only allow four months cash to be held and the county needs three months cash each fiscal year for first quarter funding. Another proposal is tied to new construction and the consumer price index and that total can’t be more than 4%. Historically, the consumer price index is under 1% and with new construction you might be lucky to get a 2.5 percent increase. There will be something come out of the legislature, we don’t know what it looks like now but, it will potentially severely impact the county. Certain legislators think counties just blow money, according to Chairman Dinning. Chairman Dinning asked elected officials and department heads to please be conservative with their budgets going forward this year. Chairman Dinning informed those present that the legislative proposals should be listed on the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) website.

Extension Educator Amy Robertson reported that there are three receivers outside at the back of the Extension building for the community to use public WI-FI. The public will need to go to Vandals Guest and type in the password which is Go Vandals!. Ms. Robertson further reported that the deadline was January 10th to enroll in 4-H and enrollment is up. Ms. Robertson reviewed upcoming courses offered through the Extension Office. If anyone is interested in the newsletter you can let the Extension Office know.

Assessor Ryals said there is nothing new in his office. Assessor Ryals commented that nothing was mentioned about property tax exemption legislation and Chairman Dinning stated that he does not believe that an increase in the homeowner’s exemption will be considered by the legislature.

Prosecutor’s Office Manager Tammie Goggia reported that there is a new Prosecutor and that things are going great and the office is busy.

Sheriff Dave Kramer spoke regarding hiring new dispatchers and commented that good people are coming on board. Sheriff Kramer reported that there is now a kiosk in the hallway at the jail to allow for visitations so the general public won’t have to go back into the secure facility. Forms and the law library will be accessible to inmates and will be online soon. Sheriff Kramer asked if there could be a meeting for the impacted departments about relocation of offices so everyone can be involved. Chairman Dinning inquired about a fee for the use of a law library. The law library would be free, according to Sheriff Kramer. There is no privacy to it. Inmates can lose the privilege if they aren’t following rules.

Treasurer Sue Larson said her office is working on tax deeding. Treasurer Larson reported that her office had an issue recently where a stack of money orders was made out to a taxpayer and that taxpayer wanted to sign the money orders over to the county. The bank said the county should not take those as they are the same as third party checks, according to the Treasurer. Treasurer Larson said that all checks need to be made out to Boundary County and not to somewhere else. Assessor Ryals said his office doesn’t accept third party checks. Treasurer Larson said that County Civil Attorney Tevis Hull wants it to be a written policy.

Chief Probation Officer Stacy Brown reported that Probation Department employees are able to participated in all meetings on line via the internet and it has been very positive.

Solid Waste Department Superintendent Claine Skeen reported that all of the department’s employees are back at work. Eleven loads of metal have been hauled out which is about 250 tons. Mr. Skeen estimated that there was about 1,000 tons of metal.

Courthouse Maintenance John Buckley reported that they are working on painting projects.

Restorium Administrator Karlene Magee reported that they are busy at the Restorium and the first round of the COVID-19 vaccines has been given with no adverse reactions. The second round of vaccines has been scheduled.

Road & Bridge Co-Superintendent Randy Morris reported that a guardrail project is anticipated to happen this spring and a Ruby Creek Bridge project should start in the next couple of months.

Noxious Weeds Department Superintendent Dave Wenk informed those present that there will probably only be a $400 match this year for the Neighborhood Weed Co-op Program and the applications will be out next month.

Veterans Service Officer Ron Self said not much is going on in his department. The state veterans officer will come up tomorrow. Chairman Dinning asked if there are any vaccines available through the Veterans Administration for veterans. Mr. Self said that Panhandle Health District is putting veterans in the same category as everyone else for vaccinations. Chairman Dinning informed Mr. Self that the SPOT bus goes to Sandpoint and the veterans can ride the bus to the clinic in Sandpoint. Commissioners will send Mr. Self the SPOT bus contact information.

Emergency Manager Andrew O’Neel reported that there was a Panhandle Health District (PHD) COVID-19 vaccination clinic last Friday at the High School and 130 people got vaccinated with 104 being registered on-line and then seniors were called to fill the other slots. The second shot will be given on February 19th and they are looking to conduct the process in the same way. PHD is meeting today to discuss the next step. PHD will have about 140 doses per week. PHD is working with local providers to make vaccinations available to the public. The 65 and older demographic will start getting shots on Monday. There are about 51,000 people in the five northern counties who are 65 and older. About 60% of people are wanting the shots, according to Mr. O’Neel. It will take about three months to vaccinate that group of people which puts it at May for the general public to be vaccinated. Mr. O’Neel informed those present that If they have anyone in their offices who want the vaccine, please pass the information to the Commissioners’ office and we can get that set up through PHD. We don’t know how many clinics PHD will do or if they are planning on that just being through local providers.

Chairman Dinning said that there is so much confusion about a waiting list and he asked where do those under 65 with preexisting conditions fall. Mr. O’Neel said that is in the next group. They are looking at March/April for that group. Treasurer Larson asked if the numbers are going down for positive cases. Mr. O’Neel said yes, but it hasn’t been decreasing long enough to qualify as a trend. There are 238 active cases. The highest was 250+ cases and that was on January 19th. The number of cases has decreased before but then gone back up. Mr. O’Neel said that he doesn’t want to give anyone false hope. There were 100 in the hospital two or three weeks ago and currently only 53 are hospitalized. The number of hospitalizations is trendy downward which is a good sign. We are still in the substantial risk zone for rate of spread in Boundary County. Our positivity rate is 17.7% according to the state’s website and the state average is 11.4%. Chairman Dinning said that correlates to two or three weeks after Christmas and New Year’s. Mr. O’Neel said that there was a pretty big spike after Christmas, but not New Years.

The elected officials/department heads meeting ended at 9:33 a.m.

John Buckley asked if Commissioners will be out of the office this afternoon so the office can be painted. Chairman Dinning said yes, Commissioners can participate in the IAC Legislative Zoom conference for District 1 separately from home if they wish to do so.

Discussion was briefly held regarding last night’s KVRI meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:39 a.m.

DAN R. DINNING, Chairman


By: Michelle Rohrwasser, Deputy Clerk