Board of Wahkiakum County Commissioners
July 14, 2009
Call to Order
Present: Chairman Daniel L. Cothren, Vice Chair Blair H. Brady, Commissioner Lisa M.
Marsyla, Health and Human Services Director Judy Bright, Undersheriff Jon Dearmore,
Human Services Manager Chris Holmes, Administrative Coordinator/Clerk of the Board
Holly Pfenniger, Treasurer Paula Holloway, Building & Planning Manager Chuck Beyer, and
Public Works Director Pete Ringen. Others Present: Peter Hacket of Bradwood Landing,
Gregg Garrison of the Longview Daily News, Rick Nelson of the Wahkiakum Co. Eagle, Fair
Manager Bill Coons, and AFSCME Union Staff Representative Joe Devlaeminck.
Chairman Cothren led the flag salute.
Approval of Regular Meeting Agenda
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to approve the agenda for July 14, 2009.
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to approve the consent agenda for July 14,
A. Minutes of July 7, 2009
B. Resolution 093-09, a resolution authorizing the expenditure of funds from
the emergency medical services for the payment of vouchers properly
chargeable to said fund for $198.84.
C. Resolution 094-09, a resolution authorizing the expenditure of funds from
the county properties cumulative reserve fund for the payment of vouchers
properly chargeable to said fund for $6,278.08.
D. Resolution 095-09, a resolution authorizing the expenditure of funds from
the electronic communication cumulative reserve fund for the payment of
vouchers properly chargeable to said fund for $163.20.
E. Vouchers for $52,774.92
AFSCME Union Grievance
Chairman Cothren recessed the regular meeting at 9:34 a.m. to enter into an executive
session for a period of 25 minutes to discuss a union grievance.
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Present: Commissioner Daniel L. Cothren, Commissioner Lisa M. Marsyla, Commissioner
Blair H. Brady, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow, Assessor Sulema Zerr, and Clerk of the
Board Holly Pfenniger.
Chairman Cothren reconvened the regular meeting at 10:00 a.m. No action was taken as a
result of the executive session.
Public Works Department
Closure of Brooks Slough Road
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to approve Resolution 096-09, a
resolution closing Brooks Slough Road. Carried.
Call for Bids for Puget Island Ferry Ramp Replacement Project
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to call for bids for the Puget Island Ferry
Ramp Replacement Project, with bids to be submitted by 11:00 a.m., August 4, 2009.
Award of A.G. Hanson Bridge Project to Five Rivers Construction
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to award the A.G. Hanson Bridge Project
to Five Rivers Construction for $376,856.40. Carried.
Authorize Supplemental Consulting Agreement with Sargent Engineers for A.G.
It was M/S by Commissioners Marsyla and Brady to authorize chair’s signature on the
supplemental consulting agreement between the county and Sargent Engineers for the A. G.
Hanson Bridge Repair Project for additional construction management. Carried.
Personal Services Contract
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to approve the personal services contract
between the county and Fred Rose for construction inspection work to be performed on the
A.G. Hanson Bridge Project, throughout the project. Carried.
Commissioner Marsyla asked if this was a known cost at the time of original contract and
Ringen indicated that all contracts of this nature have to have a supplemental after the
project moves into construction.
Health and Human Services
Developmental Disabilities Services Contract
It was M/S by Commissioners Marsyla and Brady to authorize chair’s signature on the
County Program Agreement 0963-67995 between the County and Department of Social and
Health Services for Developmental Disability Services. Carried.
Chemical Dependency Services Contract
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to authorize chair’s signature on the
County Program Agreement 0963-68069 between the County and the Department of Social
and Health Services for Chemical Dependency Services. Carried.
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Building and Planning Department
Change Order for Fairgrounds Arena
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to approve change order #3 to the
fairgrounds arena construction project to authorize wind load changes at a cost of
$68,374.00, and to approve change order #4 to change the foundation design for the arena
to accommodate the soft soils underneath the building, at a cost estimate of not to exceed
$89,254.000. Commissioner Marsyla verified that the fair board president was in agreement
with these changes. Fair Board President Bill Coons noted that these changes are necessary;
however, he wished the funding made available for the arena building could have been used
differently to complete the arena. Commissioner Cothren called for the vote. Carried.
Resolution Authorizing Payment of an Interfund Loan
Treasurer Paula Holloway was present to explain the need to pay down interfund loans in
the amount of $500,000. It was M/S by Commissioners Marsyla and Brady to adopt
Resolution 097-09, a resolution authorizing payment of interfund loan for $500,000.
Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Claim for Damages
It was M/S by Commissioners Brady and Marsyla to approve claim #27426 for damages
incurred on the ferry “Wahkiakum” in the amount of $2,010.32, utilizing the contingent
liabilities cumulative reserve fund. Carried.
Professional Services Agreement
It was M/S by Commissioners Marsyla and Brady to approve the Professional Services
Contract Agreement between the County and Dr. Paul Schneider for $80.00 per hour, with
the term to begin on July 30, 2009 through December 31, 2009. Carried. Commissioner
Marsyla noted that it was necessary to hire Dr. Schneider because Dr. McClean is not
available to work after July 29, and the clinic is required to have physician oversight.
Prosecuting Attorney Stimulus Grant
Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow noted that the union has responded to Bigelow’s request
to provide cost of living increases to his employees. The staff representative Joe
Devlaeminck indicated the union is more than willing to adjust to meet the county’s needs
and would be willing to bargain over this matter. Commissioner Marsyla noted that her
preference was to have the prosecutor find other uses for the grant money besides
providing two employees a COLA. Joe Devlaeminck indicated the union would prefer to have
the COLA funding spread across the entire county workforce. It was M/S by
Commissioners Marsyla and Brady to approve the increase of hours for the Prosecuting
Attorney secretary position and the grant funding to restore the law library, but deny the
funding that would provide a 3% cost of living increase to two employees of the
prosecutor’s office. Chairman Cothren called for the vote. Commissioners Cothren and
Marsyla voted in favor of the motion. Commissioner Brady opposed. Motion carried.
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Chairman Cothren recessed the regular meeting at 11:22 a.m. for a period of eight minutes
at which time the board would convene an executive session to talk about a union
grievance. Chairman Cothren reconvened the regular meeting at 11:30 a.m. Chairman
Cothren recessed out of regular session to enter into an executive session related to a union
grievance, for a period of thirty minutes.
Executive Session, Union Grievance Hearing
Present: Commissioner Dan Cothren, Commissioner Lisa M. Marsyla, Commissioner Blair H.
Brady, Assessor Sulema Zerr, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow, AFSCME Staff Rep. Joe
Devlaeminck, Deputy Assessor Marsha Souvenir, and District Court Administrator Diana
Chairman Cothren reconvened the regular session at 11:44 a.m. No action was taken as a
result of the executive session.
Department Head Meeting
Present: Chairman Daniel L. Cothren, Vice Chair Blair H. Brady, Commissioner Lisa M.
Marsyla, Health and Human Services Director Judy Bright, Sheriff Dan Bardsley, Auditor
Diane Tischer, Court Clerk Kay Holland, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow, Assessor
Sulema Zerr, WSU Extension Agent Carrie Kennedy, Weed Manager Bob Brons,
Administrative Coordinator/Clerk of the Board Holly Pfenniger, Treasurer Paula Holloway,
Building & Planning Manager Chuck Beyer, and Public Works Director Pete Ringen.
Commissioner Lisa Marsyla announced changes to rules that govern how the county’s
medical pool is administered. Marsyla explained that over the last two years, the
Washington Counties Insurance Fund has been struggling with financial difficulties. As a
result, the fund hired a financial consultant who has come back to the trustees with
recommendations that were adopted last week. The changes included:
o The county can no longer allow employees to waive medical insurance and take
50% of the medical benefit as cash because this causes a situation referred to as
“adverse selection” and causes a hardship on the pool.
o Rate increases upwards of 15% or higher are expected in 2010.
o Employees must work 20 hours per week to be eligible for medical coverage.
o Coverage commences on the first day of the month following the month the
employee is hired.
o If an employee was hired on the first day of the month, he/she will receive medical
benefits the first day of employment.
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o Each employer will provide an annual contract with the fund reviewing their
understanding of the eligibility requirements for employees. Additionally, all
employees will need to complete annual application updating all information
including eligible dependents.
o Employers with 50 to 150 eligible employees will be offered three plans.
o Those employers with less than 50 employees will be offered two plans.
o Employers may offer a HMO like Kaiser Permanente.
o The pool will charge a 5% surcharge on those organizations that choose to offer all
plans to their employees.
o No other insurance carrier may be offered to the member employee class.
o The two tier and six tier plans are being eliminated, and will be replaced by a
composite rate plan and a 4-tier plan.
o Those who waive coverage will have to show proof of other coverage.
o All employees must be covered as employees.
Mid Year Budget Review Workshops
The board met with staff to discuss the status of the 2009 budget and needs for the 2010
budget during the week of July 14-16. A summary of the workshop is shown below:
Health and Human Services (HHS Director Judy Bright, Human Services Manager Chris Holmes and HHS
Operations Manager Chris Weiler present.)
Health and Human Services Director Judy Bright noted that in 2010 she will rely on the
same level of current expense funding from the county as she did in 2009 to help support
the agency’s programs. Bright anticipated the same staffing levels in her departments as in
2009, and felt she could manage the adjustments in revenue without layoffs. Public Health
will need $59,696.00 in 2010. The agency may need to increase their contract for
environmental health services.
In 2009, the fees for environmental health and liquid waste declined from previous years
due to the economy.
In the fall there will be an emphasis placed on vaccinating for the H1N1 virus (pandemic). It
appears the burden of this effort will fall on local public health departments. It is unclear
whether public health will have sufficient staffing to handle the needs around this matter.
Chemical Dependency (HHS Director Judy Bright, Human Services Manager Chris Holmes and HHS
Operations Manager Chris Weiler present.)
The chemical dependency program will experience cuts in prevention and treatment
services, but will receive an additional $50,000 as a result of the incentive funding provided
for a portion of the sales tax that is funneled towards human service programs.
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In 2010, the agency will rely on the $25,049.00 it receives in current expense funds. This
money is used for matching grant funds.
Development Disabilities (HHS Director Judy Bright, Human Services Manager Chris Holmes and HHS
Operations Manager Chris Weiler present.)
The way the county bills for developmental disability services has changed and will result in
a reduction in program funds from $49,156.00 to $28,498.00.
Mental Health (HHS Director Judy Bright, Human Services Manager Chris Holmes and HHS Operations
Manager Chris Weiler present.)
The mental health agency budget will end higher than budgeted in 2009 because additional
revenue is coming in for Medicaid transportation. Bright noted she will need the $3,416.00
in current expense funds the county is contributing toward the mental health program.
In reviewing the budget, the board questioned whether the answering service that HHS uses
could be changed in order to cut costs. The Sheriff’s office may be able to handle that
Overall, Bright indicated her agency will require another $730.00 from current expense in
2009. In 2010, Bright will not ask for an increase in funds and plans to manage her agency
with zero layoffs.
Jail Budget (Sheriff Dan Bardsley present.)
Sheriff Dan Bardsley indicated the county only requested $14,000 for litter patrol for each
of the next two years because he does not have the manpower needed to perform this
The travel and overtime expenses are down in comparison to previous years. The Sheriff
assured the board members that although he has funds in his budget for these expenses, his
office is being very conservative.
The cost of inmate meals has decreased because the county is supplementing prepared
meals with food from the local market.
Overall, the Sheriff expected the jail budget would end the year with $30,000 extra in it
because an extra corrections officer position was budgeted but not filled. This money will
go back to current expense.
Sheriff Budget (Sheriff Dan Bardsley present.)
Sheriff Dan Bardsley reported that after he eliminated the emergency management division,
the Cathlamet Fire Department offered to take over some of the Region IV contract
requirements of homeland security for the department of emergency management. The
Sheriff agreed to that arrangement.
One change that may occur in 2010 is the discontinuation of the state patrol utilizing county
deputy Gary Howell as a drug recognition expert. The state patrol has trained troopers to
handle this function.
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The search and rescue program continues to raise funds, which is not reflected in the
county’s budget per Bardsley.
The Sheriff also indicated that to date, only $12,000 in overtime has been expended. This
seemed low to him, but he did note that he has curtailed overtime as much as possible this
Bardsley indicated that his office/operating line item, which has $16,000 in it, will be used
by year-end. The commissioners asked Bardsley to curtail spending as much as possible and
questioned his need for $16,000 in office supplies. He explained that most of the ordering
for the year occurs at the end of the year when supplies run low. Bardsley also noted that
the filters for the evidence room are very expensive and they need to be changed out this
year, which is why the line item seemed high.
One area of concern that may go over budget is the repair and maintenance for radios. To
date, 90% of that budget has been expended.
The Sheriff has asked the public works department to review the cost of maintaining the
four oldest patrol vehicles because it appears that expenses are climbing on these older
vehicles. The Sheriff would hate to expend all funds on fixing the old vehicles if it is more
feasible to purchase new vehicles.
The Reverse 911 system cost the county $1,000 last year to utilize. The board felt this was a
very beneficial system to use to inform the public of emergency situations and supported
the continued use of the system. Chief Civil Deputy Joannie Bjorge indicated that if
Wahkiakum Co. is the first to use the system in the region, the first user get a cost break.
The Sheriff indicated the $1,700 for the department of emergency management’s office &
operating, travel, and repair & maintenance line items will not be spent and can be given
back to the county.
The board questioned why the Drug Pilot Project was over expended. Bjorge indicated that
she billed the state for services last week, so the revenue will come in soon. The Sheriff
indicated he will not overspend that line item as it is 100% grant funded through the state
and pays for deputy Gary Howell.
911 Budget (Sheriff Dan Bardsley and Chief Civil Deputy Joannie Bjorge present.)
The Sheriff reported that the expenditures will match revenue in this budget.
Substance Abuse (Sheriff Dan Bardsley and Chief Civil Deputy Joannie Bjorge present.)
In the past, the Sheriff’s office had a DARE officer who promoted substance abuse
prevention in the schools. This funding was discontinued, however, some of the funds have
remained in the budget for years. The Sheriff’s office is now working with the Wahkiakum
Community Network on these issues and may have more funding coming forward that
could be used for these efforts.
Boating Safety (Sheriff Dan Bardsley and Chief Civil Deputy Joannie Bjorge present.)
The Sheriff’s office receives revenue from boater registration fees to provide a boaters
safety program in the county. At this time, the county does not have sufficient personnel to
apply for more money to provide a more comprehensive program. The county provides the
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Town of Cathlamet funding to provide a boater and swimmer safety program at the local
swimming pool. This program is offered to school aged children during September.
Drug Buy (Sheriff Dan Bardsley and Chief Civil Deputy Joannie Bjorge present.)
The Sheriff indicated that the $57,500 in funds in this budget is earmarked for the Cowlitz-
Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force. The board noted that this money was to be set aside this
year, in case criminal justice revenue did not come in as anticipated. This revenue stream is
running about 50% of normal, so the money in this budget will be needed to help operate
the Sheriff’s department. The board indicated they would send a letter to the narcotics task
force explaining the need and informing them that the county will not be able to provide the
task force funds this year.
Chairman Cothren recessed the regular meeting at 3:41 p.m. and announced the board
would continue their meeting on July 15, 2009, at 10:00 a.m.
Reconvene Continued Meeting
July 15, 2009
Chairman Cothren reconvened the regular meeting on July 15, 2009, at 9:00 a.m.
Housing & Community Development (Building & Planning Manager Chuck Beyer present)
Beyer reported that the Housing & Community Development office revenue is only at 32%
of projections and expenses are at 53%. Beyer noted that new construction is way down in
comparison to past years, which has caused a drop in permit fees in his office. Beyer
manages county properties and still needs to bill $10,000 worth of work he has performed
for county properties, which will increase the departmental revenue. Beyer is also waiting
for the remainder of the historical courthouse grant to come in, which will boost the
department’s revenue. Beyer also has $8,000 in flood and snow damage related labor that
has not been charged.
County Properties (Building & Planning Manager Chuck Beyer present)
Beyer noted the balance of county properties is $867,000, of which $300,000 is earmarked
for the fairgrounds arena building. This leaves very little money in the reserve to maintain
county facilities in the coming years. The board encouraged Beyer to utilize the reserve
accounts for county property projects, when possible, to ease pressure on some of the more
heavily used funds.
One of the issues Beyer would like to clarify is whether the county can bill an entity for fire
inspections. Inspections are conducted and billed to the county when fires occur. Beyer
would like to pass those inspection costs to the entity that has experienced the fire.
Beyer noted that most of the work occurring under county properties this year has been the
result of snow and flood damage from storms.
Part of the work plan for county properties included painting the exterior and interior of the
courthouse this year. Beyer questioned whether this is work the board would like
scheduled this year. The board noted the buildings need to be maintained but did not give
Beyer a clear answer about painting the courthouse.
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Communications (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
The payphone on the first floor of the courthouse has been paid for this year and the Grays
River toll-free phone line is costing more than normal. The board indicated that both
services are necessary.
Janitor (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
Janitorial costs will come in lower than budgeted this year.
Parks (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
Commissioner Brady suggested that the county line park and the Buffington Park be
eliminated from the county’s budget if other entities would be willing to take over the cost
of maintenance. Brady questioned what whether Buffington Park could be given back to the
property owner. Ringen noted he would have to research the deed to find out what would
happen if the county relinquished ownership of the park.
Solid Waste and Garbage (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
Ringen reported the county is seeing less use of the transfer station this year, which has
resulted in reduced hauling costs. Ending the free dump day helped the county balance the
solid waste budget, per Ringen.
The county is receiving less money for recycling sales because the value has dropped.
Ringen mentioned the Department of Ecology coordinated prevention grant receives
revenue but the county does not have sufficient staff to work this program.
Flood Control (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
Ringen reported there is an FCAP grant available for a flood control outreach program if the
board has any ideas. The board suggested a project in the Elochoman Valley may be
appropriate given the recent flood events.
The board recommended that Ringen utilize flood control funds for flood damaged roads
and bridges. Ringen noted that most FEMA funded flood damage projects require a match,
so he planned to review whether the flood control funds could be used to match FEMA
County Road (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
Ringen reported the flooding this year caused the road crew to do a lot of disaster recovery
work. Some of the regularly scheduled work has been done. FEMA funds only pay for
equipment time and material. FEMA does not pay for staff time. FEMA recovery funding is
not showing up in the revenue lines yet because it is just now starting to come in. Ringen
noted the budget is in good shape.
Ferry Operations (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
Ringen reported the ferry operation costs the county $150,000 a year to subsidize. Last
year it cost an extra $75,000. The excess expenditures come out of the road fund.
Commissioner Brady recommended the county not pursue handing the ferry service over to
the state until the new ferry is in service, as not to give the state incentive to divert any
funding for the new ferry to other needs. Ringen noted that he fears the economic impact
of discontinuing the ferry service would result in the mill workers ,who work at WAUNA,
moving to Oregon which will have an economic impact to the county. The board indicated
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the county may need to reduce the number of ferry runs made in the evening and the fee
structure for the ferry.
Ringen noted the road motor vehicle fuel tax is running below budget and may result in a
shortfall of $65,000.
Ringen was asked to look into whether WAUNA is required to participate in the Commute
Trip Reduction Act to see if there is any way to provide its employees with benefits to use
the ferry and possibly help pay for the ferry service which benefits their mill.
In 2010, it is possible the county could become eligible for new ferry funding. Senator Patty
Murray’s office called the county about submitting for ferry money so Ringen provided the
information he had. It is possible that funding could be granted. If it does happen, the
county will face issues with cash flow because a new ferry costs millions of dollars the
county does not have. Ringen indicated the county would need $5,300,000.00 for a new
ferry. The pilings around the new ferry ramp will need to be reset to accommodate the new
ferry which is larger.
Public Works Cumulative Reserve Fund (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
The board encouraged Ringen to utilize appropriate reserve funds when necessary rather
than tapping into heavily used funds like the road fund. A portion of the road fund will
likely be needed to pay for patrol officers in 2010.
ER&R (Public Works Director Pete Ringen present.)
Ringen noted the ER&R fund is required, but the county’s entire fleet does not need to be
managed under the fund. The board questioned whether they could discontinue payments
to the fund and utilize money that would normally go into the fund for current expense in
2010. Commissioner Brady suggested that officers could share vehicles, rather than each
having a vehicle.
County Commissioner’s Office (Administrative Coordinator Holly Pfenniger present.)
Administrative Coordinator Holly Pfenniger reported the Commissioners’ Office budget
expenditures are at 50% at mid-year, and the revenue is at 74%. Pfenniger noted the
budget is tight and has little room for adjustment. Commissioner Marsyla questioned why
the overtime line item went slightly over budget for the clerk position. Pfenniger reported
the overtime was used to work the flood and snow emergencies this year, which pulled her
away from her normal duties, which need to be done by state mandate. Pfenniger had to
work overtime to cover both the emergencies and her mandated work. Because the
overtime budget of $500 has been expended for the year, Pfenniger will be claiming comp
time instead, if required to work overtime. Marsyla indicated she would look into whether
emergency related work was covered by FEMA funds and could be used to reimburse the
overtime line item.
Coroner’s Budget ( Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow present.)
Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow noted there was no activity in the coroner’s budget to
date. Bigelow does need to purchase a case of body bags and a digital camera this year.
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Prosecuting Attorney’s Budget ( Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow present.)
Marsyla noted the prosecutor’s expenses are exceeding revenue, with revenue at 41% and
expenses at 50%.
Bigelow explained that revenue comes from sources such as the Becca Bill grant, which will
not be fully awarded until autumn, the STOP grant, which has not yet been awarded, and the
support enforcement contract, which is dependent on the number of cases forwarded to the
prosecutor by the State of Washington.
The STOP grant covers partial salaries for some employees; a separate grant covers the
victim/witness advocate position; the state's support enforcement contract pays for our
computers and provides the county an hourly rate. Support enforcement billings are low
this year, though some new cases have come in recently. Those revenues do not cover
salaries and are reflected as revenue.
Bigelow indicated the grant he has received for reinstating his secretary to full time and
bringing his law library funding up to full funding will also allow for an increase in the cost
of benefits for workers in his office, if needed in 2010.
Bigelow indicated he did not budget enough for the county law library this year. The cost of
the online Westlaw service is $750.00 per month and it will cost another $700.00 to update
the county’s code. In 2010, Bigelow will need more funds for the law library.
Bigelow will request cost of living increases for his staff in 2010 and may need to replace a
Noxious Weed Control (Noxious Weed Control Manager Bob Brons present.)
Noxious Weed Control Manager Bob Brons indicated the cost of chemicals increased this
year, so he overexpended that line item. Brons recommended transferring funds from the
cost share line item into the chemicals line item to cover the expenditure, since fewer
people are taking advantage of the program this year.
Brons planned to retire at the end of the season, but indicated that he could spend a few
days training a replacement this year and next.
The board questioned whether Brons felt it would work to have the weed control program
under the WSU Extension Office. Brons felt it would, but indicated the Extension Agent
should be involved in that discussion.
The board noted that there is a lot of transition on the weed board and several want to
resign. The board may need to transfer the program over to public works or WSU Extension
with the goal of continuing spraying in future years due to the benefit spraying provides.
Chairman Cothren recessed the regular meeting at 1:00 p.m. and reported the board would
reconvene the following morning at 10:00 a.m., July 16, 2009.
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Reconvene Continued Meeting
July 16, 2009
Chairman Cothren reconvened the regular meeting on July 16, 2009, at 10:05 a.m. to
conduct mid-year budget workshops.
District Court Budget (Judge William Faubion and Court Administrator Diana Nichols present.)
The district court budget revenue was at 53% for the year and expenditures were at 47%.
Judge Faubion noted that traffic infraction revenue was down because the county has fewer
deputies doing traffic patrol.
The district court travel budget will not be used as anticipated in 2009 because the
presiding judge’s conference was cancelled this year and the fall conference may be
cancelled as well. There may be some one-day trainings that the judge and his staff may
attend this year, but the judge anticipated his travel line item would not be heavily used.
In 2010, Judge Faubion anticipated that business would occur as usual and did not see any
changes in his office.
Court Administrator Diana Nichols indicated that she received a grant for a metal detector
and funding to hire part-time staff to provide security during court trials.
WSU Extension Office Budget (WSU Extension Agent Carrie Kennedy present.)
WSU Extension Agent Carrie Kennedy indicated that revenue for WSU Extension is on
schedule for 2009.
In 2010, the extension office will need another $10,000 to apply towards the base salary of
The board asked Kennedy if the Extension Office might be willing to take over the noxious
weed program in 2010. Kennedy indicated that this could be done. The board noted they
could supplement the extension office budget to continue the weed program.
Court Clerk’s Budget (Kay Holland present.)
Court Clerk Kay Holland reported that the revenue for her office is at 65% for the year,
because she has been concentrating on collecting old fines. The cost of annual maintenance
for the LibertyNet software system was a little higher than Holland had anticipated.
Holland indicated that LibertyNet has a formula they use to determine how much money
each user pays, and her office tends to pick up a good portion of that cost because she has
the greatest number of seats on that software system.
Holland anticipated the judge pro tem and commissioner pro tem line items will be
exceeded this year, but there is nothing that can be done about that situation. The budgets
are set using a best guess scenario.
In 2010, Holland did not expect any major changes or needs for her office. Holland did
mention that she and her deputy clerk would like to attend the annual Clerk’s conference in
June of 2010, as it provides good training and networking opportunities.
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Treasurer’s Budget (Treasurer Paula Holloway, Auditor Diane Tischer, Chief Deputy Auditor Karen
Treasurer Paula Holloway reported that the county revenue is at 50% for the year, when it
should be at 50% at mid-year. Holloway reported the county typically collects 95% of taxes
Holloway reported that in order to divert money from county road in the future, the county
needs a policy in place that says why it is diverting money from county road and shows a
formula for diverting these funds. The board indicated they would likely divert from the
county road fund to help balance the county budget in 2010, noting there are funds that
could be used for public works projects and county roads, other than county road. It was
also noted the cost of Sheriff vehicles, staff, and patrol needs to be figured into the formula.
Holloway indicated that Ferry County has used 100% of county road funds for their general
The flood control fund has been depleting because the county has not levied a tax in two
years. Commissioner Cothren raised concerns about imposing this tax during difficult
economic times, suggesting it may be more appropriate to implement it in 2011, once
Holloway raised concerns about the Private Harvest Excise Tax revenue, which is not
coming in as budgeted. The timber market has declined so there is less logging occurring in
the county, causing this tax revenue to drop. This revenue will come in roughly $40,000
short this year. The county budgeted $162,000, but only $126,000 is anticipated to come in.
Other revenue issues anticipated by the Treasurer resulted in a net different of $167,000 to
the positive, between what was budgeted in 2009 and what is now anticipated in 2009. This
does not include the shortfall in the criminal justice/county assistance funding the county
receives. Those changes included:
o Sales tax down by $15,000.
o Real estate 1% fees up by $4,000
o Federal in lieu of taxes up by $1,000
o PUD privilege tax up by $1,500
o Liquor excise tax up by $1,000
o Liquor profits up by $1,000
o Investment earnings down by $124,000
o Investment service fees down by $1,500
o DNR Interest down by $2,500
o Bank fees up by $2,500
o Forest board money up by $335,144 (should deposit $1.5 million versus budget of
$1.2 million this year)
As mentioned earlier, the criminal justice/county assistance funding, made possible by
Senate Bill 6050, will come in less than budgeted in 2009. This revenue stream is tied to
real estate excise taxes. If the shortfall continues and the county does not spend the
$57,500 set aside for the drug buy program (Narcotics Task Force funding), this revenue
stream will be $50,000 short in 2009. The board confirmed that they have informed the
Sheriff that the drug buy money will not go to the narcotics task force. The money is needed
to run the Sheriff’s office this year. Holloway recommended the county reduce the criminal
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justice – county assistance revenue projections by $100,000 in 2010, given the housing
market. Holloway indicated the balance coming forward for criminal justice in 2010 will be
zero. This is cause for concern, per Holloway and Tischer.
The Treasurer assumed that interfund service charges for the family practice clinic will not
be received in reality, so she assumes these charges will need to be removed from
departmental budgets that charge the service fee.
Treasurer Holloway indicated the loan interest payment on the bottom of page 43 of the
budget says the county will expend $40,000 in loan interest payments, but due to low
interest rates the Treasurer projects this expenditure will actually be about $23,000. If the
board chooses to delay payments on these loans, then the county could save that $40,000
and not spend it.
Holloway reported that banking fees are currently at $6,800, which puts that line item over
the expense budget amount for the year. This will fall $2,500 short, but the Treasurer noted
that she began billing the PUD for their billing and will charge TRSN as well. Holloway
planned to talk to these entities about fiscal agent fees for 2010.
The treasurer preferred to have the recovery fee and banking fees in the non-departmental
budget in 2010 and planned to work with the Auditor to make these changes.
The Auditor indicated the county could use the public works cumulative reserve fund for
public works projects. This should ease the pressure on the road fund.
Treasurer’s O&M (Auditor Diane Tischer, Chief Deputy Karen Fleming, Treasurer Paula Holloway present.)
Holloway indicated that she has had to lay off the foreclosure clerk in her office for the
months of July, August, and September, due to insufficient funds to pay for that position;
however, last week she found that under RCW 82.06.030, the county treasurer shall place
1% of the proceeds that goes into the capital improvement fund, into the county current
expense fund to defray the cost of collecting that revenue. The balance of the fund is now
$840,000, and 1% would equate to $8,400. Holloway indicated that she would like to split
that money with the Auditor and use $4,400 to pay for foreclosure clerk position. Holloway
indicated there is no money in the 2010 budget for the foreclosure clerk, and she needs to
fill that part-time position to help with this function in her office. The board did not
The Treasurer also noted that she has the ability to charge a late fee for people who pay
their property taxes late. Taxpayers protested this year, so she plans to enforce the late fee
in 2010. The board asked the Treasurer to develop a policy to charge a late fee.
In 2010, the Treasurer, Assessor and Auditor will have higher maintenance costs for their
accounting system software, because Computech plans to charge each office $5,000 for 16
hours of service. This new agreement is much less expensive than alternatives at this point.
The Treasurer indicated that she projects the county will have a $300,000 shortfall next
year between investment earnings and criminal justice.
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Auditor (Auditor Diane Tischer, Chief Deputy Karen Fleming, Treasurer Paula Holloway present.)
Auditor Diane Tischer reported that revenue in her office is at 63% for the year because the
department of licensing has paid their portion for DOL services. Expenditures are at 47%
for the year. Tischer anticipates a $3,000 shortfall for DOL because of reduced staff hours. If
she is not able to bill the clinic for support services, she will be roughly $8,000 short in
revenue for 2009.
Tischer noted that both recording and licensing are picking up. Tischer indicated she
would like to use the remaining $4,400 that she and Treasurer would like to split between
their offices to hire more extra help to cover staffing for vacations. The board idd not
respond, other than Commissioner Brady mentioning that the Auditor’s office should
experience a decrease in work if the clinic and TRSN drop off the county’s books.
Tischer raised concerns about the cost of claims and damages, suggesting that those
departments who are causing damages resulting in claims should be charged for those
damages. Tischer asked the board to consider this idea.
Election Reserve (Auditor Diane Tischer, Chief Deputy Karen Fleming, Treasurer Paula Holloway present.)
Tischer explained the election reserve revenue will be short $10,000 this year because
there will be no special election. Tischer will request more money for extra help in 2010
and would like to talk to the board about hiring a part-time person for elections. Elections
will experience a software conversion next year, which will be paid for by federal funds.
Tourism Fund (Auditor Diane Tischer, Chief Deputy Karen Fleming, Treasurer Paula Holloway present.)
The hotel / motel lodging tax revenue is much lower than budgeted. The contract with the
LCEDC requires the county to give the EDC 90% of what is left in the fund; however, the fair
is to receive $2,500 of that money. There may not be enough in that fund to meet the
commitment to the fair.
Unemployment Fund (Auditor Diane Tischer, Chief Deputy Karen Fleming, Treasurer Paula Holloway
Tischer noted the cash on hand for unemployment is $131,000. This fund may need to be
supplemented in 2010.
Electronic Communications (Auditor Diane Tischer, Chief Deputy Karen Fleming, Treasurer Paula
Fleming noted the county will need to pay $41,000 out of the electronic communications for
the remainder of 2009. There is currently $114,000 in that fund. The estimated cost to the
fund next year is $94,000. The fund will not be able to meet expenditures in 2010. This will
become an issue for the 2010 budget.
County Fair (Fair Manager Sarah Lawrence present.)
Fair Manager Sarah Lawrence indicated that her salary as fair manager is run under the
WSU Extension budget, but the rest of the fair budget is run under the county fair budget.
The state did not provide the county as much money as they have in the past for the fair.
The fair has incurred very few expenditures to date. Most of the work at the fair is being
charged under flood and storm clean up utilizing FEMA funds. There was question about
what the expenditure for $9,976.00 for county fair flood professional services may have
paid. The board noted the county will not likely contribute toward the fair next year and
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noted the non-profit organization that has formed to take over the funding and operation of
the fair is doing a great job raising funds for the fair.
With no further business to come before the board, Chairman Cothren adjourned the
regular meeting at 2:30 p.m.
Attest: ______________________________ Approved: _________________________________
Holly A. Pfenniger Daniel L. Cothren
Clerk of the Board Chairman of the Board
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