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Idaho Enterprise

County Commission Oneida County April 8

A regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners was held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday April 8.  

Drug Testing/Background Check

Policies regarding drug and background testing for county employees were discussed.  A motion to include all county employees, including EMTs into the drug-testing pool was made and passed.  Some employees with by the county are subject to mandatory testing, which is not affected by the motion.  This increases the number of people who are potentially selected for random tests throughout the year, and will now include elected officials.

State Tax Commission Ratio Study

Kathleen Atkinson reported that the Assessors Office had failed the ratio test in a couple of areas—non-irrigated ag, and improved residential.  The county appraisals are lower than the anticipated amounts for those designations, based on 2022 numbers.  This is partly due to the small number of sales in these areas in the county, especially during 2022.  Atkinson explained that this situation creates an indexed average that is potentially skewed.

Veterans Service Officer

Bob Stokes spoke to the commission about a visit he recently had with the county resource coordinator, who had explained that the organization does not have funds to cover a grant to allow for the purchase of a scanner/printer for the VSO position.  A local internet provider, however, has pledged to provide internet services to the office free of charge.  Kathleen Atkinson suggested that she had a laptop which could be used.  Molly Beseris from 4 CASI suggested that she could probably write a grant to obtain some of the needed equipment.  Stokes requested a scanner/printer, laptop, and internet connection for the office.  

Stokes also mentioned that there are now regional meetings for VSOs, which he would like to use the county car to attend.  Chairman Lewis made a motion to permit Stokes the use of the car for such meetings.  The motion passed.

CERT Training

Commissioner Jeppsen had attended a Community Emergency Response Team training in Box Elder County, and had been informed that the group that ran the meeting holds regular meetings, which he believed the county would be advised to attend.  Jeppsen felt that it would be worthwhile to encourage citizens to attend training of that sort in any case, in order to train as many people as possible.  

Update on Reservoirs 

 Devils Creek is full and over spillway, Deep Creek is at 75% and expected to increase, and the other reservoirs are rising.

The county website has added some emergency information, and is working on developing a location for information on the status of the reservoirs, and the availability of sandbags for citizens who need them.  Rhonda Neal mentioned that the Flood Plain Zone maps were available on the Planning and Zoning section of the website.

Drone Spraying Fees

Cody Clyde spoke to the commissioners about potentially raising the rates for weed spraying in the county.  Last year, the discussion occurred well after weed spraying began, and it was decided not to change the rates that were already in place.  The current rate was determined to undercut private contractors, and lose money for the county.  Cody felt that the rates should be at least as high as other weed sprayers in the county, in order to eliminate the issues.  Commissioner Jeppsen felt that it was a good idea for the county to charge a rate slightly higher than the private enterprise competition, in order to provide the service but not directly compete.  

Commissioner Eliason agreed that the rates should be raised to at least the market rate in the county.  

The market rate is $75 an hour for ground spraying, $15 an acre with a drone, with a $200 minimum, or $250 an hour for areas less than 15 acres.  A motion to adjust the county rates to match was approved.

Cody still needs a crop dusting license before he can begin drone spraying.  He will be attending a drone flying school put on by USU in Franklin County soon.

Fish and Game—Deep Creek Sunrise summit Report

Chris Shulz spoke to the commission about the Deep Creek Sunrise summit agreement.  He had concerns about a Fish and Game agreement.  Shulz has a degree in Urban Planning. He was a city planner of Summit County Utah.  

A request to try to request renewal of agreements with Fish and Game was discussed.  Shulz wanted to clarify the arrangement for the maintenance of the restrooms at the RV campground.  The campground has been in place for 45 years.  A contract between Oneida County, MVI, and Fish and Game has not been located, but potentially needs to be established.  The reservoir was originally constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation, and then deeded to MVI.  The campground feels that the restroom needs to be maintained more regularly than twice a year.  

One issue is the zone designation of Devils Creek, which is in the Ag Zone.  The campground has improved the restroom facilities in order to come into compliance with the tri-county health district.  A new campground store has been proposed, which would coordinate boat checking and provide services.  Rhonda Neal feels that such a store would constitute an expansion of a non-conforming use in the zone.  

The commission advised Shulz to meet with the Planning and Zoning Chairman to discuss the evaluation of the analysis of the request.  

Rhonda Neal stated that the Planning and Zoning commission requires a concept plan before projects can be approved by the office.  Her position is that the submitted information does not contain all the required elements that are required by the department.  

Shulz stated that cabins which have been located near the reservoir meet the requirements, and should be allowed.  

Legal counsel suggested that following the grievance process was the next step, in order to determine how the development code will treat this situation.  

Opioid Settlement Funds

Doug Williams addressed the commission on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office to discuss the opioid settlement fund, which will be disbursed to the community over several years.  The funds are limited in terms of how they can be used.  One of the potential uses is to cover the cost of first-responder counseling in the aftermath of opioid related investigations/responses.

Williams suggested that the Sheriff’s Office and Commissioners should work together on a policy plan for best using the funds throughout the county.  Lon Colton clarified that the funds needed to be consolidated in one fund, from which any expenses will be drawn.     

Carpet—Sheriff’s Office

A bid for the carpet project for the sheriff’s office was received by the Clerk’s Office.  The project, from CP Build for $5,998.57 to replace tile and carpeting in dispatch, driver’s license, and other areas of the courthouse was approved.

TKE Elevator Agreement

Chairman Lewis updated the commission on the Elevator Service agreement.  Elevators are required to have a maintenance control program under Idaho code.  The plan provides one time annual inspection, and at least 3 other quarterly inspections.  It was anticipated that the parts for the elevator should avoid obsolescence for at least 7-10 years.  The standard agreement is for 5 years, which would equate to $3,041 for an annual contract.  

4 County Alliance Meeting

Chairman Lewis briefed the commissioners on a recent meeting of 4 County Alliance members.  One update was the reported discontinuation of the Pathology lab in Bannock County.  The lab was intended to facilitate required autopsies in the southeast Idaho region, which currently require transportation to Ada County.  As a result of decisions made by Bannock County, the lab is no longer proceeding as a project.  It is possible that the facility will be reconsidered or proposed under different funding sources in the future, though no prediction was currently made about any applicable timeframe for such a consideration. 

Franklin County has expressed interest in a regional dispatch facility for the 4 counties.  Coordination between the various counties would require equipment upgrades or changes. 

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