Winning county logo announced
by Samantha White
During its regular meeting (held Oct. 16), the Harney County Court met with Director Angie Lamborn to discuss the impact that the federal shutdown would have had on the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center had it continued.
Lamborn explained that much of the center’s funding comes from federal sources that were unavailable during the shutdown, and she expressed concern about the center’s ability to continue paying staff and providing services to the community without these funds.
Lamborn said $33,529 would be needed to get thru the end of November. She said the center’s monthly expenses for full operation are about $73,000.
But Lamborn said the center was already attempting to cut back. For example, the kitchen was on a purchasing freeze, and staff was discussing how to “cut corners” on every meal. Lamborn said she would like to avoid furloughing staff, but the court said it was primarily concerned with continuing the center’s programs and services.
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said a loss of center services would have a “dramatic impact on the community,” and he suggested that the county provide some sort of “bridge loan” to the center.
County Treasurer Nellie Franklin warned that there may be a delay in payments even after the shutdown ends, as it will take the federal employees who were furloughed a while to “get back in the groove.” She suggested that the proposed “bridge loan” extend beyond two weeks, allowing time for the federal government to catch up.
Grasty asked Lamborn to obtain exact numbers and present them to the court during its next meeting (to be held Nov. 6).
The court also discussed the impact that the federal shutdown already had or would have on other programs and services.
For example, the court discussed the public’s inability to obtain permits for cutting firewood, as the staff responsible for issuing the permits was furloughed.
Harney County Roads Supervisor Eric Drushella said law enforcement was still working and ticketing people for obtaining wood without permits.
Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup said tickets were being issued, but not by the sheriff’s department, and reports to the contrary were erroneous.
Harney County Commissioner Pete Runnels asked, “Can’t we do something?”
Grasty replied that he would contact Malheur National Forest Supervisor Teresa Raaf to ask what could be done.
The court reviewed Ordinance 2013-72 in the matter of amending the Harney County Zoning Ordinance to add a section concerning wireless telecommunication facilities. The amendments are aimed at all new wireless communication facilities proposed within Harney County and address co-location, design requirements, setbacks, decommissioning, lighting and signage.
Grasty said the proposed ordinance was advertised, and a public hearing was held Oct. 2 to discuss it.
During the Oct. 2 hearing, Grasty said the goal of the code amendments is to prevent a “forest of antennas” from popping up within the county.
During the Oct. 16 meeting, County Planning Director Brandon McMullen said legal counsel who reviewed the proposed ordinance said it “looks OK.”
Barbara Cannady presented a letter in opposition to the ordinance. She said she was “looking to protect landowners,” stating that they should be included and compensated when companies are added to towers that are located on their property.
Harney County Commissioner Dan Nichols said, “Those are business decisions,” explaining his belief that those issues are between the lessee and the landowner. He asked, “How would you perceive the county be involved in this?”
Grasty said landowners should be notified from the beginning that companies could co-locate on the towers, but he doesn’t feel that the county needs to be involved in business decisions among tower owners, landowners and lessees.
However, Grasty said Cannady’s concerns were noted and would become part of the record.
Nichols made a motion to read the proposed ordinance by title only. The motion was seconded by Runnels, and it carried unanimously.
The proposed ordinance will appear on the next meeting’s agenda (Nov. 6) for final adoption.
Shana Withee attended the meeting to discuss the county logo contest.
Withee said 18 logo designs were submitted, and five were selected for county-wide voting. Designed by Hunter Paramore, the winning logo received 134 out of the 297 votes that were submitted.
The court discussed paying Paramore $250 to format the design into digital files that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as watermarks, business cards, letterheads, banners, embroidered patches, and vehicle decals.
Withee said the trees featured in the design have been altered to look more like pine trees, and different color schemes may be used.
Nichols made a motion to approve and accept Paramore’s design as the official Harney County logo and approve payment of $250 for formatting the digital files. Nichols stated that the court was not committing to a color scheme, only the design.
Grasty said he would send a notice to department heads, requesting that they use up their existing supplies, but do not order additional supplies featuring the old logo.
During the public comment period, Herb Vloedman asked whether flood insurance rates have begun to increase due to the ongoing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain issue.
Grasty replied that it was a “huge unknown,” explaining that FEMA was one of the many federal programs waylaid by the federal shutdown.
Nichols said he was informed that there was a “huge mistake,” and efforts are being made to address the issue.
Vloedman also addressed the court regarding signs that would recognize veterans at the county’s borders.
Vloedman said he was shocked when he learned about the cost to install the signs, stating that it is “beyond ludicrous.”
Grasty said the county has a contractor who puts up the rural addressing signs. He said the contractor’s rate is “significantly lower,” and he suggested exploring this option.
In other business, the court:
• learned from Harney County Clerk Derrin (Dag) Robinson that the Bank of Eastern Oregon business Visa credit cards would be delivered the following week. A department head meeting was scheduled to review policies and procedures for card use;
• learned from Nichols that advertising for a new watermaster and assistant had begun;
• received an update from Nichols regarding Harney County’s Frontier Hub application. Nichols reported that the application made the first cut, and it is one of 15 that will move forward;
• agreed to sign Resolution 2013-26 in the matter of a 10-year review of the need for reserve funds in Harney County. The court reviewed funds listed in the ordinance and determined that they should be continued with their original purpose;
• was thanked for its donation to the Harney County Arts in Education Foundation;
• held an executive session from 11:26 to 11:54 a.m. to consult with counsel concerning the legal rights and duties of a public body with regard to current litigation or litigation likely to be filed. No action was taken;
• agreed to reschedule its Nov. 20 meeting to Nov. 26, as the court plans to attend the Association of Oregon Counties annual conference Nov. 20.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the county court will be held Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.