by Samantha White
The Harney County Court met Tuesday, Nov. 24. A draft of the meeting minutes (along with a summary of the supplementary meeting materials) is as follows. Please note that these minutes have yet to be approved by the Harney County Court.
The court received correspondence from Yturri Rose LLP Attorneys at Law, which included an original Settlement Agreement and Release of All Claims, as well as a draft in the amount of $95,000 payable to Harney County.
Harney County made damage claims alleging that a fire was negligently started, causing destruction of a rural bridge (known as the “Poison Slough Bridge”) on Old Experiment Road April 21, 2014.
Harney County owned the bridge and made claims for its replacement costs.
The settlement agreement states that, “The parties have disagreed as to the value of the replacement costs of the bridge, and in the interest of compromise, the parties have chosen to enter into this agreement settling all claims which Releasor [Harney County] may have.”
The agreement adds that the responsible parties must pay $95,000 to Harney County.
The court also received compliance inspection reports for the Fields and Frenchglen landfills.
Susan Christensen of the Department of Environmental Quality reported that, “There is a significant housekeeping issue that needs to be addressed at the Frenchglen landfill. Solid waste was deposited outside of the landfill, and the operator will need help picking up the waste and placing it in the landfill.”
Christensen requested assistance from Harney County Roads Supervisor Eric Drushella.
The waste included an old couch, packaging for wood floors, roofing materials, and other miscellaneous household waste.
Additionally, six plastic tractor fluid containers were placed near the entrance fence. Christensen reported that, if they are completely empty, they can be placed in the landfill. However, if they are partially full, they will need to be solidified (by mixing in cat litter) before they’re placed in the landfill.
She added that plastic bags outside of and surrounding the trench need to be picked up, the recycling sign needs to be reposted, and E-waste (computers, monitors and televisions) cannot be disposed of in the garbage or at disposal sites such as landfills, transfer stations or incinerators. However, she noted that E-waste can be accepted for free at C&B Sanitary Service or Rimrock Recycling in Burns.
Christensen reported that there was a very minimal amount of litter (plastic bags) in the outlying fields of the Fields landfill, and staff is doing a good job keeping up with litter control.
The court will contact the staff at the landfills to discuss the inspection report and offer assistance with the compliance issues.
During the public comment period, Herb Vloedman presented the court with a list of questions regarding the budget and an article that was recently published in the Burns Times-Herald.
• How much is the county budget deficit?
• What department or departments is the deficit from?
• How much will the furlough days save in total dollars?
• How much is the Harney County Fair, Rodeo and Race Meet budget “in the red”?
• What is the projected fair budget income for the remainder of this budget cycle?
• What is the projected fair budget expense for the remainder of this budget cycle?
• Is the county still writing checks for the fair expenses, including payroll?
• Has the court considered recommending furloughing fair employees?
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty replied that he did not have the information readily available, and he asked Vloedman to meet with him later that afternoon to address these questions.
The court received a news release from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding a series of public meetings that will be held throughout the West to gather information on a proposal to withdraw lands determined to be crucial to the survival of the greater sage grouse from location and entry under the 1872 Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights.
The meeting scheduled for Dec. 14 in Burns has been canceled.
However, a meeting will be held at the Lakeview BLM District Office, 1301 South G St., Lakeview, OR 97630 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. that day.
The public comment period on the withdrawal proposal has been extended until Jan. 15, 2016. Comments should be addressed to the BLM Director, 1849 C Street NW (WO-200), Washington, D.C. 20240 or electronically to email@example.com. An interactive map of the areas included in the proposed withdrawal can be found online at www.blm.gov/sagegrouse.
Richard Roy, Three Rivers Resource Area field manager, wrote a letter to the court concerning a proposal to exchange certain federal lands located on or near Otis Valley Road with Jeff and Sheri Hussey.
The federal land is situated next to private property that is owned and managed by the Husseys. The nonfederal land is located north of the Diamond Craters Outstanding Natural Area (northwest of Diamond).
Interested parties may submit written comments concerning the proposed exchange — including notification of any liens, encumbrances, or other claims relating to the land being considered for exchange — to Richard Roy, Field Manager, Three Rivers Resource Area, 28910 Hwy. 20 West, Hines, OR 97738. In order to be considered in the environmental analysis of the proposed exchange, comments must be in writing and postmarked or delivered within 45 days of the initial publication of the notice on Oct. 28.
More detailed information about the proposed exchange can be obtained from Tara McLain, realty specialist, at 541-573-4462.
The court will double-check the details of this exchange and then offer a letter of support.
In other business, the court:
• accepted Vern Brown’s resignation from the Harney County Fair Board;
• was addressed by Barbara Cannady during the public comment period. Cannady expressed concern that a U.S. Forest Service plan would eliminate roads on public lands and reintroduce wolves;
• received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau regarding the 2015 Annual Survey of Local Government Finances. The survey collects information on measures of revenue by source, expenditures by character and function, indebtedness by term, and cash and investments by purpose for local governments in the United States;
• reviewed a contract for mediation services for the Harney County Domestic Relations Program. The contractor, Jennifer Malter Barrows, shall be compensated for mediation sessions, orientations, and pertinent education classes;
• received the Rangeland Fire Protection Association (RFPA) budgets for Wagontire, Lone Pine, and Fields-Andrews. To date, the court has received three out of the six RFPA budgets;
• reviewed water use requests.
The next scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court will be held Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.