BOCC approves contract amendment, discusses ordinances during two meetings
January 26, 2023
POMEROY–The Garfield County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a contract amendment, discussed an outdated county ordinance, a rapid design study for Garfield County's rural areas, and Garfield County's position on marijuana and cannabis growth operations at their meeting on January 23. They also rejected a contract amendment and discussed the possibility of a county ordinance against nuisance and junk properties at their meeting on January 17.
The BOCC approved an amendment to their contract with the United States Army Corps of Engineers for Garfield County Sheriff's Office patrol work at the Dunes, reducing compensation by $2,861.10. A lowered amount of activity and traffic at the Dunes has resulted in lessening the patrol hours needed.
A county ordinance permitting off-road vehicles to travel on county roads leading to public land in southern Garfield County was brought to the attention of the board. It is outdated and the commissioners discussed updating it. Since the creation of the ordinance, Washington State allows an on-road license for all-terrain vehicles that meet specifications, causing a question of whether the ordinance is still needed. The commissioners will continue the discussion, while in the meantime BOCC chairman Commissioner Justin Dixon advised to "follow the State law," as that is the rule that is currently in effect.
A rapid design study of broadband in the county's rural areas was proposed at the January 17 meeting by the Washington State Broadband Office. At the meeting on January 23, the commissioners agreed to allow the study to proceed. It will be done by Petrichor LLC.
Garfield County's position on marijuana and cannabis operations is currently to not allow them in the county, since they are still designated as federally controlled substances. Looking forward to a possible ending of the federal designation, Commissioner Dixon proposed that the commissioners decide what the county's position will be if the substances are no longer federally controlled. After discussion, they decided to brainstorm possible restrictions, make the Pomeroy City Council aware of their consideration, and take public comment before making a decision on their position.
In further business from January 23, County Road Superintendent Steve Gormsen reported to the BOCC that a mechanic has been hired and will start in mid-February. The road crew employees who have been sharing the shop duties will return to their normal schedules beginning March 1. The commissioners passed resolution 2023-03, amending the salary and wage schedule to accommodate both Gormsen's promotion to Road Superintendent and the changing mechanic duties and stipends.
The Washington State Fair Association inquired what Garfield County would do with a grant of up $250,000 for health and safety. The commissioners listed projects including replacing the grandstands, creating a turnaround by the hog barn, cutting a door to the outside in the kitchen in the Dick Brown building, and updating the food court plumbing.
The BOCC rejected a contract amendment with the Washington State Health Care Authority at their meeting on January 17 ,. The original contract had no signatories from Garfield County, and this amendment lists Chairman Dixon, who will not sign.
A county ordinance against nuisance and junk properties was proposed. The BOCC decided to ask the Asotin County Commissioners about their similar ordinance. At the January 23 meeting, they discussed it again and decided to include Prosecutor Matt Newberg and Sheriff Drew Hyer before deciding on the ordinance.