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BOCC to meet every other week; Rep. Mary Dye discusses windmill project

POMEROY-The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) announced a change to their meeting schedule; discussed new clean energy construction in the county with Washington State Representative Mary Dye; opened bids for surplus vehicles at their meeting on July 10; and heard from the Blue Mountain Action Council.

The BOCC announced their meeting schedule will change to meet every other week, with their next meeting scheduled for July 24.

Representative Dye met with the board and discussed Project Oatie, a proposed wind energy project that would place wind turbines on 60,000 acres in Garfield County. Dye expressed concern for the lack of local control on placement of the turbines and tax exemptions, as well as a large dependency on China for the project's supply chain. She also expressed concern that the host counties of energy projects are not receiving as much benefit as the recipients of the energy. Representative Dye asked the BOCC to supply local numbers regarding the effect that prior energy projects, such as the Lower Snake River Wind Farm, have had on the county's economy.

The board also met with Danielle Garbe Reser, the new executive director for Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC), and discussed the organization's primary services which are food, housing, and employment. Reser is a native of Moses Lake and came to the area on a full ride scholarship to Whitman College. She joined BMAC after serving as a diplomat for almost 14 years, working at Sherman Trust, and serving on the United States Department of Agriculture farm service agency committee.

The board was also introduced to Tammy Watson, who has been hired onto the Garfield County Public Works office staff.

Surplus vehicle bids opened during the meeting were a bid of $505.99 for a 1994 pickup by John Buksas, and a bid of $2,520 for a 1991 Case roller by M&M Rock out of Kooskia, Idaho. Both bids were accepted.

Also approved at the meeting was a purchase of software for the Assessor's and Treasurer's offices. The cost is $94,000 and the funds will come out of American Rescue Plan Act funding and Local Assistance Tribal Consistency Fund money previously received by Garfield County. The software will cost less than the amount budgeted for the purchase.

Tyler Technologies software to put commissioner minutes and ordinances online that was previously purchased by the county was the incorrect software, so the company will credit it toward the purchase of correct software. An increased cost is expected, which will come from the Historical Document Preservation fund.

A 2024 fiscal year Basic Service Operating Contract with Seeco, a continuing yearly contract, will provide the county with $578,855, which will include 80% of the dispatcher salary funding. There is a small increase in the funding from last year's contract.

Further business conducted by the BOCC was a hearing for a supplemental budget amendment and a third salary and wage schedule. After receiving no public comment, the board passed resolution 2023-12, a supplemental budget that increases line items due to rising costs and makes allowances for a December pay period that was paid in January that does not reflect changed made at the beginning of the year. The board also passed resolution 2023-13, an addition of an IT position to the salary and wage schedule.

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