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Board of Commissioners - Minutes     
Tuesday, July 15, 2008



July 15, 2008

The Board of Commissioners work session was opened on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, at 9:02 a.m. in the Jackson Room. Those present were:

Dennis C. W. Smith, Chairman

Dave Gilmour, Commissioner

Jack Walker, Commissioner

Lin Bernhardt, Natural Resources

Maureen Graham, Mental Health Services

Danny Jordan, County Administrator

Kelly Madding, Development Services Director

Nancy Mitchell, Recording Secretary

Carin Niebuhr, Health and Human Services Staff

Allie O’Connor, Interim County Counsel

Paula Brown, Ashland

Terry Ellis, Ashland

Mike Faught, Ashland

John Gassick, DEQ

Mike Jewett, Outside Counsel

Mr. Jordan gave the background of the Ashland Public Works DEQ Waste Water Report. Mr. Smith said there may be a proposed rest stop coming into the Ashland area which will impact the sewer system. The County also has an interest in this because there are clean watershed issues which the County is concerned with.

Ms. Brown said there have been issues with Ashland’s waste water plant for many years. However, Ashland now has one of the best water quality plants in Oregon, although temperature is still an issue. There is a combination of things Ashland can do to improve that. She reviewed the past violations, what happened and how the problems have been fixed.

Mr. Jordan asked if Ashland was on a work plan to address the temperatures and deadlines. Ms. Brown said there was no specific deadline to meet the temperature requirements.

Mr. Gassick gave a history of the water temperature problem and the Clean Water Act. In 1989, it was discovered Bear Creek was not meeting the water quality standards. They issued some TMDLs which set limits on how much phosphate could be discharged into the stream. At that time, there was not a temperature standard, but that changed in 2003. Last year they finished the TMDL for Bear Creek on temperatures and bacteria. Ashland is meeting the bacteria limit; the temperature criteria is fairly stringent.

Ms. Brown said they need to get a new work plan  completed and at that time there will be a time frame on the temperature issue.

Those present talked about the rest area and how that will affect the system. Mr. Ellis said the rest area equates to about 6.5 homes.

Ms. Brown said they would like to work with the Board to look at temperature, water quality, etc. The water issues the area will face in the next 20-50 years will be a problem for everyone. She said the entities need to work together. They need to revisit the Task Force on Water and update what Eric Dittmer did 15 years ago looking at the big picture.

Ms. Bernhardt said they are getting to the end of a sustainable water resources water project.  However, they have not specifically dealt with this issue and that may be something they should do.

Mr. Smith said one concern is the water compact with the Klamath Water District. That could possibly impact water coming into the basin. Right now they think it will be ok, but it is still an issue. If that water was to be removed, it would basically shut down what people in the south end of the Valley need. Another concern is that it appears there have been a number of opportunities for Ashland to work with Billings Ranch to come up with a solution. It seems that the city has missed some wonderful opportunities to be very creative. The potential is there and he would urge them to take that message back to the City.

Ms. Brown pointed out the irrigation district uses Bear Creek as a means of transporting water.

When irrigation stops, that is the time that is critical. That will be a water trading issue they will be working on with DEQ.

Mr. Walker asked about the County’s responsibility if a violation takes place in Ashland. Will that be a part of a violation that the County has? Mr. Gassick said no. The County does not have a sewage treatment plant, so there would not be a joint source responsibility. On the bigger picture, the city storm drain system is another issue. All the cities have been issued storm water permits. The whole area needs to manage the storm drains.

Mr. Smith said Jackson County is the only County in the state with an independent sewage treatment facility serving rural counties. That is a real problem during a floods with BCVSA running right through the middle of the Valley. People cannot hook up to the system, but when there is flooding, there is a problem with sewage going into the system. They are working with DLCD to try to figure this out. He would like to see DEQ take an interest in the issue.

Mr. Ellis invited the Commissioners to tour Ashland’s water treatment facility.

Mr. Walker, Ms. Madding, Ms. Bernhardt, Mr. Gassick, Ms. Brown and Mr. Ellis left at this point in the meeting.

Ms. Niebuhr reviewed the proposed Mental Health/Alcohol and Drug Implementation Plan for 2009-2011. She outlined the services that have changed since the last plan was approved.

Ms. Graham talked about the changes in the mental health program and funding.

Those present talked about what they want to do to help children. Keeping children at home, at school and out of trouble would be the goal. They have taken on a pilot project to have families help other families. The grant is to expand the parent/child transaction therapy program.

Ms. Bernhardt arrived back to the meeting.

Those present then talked about gambling addition and funding for treatment.

Moved by Dave Gilmour, seconded by C. W. Smith to approve order 193-08. The motion passed unanimously by roll call vote.

Mr. Smith said when he was at NACO, there was a discussion about the Clean Cities initiative and counties are getting involved in that. The initiative looks at conditions and is trying to create clean building wherever feasible. They were talking about having an advisory board for energy and sustainability. The Governor can provide initiatives in this realm for businesses.

Dr. Gilmour said this could go in many different ways, but  he thought there was a need to review how they permit green buildings and encourage them. He thought some of the County’s ordinances might be a little behind the times and that would be worth reviewing.

Ms. Bernhardt said Mr. Smith had asked her to look at what the County can do to facilitate more sustainable and energy related initiatives to help foster energy and sustainability issues. It is a good idea to put together a group to guide the ways the County could implement and encourage more green building and energy efficiencies. It would include pulling together people from SOREDI, DEQ, NRAC and the County Planning Department. There are a lot of resources out there and reviewing those would be very beneficial.

Mr. Smith suggested having an energy audit for the County. Ms. Bernhardt said they could look into that.

Dr. Gilmour said they have to look at alternative sources of energy for the County. There are a lot of things that could be done.

Mr. Smith suggested staff find out what an energy audit would cost and come back to the Board with that information.

The meeting adjourned at 10:14 a.m.

Approved 12/31/08


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