Wednesday, April 17, 2024

County handles weekly business

Staff Writer | May 25, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Tuesday’s weekly business meeting, although brief, handled county business that does not frequently come across the commission’s desk.

The most notable point of business came from the Human Resources department. The commission gave the department approval to advertise for a new planning director, as Milton Ollerton is moving out of the county.

The department was also granted permission to advertise for other open county positions. A full list of job descriptions including wage and salary information can be found on the Human Resources page of the county website at

Another major point of business came from the Prosecutor’s Office. The commission approved a sole-source agreement with Karpel Case Management Solutions, a software company, for software and maintenance services to be used within the Prosecutor’s Office. The first year of service will cost $98,000, following years are estimated to be $14,000.

“The reason for that difference is that the first year is a labor-intensive process where they help us install those programs in our system and train everybody how to use it and troubleshoot,” Deputy Prosecutor Bill Wilson said. “Afterwards, the much smaller cost is for the subscription and troubleshooting and other things like that.”

A sole-source agreement is a process that allows two entities to enter into a contract, or purchase, without a competitive process. Sole-source purchases are allowed in Idaho Code, and the county has to advertise whenever they wish to enter into these kinds of agreements. These agreements are typically done when only one vendor can fulfill the purchase requirements.

The software agreement was not the only large purchase approved by the commission.

The meeting's consent agenda contained $94,600 in purchases for three items brought by Emergency Medical Services and the Sheriff’s Department.

Of that total, $18,000 was approved by the commission for the Sheriff’s Office for security renewal. The remaining two items approved for EMS include a $6,600 building schematic for a future building for the department, as they currently rent their current office space, the remaining $70,000 is an annual purchase for the department’s tort fund.

Commissioner Chair Dan McDonald elaborated that the tort funds are a regular bill the department pays on a yearly basis.

“This is just their tort balance,” McDonald said. “We’re self-insured, so it’s part of the gig.”

Tort lawsuits are typically handled in the court’s civil realm. These types of lawsuits arise when a plaintiff sues for intentionally inflicting harm including but not limited to invasion of privacy, negligence, financial loss, and emotional distress.

Other items approved in the consent agenda was one minor land division, two liquor licenses, and the minutes from last week’s meeting.

Other items were approved by the commission in the meeting's main agenda.

The Assistance Department gained approval to add a new community guardian to the department’s ranks.

The Board of Community Guardians is a volunteer-only board where individuals are tasked with functioning as a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated person who does not have a person or insitiution qualified to take care of them.

Board members are appointed by commissioners after passing a background check and meeting other requirements. Terms last for four years, and members can only serve for three successive terms.

Emergency Management got permission to enter into a contract with Rock Solid Brush Control and Excavation, LLC, for treating fire hazards as part of the state’s BonFire program.

“The BonFire program is a hazardous fuel treatment program so private landowners can apply for hazardous fuel treatment on their property,” Emergency Management Director Bob Howard said in April.

Howard said the state-funded program is implemented to not only help protect property owners from wildfire, but to make their property more sustainable.

Officials further elaborated on Tuesday why the county has been seeing so many of these contracts.

“I’ve encouraged Bob to try and get as many contractors as possible,” Commissioner Jeff Connolly said. “There’s a lot of money out there, and contractors are coming in short supply. We’re trying to get new contractors on board to do more of this fuel reduction work.”

Wilson said that he and Howard have worked on the contract document so it can be readily applied to new jobs when the occasion arises.

The remaining matters approved by the commission at the meeting include adding $8,860.65 of unanticipated revenue to the Recreation Department for snowmobile maintenance and repair, and moving three EMS ambulances into surplus. The ambulances will be offered to other county departments first, if there are no takers, the ambulances will be placed on the county’s Public Surplus auction page later this year.

Once the meeting’s main agenda was completed, McDonald recessed the meeting before reconvening shortly afterward for executive session to address two items. One item brought by the Human Resources department addressed hiring. The other brought by Technology contained a resolution for spending $21,815 on an annual subscription.

The Board of County Commissioners hold public meetings every Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the administrative building located at 1500 U.S. 2. Those interested in virtually attending can do so via Zoom. A livestream of the meeting can be watched on the Bonner County YouTube page, where an archive of previous meetings can be viewed.