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County stands firm on ending MOU

by LAUREN REICHENBACH
Staff Writer | September 6, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Bonner County Commissioner Luke Omodt told the audience at the commissioners’ Tuesday meeting that he stands firm on the board’s decision to dismantle the memorandum of understanding between the county and the fair board.

The commissioners voted to end the MOU on Aug. 24 following an executive session on the topic. The main reason for the dismantle, Omodt said in an email, was the fair board’s alleged noncompliance with multiple facets of the agreement as well as its unwillingness to cooperate with other county departments, such as the clerk’s office and the comptroller.

The commissioner told the audience that the fair board has responded to the commissioners via a letter from their attorney, claiming the county itself is the one in noncompliance with the agreement. Omodt said the next step commissioners plan to take will be to hire an external agent to verify that the county has fully complied with the MOU.

Omodt went on to further explain the reasoning behind the cancellation of the MOU. The fair board’s finances, he said, are dealt with by a board that is “quasi-independent of regular county operations.”

“Because of that, the board of county commissioners determined that in the interest of protecting the statutory obligations of this county, it was in the best interest for us to sever that agreement until we could have compliance from the fair board, as has been noted by the report that was done by the office of the prosecutor,” Omodt said.

The fair board has 60 days from Aug. 24 to set a time to meet with the commissioners, clerk and prosecutor to figure out its next steps.