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Commissioners give WCC a loan

By Elisabeth Dodd, Staff Writer

Once again, commissioners heard from Juanita Fenwick representing West College Corner about a loan to help them pay for waste water costs while they tackle a legal battle over raised rates for which the town's revenue can't keep up with.

Commissioners were considering offering a loan with money left over from the EDIT plan; however, Auditor Cheryl Begley reported that after additional appropriations, there is only $283 left in the fund.

While not ready to commit to a larger loan until more information was given, commissioners wanted to loan $23,000 out of the Rainy Day Fund so that West College Corner can buy a panel that would save $1,800 a month money that they are currently paying in rent, saving money in the long run. They passed this as an additional appropriation out of the Rainy Day Fund, contingent on council's approval and with the expectation that West College Corner has until March 2020 to pay back the loan. This moving of money was for public health and safety and to help them get by while they are in legal limbo. A more comprehensive loan will be decided in the future.

Jim Barnhizer presented an alley in Philomath which was laid out in the 1800s, but needs to be closed because a homeowner can't sell their place without closing the alley as later on it could lead to property disputes. The resident owns property on both sides of it, and commissioners saw no harm in voting to close the alley, especially since it has not been maintained or treated as an alley and offers none of an alley's usefulness.

Brian Hathaway, Spirit Emergency Transport president, offered updates to commissioners. In February, there were 41 dispatches and 27 transports from the scene. In terms of insurance, 15 had Medicare coverage, four had commercial insurance, three had Medicaid, and five had no insurance according to the monthly report.

In his update, Hathaway also emphasized that scholarship applications for EMT class are being accepted and will start June 10. Hathaway reported the class is going well and that he usually sees one or two Union County students in each round.

Commissioners decided after poor service yielding little results to end their current commitment with KONE Elevators and instead work with Brian Seals' company Tristate to have Seal's perform elevator maintenance for the courthouse. Curry was able to attest for his workmanship, and advocated for hiring someone locally. Seal could work on $200 an hour without a contract for several years. Commissioners passed a motion to stop payments of $618 a month for the current maintenance contract, and to send a letter to the company terminating the agreement.

ETC addressed commissioners to give quotes on a phone system upgrade if they'd like to switch from Taylor Systems, for which there have been several problems. Jeff Mathews was able to help negotiate this plan that could save the county money in the long run. A 60-month contract including phone upgrades and installation would be $12,021 a year. This contract would start on June 1.

Adopt a Dog spoke to commissioners asking for their blessing in creating a new, larger place for dogs to run and play. Asking for 100 ft. by 45 ft. around the property which is currently not being used. The organization will maintain the property themselves.

The courthouse currently uses Culy Mechanical/Electrical to clean and replace filters. Commissioners discussed this $3,815 cost for the three times a year they visit the courthouse and explored not renewing this contract and getting more bids, as the vents around the 26 filters didn't look clean. The courthouse has never had a different contract for filters.

With tax season approaching, county treasurer Linda Rosenberger asked for a drop off box for the convenience of residence dropping off their tax forms outside of office hours. Not only that, but people with mobility difficulties wouldn't have to depend on the elevator to drop off their forms. Commissioners approved the box, which would be $600 from funds left over from Rosenberger's department. Rosenberger argued that most counties provide a drop off box, and it would be minimal effort and cost for a lasting impact.