The county board of commissioners voted to appoint Matt Samuelson to the vacant District 5 position on the board of commissioners. Samuelson was sworn in to office immediately following the vote by Circuit Court Judge Phil Nelson. Samuelson was one of three applicants for the position, along with Dale Barrett and Lianne Thompson.
The position became vacant following the Jan. 31 resignation of former commissioner Debra Birkby. Samuelson will serve out the remainder of the term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2014. The position is also up for election in the May 20 election for a four-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
The board heard a presentation on the audit of the 2012-13 fiscal year from the county's auditor, Boldt Carlisle and Smith. The county earned an "unmodified" rating, meaning a clean audit with no compliance issues.
Of note was the fact that the General Fund ending fund balance increased by almost $110,000 in 2012-13, reversing a trend of decreases seen in previous years. "We are in a very good cash position," Budget and Finance Director Aaron BeMiller told the board.
Office remodel contract approved
The board approved a contract with DLR Group for architectural and engineering services for a planned remodel of the county Parole and Probation facility in Warrenton to house the Sheriff's Office criminal and support division staff. The contract is for a not-to-exceed amount of $255,550.
DLR performed preliminary design work on the Parole and Probation remodel as part of the proposed county jail renovation and expansion project for which the county sought voter approval of a bond measure in 2012.
Variance ruling affirmed
The board affirmed a decision of the county Planning Commission granting a variance to a home developer in Arch Cape. The board declined to hear an appeal filed by a citizen against the planning commission's Feb. 11 ruling, which conditionally grants a variance of the county's land-use rule applying a 50-foot setback around non-aquatic vegetation to Marty Francis for construction of a residence on Beach Street.
In other business the board:
-Approved sending a letter to Oregon State Forester Doug Decker requesting data related to a proposed change in the allocation of state forest harvest revenue to counties and local taxing districts. Under the proposal all revenue would be pooled and distributed through a formula based on historical harvest levels.
-Approved annual disbursements to local non-profit entities in the amounts of: $5,000 to Clatsop Community Action for its Project Homeless Connect, Veterans Stand Down and low-income firewood programs; and $2,500 to Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
-Approved sending a letter to Oregon Pipeline Company regarding its request that the county, on behalf of the inactive Diking District #8, file an application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to initiate the permitting process for installation of the the company's proposed natural gas line across District #8 land. The county letter asks Oregon Pipeline to explain the legal basis for its request.