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County wants radio system replaced

Grants being sought to improve radio communications

DAYTON– The County is currently working on obtaining grants for a replacement radio system along with Walla Walla, Benton/Franklin, and Yakima Counties. It was also discovered that the documentation on the current radio system is not correct. This happened because vendors were changed frequently, and system changes were made without updating the documentation. Later while researching this documentation, one radio link from the court house was taken down and nothing got dropped. Therefore, an unknown redundancy existed in the system.

The County wants to change their preventative maintenance contractor and pay the contractor to establish “as built” documentation for their current system.

Columbia County Public Works Director, Charles Eaton stated that 911 needed clarification on two specific road names. Eaton stated that in Ordinance 97-02 (which was a list of road names to support enhanced 911) the names of two specific roads in Columbia County were correct, but somehow the names got transposed.

The transposition was propagated and written into logs and subsequently Ordinance 2018-03 (which repealed and replaced Ordinance 97-02). This error has caused issues with Enhanced 911 for Cemetery Road in Dayton, and Cemetery Hill Road in Starbuck. Eaton stated that under Ordinance 2018-03, if a road name needs changed in logs, a resolution needs to be presented to the Board of County Commissioners. The City of Dayton Cemetery Road is in the 911 system as Cemetery Hill Road (when it was originally signed and recognized as Cemetery Road).

In Starbuck, Cemetery Hill Road is in the 911 system as Cemetery Road (when it was signed and recognized as Cemetery Hill Road). This is not a “renaming,” it is a correction of the name in logs. A motion to adopt Resolution 2019-50 was presented and passed to correct county road logs to reflect public knowledge and current signage.

Resolution 2019-49 is needed to place County Parks and Recreation under County Roads effective January 1, 2020. This will allow more flexibility with employees to serve both areas. Charles Eaton stated that the first step is to get position descriptions approved by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). Once the position descriptions are approved, then the union needs to be approached (the positions will be union under the new organization) because positions will be working County Roads and Parks and Rec. After that, the next step is to go back to BOCC for salary requirements.

Advertising for the positions is planned for mid December 2019. Existing County employees can apply for these new positions. A motion was made to adopt Resolution 2019-49 to reorganize County Parks and Recreation under County Roads (within Public Works). Motion passed.

Ashley Strickland, Emergency Management Director, reported that during the recently held disaster drill, there was a radio system failure. A new piece of equipment failed to reset after a power issue. Fire Chief Jeromy Phinney lost contact with other employees. A backup plan was used successfully.

Cindy Wolski from Walla Walla Department of Community Health appeared to provide an update on the Disability Development program. Columbia County currently contracts with Walla Walla Department of Community Health for the Disability Development program because they have a level of expertise that is not available in Columbia County, and it’s more cost effective for Columbia County. (This is per Mike Talbot, told to me during a break.) Actions include:

-Cooking classes, to include a Bar-Be-Que in October where participants were taught to cook and prepare picnic food

-Craft classes in September, taught by Wendy Frame. Currently working on holiday crafts

-Sensory Friendly movies at the Sunday matinee at Liberty Theater. Thirty-one tickets have been purchases since March 2019 for individuals with developmental disabilities.

-Columbia Parent to Parent support group has resumed meeting following a summer break. This group rotates the meetings at local Dayton restaurants on the third Friday evening of the month. Next meeting is November 15 at 5:30.

-Columbia County families have participated in Walla Walla Parent to Parent events such as the Harvest Party and a live speaker event, “Self-Determination in Action: Skinned Knees and Big Dreams.”

-A meet and greet is scheduled in Walla Walla for November 14th, 2019 from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

-On November 20th, 2019 from 7:30 to 9:30 PM a Sensory Friendly live theater performance of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is scheduled at Little Theater of Walla walla

-The Winter Ball at Reid Center of Whitman College is scheduled December 5, 2019 from 6:00 - 8:30 PM.

The Community meeting scheduled for Monday November 18, has been cancelled to allow the Board to attend the County Leaders Conference in Spokane.

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