JoCo revises federal fund policy

The Board of Josephine County Commissioners held a weekly business session Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass.
Prior to delving into the agenda, Vice Chair Darin Fowler recounted his experience at a recent community meeting at North Valley High School regarding the Rum Creek Fire.
“There were hundreds of people there. It was packed,” said Fowler. “And about four minutes in, somebody from the audience yelled out, ‘Hey! Why don’t we do the Pledge of Allegiance?!’ and they did. It was cool to hear that many people saying it together. It was kind of a moment of unity. I really appreciated it.”
A bang of the gavel sounded to open up a public hearing on annexations to the Josephine Community Library District. The sole property entering the district was located in Cave Junction, and owned by Ray Swift and former CJ Mayor Daniel Dalegowski.
Norma Singer, the library district’s public services director, reminded the board that annexations are done by petition of landowner and result in the landowners paying property taxes in the amount of $0.39 per $1,000 assessed value to benefit the library, as well as enjoying library membership.
Singer added that the assessor’s office provides a map of the library district that shows the physical boundaries within Josephine County, in addition to “little teeny green dots” throughout JoCo that indicate all the properties not within the district boundaries that petitioned to be included.
The board voted to unanimously approve the Swift/Dalegowski library district annexation.
After the public hearing was concluded, JoCo Finance Director Sandy Novak came before the board to detail an order revising board policies in regard to management of federal funding.
In a report to the board, Novak had provided the following background information on the order:

“In an effort to ensure that diverse departments are adhering to OMB standards, we would like to have a policy in place as well as a checklist that can be entered into our accounting software to demonstrate the acknowledgement of each of the compliance requirements associated with that grant.”

At the Aug. 31 meeting, Novak added, “What this policy does is it makes sure we are following all federal guidelines for any federal funds we get.

“A lot of our federal funds come through the state, or they come through other avenues and it’s not really clear always when they are federal. So this gives departments an understanding of where to look… and then what does it mean?”

Novak pointed out that this policy revision came about in response to an issue found in the county’s last single audit pertaining to federal funds.

“This will clean that up,” Fowler remarked on the order.

Commissioner Dan DeYoung asked if members of the public could go online to compare and contrast the new revised policy with the original.

Novak replied that the original version was mistakenly never published online for the majority of its lifespan, which began July 1, 2017, but as of the day prior it could be reviewed along with the new policy.

“It’s embarrassing that we didn’t have this on there in ‘17; that would have fallen under my watch, barely,” DeYoung noted, referring to his tenure on the board beginning in 2017.

“Let’s make sure that’s out in the open so we can see what those policy changes are.” DeYoung added, “It’s just kinda adding more lines to a roadmap we gotta follow.”

Fowler added, “I always appreciate a good policy after a problem or a discovery of something, because then future employees know expectations.”