A Message From Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - January 13, 2023

Message from Commissioner Bacon

Goss Lake

Goss Lake 1/9/23

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 2nd week of 2023.

Next Monday, January 16th, the County offices will be closed in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

  • Regular Session: You can watch this week’s Tuesday meeting at https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/d2c39ca1-1d35-48c2-8567-ac16670a1f77
    • We approved ARPA affordable housing awards to three applicants: Shelter Resources, Habitat for Humanity, and Goosefoot Community Fund. You can watch this conversation beginning at mark 00:10:35 in the above video.
    • We held public hearings on two franchises: the South Whidbey School District cable communication system and the Lost Lake Property Owners Association for water distribution. We discussed the limited scope of authority the Commissioners have when approving these types of franchises. Mark 00:48:53 in the video.
    • The next regular session of the Board of Island County Commissioners will be held on Tuesday, January 17th at 10:00 a.m. You can find the agenda for that meeting, including how to attend virtually, here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/?customerGuid=7953d90c-21b5-49e8-b2bb-c8e5a65a54ca&target=foo&view=thumbs&tabs=past|today|upcoming&defaultTab=upcoming. The only item on the regular agenda next week is a vote to adopt the targeted recommendations regarding PBRS (Public Benefit Rating System) that were discussed so heavily last year. This is not a complete review of the PBRS—we anticipate that being on the Planning docket for 2024.
  • Resolutions approved this week:
    • C-03-23 (consent agenda): Continuing relationships with the Washington Counties Risk Pool and the related appointments and designations of/for each member county (basically, a document saying that Commissioner Johnson will continue to be our representative on that board, with Susan Geiger as her alternate).
    • C-04-23: Amending Chapter 16.06 ICC Land Divisions and Dedications. This revised the county’s reviewing processes and approvals for Boundary Line Adjustments, Lot Combinations, and Boundary Line Corrections. Mark 00:18:07 in the video.
    • C-05-23: County Proclamation of Emergency, State Mission Number 22-4894 – Extreme Weather beginning December 2022. This proclamation allows us to apply for individual assistance and SBA assistance for citizens impacted by the recent flooding event. Mark 00:32:49 in the video.
  • Upcoming Public Hearing, January 24th, 10:00 a.m.:
    • C-90-22: Petition to vacate and dedicate a portion of county road right-of-way.
  • Work Session. You can see the agenda for the Wednesday January 11th meeting here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/worksessions/2023/01112023%20Agenda.pdf. The audio recording can be found under the January 11th tab here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx
    • We agreed to the job description for a new position in Human Services, “Affordable Housing Development Specialist.” This position will “lead the county in coordinating a pipeline of affordable housing development projects for a range of income levels and supportive service needs across the county.” This is the first item you’ll hear in the January 11th audio.
    • We discussed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) proposed between the county, the Prosecuting Attorney, the Sheriff, Oak Harbor Police Department, and Langley Police Department regarding the Recovery Navigator Program Governance and Responsibilities. Lynda Austin, Human Services Director, said that in a couple of months her department will give a presentation to the Board of Health on the lessons and successes of the Recovery Navigator Program—I’ll let you know when that’s coming up so you can listen in. The Recovery Navigator program helps youths and adults with behavioral health issues to access a range of resources. This conversation can be found at mark 00:16:03 in the audio. For more information on this program, go here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Humanservices/Pages/Recovery-Navigator.aspx.
    • The Conservation Futures Funding cycle will open on January 15th. Conversation at mark 00:23:00 in the audio. For more information on the program, go here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Health/DNR/Pages/cff.aspx.
    • We have some open positions in Public Health management now but are grateful to be able to say we have a pretty full staff otherwise so there should be very little impact on services to citizens. I talked about that at mark 00:34:18.
    • During our conversation with Facilities Director Ryan Beach about the Coupeville Administration Building Electrification Grant, an energy efficiency grant, Commissioner St. Clair expressed making decisions through a climate impact lens, something we are again emphasizing this year. This conversation can be found at mark 00:35:41.
    • We discussed our strategy regarding the three projects still on the table for Merchant McIntyre Consultants to lobby for us in DC, mark 01:04:50 in the audio.
    • Sheriff Felici requested approval for a new Stonegarden grant, which we sent forward to the consent agenda. “Stonegarden” pays for time and materials for the Sheriff’s boating program, primarily for boating security associated with smuggling, particularly narcotics smuggling. The Sheriff was very clear that our deputies and boats have nothing whatsoever to do with immigration enforcement. Mark 01:31:22 in the audio.
    • At the end of the meeting, I asked Sheriff Felici to talk about the next steps in animal control. You can hear that at mark 01:34:13, including the information that the Sheriff and the County Administrator are meeting with some members of the community on this issue today.
    • The work session for next week has been cancelled, so the next work session for the Board will be held on Wednesday, February 1st. By Friday, January 27th  you will be able to find the agenda for that meeting, including how to attend virtually, here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx.
  • Ebey's Reserve is hosting an Open House for community members on January 19th, 2:00-6:00 p.m., at the Coupeville Rec Hall. This is a free-flow event for community members to engage with the four Partners who make up Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve: National Park Service, WA State Parks and Recreation, Island County, and the Town of Coupeville. Staff or elected officials from each organization will be present with information materials and visual displays. This is a great opportunity for Whidbey residents to learn about the Reserve or the services available from the Partners and Reserve staff. There will be two informative workshops during the Open House. A workshop on National Park Service scenic easements will begin at 4:00PM, and a workshop on the Ebey's Reserve Design Review (permit) process will begin at 5:00PM. The Design Review workshop is recommended for anyone building within the Reserve or wanting to learn more about historic preservation on Whidbey Island. Prior to the Open House, there will be a community workshop at 10:30 AM on the Ebey's Forever Grant program. While not required, we encourage prospective grant applicants to attend. Questions about the Open House and Reserve workshops can be directed to the Reserve Manager at EbeysRM@gmail.com.  
  • The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing in the Commissioners Hearing Room, Coupeville, WA, on January 23rd, at 2:00 p.m. The purpose of this public hearing will be to discuss proposed updates to the RAID Use Table, ICC 17.03.035 table C , and also to review the implementation of Ordinance C-53-19, updates to the Rural Service RAID, including code footnotes and use table, and updated naming of Midget Market RAID.
  • Reminder: We are expecting king tides again during the fourth week of this month. If you live in a flood-prone area, please be prepared. Move your precious things up on shelves or out of your house. Have bottled water ready and your cell phones charged up. Have an evacuation plan for your family and pets. And have sandbags ready in advance. If the storm comes and you don’t have sandbags, contact Public Works and they will help you with sandbags as long as their supplies last. I hate to say this, but don’t expect the County to come in and pump out your water. There is very little we (or anyone else) can do to keep the water out of your home once the ocean has decided to move in.
  • Next Monday is a holiday. I’ll return with my Monday Tea with Melanie on Monday, January 23, at 3 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland. Unfortunately, I can be there for only a half-hour that week, because I have another obligation in Bellingham at 5:30 p.m. I will also be at the WiFire on Monday, January 30th at 3:00 p.m.


"Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in."    ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.