A Message From Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - February 3, 2023

Message from Commissioner Bacon

MB pic

Greenbank Barn

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 5th week of 2023.

  • This week included a 5th Tuesday of the month, so the Board did not hold a regular meeting. You can find the agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/?customerGuid=7953d90c-21b5-49e8-b2bb-c8e5a65a54ca&target=foo&view=thumbs&tabs=past|today|upcoming&defaultTab=upcoming.
  • Work Session. The agenda for the meeting we held this week can be found here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/worksessions/2023/02012023%20Agenda.pdf. You can find the recordings for that work session in the February 1 audio links here (Audio 2 is the one you’ll want to listen to; Audio 1 is simply an announcement): https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx
    • There’s a map showing the County pavement work planned for this year on pages 7-10 in the above agenda.
    • We had a really interesting conversation on road safety, focusing on the purpose of roads and the problem of people parking overnight on roads. You can find that discussion at mark 00:31:46 in the Audio 2 link.
    • Both Commissioner St. Clair and I had asked Public Works for a map showing where the County responded during the December floods. Public Works overdelivered, and provided maps that also include information on the FEMA flood zones. These maps can be found on pages 52-55 in the above agenda. Also, on page 51 of the agenda you can click on a link to a sea level rise viewer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
    • I would like the County to consider the options for taking over responsibility for repairing and maintaining dikes and tide gates in the County that are not currently under County jurisdiction, as part of our mitigation actions in response to sea level rise. My colleagues seemed open to having that discussion. You can listen to that at mark 01:05:02 in Audio 2.
    • We settled on the SR 20 shoulder widening project as the project we’d like our new lobbyist Merchant McIntyre to work on for us in Washington, DC. You can listen to that at mark 01:40:45 in Audio 2.
    • The next work session for the Board will be held on Wednesday, February 8. You can find that agenda here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/worksessions/2023/02082023%20Agenda.pdf.
  • The Solid Waste Advisory Committee met on Monday.
    • We heard a presentation from Elizabeth Court of the Department of Ecology on the 2022 Organics Management Law. The purpose of this law is to reduce organic waste disposal 75% by 2030 compared to 2015, and widely expand collection. By 2025 the amount of edible food wasted in landfill disposal must be reduced by 20%. The law defines organic waste as manure, yard debris, food waste, food processing waste, wood waste, and garden waste. This will be a massive effort for us in Island County, for one thing because we currently have no food waste recycling anywhere and no curbside yard waste recycling for most of Whidbey Island.  
    • We also discussed Solid Waste’s Contamination Reduction and Outreach Plan (CROP). The goal of CROP is to reduce contamination of the materials collected in Island County’s single-family, multi-family, drop box, and commercial recycling programs. The CROP includes ten action steps and is a framework for developing a more detailed and customized implementation plan in the future.
    • Implementation of both the Organics Management Law and the CROP will be major topics in the upcoming Solid Waste Management Comprehensive Plan update. Ultimately, the County will adopt a compost procurement ordinance.
    • Much of the heavy lift for implementation of the Organics Management Law will of course be on the shoulders of our waste management vendors. Island Disposal let us know that they have a new Commercial Recycle program already in place, ready for your business. Island Disposal will provide 96 gallon commingle recycle containers - serviced every other week – to commercial customers who wish to take advantage of this program. This new service will provide a hassle-free solution for their commercial customers to divert waste from the landfill. This program will accept paper, cardboard, plastics (1 & 2), aluminum and tin recycling. If you are an Island Waste commercial customer and would like more information on pricing, accepted materials, or other program elements, please e-mail the Island Disposal customer service team at: customerservice2144@wcnx.org or contact them by phone at 360-678-5701.
  • We received terrific news this week about three federal grants that have been awarded locally.
    • The Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization (IRTPO) has been awarded $403,200 by the Department of Transportation to develop a “Safe Streets For All” plan. This is a plan to improve safety on our roads for bicyclists and pedestrians. You will hear much more on this as the plan is developed (I’m the Chair of the IRTPO again this year, and I’m excited about this program, so maybe expect over-communication from me about this initiative).
    • US Fish and Wildlife has awarded $1,000,000 to the Washington Department of Ecology and the Whidbey Camano Land Trust for their Keystone Farm and Forest acquisition, 210 acres of shoreline, forest, wetlands, and agricultural fields along Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound on west Whidbey Island. A wonderful addition to our rural preservation efforts.
    • The Northwest Educational Service District (35 regional school districts including Oak Harbor, South Whidbey, and Stanwood-Camano) was awarded a $11.4 million grant from the Department of Education to expand students’ access to school-based mental health professionals. Over the next five years NWESD will recruit, place, support, and retain 20 credentialed school-based mental health professionals (SBMHP+) in our region with the requisite training and clinical supervision necessary to provide Tier 3 behavioral health supports – diagnosis and assessment, individual services, specific therapy modalities, case management, and transition planning.
  • Today the Island County Transit Board of Directors discussed the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Feasibility Study Report that was just completed by our contractor.
    • As I’ve mentioned here in the past, in an effort to decrease reliance on fossil fuels and reduce its carbon emissions Island Transit is considering ways to transition its fixed route fleet to zero emissions technology, with a goal of having a 100% zero emissions fleet by 2040. The conversation focused primarily on the pros and cons of battery-powered vehicles versus hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
    • We also heard about the second phase of “Island Transit Maximized”, implemented January 31. This includes a new on-demand run (call 360-678-7771 to book trips within existing zone boundaries—also a phone app will be available soon);  a new NAS Whidbey/Zone 1 that runs to and from the base in the morning and late afternoon (see website for stop information); the new option to reserve a Zone 3 trip on-demand; addition of Route 60 which expands service to Freeland; and new on-demand ParaTransit which replaces the current ParaTransit booking system.
    • Island Transit is working to increase their service 30% during the next year. They are still recruiting for positions including bus operators and mechanics.
  • Monday Tea with Melanie occurs most Mondays, including next week, at 3 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland. Tea is on me


“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
~ Booker T. Washington