A Message From Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - February 17, 2023

Message from Commissioner Bacon


Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 7th week of 2023. Next Monday is Presidents’ Day, and County offices will be closed, including our Solid Waste facilities.

  • Regular Session. You can find the agenda and recording for this week’s Tuesday’s meeting here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/5e27cd1c-e305-46c6-99d1-d3dbaef516f6.
  • Work Session. The agenda and audio for the February 15th meeting can be found here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx
    • Eric Brooks from the county’s Department of Emergency Management gave us an update on flood assistance for individuals and businesses from the December king tides. We have a Governor’s Declaration but not a federal declaration (no one in Washington State received a federal declaration). The qualifications for assistance will be based on income and disability status. Mark 00:07:22 in the audio.
    • Nikki Davis of Public Works gave a presentation on the 2023 Local Road Safety Plan – Highway Safety Improvement Program. The presentation can be seen in the agenda beginning on page 30. We also talked a little bit about the Freeland roundabout projects. Mark 00:17:15 in the audio.
    • Two culvert projects will close two roads in South Whidbey this summer for about 2 weeks, Wilkinson Road near Langley and High Meadow Drive south of Clinton. Old decaying 12” culverts, very deep, will be replaced with shiny new 18” culverts. During the conversation we learned that the county now replaces old culverts with larger culverts in response to the increased need for drainage due to climate change. Pages 45 and 49 in the agenda packet show maps with the work highlighted in yellow marker (on a yellow background—maybe not the best marker choice, but you can see it). Public Works intends to be sensitive to heightened traffic due to graduation ceremonies and the Langley Fair when they plan the work dates. You will hear more about this as we get closer to this work. The conversation can be heard starting at mark 00:44:27 in the audio.
    • We discussed transitioning to using MRSC (Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington) rosters for hiring Public Works contractors. The major focus of the discussion was the Commissioners’ concerns that local businesses continue to be eligible for contracting opportunities. Public Works will be working with local businesses to let them know how they can be included in the MRSC Small Public Works roster for services and goods, vendors, and consultants—which will also give those businesses increased public opportunities outside of our county jobs. You can hear this discussion beginning at mark 00:59:13 in the audio.
    • Human Services Deputy Director Bill Larsen and Behavioral Health Program Supervisor Kathryn Clancy updated the Board on our wonderful Recovery Navigator Program, which is the county’s partnership between the Sheriff and Human Services to help citizens with substance use disorders who are at risk of arrest or have frequent contact with emergency and court services. They shared some success stories. You can listen to this important update beginning at mark 02:42:02
    • Planning brought to the Board a couple of minor typo fixes we need to make to two recently-updated codes—PBRS and Boundary Line Adjustments. And I mean very minor: for example, in the BLA code in one place we need to change “contiguous” to “adjacent”, the word the Planner meant to use; and the word “Assessor” is changed to “Auditor” in a sentence that references recording maps (the Auditor records maps, not the Assessor). I mention this in my newsletter today only because I don’t want citizens who review our agendas to think we’re making actual changes to important codes without having public hearings—these were simply very minor clerical errors we fixed. You can hear this discussion at mark 03:08:59 in the audio.
    • Planning gave an update on the properties that are still impacting our citizens’ FEMA flood insurance, at mark 03:22:35 in the audio.
    • The next work session for the Board will be held on Wednesday, March 1st. The agenda for that meeting will be posted here on Friday, February 24th: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx.
  • Next Tuesday, February 21st, the Board of Health will hold its monthly meeting from 1 – 3:30 pm in the Island County Board of Commissioners Hearing Room. The agenda, including the Zoom meeting information, can be found here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/boh/2023/02212023%20BOH%20Agenda%20PK.pdf
  • Next Wednesday, February 22nd , the Council of Governments (COG) and Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization (IRTPO) will hold their monthly meetings. The agendas include the virtual meeting links.
  • Reminder: The first of the community meetings with LIHI about the Harbor Inn supportive housing project has now been scheduled: Monday, February 27th from 6 – 7:30 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. LIHI has a flyer with a lot more information; if you would like me to send one to you just email me at district1@islandcountywa.gov.
  • I want to keep the issue of wildfire safety in front of us all this year. Hopefully providing reminders all year will help all of us (including me!) take the steps necessary to prevent a disaster. This week: Fire Safety Checklist—What are Your Home Fire Safety Risks? (if you say NO to any of these questions, you are at a greater risk for being injured in a home fire).
    • Do you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home?
    • Do you stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food?
    • Are space heaters placed at least 3 feet or more away from things that can burn?
    • Are all electrical cords in good condition (no damaged or cracked?)
    • Do you know two ways out of every room in your home?
    • Do you know what to do if your smoke alarm sounds?
  • Monday Tea with Melanie occurs most Mondays, but not next Monday because of President’s Day. I will be back on Monday February 27th at 3 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland. Tea is on me.


In honor of Presidents’ Day, I offer you this moving version of The Star-Spangled Banner, sung by Marvin Gaye forty years ago this week on February 13, 1983. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2KYZ1BritY