A Message From Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - March 17, 2023

MB Pic

Looking west towards Admiralty Inlet, from Greenbank Farm

Message from Commissioner Bacon

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 11th week of 2023.

  • Regular Session. You can find the agenda for this week’s Tuesday’s meeting here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/11867fcc-74dc-4db8-a8ab-0e543cfaca7f
    • The second Tuesday of each month we celebrate our new and returning employees, and recognize our employees with major service anniversaries. Congratulations to Gynon Nash, our Solid Waste Attendant Supervisor, for 25 years of dedicated public service.
    • Public Comment this week focused on emergency concerns on Camano, animal welfare, and fireworks. Public Comment begins at 00:14:30 in the recording.
    • We approved two resolutions on the consent agenda this week:
      • C-19-23: Amending the 2022 Island County Budget to fund unforeseen expenditures and recognize unanticipated revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic and unanticipated events.
      • C-20-23: Approving Specifications and Authorizing Call for Bids for Crushed Rock Supplies for 2023 to 2025.
    • We appointed Jennifer Roll as our new Clerk of the Board.
    • In a previous edition of this newsletter I provided information on the proposal to work with the Economic Development Commission and local jurisdictions to write a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the County. A vote on this item came to the Board this week, and prior to our approval there was quite a bit of discussion about funding this contract. This conversation begins at mark 00:47:35 in the recording.
    • The agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting is here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/?customerGuid=7953d90c-21b5-49e8-b2bb-c8e5a65a54ca&target=foo&view=thumbs&tabs=past|today|upcoming&defaultTab=upcoming
  • Upcoming Public Hearings
    • March 28,  at 10 am: Franchise Renewal PW2022-0075–Bushpoint Tracpark Division #1 for Water Distribution System, Whidbey Island
    • March 28, at 10 am: 2022 Budget Amendment
    • Date not yet set: Speed limit schedule change on Maxwelton Road in front of the South Whidbey Primary/Intermediate School
  • You can find the agenda and audio recording for the March 15 Work Session here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx
    • We spent a lot of time on the first agenda item, the county-wide speed study. You can find the powerpoint presentation under the “other” tab for March 15 in the link above. The Board will have one or two more work sessions on this before the proposal goes to a public hearing. I will let you know in a future newsletter when the public hearing is scheduled.
    • We are planning to set a public hearing to change the speed limit on Maxwelton Road in front of the South Whidbey Primary/Intermediate School to make that speed limit schedule consistent with the schedule for the nearby high school. Mark 01:12:32 in the audio recording.
    • The Treasurer’s Report can be found beginning on page 47 of the agenda; discussion begins mark 01:24:25 in the audio.
    • The Board wants deed restrictions on affordable housing projects, guaranteeing that the housing will remain affordable in perpetuity. There appears to be some federal/state difficulties in getting these assurances. Discussion begins at mark 01:38:50 in the recording.
    • The Prosecuting Attorney brought the Board information on five more opioid settlements, https://www.atg.wa.gov/opioid-pharmacy-manufacturer-settlements. Mark 01:58:04 in the audio.
    • The Board indicated to the County Administrator that we are interested in opening the application period for 2023 funding grants under the Rural County Economic Development Infrastructure Investment fund, but we still want more conversation about the program. Discussion begins at mark 02:53:56 in the recording.
    • Public Health brought the Board their Annual Surface Water Report. The report begins at page 63 of the agenda; the presentation given to the Board begins at page 106. Surface water quality is an important topic in every community, but the topic has a particular nuance for us: 75% of Island County residents rely on septic systems and 70% rely on well water. All of the data is available on the Surface Water Quality GIS map in the Public Works section of the county website. Presentation and discussion begin at mark 03:15:00 in the audio recording.
  • Next Wednesday is a 4th Wednesday, and there will be no work session. Instead, the Council of Governments (COG) and the Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization (IRTPO) will meet.
  • Public Works has scheduled an open house to discuss potential roundabouts in Freeland: Main St at East Harbor Rd, Main St at Harbor Ave, and Harbor Ave at Layton Rd.  They’ll also have materials on potential sidewalk / ADA facilities on Main St. The date / time is Tuesday, April 18th from 5 – 7pm, at the Freeland Library meeting room.  
  • The Planning Commission will be discussing topics regarding the upcoming Comprehensive Plan update at their next meeting. The agenda can be found here: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/WACOISLAND/2023/03/17/file_attachments/2440633/03.27.23%20Agenda.pdf
  • The USDA Forest Service wants you to know about the opportunity for public review and comment on the draft comprehensive plan for the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, a route of approximately 1,200 miles that provides opportunities for long-distance hiking and other non-motorized recreation between the Continental Divide and the Pacific Ocean in Montana, Idaho, and Washington, and the associated draft environmental assessment (EA). This 30-day public comment period started March 16, 2023. Information about this project, including maps of the trail route and information on how to comment, may be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=52259.
  • Goosefoot’s Earth and Ocean Month Events Calendar can be found here: https://whidbeyearthday.org/events-calendar/
  • Freeland Park’s new playground equipment is installed! Public Works is planning an official Opening Date event—I’ll let you know when that’s scheduled.
  • Toddler Learning Center is now called Steps, and has a new website: https://takingstepstogether.org/
  • Reminder: Public Works is in the process of preparing their 6-year Transportation Improvement Program and their 6-year Capital Improvement Program for 2024-2029. They are soliciting suggestions from the public in a variety of areas, including trails, parks, parking, solid waste, and more. They are accepting suggestions through March 28. For more information, see: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WACOISLAND/bulletins/34d4715
  • This week’s wildfire safety reminder: Prepare for Wildfire part 3: Review Important Documents
    • Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents, like ID, are up to date.
    • Make copies and keep them in a secure password-protected digital space.
  • Monday Tea with Melanie happens most Mondays at 3 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland. Tea is on me.


“May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.”
~Irish blessing