A Message From Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - April 21, 2023

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Ebey's Overlook

Message from Commissioner Bacon

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 16th week of 2023.

  • Upcoming Public Hearings
    • May 2, at 10 am: Franchise Consolidation PW2019-0117 – Cascadia Water, LLC; Water Distribution System; Whidbey Island; Various Sections, Townships, and Ranges
    • May 9, at 10 am: Franchise Renewal PW2022-0151 – Waterloo Acres Community Association, Whidbey
    • May 9, at 10 am: Franchise Renewal PW2022-0208 – Possession Shores, Inc, Whidbey
    • May 9, at 10 am: Franchise Renewal PW2022-0012 – Andy Bernstein and Grand Gard., Sewer Collection System, Camano
    • May 23, at 10 am: Resolution C-27-23, Amending the Island County Code Chapter 2.32 Damage Claim Procedures
  • The Board of Health met this week. You can access the agenda and audio recording for the April 18th BOH meeting here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/BOH.aspx
    • This was an extremely important meeting. There were four presentations (all available in the agenda packet):
      • Introduction to Mobilizing for Action Through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP), presentation beginning on page 4 of the agenda
      • Healthy Youth Survey & Behavioral Health Needs Island County, presentation beginning on page 21. The discussion of key takeaways from this survey begins at mark 00:44:20 in the audio.
      • North Sound BH-ASO Fall 2022 Assessment, presentation beginning on page 33
      • Behavioral Health Needs Assessment – Recommendations, presentation beginning on page 28
    • The 2nd slide in the Healthy Youth Survey was one of the scariest slides I’ve seen since I’ve been a Commissioner: over half of our High School Seniors are feeling sad/hopeless. This is worse than the State average of 45%.
    • Combine this horrifying information with the North Sound BH-ASO data on page 41 that shows that we have fewer treatment facilities or providers in Island County than in the rest of the State, and you’ll see why I called this situation an emergency and asked Board of Health Chair Jill Johnson to schedule a Board of Health meeting with the school superintendents in our County to talk about this frightening situation.
    • See also my notes below from the Wednesday work session with Human Services and Juvenile Detention.
  • Work Session: The agenda, audio recording, and Human Services presentation for the April 19th  work session can be found here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx
    • The first topic on Wednesday’s work session was a presentation by Human Services and Juvenile Detention on how we use the funds from the 1/10th of 1% Sales and Use Tax for chemical dependency or mental health treatment services or therapeutic courts. You can find this presentation under the “Other” tab in the work session agenda above. I encourage you to listen to this conversation on what the County does for youth in crisis, as well as our intervention/crisis response for people suffering from mental health crises or drug addiction. It was particularly informative for the Commissioners after the presentations the day before at the Board of Health.
    • We discussed an upcoming major culvert replacement project in South Whidbey, two deep culverts located on Scatchet Head. These culvert replacements will require some public access detouring during construction. The documents associated with this project can be found pp 5 – 104 in the agenda. Discussion begins at mark 00:42:06 in the audio. We are only now entering into a contract with a company to design this project; I will let you know when to expect construction to begin.
    • During our session with Public Works we also talked about the public input that Public Works has received on the 6-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). You can find the TIP documents beginning on page 111 in the agenda; specifics about public feedback are shown on pp 118-120. Audio begins at mark 1:00:00. This was a very lively discussion; we talked about the tendency of government to work on low-hanging-fruit projects while complex projects languish for years. I pointed out that it’s hard for me to explain to frustrated citizens why the County wants to spend money putting roundabouts in Freeland that citizens don’t appear to want, but we balk at fixing the Crawford Road problem that so many citizens are concerned about.
    • We instructed County Administrator Michael Jones to open the Rural County Economic Development grant application period for 2023. Interested jurisdictions should contact Mr. Jones for more information.
    • There will be no work session next week. The next work session will be held on May 3rd, and the agenda for that work session will be available by Friday April 28 here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx.
  • The Council of Governments (COG) and Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization (IRTPO) will meet next Wednesday, April 26.
  • Over 100 people attended the Open House on the proposal for sidewalks and roundabouts in Freeland this week. If you wanted to express your opinion on this but didn’t get a chance to attend that meeting, email your thoughts to Public Works Director Connie Bowers at ConnieB@islandcountywa.gov.
  • The Port of South Whidbey will be hosting an Open House to gather input to their Comprehensive Scheme on April 25, 2023, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at Freeland Library's Milby Community Meeting Room. The Comprehensive Scheme is the planning document that outlines how the Port will spend its funding over the next several years and beyond, and describes the projects and initiatives that the Port plans to undertake.  The Port has just begun updating its Comprehensive Scheme, and would like input from the community at this early stage.  
  • I’m looking forward to attending “Whidbey 101:Living on an Island”, on Saturday April 29 from 10 – 1 at Trinity Lutheran Fellowship in Freeland. The focus this year is on resilient living. Find out about the best trails, how to live with a septic system, and what programs are available for seniors. Learn about the free bus system, how to manage yard waste and recyclables, prepare for emergencies, prune an orchard, start a garden, or landscape for wildlife. Volunteer to help clean beaches, maintain trails, or greet park visitors. Sign up for educational programs, or get expert advice on forest or pasture management. For more information, see extension.wsu.edu/island/island-county/whidbey-101.
  • Monday Tea with Melanie happens most Mondays at 3 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland. This is an open discussion, a time when citizens can tell me what their concerns are and listen to what other citizens have to say. Tea is on me.



“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”
~ Frank Zappa