A Message from Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - May 12, 2023

MB pic

Clinton Ferry Dock


Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 19th week of 2023. The Board of Island County Commissioners proclaimed today, May 12, 2023, as “Provider Appreciation Day”, a day when we urge all citizens to recognize Child Care Providers for their important work. You can read this resolution, item 14 in our May 9 agenda, here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/2d1863b2-fe43-4115-a249-ed150ec44da2

  • Regular Session. You can find the agenda and video recording for this week’s Tuesday’s meeting here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/2d1863b2-fe43-4115-a249-ed150ec44da2
    • During Employee Presentations for May, we celebrated anniversaries for two long-time Public Works employees: Lyn Little who has been with the County for 15 years, and Marty Konnerup who has served the citizens of Camano for 20 years! Congratulations, Lyn and Marty, and thank you for your years of dedicated public service.
    • Once again the Public Works Director and our Public Works employees were recognized by the State’s County Road Administration Board with a Certificate of Good Practice, which means we have continued to follow all “general and uniform practices formulated and adopted by the board relating to the administration of county roads and the safe and efficient movement of people and goods over county roads, which shall apply to engineering, design procedures, maintenance, traffic control, safety, planning, programming, road classification, road inventories, budgeting and accounting procedures, management practices, equipment policies, personnel policies, and effective use of transportation-related information technology.” Based upon this certification, Island County is eligible to receive disbursement of gas tax revenues next year. 
    • This week’s public comments focused on animal welfare, Crawford Road, the LIHI project in Freeland, and compatible use near airports. Public Comment begins at mark 00:12:25 in the video.
    • As I’ve mentioned before, the Goosefoot Community Fund is receiving $1,097,292 in ARPA funds from the County to assist with their affordable workforce housing project in Langley. Rose Hughes of Goosefoot gave a presentation on the project; this begins at mark 00:34:49 in the video.
    • We approved two resolutions this week:
        • C-30-23 (consent): Amending Island County’s Annual Road Construction Program for the year 2023
        • C-31-23 (regular):  Proclaiming May 12, 2023 Provider Appreciation Day.
    • We held three Public Hearings on franchises, and all were approved:
      • Franchise Renewal PW2022-0151 – Waterloo Acres Community Association, Whidbey
      • Franchise Renewal PW2022-0208 – Possession Shores, Inc, Whidbey
      • Franchise Renewal PW2022-0012 – Andy Bernstein and Grand Gard., Sewer Collection System, Camano
    • During Commissioners’ Comments at the end of the meeting, all three of us addressed the Langley Fair concerns we’ve been hearing lately. You can hear us talk about this beginning at mark 01:14:22 in the video. I also talk about the Fair later on in this newsletter, after the Work Session section.
    • The agenda for next Tuesday’s 10 am meeting is here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/97f3c94d-10fd-4a75-b05d-e641738de6d0. On this agenda: discussion with the County Administrator regarding the Fairgrounds, and a request from Facilities for approval to spend $4,144,388 for building restoration and energy updates to the Coupeville Administration Building (discussed at last week’s work session).
  • Upcoming Public Hearings
    • May 23, at 10 am: Resolution C-27-23, Amending the Island County Code Chapter 2.32 Damage Claim Procedures.
  • Work Session: You can find the Wednesday May 10 agenda and audio recording here https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/Pages/WorkSessions.aspx.
    • Sheriff Felici discussed the difficulties of enforcing fireworks laws. It was a really interesting conversation; we are expecting him to bring us back a code amendment revising the dates that fireworks are allowed on the islands as well as a continued discussion about whether mortars should be allowed to remain legal. All three commissioners and the Sheriff agreed that we will push an educational initiative over the next few months to let citizens know (a) which fireworks are not legal in Island County, and (b) reminding them that no fireworks are allowed at all in County parks. This is the first agenda item in the recording.
    • The Sheriff also addressed the pros and cons of taking jurisdictional approaches to handling the drug use impact caused by the Blake decision. He is waiting on the outcome of the Special Session of the Legislature called by the Governor before deciding whether or not to ask the Board to pass a code change addressing the problem specifically in our County. You can hear his remarks beginning at mark 00:38:24.
    • In our discussion on the County’s proposed Equity Statement, Commissioner Jill Johnson made some moving comments about how systemic racism manifests at the local government level. Commissioner Johnson’s compelling remarks begin at mark 01:24:20 in the audio.
    • We continued our discussion from last week with the Planning Department on revisiting their 2023 Work Plan and Docket in light of the staff shortages in that department. We are going to need to shift some projects around; we will look to consultants to assist with our Ebey’s Reserve deliverables, and our work on the Clinton Gateway will unfortunately need to be pushed out to the end of 2023/early 2024. This conversation begins at mark 01:40:39 in the audio.
    • We held a robust conversation with our Planning, Public Works, and Public Health Directors and senior staff on permit timelines and coordination. A few creative ideas rose to the top. You can listen to this beginning at mark 02:41:36 in the audio recording.
    • The next work session will be held on May 17th at 9 am—and boy, it’s a doozy: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Commissioners/worksessions/2023/05172023%20Agenda.pdf. Some of the topics on this agenda:
      • Discussion on a draft amendment to our animal control code, presented by the Sheriff, the Prosecuting Attorney, and the County Administrator (first item on our agenda; you can review this draft beginning on page five of next Wednesday’s agenda);
      • 4 significant Public Works discussions (county-wide speed limit policy; the draft 2024 – 2029 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP); the draft 2024 – 2029 Clean Water Utility (CWU) Plan; and the 2024 – 2029 Proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP));
      • The annual noxious weed control program (presentation can be found beginning on page 97 of the agenda).
  • As mentioned above, we’ve heard from a lot of citizens concerned about this year’s Langley Fair. In 2017, the Board of Island County Commissioners transitioned ownership of the Fairgrounds to the Port of South Whidbey, and we no longer have oversight of fair operations. That said, there are expectations outlined in the 2017 interlocal agreement, including that the Port would “Secure the future use of the Property for Island County 4-H programs and an agricultural fair, as defined in Chapter 15.76 of the Revised Code of Washington, without placing an unreasonable financial burden on the Island County 4-H programs or the Island County Fair Association’s annual fair, for as long as the Island County 4-H and Island County Fair Association exist in their current forms.” The Board will discuss this issue during next Tuesday’s 10 am Board meeting. In addition, I intend to attend next Wednesday’s Fair Advisory Committee. Stay tuned—as I learn more, I will share with you.
  • I learned this week that the funding for our Veteran’s Services Officer position has been approved for two more years. We have an amazing VSO, Cynthia Jennings, and in just the six months she’s been in that position she has brought in over $200,000 in services for individual veterans in our County. I believe the contract for this funding will come to the Board for approval soon.
  • The State will start on their improvements for the area between the Clinton Park and Ride and the Clinton Ferry this upcoming Monday, 05/15/2023. Road work, other than clean up, should be done by 05/24/2023 assuming no rain or problems. There will be night work in addition to day work to try to open things before Memorial weekend.
  • Washington State Ferries is going to host systemwide virtual meetings ahead of peak summer service. They will provide a brief presentation on systemwide topics, including the status of service restoration, an update on building new hybrid-electric vessels and proposed fare changes. Each meeting will then cover route-specific topics. Most of the time will be devoted to answering questions from participants. Attendees can also provide written public comment during and after the meeting about the proposed fare changes. The Clinton/Mukilteo and Coupeville/Port Townsend ferry meeting will be held on May 23 at 6 pm. To register for the meeting (so they’ll send you the Zoom info), go to https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SFhiHsODQpGYFPvF4MAJNw#/registration.
  • 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. I will be taking some time off at the end of May, and will not gather for Monday Tea on May 29 or June 5.




“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
~ Forest E. Witcraft