A Message from Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - June 30, 2023



Happy Independence Day!

County offices will be closed on Monday, July 3rd, and Tuesday, July 4th (except for some court activities scheduled for Monday).

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 26th week of 2023.

  • Regular Session. The agenda and video recording for this week’s Tuesday meeting can be found here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/cb319302-01f0-4d6d-b404-c5eb2dc22321.
    • We take Public Comments at the beginning of our meetings. Public comment this week focused on animal welfare, the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and concern about newspaper distribution.
    • We had planned to sign the management agreement for Freeland Hall, but the item was pulled for an administrative reason—it will come back for approval next month.
    • At Tuesday’s round table meeting of elected officials and appointed department heads, we discussed implementing the county’s Language Access Plan, which will include interpretation and translation services. The audio for that meeting can be found here; https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3858/06272023-Roundtable-audio
    • There will be no regular meeting of the Board next week due to the holiday.
  • There was no work session this week. The next work session will be held on Wednesday, July 5th, a fairly short meeting compared to some we’ve had lately. The agenda is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_07052023-582 Some of the scheduled items: the Marshall Drainage Basin & Surface Water Utility Assessments; Critical Drainage Areas defined by GIS; info on the July 8 Thunder Run Drill – Emergency Response Exercise; a discussion on Salmon Recovery Funding; a Long Range Planning Update; and as we begin our 2025 Comprehensive Plan, an audit of the Introduction section of the 2016 Comprehensive Plan.
    • I know many people are interested in the Board’s upcoming discussion on the LIHI contract. That discussion is tentatively scheduled for our July 19 work session.
  • The Council of Governments (COG) and the Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization (IRTPO) met this week.
  • On July 8th,our Disaster Air Response Team (DART) will participate in another exercise with other counties across the Pacific Northwest and Canada. A dress rehearsal for earthquake disaster relief, the Thunder Run Drill is sponsored by Island County Emergency Management and will involve many local governments and volunteer emergency organizations. This exercise will require many volunteers in Island County to assist. Email dem@islandcountywa.gov to request to register as a volunteer. They have a few shifts available at our three airports.
    • AJ Eisenberg Airport - 1140 N Monroe Landing Rd. Oak Harbor, WA
    • Whidbey Airpark - 5247 S Crawford Rd. Langley, WA
    • Camano Airfield – 1212 N. Moore Rd. Camano Island, WA
    • Small planes will be landing and taking off throughout the day. These planes carry food that will be unloaded for food banks across Island County. Volunteers need to be aware of safe practices around planes. HAM radio operators will be on site. DEM will be documenting the planes and loads they bring. They may have a flagger on site. This will take place outdoors, so dress accordingly. Lunch will not be provided, so please bring your own.
  • In 2022, Island County began reviewing the existing posted speed limits county-wide to provide an engineer’s recommended speed limit based on data analysis and land use within the review areas. Historically, data points (including the 85% and 50% percentile), Average Daily Traffic (ADT), collision history, and engineering judgment have recommended a posted speed limit.  The current project also considers development density and pedestrian and bicycle use. Now the County is seeking public input into the draft. Four area-specific meeting locations and times for you to review the print-outs of the findings and discuss them with staff are scheduled:
    • North Whidbey –City of Oak Harbor Library July 19th, 4:30 PM -5:30 PM
    • Central Whidbey –Coupeville Library August 2nd, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM (note: we are trying to move this meeting to a larger venue)
    • South Whidbey –Trinity Lutheran Church August 23rd. 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
    • Camano Island –the Multi-Purpose Room located next to the Camano Annex building Sept 12th, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
  • In the latest round of federal Bus and Bus Facility Funding, Island Transit will receive $7.5 million to plan, design, and construct their South Whidbey Transit Center Project. I appreciated the article in this week’s South Whidbey Record: https://www.southwhidbeyrecord.com/news/federal-grant-funds-south-end-transit-hub/
  • As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) will begin taking applications for grant awards from today through July 31st. Island County estimates to have $730,000 of lodging tax revenue (including up to 50% of the total amount for one-time capital funding requests) for grant allocation to support tourism in 2024. Historically, the program has funded approximately 20-25 proposals for Whidbey and Camano Island events, visitor centers, and tourism activities. For more information, go here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/704/Lodging-Tax-Advisory-Committee
  • The Island County Parent-to-Parent newsletter for July lists many fun family activities happening this summer, For more information, contact Tiffany Wheeler-Thompson at t.wheeler-thompson@islandcountywa.gov
  • In my last newsletter, I mentioned a forum I attended at WhidbeyHealth on Rural Health Care, which focused on the issues of rural hospitals, veterans’ health resources on Whidbey, and the financial and service improvements we’re seeing at our hospital in Coupeville. The sponsors of the event, the Whidbey Island Democratic Club, have now made the recording and presentations available on their website: https://whidbeyislanddemocrats.org/?p=626
  • Due to the holiday and travel for a family celebration, Monday Tea with Melanie will not be held again until Monday, July 24th.


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”          ~ the Declaration of Independence