A Message from Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - August 11, 2023


Island County Board of County Commissioners

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 32nd week of 2023

  • Regular Session.  The agenda and recording for the August 8th regular session can be found here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/a5dcea71-295b-463b-ada3-e7f75c2d2e99.
    • The first item on the agenda was welcoming our new employees and recognizing our employees who have reached significant service dates. This week we celebrated Brian Scheer’s 15 years with the County, Eric Boone’s 20 years with us, and Jacqueline Gabelein’s amazing 30 years with Island County. We are very grateful to these three employees for their many years of hard work and commitment to our citizens.
    • We heard public comment this week on the Robinson boat ramp, transient camping on Hoffman and Taylor Roads, crack users and drug trafficking, and LIHI. Public comment begins at mark 00:18:05 in the recording.
    • The Board passed five resolutions on our consent agenda:
      • C-44-23, “Amending the Island County Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual;”
      • C-45-23, “Modifying the Island County Public Records Disclosure Policy;”
      • C-46-23, “Revising the Island County Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual;”
      • C-47-23, “Amending a County Road Project designated as Baker Way Landslide Slope Stabilization, Camano Island;”
      • C-48-23, “Approving/Amending Plans & Specifications and Authorizing Call for Bids for Baker Way Landslide Slope Stabilization, Camano Island.”
    • The Board considered the two applications made for 2023 Conservation Futures Funding, and after a really good discussion (mark 00:39:00 in the recording) we decided to fund both projects: $295,510 to the Whidbey Watershed Stewards for the Freeland Wetlands Preserve Acquisition, and $582,490 to the City of Oak Harbor for the Freund Marsh Acquisition (three parcels). Both projects will provide important wetlands protections for the health and pleasure of our residents on Whidbey Island.
    • The Board held a public hearing and passed resolution C-39-23: Regulating Parking on County Roads and Amending Island County Code Title X, Chapter 10.02. The public hearing and discussion can be heard at mark 01:42:19 in the recording; a link to the revised ordinance can be found in the agenda above.
    • The agenda for the August 15h regular session is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_08152023-603 On the agenda: the Prosecuting Attorney will present the Board with Resolution C-51-23 “In the Matter of Authorization of the Initiation of a Lawsuit Against the Department of Social and Health Services to Compel Compliance with RCW 10.77.086(7), Compliance with Court Orders, and Other Remedies.”                                                      
  • Work Session. The agenda for the August 9th work session is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_08092023-597 The recording is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4130/08092023-WS-Audio If you want to fast forward to the conversations I note below you will need to download the audio instead of just streaming it, which you can do by clicking on the three dots at the right end of the streaming dashboard and clicking “download”. Depending on your internet access, this download may take a while.
    • The first item on our work session agenda was a conversation with Island County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks and Sheriff Rick Felici about the laws pertaining to regulating homeless encampments. We asked the PA and Sheriff to talk with us about this due to citizen (and BOICC) frustration over homeless encampments we’ve seen along some County roads. You can listen to the conversation in the audio above. The Board will have further discussion on this topic in an upcoming work session.
    • Our DEI Manager, Kenesha Lewin, brought us a discussion to assess best practices for ensuring diversity in Advisory Committees. This discussion begins at mark 00:57:09 in the audio. The Board stated our preference that the Planning Commission begin holding evening meetings; that discussion can be heard beginning at mark 02:03:00. If you are a member of a group that is discussing how to bring best practices in diversity membership to your organization, you might want to check out the Community Engagement Toolkit that starts on page 14 in the work session agenda above.
    • In the afternoon we held a budget meeting (mark 02:17:30 in the recording).
    • The August 16th work session agenda is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_08162023-602 Among the topics to be discussed: the July Treasurer’s Report, Planning’s 2023 work plan and docket update, and a discussion on the input Public Works received from community outreach on the South Whidbey Industrial Park and Road Project (Crawford Road) and that project’s next steps.
  • 2024 Budget: The most crucial work the Board of Island County Commissioners does is pass a budget to keep your local government going for another year. All meetings are held in the Commissioners Hearing Room in Coupeville (in case you want to attend in person—but the Board does not accept public comment during these meetings). If you scroll down to the Events Calendar on the main web page, you will find info links embedded on the dates to each of these meetings.
  • Board of Health: Next Tuesday afternoon at 1 pm the BOH will meet: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_08152023-600. Two presentations are on the agenda: a Climate Health Impacts presentation detailing health effects of heat in Washington, including direct and indirect heat-related illness, as well as which individuals and communities are at risk; and an Update on Living Environments program areas, including food safety, solid waste, and zoonotic disease programs. 
  • From Washington State Ferries: Monday, August 14-Thursday, August 17, vehicle passengers at Clinton may experience delays as the terminal’s holding lanes are repaved.  The work will be done from 6pm-4am each day, and isn’t expected to cause significant delays, but as always, drivers should be mindful in following signs and staff directions. 
  • Assessor Kelly Mauck sent out a press release on Monday about legislative changes to property tax relief programs for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and disabled veterans. It increases the qualification threshold for disposable income. If you are already in this tax relief program, it will be automatically adjusted and you will receive a letter from the Assessor’s Office. New applicants will be eligible to apply starting in 2024 based on your 2023 income. Please visit: https://dor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2023-08/sn_LegChgsPropTaxRelief.pdf for more information. Additional updates and information will soon be found on the Island County Assessors website: www.islandcountywa.gov/158/Assessor or you may call their Office at 360-678-7853.
  • I go to lots of gatherings and meetings, and wanted to share a few with you from this last week.
    • Last Friday I attended a fundraiser for Ballydídean Farm Sanctuary in Clinton. During the dinner, Sheriff’s Deputy Margaret Ryyananen presented owners Sara and Ansel Santosa with a plaque expressing the sheriff’s gratitude to them for all the work they’ve done providing homes for chickens and pigs in need. I spoke with Sheriff Felici about this on Tuesday, and he told me there are many organizations in our County that help his office in finding temporary and permanent housing for animals suffering from negligence and abuse. I don’t have all of these organizations’ names—but I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who do this very important work.
    • On Saturday in Coupeville, the Orca Network held a commemoration of the August 8, 1970 mass orca kidnapping in Penn Cove. Only Sk’aliCh’elh’tenaut (also known as Lolita and Tokitae) survives today. She is still being held in Miami—but happily we expect her to be brought back home to the Puget Sound soon.
    • On Monday at the Port of Everett, Commissioners Jill Johnson, Janet St. Clair, and I attended a Field Forum hosted by a congressional delegation from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Representative Rick Larsen is the ranking member of the committee, and his office invited us to attend. Todd Morrow, the Island Transit Executive Director, was one of the five witnesses. This forum was an opportunity for committee members to ask questions about local jurisdictions’ experiences accessing and implementing federal infrastructure resources made available under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and other bills under the Committee’s jurisdiction.
  • Speed Study Meetings—We’re trying to get your opinions on the formulas we used to make the recommendations. Historically, data points (including the 85% and 50% percentile), Average Daily Traffic (ADT), collision history and engineering judgement have provided the recommendation for a posted speed limit.  The current project also considers development density and pedestrian and bicycle use. The information provided on this South Whidbey flyer pertains to all of these speed study meetings: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/WACOISLAND/2023/08/10/file_attachments/2581307/South%20Whidbey%20Speed%20Eval.pdf
    • Central Whidbey – Coupeville Rec Hall September 20th, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
    • 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
  • Every  Monday I hold Monday Tea with Melanie at 3:00 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland. I will be available every Monday in August, but will miss September 4 (Labor Day), and will also miss September 11.


“We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that the animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves.” ~ Cesar Chavez