A Message from Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - November 10, 2023

fall colors

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 45th week of 2023. Next week the Board will be at the annual Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) on Tuesday and Wednesday so I do not anticipate writing a newsletter on Friday the 17th; the following week is Thanksgiving and although the Board will hold a regular session on Tuesday the 21st there will be no meetings on Wednesday the 22nd so unless something significant happens between now and then, that I think you’ll want to hear about, I will probably not publish a newsletter on Friday the 24th either. The Board will meet in regular session on Tuesday November 28th and the COG and IRTPO will meet on Wednesday the 29th, so I do expect to publish a newsletter on the 48th week of the year, Friday December 1.

I am writing this on Thursday November 9, because Saturday the 11th is Veterans Day, and the County offices are closed Friday the 10th in recognition of this day when we honor and celebrate American veterans of every service, from all wars. I know there are Island County military members posted all over the world this year. I thank them for their service, and honor their families who must celebrate this Veterans Day—and in some cases this entire upcoming holiday season—without their loved ones at home.

And one more thing: our Public Works Director, Connie Bowers, is retiring this month. She has done an amazing job over the last two years, solidifying the strengths of a high-functioning department so that the new director can just step in and hit the ground running. You have served the citizens well, Connie—and have always been great to work with. Congratulations on your retirement, and thank you for your years of dedicated work. I will miss you.

  • Regular Session.  The agenda and recording for the November 7th meeting is here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/0ca6dd90-d3ff-4acc-aa84-8e1bd131aa63
    • We celebrated our new hires and employees who have hit notable service anniversaries this week. Congratulations and thank you to John Meyer of Solid Waste, who has been serving the citizens of Island County for 20 great years!
    • The Board also welcomed our new Public Works Director, Esco Bell. We have high expectations for Esco, who is following the magnificent Connie Bowers in leading our Roads, Solid Waste, Emergency Management, Engineering, and Parks teams. We are very glad to welcome you, Esco—and we are confident you will be happy here. Island County has a phenomenal Public Works group, who manage the best county roads in the State!
    • We heard public comment on flooding on Barr Beach Road and North Bluff Road, beginning at mark 00:25:52 in the recording.
    • Resolutions approved on the consent agenda: C-72-23, Modifying and Reorganizing of the HIPAA Steering Committee to the HIPAA Compliance Committee; C-73-23, Updating the Content Governance Policy; C-74-23, In the Matter of Adopting Island County’s Annual Road Construction Program for 2024; and we set date for the public hearing listed below, C-73-23.
    • We selected District 2 Commissioner Jill Johnson to be the Chair of the Board of County Commissioners in 2024.
    • We held a public hearing on resolution C-61-23, Establishing the Island County 2024 Annual Review Docket for Comprehensive Plan Amendments. There were no public comments; most of the Board discussion was bureaucratic minutiae about how the resolution should be written. The presentation and discussion on this begins at mark 00:47:36.
    • During Commissioner Comments we talked about the issue of how do Commissioners get problems solved on behalf of individual citizens. These comments begin at mark 01:22:36 in the recording.
    • There are only five more regular sessions of the Board of Island County Commissioners this year (and one special session to adopt the 2024 budget). There will be no Board meetings next week because the three of us will be at the WSAC annual meeting. The agenda for the November 21st regular session will be posted here https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter by Friday, November 17; the agenda for the November 28th session will be posted by Wednesday, November 22nd.
  • Work Session.  This is the agenda for the November 8th meeting: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_11082023-653; this is the recording: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5277/11082023-WS-Audio. Download the recording if you want to use the timing marks I list below.
    • This was a pretty low-key work session, without any issues that I think would either inspire or enrage anyone.
    • If you’ve been following our budget meetings, you might listen in on our discussion to set the public hearing for the 2024 Budget (tentative date: December 4); we had a rich discussion on our expectations that we should not have received any budget “frosting” requests for next year because in a time of declining revenue increases we need to be conservative; the 2024 Budget discussion begins at mark 0:15:30 in the recording.
    • Public Works brought a petition for vacation of a portion of right-of-way known as Mutiny Sands Road; if you live in that area you might be interested in listening to this conversation prior to the public hearing (tentative date: December 5). Discussion begins at mark 0:50:40 in the recording.
    • We weren’t able to discuss the latest fireworks draft in November after all; as of now, we’re looking at having that work session discussion on December 13 at 9 am.
    • There are only three more work sessions this year. The agenda for the December 6th work session will be posted here https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter by Friday, December 1.
  • Upcoming Public Hearings:
    • November 28, 10 am: C-73-23, Amending Island County Code 15.03, Clean Water Utility
    • Note: there may be as many as five or six additional public hearings yet this year (for example, there will probably be a public hearing on the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) on December 19)—but none of the dates for these have as yet been approved by the Board in a regular Tuesday meeting. I will post the information here after the dates are approved.
  • As we head into fall and spend more time indoors, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community from seasonal respiratory illnesses. Respiratory viruses include COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza (flu), and other common cold viruses (rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, and other viruses). So far our numbers in Island County are low, but you know they’ll only stay that way if we all take the necessary precautions. I got my flu and covid shots last week; I encourage you to do the same. And as I travel over the holidays I intend to carry a mask with me to wear when I’m in crowds of strangers. Here is this week’s respiratory report: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5200/Island-County-Respiratory-Illness-Report-CDC-Week-43-20232.
  • Celebrating their 25th year, the goal of the Mobile Turkey Unit is to provide a free, home-delivered Thanksgiving meal for people on South and Central Whidbey Island who would otherwise not have one. This includes the elderly, the ill and disabled, low-income and unemployed people, plus public servant employees working on Thanksgiving Day. The Mobile Turkey Unit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community service organized and provided by volunteers. Last year they delivered close to 700 Thanksgiving dinners. If you would like to order a meal for yourself or someone in need, please order online at: https://www.mobileturkeyunit.com/request-a-meal/ (no later than Thursday, November 16 at 7 p.m.) If you would like to volunteer to help prepare, package or deliver meals, please visit: https://www.mobileturkeyunit.com/volunteer/. The event takes place at St. Hubert's Roman Catholic Church, Langley United Methodist Church, and South Whidbey School District, all in Langley. Donations are also gratefully accepted at: https://www.mobileturkeyunit.com/donate/. Questions? Contact Mobile Turkey Unit of Whidbey Island directly at 360-321-9782, mobileturkeyunitwi@gmail.com.
  • You can find all of my newsletters for 2023 here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Directory.aspx?EID=62.
  • Most Mondays I hold Monday Tea with Melanie at 3:00 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland, an opportunity for citizens to speak with me and with each other about issues of interest to them, and I am also available once a month in Clinton, just before the Clinton Community Council meeting. But as we get closer to the holidays and various out-of-town events, there will be Mondays when I won’t be available. Below are my Mondays through the end of the year, as of now:
    • Monday November 13 – NO
    • Monday November 20 – 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday November 27 – 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday November 27 – 5 pm Clinton Community Hall –Yes
    • Monday December 4 – 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday December 11 – NO
    • Monday December 18 – 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday December 25 – NO
    • Monday January 1 – NO


“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”            ~Arthur Ashe