A Message from Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - December 8, 2023

Week 49 Picture

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 49th week of 2023. I usually write this newsletter on Friday mornings, but I’m writing this one on Wednesday night because I will be unavailable for the next two days. That means I am unable to provide you any detail about what to expect in next week’s Regular Session or Work Session because those agendas are not yet published. Please check out the agenda links for next week, below, for information about those upcoming meetings.

  • Special Session. This week the Board passed the 2024 Budget of $138.4 Million. Many activities were paused during the pandemic; with this budget we are catching up on those outstanding projects, much of that catch-up paid for with fund balance we’ve been holding aside for this purpose. This budget moves us back to “normal”, which I feel good about. The budget also includes investment in Emergency Preparedness, which is extremely important to me as you’ve heard me state here many times. You can see the agenda and watch the recording here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/68ad9ca6-55c7-4746-aae9-9d100be17a8c the benefit to watching the recording is it shows the terrific power point presentation given by our Budget Manager Susan Geiger, which is also available here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5602/2024-Budget-and--Levy-Hearing-Presentations-PDF If you click on the links in the agenda, you can see the budget numbers.
    • We held four public hearings as part of budget adoption. There were no public comments and no members of the public attended the meeting.
    • Public Hearing 1: Resolution C-68-23 Adopting the Island County Budget and Diking District No. 4 Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. --Adopted
    • Public Hearing 2: Ordinance C-69-23 Increasing the Taxing District’s Prior Year’s Levy Amount for the County Current Expense Property Tax Levy to be Collected in the 2024 Tax Year. –Adopted a 1% increase, equaling $93,736 in total increased tax that will be collected by the County. Public Hearing begins at mark 00:50:42 in the recording.
    • Public Hearing 3: Ordinance C-70-23 Increasing the Taxing District’s Prior Year’s Levy Amount for the County Roads Property Tax Levy to be Collected in the 2024 Tax Year. –We decided NOT to take the 1% increase, which would have resulted in an additional $97,517 increase in taxes collected by the County. We opted against increasing this tax this year because we have sufficient funds available for our road projects without it. Mark 00:55:36 in the recording.
    • Public Hearing 4: Ordinance C-71-23 Increasing the Taxing District’s Prior Year’s Levy Amount for the County Conservation Futures Property Tax Levy to be Collected in the 2024 Tax Year. –Adopted a 1% increase, equaling $8,055 in total increased tax that will be collected by the County. Mark 01:05:22 in the recording.
  • Regular Session.  The agenda and recording for the December 5th meeting is here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/8f6c8298-f042-4d04-ab69-bc836930d40d
    • There was no public comment offered this week.
    • The Board approved one resolution on the consent agenda: Resolution C-80-23 (R-41-23) Granting an Easement over County Property.
    • We held a public hearing to vacate a portion of County road right-of-way on Mutiny Sands Road, resolution C-78-23. The Board approved this vacation. The public hearing begins at mark 00:02:15 in the recording. This public hearing brought to the Board’s attention a procedural issue which results in duplicative public hearings and unnecessary extra expense for citizens taking these actions. Planning was instructed to look into a code and/or process improvement to alleviate this problem in the future.
    • The agenda for the Tuesday December 12th Regular Session is here:https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12122023-667
    • Also next Tuesday, in the afternoon, the Board will hold a business meeting with the leaders of our Human Services and Public Health departments. This is the agenda for that meeting: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12122023-665.
  • Work Session.  The agenda for the December 6th work session is here https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12062023-662. The recording is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5620/12062023-WS-Audio
    • We spent the morning discussing the 2024 work plans for the departments that report to the Board. Those work plans can be found in the above agenda, pages 3 – 18. We made a couple of changes to the work plan for Public Works, to develop policies associated with our response to homeless encampments, and to develop a work plan associated with the use of our 2024 investments in emergency preparation.
    • Our DNR Manager Jennifer Schmitz brought us an increase in funding for the Shore Friendly program (mark 3:08:46 in the recording; page 19 in the agenda).
    • In a discussion about an update to our Public Health consolidated contract, we talked about the septic alternatives study (mark 3:16:10 in the recording; page 32 in the agenda); we also learned that the County will have funding to help citizens pay for their septic inspections in 2024 (mark 3:20:20 in the recording).
    • Long Range Planning brought us updates to the Countywide Planning Policies for the 2025 Comprehensive Plan update associated with the population projections. Mark 3:30:26 in the recording. The presentation can be found beginning on page 143 of the agenda. Basically, the Board needs to adopt the population projections before we can take further actions in the comprehensive plan update that will be our major lift in 2024. We will consider adoption of those projections in a future regular session of the Board (either next Tuesday or the following Tuesday; see the December 12 agenda above to learn if we will be taking action on this next week).
    • The agenda for the December 13th work session is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12132023-668
    • Scheduled early on the December 13th work session: discussion of a proposed revision to the Fireworks code to ban mortar fireworks in Island County and reduce permitted July fireworks days from 3 days to 2.
  • Other Upcoming Public Hearings:
    • December 19: Public hearing for PBRS Application 171/23
  • I received an email on Monday from John Vezina, Director of Planning, Customer and Government Relations for the Washington State Ferries, talking about the fact that the 64-vehicle Salish had replaced the 124-vehicle Kitsap on the Clinton/Mukilteo route this week.  With a 21-vessel fleet, five boats out for planned preservation and maintenance, and two for unplanned emergency repairs, WSF only has 14 vessels available for service – one less than necessary to operate their current 15-vessel schedule. He said that they will restore additional vehicle capacity to the Clinton/Mukilteo route as quickly as possible, likely by the beginning of next week.
  • 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 the last Monday of the month (note: there will be no Clinton Community Council meeting in December). Below are my Mondays through the end of the year, as of now:
    • Monday December 11 – NO
    • Monday December 18 – 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday December 25 – NO
    • Monday January 1 – NO


“The attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the darkest moments in our nation's history, and we will forever remember the thousands of service members and civilians whose lives were tragically taken on that horrible day.”  ~Ned Lamont