The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Commissioners handle variety of business from sand to bathrooms


March 30, 2017

Wahkiakum County Commissioners dealt with a variety of issues at their meeting on Tuesday.

J.B Robinson of Puget Island asked about the beach nourishment effort, and wondered about the status of the right of entry permit signings.

“The engineers are getting this thing kind of wrapped up,” Commissioner Dan Cothren told him. “I’ve got my list of my people I need to talk to this week.”

According to Cothren, there were still three or four holdouts in the Cape Horn area, but he was uncertain how many Island residents were unwilling to sign the right of entry permits.

“We’ve had some major high tides,” Cothren said, noting a desire to take a walk down the beach soon to get a look at it.

In attendance was Wahkiakum County PUD General Manager Dave Tramblie. He shared that the PUD was making the final payment on a five year-old 1.2 million dollar loan from the county this week.

“The loan was used to help pay for the new Wahkiakum substation,” Tramblie said. “The substation has been serving the county for over four years now and has and will continue to provide more reliability to our electrical system. It has doubled our capacity and should provide electrical service to our community for over 50 years. I believe this is a great example of how local government working together can provide needed infrastructure for this community. I just want to say we really appreciate working with you on that.”

Colleen Haley, a member of the Board of Equalization, asked the commissioners to extend the period that tax payers have to appeal property assessments from 30 to 60 days.

“It seems that the Board of Equalization and the Assessor’s Office is in a bit of a sticky wicket with the Department of Revenue regarding the extension that we offer tax payers,” Haley said.

According to Haley, another member of the board had not received his assessment. Soon he discovered that he was not the only one.

“We did not know how many people hadn’t received them,” Haley said. “Although the Assessor’s Office and the BOE are independent, we agreed that the tax payers should have their day.”

“It makes sense to let them have a longer period to appeal,” Assessor Bill Coons added.

The state requires the county commissioners to approve an extension. The resolution was being drafted and likely to be finished by next meeting, according to Commissioner Blair Brady.

The commissioners decided to wait until they had the resolution to move forward.

“I’m sure we will pass it,” Brady said.

In order to receive federal assistance for damage caused by winter storms between January 30 and February 22, county commissioners formally declared an emergency in the form of a resolution.

According to Wahkiakum Department of Emergency Management Coordinator Beau Renfro, with the resolution, the federal government will pay 75 percent of the costs for the loss and the state will pay 12.5 percent when an emergency is declared. This leaves the county responsible for only the final 12.5 percent of the costs.

Sheriff Mark Howie asked the commissioners to consider the purchase of a a 24’ x 24’ structure that would be used as storage, to be installed on Division Street.

“It wouldn’t be completely enclosed,” Howie said, “but it would be secured with fencing.”

He claimed it would improve the property and provide a location for an emergency response vehicle and the Search and Rescue trailer.

Cothren and Brady voted to have the project go out to bid, but Commissioner Mike Backman abstained.

When pressed, Backman said he didn’t want to rush into things, and wanted to see other options.

No bids had been received for a project to upgrade the bathroom at the fairgrounds, according to Chuck Beyer, who asked to extend the bid period to April 11.

Now we’ve got a lot of interest by contractors,” Beyer said.

Commissioners agreed to the extension.

Finally, they heard a report from some Department of Natural Resources representatives about timber sales.


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