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

Wahkiakum County residents help each other


To The Eagle:

Reading the letter written by my neighbor, Steve Sharp, made me think about this place that we live: Wahkiakum County. When I moved here in 1993 I knew that I had found my home. I’d like to say a few things about our local government, mostly independent of my role as assessor.

I’ve owned improved property here almost 24 years. I’ve paid taxes to the Puget Island Fire District 1 that entire time. I have yet to be the victim of a structural fire, thank God. Only a handful of people have this misfortune every year. I’m sure glad FD 1 was there for them.

Only a handful of people hereabouts die each year. A handful of families need the services of Cemetery District One. I pay my taxes to my Cemetery District, perhaps a bit more certain that eventually I’ll need their services.

Port District 1 is supported by taxpayers in Town, out the Elochoman, and in the eastern county. A while back a handful of citizens came to the Port with the idea of establishing a brewery. Mr. Sharp was one of the handful. He needed help constructing a building for the brewery. The port decided it made sense to put up a building for this handful of folks, and asked them to pay the port back over the term of a lease.

One of this handful of folk might have invested around $30K in exchange for 30 percent of the brewery business. Now the brewery is so successful that the handful of owners need to sell. They’re asking $550K. If they got this amount our friend with a 30 percent stake stands to realize $135K over his $30K investment.

Don’t get me wrong, I wholly support the port's decision to construct the building. This is an example of good old American capitalism at work, but with one obvious twist. The tax dollars of everyone in Port District 1 were put to use and ended up benefiting a handful of people.

It seems to me that is what we do here. We all pitch in for the benefit of a handful of people. In my role as assessor, I have heard plenty about erosion occurring just one house away from Mr. Sharp. This property owner had pictures, too. Maybe it’s not Mr. Sharp’s time to experience erosion. But he will benefit from the money collected by Flood Control Zone District #2 so that permits will be in place if he does.

My hat’s off to our Board of County Commissioners. They responded to the needs of a handful of people here and a handful of people there. They had hearings on Flood Control Zone District boundaries, and hearings on special assessments, and have worked tirelessly with the Corps of Engineers. And because of the values of the people of Wahkiakum County, where we treat each other like family, the commissioners knew that it is right to help a handful of people.

Bill Coons

Puget Island


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