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

County commission covers variety of issues


January 18, 2018

Rick Nelson

Members of the Wahkiakum County Board of Commissioners went over paperwork early in their meeting this week. L-r are Dan Cothren, Chair Mike Backman and Blair Brady.

Wahkiakum County commissioners covered a lot of ground as they took on a light agenda at their Tuesday meeting this week.

Commissioners accepted the recommendation of Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff to locate the Wahkiakum Weed Control office in a soon to be vacant at the department's mental health campus.

The county has been looking for months for office space for the weed control program, which had previously been housed in the WSU Cooperative Extension Office. The logistics of sharing space and equipment led to the search for separate quarters, and most recently, commissioners suggested it could be housed in the former United Church of Christ building, which will house mental health programs now located in the Johnson House on River Street.

Instead, Bischoff said, Weed Control could have their own private office on the Elochoman Campus, which wouldn't interfere with mental health activities or privacy protections for clients.

Commissioners agreed with the suggestion and said they saw no problems setting up financial arrangements for office expenses.

Commissioners discussed how to set up a process to sell sand from the sand pit owned by the county and Diking District No. 1 on Puget Island.

Commissioner Mike Backman said people have been asking for access to the sand for use on farms or construction. The only other source is Port District 2's sand pit at Skamokawa Vista Park.

"The problem in the past was that sand was sold on an honor system that was abused," said Commissioner Blair Brady. "Contractors were stockpiling it, and local citizens couldn't get it."

Backman suggested a remote camera could be installed, and the county could track usage.

"The public wants sand," Backman said. "Somehow we've got to get together and have sand for sale."

Brady reported having a busy trip as an officer in the National Association of County Officials visiting members of the US Senate and House of Representatives last week in Washington, D.C.

Overall, national legislation is challenging for counties, he said.

The recent legislation to revise federal income tax will reduce the State and Local Tax Deduction, and that will take away about $100 million from counties in Washington state, he said.

Changes in municipal bond rules will prohibit counties, school districts and municipalities from retiring bonds early when they could sell new bonds at lower interest rates. Instead, they're stuck with the higher rate for the duration of the bond, Brady said, which is an added cost for tax payers.

Brady said the officials were also unhappy with management of national forests that limits timber harvest and with additions to the Endangered Species Act that dramatically increase the number of plants and animals on the endangered species list.


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