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

Commissioners update public records policy


March 29, 2018

Wahkiakum County commissioners on Tuesday approved a resolution updating the county's public records policy.

The resolution, board Clerk Beth Johnson told the commissioners, was drafted in response to new legislation regarding public records indexes and fees in an attempt to decrease the county's liability risks from public records requests by adopting state attorney general guidelines.

The resolution states that it is unduly burdensome to maintain an index of records and that it is unduly burdensome to calculate the actual costs for fees for public records requests, so the county adopts a fee schedule based on the type of request and what is necessary to comply with it.

Under state law, agencies must respond to a records request, either providing the records, an estimate of when they'll be provided or a reason for denying the request.

In other business, Commissioner Dan Cothren reported that the county's engineering consultants are still working on final reports for an application to establish beach nourishment sites on Puget Island and at Cape Horn for placement of dredge spoils on eroding beaches.

Cothren said staff of Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler will meet with US Army Corps of Engineers officials this week to go over the project.

"Next week, I hope to hear of more of a positive mood," Cothren said. "The question was asked, ‘Will we get sand this summer?' We've got to get this thing done."

Cothren also reported that he is still talking with Department of Natural Resources officials about joining a group being formed to find solutions for county trusts and other beneficiaries adversely impacted by marbled murrelet habitat management restrictions.

Cothren has been working with the agency, environmental groups and Skamania and Pacific counties to develop legislation that would exchange encumbered murrelet habitat land with other state timberland to allow the counties to receive their complete benefit of trust timber harvests.

Cothren said he was concerned about time commitments for serving both boards, but, "I don't want the groups to go in separate directions. The encumbered lands exchange is my main goal."

Commissioner Blair Brady reported he has been consulting with members of the Washington Association of Counties about a strategy to sue the legislature over unfunded mandates.

"It they're going to tell us how to do things, they need to give us tools to do it," he said. "Ideally, it will be settled and won't end up in court."


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