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

Commission OK's raises, for officials, employees


The Wahkiakum County board of commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to approve a new contract with most employees and department heads and acted on other business at their meeting Tuesday.

The contract, effective July 1, runs through the end of 2020, said Commissioner Blair Brady, who negotiated for the board.

The raises included elected officials, non-elected employees and most union employees. It doesn't cover ferry workers, who have their own union contract, judges and the prosecuting attorney, whose salaries are set by a state board, and the county commissioners themselves, who point out they haven't raised their salaries since 2003.

For the union employees, the county's health insurance coverage will remain the same, Brady said.

After passing the motion, the board adopted a resolution increasing Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow's salary 2 percent. The state pays a large portion of judges' and prosecutors' salaries; prosecutors will receive a state-mandated increase later this year, commissioners said.

In other business, the board approved a $4 per cubic yard price for sand to be sold at the Puget Island Sand Pit, co-managed by the county and Consolidated Diking District 1.

County Public Works Director Chuck Beyer reported that the diking district wants to be able to sell sand to district residents; they would make sales on a case by case basis.

"I have no problem raising the price, but I have a problem with it being available only to certain people," Brady commented.

Beyer pointed out that if the county opened the pit to sales, they would have to be monitored, and that would require an expense for personnel.

Commissioner Dan Cothren suggested people could pay in advance and be monitored by a security camera installed at the sand pit.

"We need to find a way to open it for the whole county," Brady said.

Speaking by telephone, Commissioner Mike Backman pointed out that people can buy sand from Port District 2 at Skamokawa Vista Park, perhaps at a lower price.

"So they already have an option to get sand," Backman said.

"We can go ahead and look at further options," Brady said, and the board voted to support the $4 price.

Treasurer Tammy Peterson reported that the county's investments have produced more interest income in 2018, $100,135.02 through June, compared to $27,552.31 for the same period in 2017.

She said the increase comes from her department using a new investment strategy, and because the interest rate is now averaging 1.9 percent, compared to 0.6 percent last year.


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