Commissioners cover wide range of issues in Tuesday meeting


April 25, 2019

Wahkiakum County commissioners handled a variety of business Tuesday ranging from hearing reports about community events to meeting with department heads to go over a new facilities incident guide.

Puget Island resident Suzanne Holmes covered two community events.

First, she invited commissioners and others in the audience to the spring Tidy Up the Town event this Saturday sponsored by the Pioneer Community Association. Volunteers will gather to pull weeds and work on beautification projects. Strong Park will be a focus this year, she said.

Next, she reported that the community volunteers who have provided free lunches during the Cathlamet schools summer education program are expanding services this year.

"The idea is to do more for more," she said. Besides meals, there will be activities for kids, including music, crafts and speakers. The group is also working with staff at Johnson Park to see if the program can be expanded to Rosburg. [For more information, see Holmes's letter on Page 2.]

Health and Human Services department Director Chris Bischoff reported that the department is accepting applications from youth to join the Community Health Advocates program, which trains youth to be peer mentors. Participants receive training in how to talk to peers, offer support and steer them to further services. The positions are paid. Interested persons can contact the county's public health nurse in the Courthouse Annex.

Commissioners passed a resolution naming the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce as the county's Associate Development Organization.

Chamber president Matt Kuhl reviewed some of the organization's projects--operating a visitor center, recognizing new businesses with ribbon cutting ceremonies, and putting on community events such as Bald Eagle Days.

Commissioner Mike Backman said he was pleased with the Chamber's work but added that he would like to see a strong effort on economic development and partnering with other community organizations such as the county's two port districts so, as he said, "we're on the same page so we can grow."

In some of the other business covered Tuesday:

--Commissioners authorized the expenditure of a budgeted $40,000 to go to Port District 2 for electrical and water system upgrades at county Line Park;

--The board approved an expenditure of $28,6727 as the county's contribution to a Federal Highway Administration project to plan safety improvements to Steamboat Slough Road;

--The board voted to approve a new contract with county union employees running from July 1, 2018 though Dec. 31, 2020 and setting annual wage increases of 2 percent,

--The board and department heads went over the new Wahkiakum County Facilities Incident Guide, which sets procedures for office employees handling of incidents ranging from security threats and hazardous material events to missing persons reports and bomb threats.


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