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

Commissioners hear water warning, concerns about taxes


January 9, 2020

The Wahkiakum County Commissioners met briefly on December 31 to tackle a few issues before the New Year.

Puget Island resident Liz Beutler asked for an update on beach nourishment for Pancake Point.

“It’s the first of the year, so we’ve got to get going on that,” Commissioner Dan Cothren said. “It’s like last year with Cape Horn, making sure we’ve got everything set up, which we do, and making sure that the sand is available.”

Commissioners approved special occasion liquor licenses for an event at the Rosburg Community Hall on January 25, hosted by the American Legion Post 0111, and another one for an event at the Columbia River Ranch on February 15, hosted by the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce.

They also approved the appointment of Denise Blanchard and Shonda Ware for three year terms to the Johnson Park Board, and Scott Anderson and Brian Livingston for four year terms on the Planning Commission.

Chris Bischoff, director of Health and Human Services, requested a contract amendment between Wahkiakum County and Great Rivers Behavioral Health regarding crisis services.

“This is an addendum to an existing contract,” Bischoff said. “This just establishes...our rates of payment specific to crisis services in the county. If someone has a behavioral health crisis, we have a number for that and we respond to that. Quite often the sheriff’s department will call us out, or neighbors or even people themselves will let us know they need assistance. It might be just talking to them on site, to calm them down, all the way to having them transported to St. Johns Medical Center for their psychiatric unit,” Bischoff said.

Commissioners approved the amendment.

Bischoff said he sent out a letter to some residents in Skamokawa warning that they do not use Skamokawa Creek to get water for themselves or their animals.

“We have a case that we are working on, trying to clean up off of Maki Road, that we think is adding a little bit extra to the creek,” Bischoff said, adding, “generally you shouldn’t use surface water as potable water.”

After a brief discussion, Cothren will remain Chair for 2020, and Commissioner Gene Strong will become Vice Chair.

During commissioner reports, Cothren spoke about a recent phone call he had received from a Puget Island resident who was concerned about taxes.

“This has been a big concern that I have. It’s a retirement community. I told the school superintendent, Brent Freeman, that you’ve got this bond coming up, and it’s a need up there, it’s bad. You kind of worry on some of the codes and stuff, if we are going to be able to fulfill getting that done and your school being able to operate. But with some of these taxes that are out here, they’re getting higher and higher, and a lot of folks on fixed income, what does that say to that? If you don’t have a school, you don’t have a county. That’s the bottom line. So you have a lot of folks that don’t have an investment in kids, but taxes are still going up.”

“In the legislature, we need to do something. We’re not Seattle. We’re just a small rural community. And paying these high prices for taxes, and then you got a bond that comes out and you get taxed on that, I really have a concern with this.”

“There is some real pain out there,” Commissioner Mike Backman agreed.


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