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

Commissioners okay fire district annexation, Columbia Street closure for paving

 

August 26, 2021



Wahkiakum County commissioners approved a road closure and fire district expansion and addressed a variety of other issues when they met Tuesday.

Columbia Street will be closed from Jacobson Road to SR 4 on September 9 for paving work.

Commissioners approved a petition from Fire Protection District No. 4 to expand its boundaries.

District personnel collected petitions signed by over 60 percent of residents of the area in question supporting the annexation. State law allows a county commission to approve such an annexation without a public vote when 60 percent of residents support the move.

The area annexed basically expands the district from present boundaries to northern and eastern county lines. Residents living in the new district boundaries will pay taxes of $0.6548 per $1,000 of assessed property value to support the district.

In other business, commissioners discussed emergency access routes to be used in times of flooding or other disasters. Specific routes come from the Grays River Valley over KM Mountain via logging roads. Officials said agreements with timber companies for use of the roads need to be updated.

Emergency Management Director Beau Renfro commented that the routes are opened only during closures of two days or more and that people living in areas that can become isolated need to be prepared for several days of isolation.

--Principals of Sunnyfield, LLC, presented their plan for development of 30 housing lots off Greenwood Road. Spokesperson Tim Hanigan said the group has hired an engineering firm to create a detailed layout of the development, which will lie on a 14 acre parcel. Hanigan said the group, which also includes Steve Sharp, Bob Jungers and David Kirby, has entered an agreement with the Town of Cathlamet for sewer and water utilities.

The development will have to go through the county's short plat process with review by the planning commission and board of commissioners.

--Commissioners closed out their day with a meeting with Rep. Robert Stevens, head of the state legislature's transportation committee.

County officials are seeking a greater financial support from the state for the operation of the Puget Island ferry.

The state subsidizes 80 percent of ferry operations up to $1 million. County officials presented data showing their expenses over the $1 million cap and explained that the county has to divert funds away from the road program to cover the expenses.

"This is a big financial burden for the county," Cothren said.

Commissioners also

commented that the county's bus system needs funding to replace its aging fleet, and Cothren lobbied for support of legislation sponsored by the state Department of Natural Resources which would allow Wahkiakum, Pacific and Skamania counties to acquire timberland which would produce needed revenue.

 

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