Commissioners hear food vendor complaint, service program report


Wahkiakum County commissioners heard complaints about food service inspections for vendors and a report about a new program to provide assistance to people with a variety of needs.

Puget Island resident Robert Hill told the board that application for food service rules has been inconsistent and expensive and hurts his food vendor business.

Permitting has been inconsistent, he said; vendors were able to obtain a year-long permit last year but can't this year. He missed a 14-day deadline to apply for a permit for the recent car show in Skamokawa. The permit and $50 penalty totaled $150; he sold only $200 worth of food on the rainy day and had to dispose of a lot of unused product.

Hill added that he deals with Cowlitz County's health department and can call for a permit much closer than 14 days before an event and also obtain an annual permit.

"There just doesn't seem to be some consistency in our health department," Hill said. "I would hope you guys would look into this."

Commissioner Dan Cothren said he wanted to learn more about the issue and invited Hill to return to the board's June 21 meeting when health officers could be present to address the complaints.

Hill raised two other issues: There are often speeding vehicles on Puget Island's dike roads, and he suggested the county look into installing speed bumps to slow traffic.

He also suggested the county work with the island's diking district to combine roadside mowing. Both entities mow along dike roads, and a combined program could reduce expense.

In other business, the board heard of the start of a program to provide social services to individuals who intersect with police because of simple drug possession and/or people who have frequent criminal legal system contact because of unmet behavioral healthcare needs, and also people who can't meet their needs on their own.

The Recovery Navigator Progam will service both Wahkiakum and Cowlitz counties, said spokesperson Mandy Moore.

The program will have local boards, including one with representatives of county offices and programs to help identify clients and the services they need. The program will be set up to receive referrals from members of the public as well as county staff.

Program highlights, said Moore, include having case managers available 24/7; funding doesn't come from billing insurance, so there is more flexibility in variety of service, and periods in which service is provided aren't deliniated.

The program's desired outcomes include support of public health and safety and connecting people to existing services.


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