Commissioners okay sheriff's move expense


September 29, 2022

Wahkiakum County commissioners approved bids and plans for projects at county facilities and handled other business when they met Tuesday.

Commissioners accepted a revised plan for moving sheriff department offices into the basement of the courthouse annex. Sheriff Mark Howie had presented a plan last week totalling an estimated $160,000, and commissioners asked him to look for savings and come back with a lower number.

And Tuesday he did. A major change was to drop a plan to change the back entrance and leave it as is.

With other minor changes, that dropped the total to $144,269, and the decision to remove a wall between two evidence rooms brought the total to $146,869.

Commissioners voted to approve the plan and expenditure.

The health department currently uses the basement annex and is moving those offices to the Hope Center near the Cathlamet schools.

Health & Human Services Director Chris Bischoff reported the cost of that move will have some cost reduction because they've decided to reduce the amount of carpeting to be installed.

The board also authorized expenditure of approximately $32,280 to address cement slab problems at the fairgrounds in the new animal barn.

County Building Inspector/Planner David Hicks explained soft ground has left an existing slab 11 inches out of level. The solution, he said, is to connect a second pad to make a level surface.

The county fair had received grants for construction this summer, and with a $9,000 unspent balance, only

$23,000 is needed from county funds, and commissioners approved the expenditure.

In other business, commissioners approved a request from Auditor Nicci Bergseng to allocate $17,643 to hire and train an elections supervisor to replace the employee planning to leave at the end of the year.

"This is a very difficult position to fill," Bergseng commented. "We need to hire right away."

James Coffee, executive director of the Cowlitz Family Health Center, reported that the Cathlamet clinic will soon have two providers.

The clinic has engaged a provider on a three-month contract, and they've hired a provider who will join full time when Washington licensing is completed.

The clinic is open Tuesday through Fridays, and Coffee said hours possibly could be expanded to include Mondays.

"The challenge is finding support staff," he said.

Also, the board appointed Blair Peterson and Rene Sanchez Mejia to fill vacancies on the board of commissioners of Diking District 4, which roughly includes the area bound by SR 4, and the Elochoman and Columbia rivers.


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