Commissioners set salaries, adopt budget
December 29, 2022
Wahkiakum County commissioners set salaries for elected officials and adopted the county's 2023 budget when they met Tuesday.
The board also approved contracts for the Health and Human Service Department and a resolution and contract establishing a public defender services program.
Starting January 1, salaries for the county auditor, assessor, clerk, sheriff and treasurer will be based on the salary of a sitting superior court judge, which is set by the state salary commission. The sheriff's salary will be 50 percent of the judge's salary, and the others will be 45 percent.
The resolution will put some stability into the future rates for the positions, which have sometimes been ignored in past budgets, with the result that local salaries aren't comparable to those in other counties.
With Commissioner Gene Strong absent because of illness, colleagues Lee Tischer and Dan Cothren approved the county's 2023 budgets almost without comment. The total for all funds is $31.7 million. Officials present indicated satisfaction with the budget and the teamwork approach used to develop it.
During the public comment period, Cathlamet Mayor David Olson raised two issues.
First, he reported that Cathlamet residents are concerned with high speed travel on Columbia Street, which is a county road running inside the town limits. Olson suggested setting the speed limit along the entire road at 25 mph; a portion is now 30 mph. He also suggested traffic or speed humps be installed to help slow traffic. The humps are not as high as speed bumps, he said, and he added he would search for funding to help pay for installation.
"We've had discussions on lowering the limit to 25 mph," Tischer commented. "It is confusing once you get rolling at 30."
Olson also commented that the lease for a cell phone tower in Rosedale is coming up for renewal and he suggested the county ask the company to add wireless service to the tower as part of terms for lease renewal.