Commissioners support town, PUD applications for Congressionally Directed Funding
March 9, 2023
In their weekly meeting held on March 7, the Wahkiakum County Commissioners considered many items.
First was approval for the renewal of the liquor license for Duck Inn in Skamokawa, then accepting the resignation of Robert Ward from the county planning commission then, approving the new Town of Cathlamet representative for the planning commission, Jeanne Hendrickson.
They also approved letters requesting support for two CDF (Congressionally Directed Funding) projects to be sponsored by Congressional Representative Marie Glusenkamp Perez.
The first letter requested would support the Wahkiakum PUD in finding an alternative water source for the Puget Island Water System.
The second letter was for the Town of Cathlamet to restore the Julia Butler Hansen House, in partnership with the county leasing the adjacent Johnson House, currently owned and unused by the county, to act as a visitors center and office for the Julia Butler Heritage Center.
There were no questions regarding the PUD project, so the board approved the letter unanimously.
The Hansen House project drew questions from Commissioner Dan Cothren regarding the wisdom of the town having a long-term lease for the Johnson House as part of the Heritage Center project. Cathlamet Mayor David Olson explained by Zoom that use of the Johnson House property would be as a visitors center and an office for the Julia Butler Hansen Heritage Center.
Cothren felt it would be shortsighted to tie up the Johnson House property when more parking was needed for the courthouse, as well as a badly needed accessroad for the sheriff's department vehicles in emergencies. He felt the Johnson House should be held for the county’s use rather than as part of the proposed project.
Both the Mayor and this reporter spoke of the advantages of the project. This reporter also mentioned the existence of other pieces of land near the heritage site that could be used as an office and visitors center in the event the county did not want the Johnson House committed to any other uses.
Commissioner Gene Strong supported the letter of support, saying the decision regarding the Johnson House could come later in the process, should the CDF funds come through. Strong and Commissioner Lee Tischer voted in favor of signing the letter so it passed with two yes votes and Cothren abstaining.
Further business in the meeting focused on road work. The first involved mowing county roads with the acceptance of bids for roadside mowing at a cost of $65,000 to $70,000 per year. The second involved accepting bids from companies to supply rock for the county: Lakeside Industries and Naselle Rock and Asphalt.
Costs for raised for event permits with the help of a county committee making recommendations. The high-risk events were set at $50 and non-risk events at $30. Then the late fee was discussed with the amount to be charged reflecting how late the fee was received.