Clallam County Commission Coverage - Worksession held on March 17, 2003

Citizen Review Staff

Worksession, March 17, 2003: All three county commissioners were present today - Mike Doherty, District 3; Mike Chapman, District 2; and Steve Tharinger, District 1. They reviewed their upcoming calendar, which includes a Dungeness River Management Team Open House on April 8, and a joint worksession with the City of Sequim council on April 9 to discuss stormwater, the Discovery Trail, the global information system (GIS), septage, and the Jimmy Come Lately project. Steve Tharinger said that project will depend greatly on what happens with the SRFB (state Salmon Recovery Funding Board) of which he is a member. Tharinger also questioned whether there should be discussion about the new Walmart store in Sequim; he said he's received phone calls about the environmental significance, including issues like traffic, stormwater and lighting. The joint worksession begins at 9 a.m.

Administrator Dan Engelbertson reported that June 11 is National Counties Week, and suggested opening up the clock tower for ½ tour every day of the week to review the history of the courthouse.

Doherty discussed the tour for schoolchildren, which included a mock trial.

Correspondence was talked about next. Engelbertson reviewed emails from WASAC [Washington State Association of Counties] - there is an early retirement bill out.

A tri-association bill is down to one particular tax, and they want to know of our county wants to join in with counties' ability to levy a utility tax. Doherty said seven counties are supporting it. Tharinger said our county should have the option to do it. Doherty said it would be an "option" for the county, and that the tax itself would go before the voters. Chapman said "we shouldn't be excluded from that." All three commissioners agreed that it would be a good idea to opt in for the potential tax. It would create a 2-8% increase added on to the utilities bills.

Next discussion covered the salary for the newly elected position, director of the Department of Community Development (DCD). Engelbertson recommended the same level of salary as the treasurer and auditor. He said there is a lot of rhetoric going on about savings in salary. There are four levels of salaries - the lowest is the county commissioners; next is auditor, treasurer; next is sheriff and highest is prosecuting attorney. "$53-60,000 in this community is a pretty good salary," said Chapman. They will pass it by resolution.

They discussed that there are conflicting statues concerning the planning department. Engelbertson will place as a resolution on the BOCC [Board of County Commissioners] agenda.

Tharinger talked about the Bear Creek shooting/noise situation, and mentioned a final draft for an ordinance that he is apparently working on.

Sheriff Joe Hawe arrived. Engelbertson recommended approving the sheriff's request for adding a Fish & Wildlife officer, since there would be "no financial impact for first three years." There would be a sharing of duties and resources, according to Hawe. FW will now enforce county ordinances; they will be a deputy sheriff, and there will be a coordination between the state and county agencies. Local sheriffs are now ex-officio game agents, he said. Hawe added that this is going to open the door to the future for state and county crossover - this is the first in the state. They called for a hearing tomorrow.

At 10 a.m., DCD's Andy Brastad and Ann Soule came in to discuss several issues. Brastad recommended approval of the agreement for the Northwest Straits grant. Soule talked about the groundwater guardian community program, and said she is using the boundaries of the Clean Water District. There are road signs to put up in the Clean Water District. Tharinger suggested a banner to walk in the parade. Soule talked about educational sessions at the community center, and a proclamation to declare that the county is in the national program.

An update was given on the Stormwater Management Plan - it is still in the planning commission. This coming Wednesday will be a review of the actual drafts, and then it will be ready to schedule public hearings after the next meeting.

About the permit center, they are looking at revising forms to make permits more "holistic" - health, building, planning. Requires cross-training.

Brastad said there is a whole lot of work going on behind the scenes that is not ready to come out yet. What they are doing, he said, will "require more up-front work" from the applicant for the permits.

Engelbertson reports that WASAC has upcoming meetings, including a roundtable on where the GMA [Growth Management Act] is at - to see what kinds of changes need to be made. DCD has been putting an information package together.

Tom from DCD talked about utilizing the GIS for parcel maps. It's all "very experimental" he said. He said this is time-consuming for the staff now - once it's finished, it will take "a minute or two". They are revamping - times savings "should" be significant they have it finished, he said. "Sanitary survey is a work in progress". He explained that setting this up on the internet (and the intranet) will allow people to see layers of maps for their property, so they can tell whether it's in a critical area, and what other restrictions might apply. It should help in the permitting process, he explained. They are partnering with other federal and state agencies - trading information. For example, the exchange of Clallam County property information with the DNR [Department of Natural Resources] gets the county information from the DNR, which otherwise the county would have to pay for.

The USGS [U.S. Geological Survey] called to ask for our control, Tom said. They will be updating the entire country. Clallam County will be the first place where they will have the most accurate elevations. Will use the Clallam County LIDAR and apply - 75% of the county development projects. "Pretty much where development will occur, we'll have this date," Doherty said. Tharinger reported positive feedback on the website from developers, etc. Sequim will be furnishing data for the watershed. In response to Tharinger's question, Tom said that Foster Wheeler has the groundwater build-out plan.


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