County Commissioners Pass 2016 Budget

It was mostly patchy rain during our visit to Whistler but even when it did rain it was still pretty out. One thing for certain, summer is done around these parts for this year. HBW everyone.

The Grays Harbor County Commissioners passed the 2016 General Fund and Miscellaneous Fund Budget Adoption and Annual Road Construction Program for 2016 at this afternoon’s regular business meeting.

Commissioner Wes Cormier moved to approve the budget. Included in his motion was keeping the sheriff’s budget at the requested amount though August 2016 (more on this in a minute). The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Cormier also moved for a zero percent increase in the property tax levy for 2016 collection.  Commissioner Vickie Raines seconded. It passed 2 to 1. Commissioner Frank Gordon voted “No.” When queried about his vote later, Gordon said he thinks “We need every dollar we can (get)”.

When it comes to the budget and buck$, Commissioner Wes Cormier is looking down the road. Like next August, specifically with regard to the Sheriff’s Office. That office’s 2016 budget request is $10.6M. The commishes were eying $9.7M at this morning’s meeting. Cormier emphasized the latter number isn’t a “cut”; it’s just not an increase.

The Sheriff’s Office represents a large chunk of the overall county budget. So there’ll likely be a three-tenths of one percent tax increase on the ballot next August to help fund that department.  If the 3/10ths of one percent tax increase passes, it’s collectible in 2017. If it doesn’t pass, then a “re-look” at the budget as well as major cuts may be necessary. Cormier wants to be prepared.

Cormier said he was worried about putting the Sheriff’s Office budget at a certain level now and possibly incurring lay-offs later. The commish “wants to have a strategy in place” if voters reject the ballot measure.

On the three-tenths of one percent tax increase ballot measure, Commish Gordon said, “It’s our citizens’ choice.”  He later added that the likely ballot measure “Puts it not in the commissioners’ laps, but in the citizens’ laps.” When it comes to tax increases, Commish Raines said she prefers a sales tax over a property tax.

Cormier said he’s “not advocating for or against the budget request.” He just wants “a plan in place” should Harborites vote down the 3/10ths increase thing. That measure will likely appear on the August 2016 ballot. It will go to a public hearing before then, probably next April.

Didya get all that? Good. Cuz I’m not doin’ an encore. At least, not yet. (There may be a quiz on Friday.)

Other discussion items included parks, plans, and band-aids.,_pic2.JPG

On parks, Commissioner Frank Gordon said he’d “love to see” a countywide parks plan in place “after the first of the year.”

“That would open us up for some more opportunities for grants,” said Gordon. Possibilities include the ORV Park and the Bishop Complex trails and some other cool stuff (I got a little distracted when “trails” was mentioned).

Speaking of budgets, Commissioner Raines wants to look at schedules for 2016 budget planning and prepping for the impact upcoming retirements may have on departments.

Also during the morning meeting, commishes noted that the new mayor-elects all have FT jobs – and probably tougher skeds/availability than their predecessors. Said Commish Raines, “It’s New Mayor Time other than Crystal Dingler (Ocean Shores), with four years under her belt.” Raines also noted that having served as a mayor herself, she has partnerships and networks with people in the cities of Grays Harbor.

Frustration with them dadblame unfunded mandate$ pa$$ed down to countie$ by the $tate wa$ also expre$$ed this morning.

Oh, yeah. Lemay Enterprises is looking at designing and constructing a new facility over the next two years. The new solid waste transfer station will be built in about 20 acres accessed from Clemons Road North. To become operational in late 2017.

Then there was the guy sitting to my right during the afternoon meeting. Beard, brown cardigan. I probably wouldn’t have noticed except he stood mum during the Pledge of Allegiance, arms at both sides. That, I noticed. But who’s counting?

On the last item –  In case you or someone you know has a life-threatening injury or emergency or something, better stick close to Commissioner Vickie Raines. “I’m here for ya,” she chuckled this morning after reporting on an afternoon First Aid class she attended last week. “I feel better already,” joked Commissioner Frank Gordon.

If that doesn’t make you feel better, look outside. Or just take a gander below as Gene Kelly splish-splashes his way through Grays Harbor. (Naw. Not really. It’s a Hollywood set. Just seein’ if you’s still payin’ attention. 🙂 )

I’m laughing at clouds so dark up aboveLet the stormy clouds chase everyone from the place…”



Photo credit band-aids: Wikimedia Commons