Budgets & Bears at County Commission

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It wasn’t quite “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” at the county commission this morning. But they got in a few licks, especially regarding the recent Bear Festival in McCleary. And the county budget.

Per the festival, Commissioners Vickie Raines, Frank Gordon and Wes Cormier weighed in on bear stew (off agenda). Gordon said the stew was “a little too spicey.” Vidette Editor Corey Morris deemed it “delicious” (more on that in a min). Most everyone agreed to not think about Yogi or Boo-Boo while eating.

Following The Great Bear Update and other agenda items, the morning meeting recessed at about 9:15. The next agenda item was a budget update at 9:45. Commissioners Wes Cormier and Vickie Raines exited conference room 1. Commissioner Frank Gordon remained. He and Corey Morris chatted informally about the Bear Festival, the Port, and such until about 9:30 when Morris excused himself, saying he had another matter to attend to.

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Commissioner Frank Gordon models the latest in Roads fashion.

Budget Director Brenda Sherman presented a budget update. Basically, the county has about $7.2M in cash as of June 30. That’s “up a bit from last year” said Sherman. She also noted that “Revenue is up a bit” compared to last year. Expenditures are down a bit from 2015. The county budget as of June 30 looks like (micro short version):

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Sherman observed, “We’re still spending more than we’re bringing in, but …” “We’re narrowing the gap” finished Raines. Sherman also presented a draft resolution to establish a fund for reserve courtroom construction. Sherman said she thought it would be a clear way for the Board to pull money out of the cumulative reserve and dedicate it for said construction.

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During the eleven o’clock hour, Commissioner Raines expressed concern over an apparent lack of local regulations related to marijuana grow facilities in close proximity to residential areas or schools. “I’m all for free enterprise and having government step away from hindering business,” she said. “But I do believe when it comes to processing marijuana, some parameters need to be established.”

Watch for a revisit.

Raines also suggested donating $3,000 to the Lantern Lunches feeding program in North Beach. The program has reportedly provided nearly 3,000 lunches during its first 10 days this summer. Gordon seconded Raines’ motion. It passed unanimously.

In other news, there was a bit of a twizzle during KBBK’s 8:00 a.m. segment today. County Commissioner candidate Randy Ross was scheduled. Doug McDowell spent most of that segment Ross-less and tap dancing. Ross made it in with about five minutes left. Ross apologized for his tardiness, citing a “work issue.”

During an abbreviated interview, Ross said he wants to bring “dignity and professionalism” and a sense of teamwork to the commission. He also said he wants to grow the Harbor’s economic base. This includes growing “mom and pop businesses” by “ten percent a year.” Also working with the state legislature to create tax incentives for businesses to invest here.

A banker and former chair of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc., Ross (NP) is running against incumbent Frank Gordon (D). The challenger will be on KBBK again on Friday morning.

Keep an eye out for Boo-Boo.

Top photo: Commissioners and staff meet for budget update.

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