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San Juan County Council: Approved recruitment incentives up to $10k, adding Zylstra Lake Trail to 6-year TIP, reviewed legislative priorities

LWVSJ Observer Corps* summary of San Juan County Council's  September 26, 2023 meeting

After a public hearing the Council approved an ordinance amending the County Personnel Policy changing the recruiting incentive, including a new Indigenous People’s Day holiday, and codifying the 32-hour workweek for  non-union hourly employees. There are currently two.  [Holidays listed on page 54 of https://sanjuancowa.portal.civicclerk.com/event/2375/files ]

The County Council approved new recruitment incentives to attract highly competent external candidates for positions which are difficult to recruit and hire.  [See page 52 on https://sanjuancowa.portal.civicclerk.com/event/2375/files ]

1. Executive and Department Head positions: up to $10,000

2. Manager positions: up to $7,000 

3. Non-exempt public safety positions (Sheriffs Office and Dispatch Services only): up to $10,000. 

4. Other Positions the County Manager and Human Resources Director agree will be difficult to fill: up to $10,000 

 The Council proclaimed September National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Health and Community Services introduced Natalie Miler-Nawn as the new prevention coordinator, taking over from Cynthia Starman, and announced two promotions.

During public access time a citizen from San Juan Island noted problems with Black Road about which he had not received the required response from the Roads Department. A citizen from Orcas asked that the County include chip sealing Dolphin Bay Road on next year’s Transportation Improvement Plan. A citizen from San Juan raised concerns about the parking sticker option in the draft Destination Management Plan.

The Council reviewed the 18 projects in the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).  [See page 59 on https://sanjuancowa.portal.civicclerk.com/event/2375/files ]

For 2024 one completed project will be removed and one project, the federally funded Zylstra Lake project , will be added. [see page 62 on https://sanjuancowa.portal.civicclerk.com/event/2375/files ]

Other projects remain incomplete and will continue to next year.

Funding for FEMA- financed projects is delayed. In recent years, few county funds have been available for projects in the plan with most financed by state and federal grants, reducing the number of projects planned and completed. There is a line item for chip sealing gravel roads.  The Council scheduled a public hearing for the TIP on November 7, and will make decisions on which gravel roads to prioritize for chip sealing, including Doe Bay Road, by year end.

The Council approved a letter to the Trust for Public Lands requesting technical assistance for reviewing potential Land Bank funding sources. This would be a no-cost contract. The Council approved the terms of intrafund loan from the Land Bank’s Steward Management to the Conservation Area Fund.

The Council reviewed their 2023 legislative priorities and noted progress on all four priority areas. For 2024 they anticipate taking achieved items off, reviewing whether to add or reprioritize items and to consider what circumstances would call for a state level lobbyist.

In updates, Council members discussed the governor’s visit to Lopez, progress on advocating for an Emergency Response Tow Boat to be stationed in the area; a discussion by Orcas boat operators to look at perhaps instituting some kind of scheduled inter-island passenger service. A planned Washington State Ferry presentation on the Walk-on Study will be rescheduled to a future date. 

 *The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization encourages informed participation in government. The Observer Corps attends and takes notes at government meetings to expand public understanding of public policy and decisions. The notes do not necessarily reflect the views of the League or its members.

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