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San Juan County Council to hold public hearing June 4 for updated traffic ordinance

LWVSJ Observer Corps *summary San Juan County Council April 30, 2024  During public access a citizen raised concerns about the loss of trees, property frontage and cost of new fencing for those impacted by the Bailer Hill Road improvement project.   

Two people spoke about the library levy lid lift on the August ballot that covers only Library operations and listed the many services the library offers. 

The Council proclaimed May 21 Eric Johnson Day to honor the service of the outgoing director   of the Washington Association of counties for 19 years of leadership and advocacy for counties and mentoring of county officials.

The Trust for Public Lands survey results showed solid public support for renewing the real estate excise tax (REET) on property sales which funds the Land Bank.  Citizens gave priority to protecting water quality, reducing wildfire risk, and maintaining rural areas.

In the first quarter budget review, county revenue was $15.5 million at 19.3% of budget and expenses $15.1 million at 17.2% of budget. Most revenue is running near normal with REET running below and interest running above.

The council set public hearings for May 21 to approve Public Facilities Financing Assistance Program awards and for June 4 to for an updated traffic ordinance

The Council approved the Noxious Weed Program to work on a code update that would revise the map and board representative mix.

The Council approved the Land Bank to submit two grant applications for a possible waterfront property purchase on Orcas. 

County staff reviewed the initial impact of the 32-hour work week six months in. The move addressed the fiscal impact of rising costs and wages that would have cost about $1 million. An employee survey showed that 67% of employees had improved satisfaction with more flexibility and better work life balance. Separations dropped 46%; the county saw a large increase in applicants for open positions. Total hours worked by county staff dropped only 8%, because staff took 31% less sick leave and vacant positions were filled. Some 12% of staff felt stressed by having the same amount of work but less time to do it. They need to look at a universal schedule and measure key performance indicators for the one-year review.

There were eight docket requests for zoning or comprehensive plan changes which will be reviewed by staff and the Planning Commission and recommendations brought to the Council.

The Council will look at the County Volunteer Code of Conduct and how it is enforced.

They will seek answers to some questions from the Visitors bureau for additional lodging tax funds. 

The council will interview applicants for the county manager position on May 6. On May 7 there will be public meetings for county residents to meet the applicants at 9:00 at the Grange on San Juan, 11:15 at the Lopez Family Resource Center and at 2:45 at the Orcas Center. 

*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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