LWV Observation Corp notes on Council and Port meetings

*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.

Friday Harbor Port Commission Nov. 9

The Commission adopted the 2023 budget.

The Commission approved a new Lease Policy, which includes four goals the commission expects Port leases to serve.

The Commission took no action on a contract for the IOSA lot clearing, as the proposal is now to build on a different portion of the lot.

The commission approved a requested transfer of a lease.

The Commission reviewed which currently unused parcels to advertise in a request for proposals (RFP) for lease with a Jan. 15 deadline. They decided to list only lots within the Town of Friday Harbor and to wait for a round in 2023 to potentially list lots in the county. Four lots will be in the RFP, which will be advertised within the county only.

The Port will rely on improved communication and instructions to pilots to address noise abatement, as there was no consensus on changed elevations or flight patterns that would resolve the current issues. Increased staffing at the airport might be needed.

A work session to finalize the Strategic Plan was set for January 11.

The scheduled Oct. 31 joint Port, County, Town meeting was postponed.

County Council Nov. 8

The Council declared November Native American Heritage Month and the last Friday of November to be Native American Heritage Day. Students from Orcas Christian School attended parts of the Council meeting.

There were public hearings on:

1)The Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan. No public testimony was offered; earlier input was incorporated putting top priority on road verges and bike lanes.

2) An increased assessment for Noxious Weed Control. There was no public testimony. The Council approved the assessment.

3) Public Facilities Financial Assistance Grants. There was no public testimony. The Council approved previously recommended grants (see Oct 18 notes) plus McKay Harbor Water District which is a public entity.

4) To close out Corona Virus Community Development block grant. The grant provided housing and utility assistance to 96 households with 196 individuals. The SJI FRC gave public comment on the grant’s importance.

The Council reviewed a budget amendment for the 2022 budget, adding funding for a seismic engineering survey of the courthouse; the biennial review of the 2023 budget; a financial review of the third quarter 2022 budget, where in general revenues are on target or ahead of projection and expenses are on target or lower than projected; and the 2023 Capital Improvement Plan, and six-year CIP. There will public hearings on all these on Nov. 29. Also on the 29 will be public hearings on the annual Land Conservation Futures Tax Levy, the County Roads, Tax Levy, and the Current Expense Tax Levy.

The Council approved a one-year extension of the contract with the SJI Visitors Bureau for destination marketing and management services. The Visitors Bureau is already beginning to incorporate sustainable tourism goals in their work.

The Council Authorized the Environmental Stewardship department to pursue a grant from the Puget Sound Estuary Management Program to do a buoy survey in the county.