May 31, 2016
Meeting was called to order at 7:32am. Jim Jones led the flag salute. Guests included Mathew Rainwater, Jim Jones, Ron Richards, Danielle Turrissimi, John Hilbert, Dave Nupert, Jim Heckman, Seconds Barkhaus, Tyler Crow, John Alger and Tom Herbert.
President Brewer will be out of town during June so Peggy Norris and Phil Kitchel will fill in for him. Kevin will talk on June 7, County Commissioner candidates will be June 14 and State Legislature candidates will be on the 21st. June 18 meet will be held at the Red Lion Inn and will be a joint meeting with PABA, the Chamber and AWB. Please make reservations.
The minutes for the 24th have been posted and circulated. Jack Glaubert asked that the following be inserted, “Rayonier and the Lower Elwha Tribe did not respond to the City Comprehensive Plan.” Kevin said the name of his new business is “Golden Nails” and asked that be added to the minutes.
Jack Glaubert moved and Jerry Austin seconded that minutes be accepted with corrections. Motion carried.
New members: Debbie Spinks (real estate), Gabe Rygaard (family timber/rock business), and Jim McEntire (past County Commissioner) were welcomed as new members and presented with their membership certificates.
Letter of Interest:
Jon presented a draft letter to go to the city council, on behalf of PABA and PADA with views on the “upcoming reconstruction or relocation of the Fiero Marine Life Center.” Kaj Ahlburg spoke to the need of adequate parking. Ron Richards suggested that the Center, the rowing club, sailing club and teen center all be located somewhere on Oak St. Maggie Roth said if the Center’s parking is gone, people will park on the regular streets where there is not enough parking now. John Halburg pointed out that the University of Washington rowing club came in third last weekend showing a need and interest in rowing. George Bergner said that people who bring their children to the pocket playground almost always come by car. Harry Bell moved and George Bergner seconded acceptance of the letter.
County Administrator Jim Jones presented copies of the current budget. He said he likes doing a Trend Analysis Budget because of predictions based on short term occurrences but more because of long term actions.
The Commissioners who set the budget priorities see the trends as a safety net. The biggest cushion is the ending fund balance of $12 million from 2015. That was a 53.2% increase even though there has been a downturn. He said Department Heads decided what they want and the Commissioners decide what they can have. Most of the budget goes to salaries, and the county has been fortunate that they haven’t had to lay anyone off. Attrition has taken care of vacancies. Jim said capital expenditures go to local companies in service contracts and on such things as roads. Grants help fill in gaps. Intergovernmental cooperation has helped by sharing with sewer projects, billings, courts, prosecutions and jailing.
Revenue has not been able to keep up with expenses. Salaries (average of $62,000) per FTE have helped to keep some employees. Law & Justice and Health & Human Services account for a large part of the budget.
Q & A Period
Phil Kitchel thanked Jim for a thorough budget and for maintaining the County as he has. Kaj asked about mandates in each department. There was an increase of 23 FTE last year. Jim said he felt hiring stimulated the economy. Jim stated that the big problem is that 60% of the employees are 55 and over. Gabe Rygaard asked if figures were available for the few months that the sales tax was reduced. He said his business was able to buy a large piece of equipment, locally, and had a nice tax break on it. Jim said he did not know if figures are available yet.
George Bergner moved and Kaj Ahlburg seconded that meeting be extended 15 minutes. Motion carried.
Jim continued by saying interest rates are set by the Federal Government and they cannot afford to change the present rates now so County will not be seeing any rate increases soon. Jim Heckman asked about the county and non-profit groups. Jim Jones said service contracts and the opportunity fund can hep local businesses. Harry Bell asked about carbon tax. Jim said he is not taking a position at this time. Jon Alger wanted to know why the County Courthouse had been closed on so many Mondays. Jim said there were 16 days when they found it more feasible to be closed on Mondays.
Next Week Speaker: Kevin Holt will talk about new changes in the SBA and the Small Business Development Center.
Meeting adjourned at 8:42am.