News Flash

County Council

Posted on: October 20, 2022

Council Meeting Review: September 27, 2022

Council meeting review

Home Fund Awards, Public Works updates, Road Levy information and more.

San Juan County, WA - October 18, 2022 - Watch the recording of this week's County Council meeting here: AV Capture All 

Recruiting Incentive – Angie Baird, Human Resource & Risk Manager

San Juan County has difficulty attracting qualified candidates for public safety and management positions. We would like to remain competitive in our hiring practices and hiring bonuses can make an excellent incentive to attract talent. We recognize they aren't right for all situations and the intent of the policy is for the tool to be used selectively and not regularly. This is for external candidates only. San Juan County Council voted to approve the recruiting incentive with the amendment that we add, under procedures F IV, any other positions the HR Director and County Manager agree will be difficult to fill otherwise.

Approve Interlocal Agreement with the Port of Friday Harbor- Colin Huntemer, Director Public Works Director, Todd Nicholson Executive Director Port of Friday Harbor

The County Engineer would like to enter into an agreement with the Port of Friday Harbor for the design, fabrication, and installation of new marine floats. The County Engineer has met with the Port Director to understand their capabilities and believes it is the public's interest to collaborate with the Port of Friday Harbor.

The County maintains 10 marine facilities with marine floats (year installed), Odlin Park (2016), Obstruction Pass (2013), Roche Harbor (2011), Orcas Landing (2006), Prevost Harbor (2005), MacKaye Harbor (2000), Hunter Bay (2000), Waldron Island (1999), Madrona Point (1990), and West Sound (1989).

Many of these marine floats are nearing their end of service where maintenance activities will no longer be able to keep them safe and open for public use. New marine floats are necessary to keep these facilities open and operational. The Port of Friday Harbor is willing to provide this service to the County through an existing interlocal agreement. San Juan County Council voted to direct the County Engineer and County Manager to enter into an agreement with the Port of Friday Harbor for the design, fabrication, and installation of new marine floats as presented.

Annual Transportation Programs (2nd Touch) - Colin Huntemer, Public Works Director

The Public Works Department is working on the Annual Transportation Program and presenting council with a second touch on the materials.

There is a public hearing scheduled for November 8, 2022 for the Six Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The Annual Construction Program (ACP) will be considered again by Council in November. Colin Huntemer also presented information about the Annual Priority Array, Annual Bridge Report, Annual Marine Report, and Annual Complete Streets Report.

Approve Temporary Road Closure in Eastsound - Colin Huntemer, Director Public Works

The Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring an event that proposes to occupy portions of Prune Alley and A Street in Eastsound on Orcas Island. County policy requires Council approval for road closures and special events that exceed 8 hours. The event, Hops on the Rock, requests to close the road to vehicles and restrict access (private event, ages 21+ only). The proposed closure will last from Friday November 11 at 12noon until Sunday November 13 at 5pm (2 days and 5 hours). Event website: www.hopsontherock.com County Council voted to direct the County Engineer to permit, with conditions, the road closure as presented.

Public Works Operations on Lopez Island - Colin Huntemer, Director Public Works; Shannon Wilbur, Sr. Project Engineer

Public Works staff is presenting Council with options to address a number of operational challenges that have been developing at our Fisherman Bay Road facility. Staff has evaluated three locations on Lopez Island:

  1. Fisherman Bay Road Facility
  2. Port Stanley Road Facility
  3. MacKaye Harbor Road Facility

Staff finds that our operations can be effectively consolidated at the MacKaye Harbor Road Facility and that the assets at the Fisherman Bay Road Facility could be sold without negatively impacting our current level of service. County Council voted to direct the Public Works Director to plan the relocation of Public Works Operations from the Fisherman Bay Road Facility to the MacKaye Harbor Road Facility.

Road Levy Messaging – Colin Huntemer, Director Public Works; Erin Wygant, Communications Coordinator, Grant Carlton, Management Analyst

The November ballot will include Resolution 20-2022 - a proposition to increase the road levy. It is a one-time, permanent levy lid lift for the county road fund.

The levy is expected to generate an additional $4 million in revenues for the road fund every year which will support repairs and replacements of failing culverts, updates to marine facilities, and widening of shoulders for multi-modal transportation.

This presentation outlines the county's messaging strategy to inform the public. A combination of fact sheets, a landing page on the website, an interactive map, a county-wide mailer, and other media outreach will help educate voters.

2022 Home Fund Projects (1st touch) – Ryan Page, Housing Program Coordinator

On June 1, 2022, San Juan County Health & Community Services (H&CS) released a Notice of Funds Available (NOFA) to solicit applications from eligible recipients for affordable housing projects to be funded by the Home Fund. This is the fourth year these funds are being made available. The application deadline was July 15, 2022 and $2,000,000 was made available as part of the NOFA.

This year’s funding round was by far the most competitive application process we have held to date. H&CS received applications for seven projects from four non-profit developers prior to the application deadline. The attached applications addendum cover pages attachment provides a breakdown of the key details of the projects outlined in those four applications.

In total, H&CS received requests totaling $6,000,290 to build 71 affordable housing units. The total cost for these seven projects is estimated at $19,923,695.

Since it began generating revenue at the beginning of 2019 through September 20, 2022, the Home Fund has generated $10,040,107.07 in revenue. Expenditures to date include $4,823,948,672 in project expenditures, $1,847,023.58 in funding commitments to projects, $5,510.69 in consultant services expenses, and $90,095 in administrative costs. The difference between revenue and expenses/commitments to date is $3,273,529. It is a stated goal of the Home Fund to keep administrative costs for this program low. To date, administrative costs have equaled only .9% of the total revenues collected for this program.

One thing to note is that Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) revenues appear to be slowing from their highs in 2020 and 2021. 2022 third quarter revenues for the Home Fund REET were down 35% from the same period in 2021, and 16% down from 2020.

Low-Income Housing Awards Funding Decision – Ryan Page, Housing Program Coordinator

This is the first year of a new combined grant program we are calling the Affordable Housing Awards. This grant program combines funds from our previous program the Very Low-Income Housing Fund (VLIH) (RCW 36.22.178) and the Affordable and Supportive Housing Fund (ASH) (RCW 82.14.545). A Notification of Funds Available was published on July 1st, 2022, with applications due August 1, 2022. A total of $110,000 was made available as part of this NOFA with $40,000 coming from the VLIH fund and $70,000 from the ASH fund.

We received applications from four applications from three project sponsors:

  • Ad-West Realty, Lavender Hollow Apartments: $13,104.30 for replacement of 22 bathroom ventilation units.
  • Lopez Community Land Trust, 45 Pear Tree Lane: $41,821.78 for a septic system repair.
  • Ad-West Realty, Orcas Longhouse: $22,959.60 for the replacement of a deteriorating perimeter fence.
  • OPAL Community Land Trust, Reddick Apartments: $6,300 for window, screen doors, and bathroom fan replacements

Total Grant Requests: $84,185.68

Discussion & Housing Advisory Committee Recommendation: San Juan County Code, Chapter 2.27.05 requires the Housing Advisory Committee (HAC) to "review grant and loan applications and make recommendations for the award of grants and loans." In July 2022, in accordance with adopted procedures, the HAC solicited proposals for projects financed by the recording fees authorized RCW 36.22.178 and RCW 82.14.545 The HAC received and reviewed four applications for grants for the Affordable Housing Awards Program and has recommended full funding for all four projects. $6,300 to OPAL Reddick Apartments $13,104.30 to Lavender Hollow Apartments $22,959.60 to Orcas Longhouse; and $41,821.78 to Lopez Community Land Trust The Housing Committee concluded that these both projects met the program criteria and priorities and decided to award full funding. Council voted to approve the funding recommendation of the Housing Advisory Committee for the 2022 Affordable Housing Grant Awards.

Climate Plan Update – Kendra Smith, Director Environmental Stewardship; Angela Broderick, Coordinator Climate & Sustainability

Council has directed the Department of Environmental Stewardship to work with the Climate & Sustainability Advisory Committee to develop a Climate Action Plan for the County. This presentation offers an update to the work completed to date and the strategy moving forward. Specifics regarding how the Climate Plan fits with existing County planning and funding will be highlighted. The details of the baseline assessment of greenhouse gas emissions to be conducted in the coming months will also be discussed.

County Manager Updates

San Juan County is being recommended for grant funding from the Historic County Courthouse Grant Program to support rehabilitation efforts in the 2023-25 biennium.

San Juan County is one of ten counties recommended for funding. The full list of recommended projects has been submitted for consideration to be included in the Governor’s proposed capital budget, which should be released in early December. If approved, San Juan County may receive up to $1 million in grant funds to be used for courthouse restoration.

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