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County Council

Posted on: March 27, 2023

Council Meeting Review: March 27, 2023

Council meeting review

This meeting included discussions regarding a 1/10th of 1% sales tax, Sheriff's Office drones, and more.

This document is a review of the County Council meeting, Monday, March 27, 2023. Information related to agenda changes, Consent Agenda, and Public Comment are on the County website. For additional information about what was discussed, please refer to the recording.  


Discussion/Action: To notice a Public Hearing on An Ordinance Imposing a Local Sales and Use Tax of One-Tenth of One Percent for Housing and Related Services as Authorized by RCW 82.14.530and Adopting a New Chapter to Title 3 of the County Code -Ryan Page, Housing Coordinator and Mark Tompkins, Health& Community Services Director & Deputy County Manager.

Mark Tompkins, the Director of the Department of Health and Community Services, and Mike Thomas, the County Manager, presented information to Council about the 1/10th of 1% sales tax. They outlined the administrative items to address in order to implement the tax, the additional workload for County Staff, the criteria used to identify projects, and more. 

Council asked further questions, deliberated, and directed staff to develop an implementation plan. No further action will be taken by Council at this time. They will consider implementing the tax at a future date, after additional preparations and processes have been discussed. 

Discussion: American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) Funds Update, Mike Thomas –County Manager, Libby Concord, Grants Manager  

Staff presented an ARPA update. The County received several million dollars that have been used to fund various community services both in and out of the County, including emergency road repairs, rental assistance, public health response, childcare assistance, Courts AV upgrades, and more. 

The County recently received $50,000 to be used for “any governmental purpose” that must be obligated by Friday, March 31. Staff provided funding suggestions to Council including projects for the Auditor’s Office and Human Resources Department.

Council voted to approve the obligation of $50,000 from the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund as presented by staff. 

Discussion: Re-Authorization for Economic Development of Commerce requesting designation of an Associate Development Organization. 

Council, along with County Manager Mike Thomas, discussed reauthorizing the re-designation of the Economic Development Council as the County’s Associate Development Organization. 

Council voted to redesignate the EDC as San Juan County’s Associate Development Organization. 

Discussion/Action: Sheriff’s Office request for a new position, Law Enforcement Records Coordinator, Michael Hairston –Undersheriff and Kim Ott -Chief Civil Deputy

The Sheriff's Office requested an additional 1 FTE for a Law Enforcement Records Coordinator to help with the management of the Sheriff's Office records.  This position will maintain the records of the Sheriff's Office as well as process public records requests received by the Sheriff's Office, including video footage such as body-worn camera and drone footage.  

HB 1223 requires recording of certain interrogations.  The Sheriff's Office has purchased and will be issuing body-worn cameras to each deputy.  This position will be responsible for reviewing video footage, redacting footage that is not releasable and attaching video footage to case files for prosecution.   This position will also serve as the agency accreditation assistant and will ensure all proofs of compliance are up to date and that the agency remains within the set guidelines.  They will also serve as a backup to the Chief Civil Deputy.

Council voted to approve a 1.0 FTE in the Sheriff’s Office for a Public Records Coordinator position. 

Discussion: Sheriff’ Office briefing of the new Tip 411 software, Michael Hairston –Undersheriff and Kim Ott -Chief Civil Deputy.

Staff briefed the Council on the new Tip411 software the Sheriff's Office will begin using. Undersheriff Hairston explained how the Sheriff's Office plans to use the software and what it will do to benefit our community.

This new tool – called tip411 - will facilitate a two-way line of communication that will enable the public to anonymously provide information that will assist the Sheriff’s Office in the solving of crimes and creating a safer community.  

  • This service is being provided to the public for non-emergency use. Tips may not be reviewed until the following business day and should not be used for in-progress emergencies.  
  • This service is not meant to substitute for a call to request police in an emergency.   
  • In the event of an emergency, you should always contact 9-1-1.

Discussion: Sheriff’s Office briefing of the use of drones, Michael Hairston –Undersheriff and Kim Ott -Chief Civil Deputy

Undersheriff Hairston briefed Council on the Sheriff's Office drones and the policy that dictates when and how they will be used. The policy states than unmanned aerials systems (UAS) may be utilized to enhance the Office’s mission of protecting lives and property and assist in appropriate investigation when other means and resources are not available or are less effective. Any use of an UAS will be in strict accordance with constitutional and privacy rights and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.   

The policy outlines rights to privacy, prohibited use, the storage of data, training and more. 


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