Letters to Editor
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Monday, January 29th
Charter Bites Back On New Tax
(SJC Auditor Henley and Recording Deputy Diane Timm receive a referendum filing from Alexandra Gavora)
San Juan County citizens may have an opportunity to vote on a new tax. The County Council has authorized a new tax assessment to address storm water impacts (Related Story), and last Friday, San Juan resident Alexandra Gavora filed paperwork with the Auditor that will start the process of allowing the voters to decide if the new tax should go into effect.
The filing by Gavora "orders that Ordinance NO.20-2006, dated December 12, 2006, entitled, AMENDING SECTION 13 OF THE SAN JUAN COUNTY CODE REGARDING THE COUNTY STORM WATER UTILITY, shall be referred to the people in the next general election to enact or reject in its entirety.". If Gavora can obtain the necessary signatures, the question the voters will have to answer is if they agree with the County Council, that all developed parcels in San Juan County should pay a "tax" to support a Storm Water Utility, even while paying for their own systems.
CC Tells Rose Not To Attend State Meeting Of Officials
Each year the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) holds a meeting for county officials to come together, to meet, share, discuss and learn about common interests, and hopefully to do some good for their constituents back home.
This will be the first year San Juan County will have a County Administrator (CA) who could attend the meetings, and while CA Pete Rose has attended past meetings when working in other jurisdictions, this would be the first time for him join some of the County Councils members in representing San Juan County as the person in charge of the administration of San Juan County.
Or at least it was assumed that would be the way things would go. Assumed that is, until Council Chair Lichter and Councilman Ranker told Rose in a public meeting, in no uncertain terms, that "It would be inappropriate for you to attend" because, Ranker said, Rose is not elected, and does not make policy. The message was pretty clear that while his work for the county was important, the county would best be served if Rose stayed in San Juan County, and did not hobnob with other County officials who were elected. Lichter informed Rose that he had a lot of work to do here, and he should not join the Council members at the meeting..
"Good Ol' Boy" Government, Or Charter Government?
The full six member County Council is at work on one of the same questions that would not go away after the three member County Commissioners became County Councilmen under the Charter: To wit: "Who's in charge here"?
Even before the Charter was passed, Lichter, Myhr and Ranker, sitting as commissioners, made it clear they did not take kindly to a county administrator form of government, but have repeatedly stated they would work to make the transition as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
At a Tuesday council meeting this week, one part of the transition debated at various times throughout the day, was the role of the concept of council liaison assignments, and are they appropriate under the Charter; and to what extent it was appropriate under a county administrator form of government to have individual council members representing the Council to various department heads.
Tuesday, January 9th
New Elected Officials Swore In
(Court Clerk Joan White Takes Oath of Office)
With standing room only in the county court room, friends and supporters showed up to witness the swearing in of the recently elected public officials. As is the custom, a judge performs the ceremony, and this year Judge Stewart Andrew did the honors, asking each of the officials to come forward and take the oath of office appropriate to their particular office.
In his introductory remarks, Judge Andrew reminded the newly elected officials, and the members of the public, that they were about to forge yet another link in an unbroken chain that started 200 years ago, by completing a smooth and continuous transfer of authority. An act, he said, that reflected the success of the greatest experiment in the history of government, the continuing success of the American form of government.
Each official then came forward, read the oath of office, thanked the public for electing them, and promised to live up to the voters expectations. The newly elected officials are: County Council members: Gene Knapp, Robert Myhr, Richard Peterson & Howie Rosenfeld. Auditor: Milene Henley; Assessor: Charles Zalmanek; Clerk: Joan White; Prosecutor: Randy Gaylord; Sheriff Bill Cumming; and Treasurer: Jan Sears