We support the decisions of Island County commissioners Rick Hannold and Jill Johnson-Pfeiffer to not to provide a $600,000 grant to the Town of Coupeville. Clearly, they acted with the best interests of the people at heart.
According to the request, Coupeville wants the money to create a “community green” from an existing parking lot in Coupeville.
The money comes from a “kick-back” from the state on sales taxes received from counties during the prior year and is mandated for specific uses as outlined in RCW 82.14.370. It states, in part: Moneys collected under this section may only be used to finance public facilities serving economic development purposes in rural counties and finance personnel in economic development offices.
“Public facilities” means bridges, roads, domestic and industrial water facilities, sanitary sewer facilities, earth stabilization, railroads, electrical facilities, natural gas facilities, research, testing, training, and incubation facilities in innovation partnership zones designated under RCW 43.330.270, buildings, structures, telecommunications infrastructure, or commercial infrastructure, and port facilities in the state of Washington.
“Economic development purposes” means those purposes which facilitate the creation or retention of businesses and jobs in a county.
The total received from the state last year was roughly $900,000. Coupeville asked for two-thirds of that to enhance their parking lot and install public toilets. How will this create lasting jobs for our people?
It also strikes us that it could create an un-planned-for spike in crime by attracting drug users, dealers, and other elements of today’s society who would take advantage of the public amenities, making it unsafe for our citizens.
Commissioner Hannold is an honorable man. He understands the law and his responsibilities to those he represents. Rick served our country well and now he is serving our county well.
Shortly after Commissioner Johnson was elected, she told a meeting of her supporters not to count on her voting the way they think she should every time. Jill is an independent thinker and votes her conscience, like it or not. While some conservatives were not too pleased, nobody called for the tar and feathers. And the Democrats were gleeful. How soon you forget!
One more thing. Republicans don’t rant and rave every time Commissioner Price-Johnson panders to her base, even though she does a lot of it.
BEVERLEY J. MARTIN and MARY JANE OLSON