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County to oversee applications for diking district post

If you want to be a commissioner of Island County Diking District 1, send your letter of application to the county.

The vacancy on the three-member diking district panel occurred earlier this month, when Bob Kohlwes, 77, resigned.

The other diking commissioners had asked prospective candidates for the position to send applications to the district’s mailing address.

But because of the recent controversy surrounding the district, Island County Commissioners decided a more neutral mailing address would be appropriate, said Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson.

Diking commission chairman Steve Arnold welcomed the county’s participation.

“This will help get the word out even better,” Arnold said Monday.

Kohlwes resigned in part because of a heated debate between the district and some of its residents over a new drainage pump and other issues.

Citizens in Support of Useless Bay Community (CSUBC) says assessments for the $430,000 pump project are inequitable, that the project wasn’t property advertised and may not be needed, and that the diking commissioners themselves were not properly seated.

Diking commissioners contend they have done nothing improper.

SUBC is urging county commissioners to suspend the actions of the diking commissioners until the issue can be sorted.

SUBC also is putting forward its own candidate for the vacant position. He’s John Shepard, who owns property in Olympic View and on Sunlight Beach.

The remaining diking commissioners are Steve Arnold and Ray Gabelein, who had hoped to make a recommendation to county commissioners next month.

County commissioners will appoint someone to fill the position until it expires, after which a candidate must stand election.

Price Johnson said county commissioners expect to make an appointment on Monday, Feb. 9. County commissioners and the remaining diking commissioners all will review the applicants, she said.

Applicants must live in the diking district. Those interested should send a letter and statement of qualifications no later than Friday, Jan. 30, to:

Island County board of Commissioners, Att. Ingrid Smith, Re: Diking District #1 Commission Vacancy, P.O. Box 5000, Coupeville WA, 98239.

For more information, call 321-5111 extension 7353, or e-mail ingrids@co.island.wa.us.

Meanwhile, the next meeting of the diking commission will be

Feb. 5; regular meetings are the first Thursday of each month.

It will be the first meeting at the new Freeland location. At their last meeting, commissioners hired Edwards & Associates of Freeland to handle administrative work for the district beginning in February.

The firm will keep district records at its office, handle phone service and clerical work and provide a space for public meetings. It will be paid $40 per hour per service provided, commissioners said.

Edwards & Associates is at

5492 Harbor Ave. Commission meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.

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