Commissioner asks EDC to disavow attorney general’s lawsuit

A county commissioner last Wednesday urged the Economic Development Council of Island County to respond to the state attorney general’s recent lawsuit against the Navy.

The council presented an update to mayors and port and county commissioners at a Council of Governments meeting, and EDC Executive Director Sharon Sappingon said she thought the organization had to remain neutral on the issue.

“I look forward to hearing your board’s feedback on that particular topic,” Commissioner Jill Johnson told Sappington. “Knowing that your contract with the county says you will advocate for business expansion.”

The council’s board president George Henny told Johnson it would be discussed at a board meeting.

The EDC is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting local businesses and economic growth.

Henny and Sappington also gave a progress report for the council’s recent re-branding efforts and future project ambitions. It is increasing business advising resources with partnerships with other organizations, working with consultants to study the economic impact of public access to Whidbey Air Park and held an event to discuss changes with the Opportunity Zone designation in Oak Harbor.

The organization has also been gathering economic data about the county. A goal is to increase the median hourly wage, which is currently $20.16, Henny said.

When the data is ready to share, Sappington said there will be more of a focus on education about how to analyze and use the information.

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