The Insider for July 2014
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WSAC Members Attend the 2014 NACo Annual Conference

Nearly 30 Washington State county elected and appointed officials representing 13 Washington State counties joined more than 2,500 elected and appointed county officials, exhibitors, presenters, and guests from across the country at the National Association of Counties' (NACo) Annual Conference in Orleans Parish, Louisiana.
Most of our states' attendees also serve as members on one of the 11 NACo Steering Committees.  With this responsibility, WSAC members worked with other officials throughout the nation on their respective Steering Committees to develop and refine NACo policies regarding issues affecting counties. Delegates also attended education and leadership training; exchanged information on best practices; and shared ideas on economic growth and opportunity for all Americans. Click here to view the recently adopted NACo Platform and Policies.
Conference attendees also heard from incoming NACo President Riki Hokama, Councilmember, Maui County, Hawaii. President Hokama encouraged county officials to work with him to strengthen counties’ ability to deliver transportation and infrastructure services to their communities. His NACo Presidential Transportation and Infrastructure Initiative will focus on the county role in promoting investments that support economic competitiveness, improve passenger travel, foster creative partnerships, ensure safety and enhance community quality of life.
President Hokama told Washington State conference delegates that his “top priorities is to reauthorize MAP-21, a surface transportation bill, and to secure funding for the Highway Trust Fund,” said Hokama. “My Presidential Initiative is also flexible enough to include other transportation and infrastructure issues such as airports, technology and hospitals. There is a significant need to re-invest in America.”
NACo President Hokama appointed Chelan County Commissioner, Ron Walter to Chair the Public Lands Steering Committee and Skagit County Commissioner, Ken Dahlstedt as Vice Chair for both the Health Steering Committee and the Rural Action Caucus. 
Washington State is currently represented on the NACo Board of Directors by King County Councilmember, Jane Hague (past NACo President), Skagit County Commissioner, Ken Dahlstedt, and Island County Commissioner, Helen Price Johnson. 
For 2014-2015, WASC regained its “Top-12” position on the NACo Board of Directors.  A “Top 12” state is identified by NACo as one of “12 states having the highest number of votes as certified by the Credentials Committee based upon NACo membership as of 60 days before the first day of the annual conference, provided that such state has either 50 percent of its counties as active member counties or has active member counties representing 50 percent of the state’s population.” 

Election for this second NACo Board seat will be conducted this fall – watch for the announcement!

Additionally, Clark County Treasurer, Doug Lasher represents National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers and Finance Officers on the NACo Board of Directors.
Chelan County Commissioner, Ron Walter and Spokane County Commissioner, Todd Mielke serve as WSACs’ representatives on the Western Interstate Region (WIR) Board of Directors.
Several Washington State Counties were recognized for program innovation and service including:

King County

  eAppeals – On-Line Property Assessment Appeals Program

Kitsap County

  Public Records Request Workflow Automation Solution

Pierce County

  FirstToSee Emergency Support System: The Power to See, Share, and Help
  Live Chat and Self-Scheduling Tools for District Court 
For more information on NACo, please visit the NACo or WSAC website.
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Congratulations to the following CPO recipients!

  • Dennis Rabidou
  • Bill Teitzel
  • Billie Sue Rinn
  • Nancy Scott
  • Katie Batson
  • Jeffery Parks
  • Jake Wiebusch
  • Mike Lithgow
  • Shonda Shipman
  • Terry Ernie Stach
  • Melissa Keeley
  • Keith Willnauer

Upcoming Events

WACO Open Government Training
August 4th, 12th, 21st, 26th
Various Locations
Workshop Information
AWC Municipal Budgeting & Fiscal Management Workshop
Wed, Aug 13 – Fri, Aug 15
Enzian Inn
Leavenworth, WA
Workshop Information

Stories In This Month's Edition (Table Of Contents)

Governor Inslee Proposes Changes to State Water Standards

On Wednesday, July 9, Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference to announce "an updated water quality standard that will increase protection of the health of all Washingtonians, our environment and our economy."  His proposal to reduce toxins in Washington's water sources were outlined in his policy brief as a five step process:
  1. Move immediately to combat known, high-priority pollution.
  2. Get toxic chemicals out of consumer products.
  3. Find and eliminate specific sources of problem chemicals in polluted watersheds.
  4. Fund efforts to better understand sources of toxic pollution and new technologies to address them.
  5. Provide accountability and transparency to ensure the job gets done.
Gov. Inslee has directed the Department of Ecology to issue a preliminary draft rule by Sept. 30, 2014 and he plans to submit legislation to the Legislature in 2015 after which he will make a decision on whether to adopt the final rule pending the outcome of the session. From there, Inslee will request that the EPA consider the benefits of the full package in determining federal approval of Washington’s clean water standards.

In response to Governor Jay Inslee's motion to update water quality standards (see here), WSAC's Executive Director, Eric Johnson, provides the following statement on behalf of counties:

"Counties share Governor Inslee's goal of protecting human health, the environment, and economic growth. We are encouraged by the approach outlined today. While there is a lot of work yet to be done on this proposal, we appreciate that the Governor is interested in finding solutions that recognize the impact on counties."

WSAC staff will continue to monitor the Governor's water proposal and keep its members updated on its progress though the 2015 legislative session.

Legislative Task Force Adopts WSAC's Regional Service Area Recommendations

The Legislatively created Adult Behavioral Health Systems Task Force met on July 18th, 2014 and unanimously approved the Washington State Association of Counties recommendations for Regional Service Areas. WSAC asked all 39 counties to report on their individual regional preferences, and the Legislative Steering Committee voted to adopt the following recommendations and present them to the Task Force for approval:
  • Thurston-Mason, King, Pierce, and the counties within the current Regional Support Networks of Peninsula, North Sound and Spokane RSNs remain in the same configurations.
  • Grays Harbor RSN will merge with Timberlands RSN and Cowlitz County will be leaving SW Washington RSN to join Timberlands and Grays Harbor, forming a 5 County Regional Service Area
  • By 2016, Klickitat County will move into the SW Washington Regional Service Area that will consist of Clark, Skamania and Klickitat Counties. These Counties intend to pursue the "Early Adopter" status.
  • Chelan-Douglas RSN has engaged in continued talks with Spokane RSN and Greater Columbia RSN. They intend to exchange data in order to allow all three RSNs the opportunity to assess risk. They anticipate a final agreement will be reached by August 1st.

While there are details that need to be finalized for many counties, we are pleased that the Task Force acknowledged the importance of local input and decision making by adopting our recommendations. The Task Force will be meeting again in September to continue the discussion around integrating chemical dependency and mental health services.

AWC Provides Budgeting and Fiscal Management Workshop for Local Governments

The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) will be hosting a two-part Municipal Budgeting & Fiscal Management Workshop in Leavenworth, WA from Wednesday, August 13, to Friday, August 15, 2014.

Wednesday's pre-workshop will focus on assessment of and emergency preparation of your local government's budget. On Thursday and Friday, attendees will receive full training on the process of developing and implementing a budget from beginning to end.  To view the full workshop schedules, download the agenda.

Elected officials and staff from Washington cities, counties, and special purpose districts are invited to attend. For county officials working towards obtaining a CPO certificate, six core credits will be earned by attending this workshop.

Registration fees are $75 for the pre-workshop session and $175 for the workshop. The State Auditor's Office has provided WSAC with 2 scholarships to award to interested counties. To express interest in receiving a scholarship, please complete the following form no later than Friday, August 1st.   

WACO to Provide Open Government Training Opportunities

The Washington Association of County Officials (WACO) is pleased to partner with the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Secretary of State, the Municipal Research and Services Center, and the Washington Coalition for Open Government to provide open government training for public officials.

Use the links below to register for this free training:

Now Accepting Nominations for 2015 LSC and Federal Issues & Relations Committee

Planning to join or continue membership on the Legislative Steering Committee? Interested in serving on the 2015 Federal Issues Relations Committee?  Now is the time to act! Complete the online statement of interest form for these committees by no later than Friday, August 15th.

Download the recruitment letter to learn more about the two committees and the selection process. The Board will be considering President Price Johnson's recommendations for both LSC and the Federal Issues & Relations Committee at their September 19th meeting. If you have any questions, please contact Josh Weiss or Eric Johnson.

Understanding Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1287

The Department of Revenue has created a information page for ESHB 1287, which will subject federally recognized Indian tribes to the same conditions as state and local governments for property owned exclusively by the tribe beginning June 12, 2014. The page contains links to a Special Notice and the property tax exemption application that the tribes will complete. Content will continue to be added as it becomes available.

Former Skamania County Commissioner, Paul Pearce Testified Before the US Senate on PILT and SRS Funding

Paul Pearce, former Skamania County Commissioner and now President of the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition testified before Senator Landrieu's full committee on SRS. The hearing was held on July 17th to focus on leveraging Americas resources for jobs and revenue. 

Click here to read the complete testimony. 

WSAC Business Partner Spotlight: Ditch Maintenance Services

Roadway ditches are a common part of storm drainage systems in many Washington cities and counties, used to reduce flooding of major or neighborhood roads and erosion of road beds and banks. In best practices, these ditches must be properly placed, constructed, and well maintained over time and after major weathering to properly clean and clear storm run-off. This if often a laborious, time-consuming, and costly affair. 

Consider Ditch Maintenance Services (DMS) to handle your counties large and small scale roadway ditch projects. For the past two years, Arny Davis and his fleet have been efficiently creating and cleaning ditches across Washington. Able to easily work in wet or dry conditions, around sensitive materials (such as mailboxes and pipelines), and through tough vegetation, rocks, and other debris. 

Lead engineer Rick Nichols at Clallam County has been using DMS for the past two years and notes that he is more than pleased with their work each time. "They can cover over 5 miles in a day," says Nichols. "We don't have the man power to do something like that." He also noted DMS has always maintained their affordability to the county over time. "I would definitely recommend them to other counties. They do a great job every time."  

If you are looking for new roadway ditch maintenance solutions, visit to learn how Arny and his team can help.

Best Practices are Keeping County Arterial Roads in Good to Excellent Condition

Seventy-seven percent of all traffic on county roads in the State of Washington was on paved arterials during 2012, the most currently available data show.  Most of the 12,000 plus miles of paved arterial roads in the state’s counties are currently in good to excellent condition as a result of counties following the best practices for pavement preservation.  In 2012, 85% of arterials had a rating of good to excellent, eight percent were in fair condition, and only six percent were in poor or very poor condition.  But, according to Linda Pierce of Applied Pavement Technology, Inc., some of these good to excellent roads may soon begin to show deterioration from funding cutbacks made during the 2008-2012 economic downturn since it can take as long as six years to see the deterioration that occurs when road preservation is cut.

A critical concept in overall pavement life is the timing of maintenance and rehabilitation such as resurfacing or reconstruction. The goal in pavement management is to take corrective actions before pavement falls beyond the optimum rehabilitation point.  This is similar to making minor repairs around your home.  Studies show that it may cost four to five times as much to restore pavement condition if the pavement is allowed to deteriorate for two to three years beyond the optimum point for rehabilitation.


Click here to continue reading

Welcome Dion White to WSAC!

On July 10th, Dion White began his new role at WSAC as our Lead Visual Communications Specialist. Dion's role will include:

  • The design and maintenance of WSAC’s website and brand.
  • Preparation of communication materials for printing and production.
  • Development collateral materials for legislative advocacy and member engagement.
  • Assistance in defining standards and best practices for consistent visual design across print and online platforms.

Dion brings to WSAC an exciting and timely set of skills, experiences and education in visual communication, concept development, design management, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and email marketing. His prior work experience includes:

  • Motion Graphics Artist for KING 5 News
  • Web Graphics Specialist for UW – Harbor View Medical Center
  • Senior Web Designer for NCI Information Systems – Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Please join us in welcoming Dion to WSAC!

Congratulations to Washington Counties Scholarship Recipients

The Washington Counties Scholarship Fund is excited to announce its five 2014 recipients. Each recipient will be awarded one $3,000 scholarship. Congratulations to the following individuals: 

  • Zain Abid - Thurston County
  • Kristina Alvarez - King County
  • Walter Edgar - Douglas County
  • Samuel Hinman - Skagit County
  • Kayla Russell - Chelan County

Funds for the scholarship are provided by members of the Washington Association of County Officials (WACO) and the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC). Since 1993 the fund has awarded over $175,000 to eligible students. To learn more about the scholarship fund, please visit

Spokane County Receives Honors for Efforts in Increasing Community Health 


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has awarded Spokane County one of six 2014 Culture of Health awards. This honor recognizes communities that are harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and stakeholders to help residents live healthier lives.

In 2009, Priority Spokane—an organization led by representatives from government, academia, business and other nonprofits focusing on the vitality of the county—sought the input of residents on the community’s most pressing issues. By an overwhelming majority, citizens voted for education attainment as the community’s top priority. Since then, education has been the community’s focus because it matters to the residents and because leaders see it as the key to breaking the intergenerational cycles of poverty and poor health.

“One of the seminal moments that inspired our journey was a report from our local health department clearly linking lack of education to poor health, lower income and poverty,” said County Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn. “It motivated our organization, along with many others, to work on improving the health of our community by focusing on education.”

Read More About Priority Spokane

NACo 2014 Annual Conference Daily

Didn't make it to New Orleans this year for NACo's Annual Conference, but eager to hear all about it? NACo's County News staff has created a feed with day by day summaries of popular sessions. To review all the reports and check out photos from the conference, click the image below.

Copyright © 2014 Washington State Association of Counties, All rights reserved.

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