My thanks to the San Juan County citizens, Councilmembers and staff who helped me keep things moving forward this past year as your Interim County Manager. While there are plenty of items still on the TO DO list, we really had a very successful list of goals accomplished:
GOVERNANCE TRANSITIONS – With the Charter amendments approved in November, we have now had THREE County Councils! And with the arrival of Mike Thomas, THREE County Administrators/Managers. Somehow we made it through!
GROWTH MANAGEMENT ACT COMPLIANCE – For the first time in 21 years, San Juan County achieved compliance from the State with the Growth Management Act, which opens additional State grant and funding options to the County.
BUDGET STABILIZATION – Thanks largely to voter approval of the Public Safety Sales Tax, we were able to end five years of major budget cuts and adopt a stable three year budget forecast through 2015.
CRITICAL AREAS ORDINANCE – Rejecting a "one size fits all" Federal/State approach the County adopted a site specific approach, trying to balance environmental protection and maximum property rights. While it is complex and challenges have yet to be ruled upon by the Growth Management Hearings Board, the County is committed to streamlining regulations and continuing to seek balance.
SOLID WASTE TRANSITION – Moving from a County-run to public-private system has proven more challenging and taken longer than anticipated, but this allowed each Island to come up with its own solution: Lopez Solid Waste District, the Town/County/Lauderback agreement on San Juan, and the expanded ORS service on Orcas.
SJC3 COUNTY COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS – As part of reviewing County services, service levels, and reshaping County government to better meet the needs of residents today and in the future, the Conversations held on Lopez, Shaw, Orcas, and San Juan were a great success. The results provide guidance for the 2014 Budget and beyond.
I’ll leave it to Council Chairman Jamie Stephens and new County Manager Mike Thomas to address the remaining Goals for 2013 and into 2014, but for my part, my thanks to all for your help (and constructive criticism) along the way.
And thank you for allowing me to be a temporary Island resident and to gain an understanding of "Island Quality of Life."
Interim County Manager
(May 2012-June 2013)