MINUTES

NORTH MASON COMMUNITY VOICE

January 18, 2010

Meeting called to order at 7:00 PM by Lee Swoboda, Chair.

Board of Directors present: Lee Swoboda, Jack Kimball, Ralph Lartz, Kaye Massie, Linnie Griffin, Randy Neatherlin, Ken VanBuskirk, Jim Clark

Directors not present: Margie Benson, Judy Scott, Jacquelyn Mastel

Attendees: 35

The Pledge of Allegiance was said and everyone introduced themselves.

GUEST SPEAKER—Representative Fred Finn, D-35th District (www.leg.wa.gov/house/representatives/Pages/finn.aspx)

Finn spoke of his background, some of his goals for this legislative session and the “Belfair bypass,” which he suggested renaming “Belfair Safety and Improvement Road.”

Highlights:

• The bypass was first identified as a need in 1966. It was considered again and again over the years, each time being dropped as the plan became too complex and too expensive.

• The Dept. of Transportation has been asked to come up with alternatives to build the bypass and will be making a report to the people in June 2010.

• Currently construction costs are about 30% lower for State projects than current engineering estimates.

• The Kitsap Industrial Area Road is being built east of the Kitsap Airport. It will intersect with Lake Flora Road.

• Finn has had discussions with many people in his district and almost universally there is support for a bypass.

• Both Finn and Senator Tim Sheldon are on Transportation committees in their respective chambers (House and Senate). They intend to keep the bypass alive.

• Discussion point: The issue was raised of the 9.5% tax increase passed by voters a few years ago that “promised” Belfair would get a bypass. Instead, the money was diverted elsewhere. Many feel too much money has been blown on studies; it’s time to turn dirt.

• Discussion point: Could the project be scaled back to a county rural arterial, perhaps through a partnership with the state, county and ports, which would still relieve congestion and save money in commerce? It would also benefit public health and defense mobilization.

• In answer to a question of what citizens could do, Finn suggested people re-read the WSDOT economic development study and share their thoughts with their legislators. (www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/BremertonEcon)

• The Legislature must make up a $2.6 billion budget shortfall. They are considering additional “sin” taxes and closing loopholes on out-of-state businesses that do not pay Washington State taxes.

• Finn is considering a bill that would sunset older legislation. He acknowledged there have been unintended consequences from the passage of many bills by the Legislature.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS ACTIONS

Secretary’s Report—Linnie Griffin

• After Linnie summarized the minutes of the November 16 meeting, Randy moved to accept the minutes. The Motion was seconded and passed unanimously by voice vote.

Treasurer's Report—Jack Kimball

• All bills are paid and there is $1,136.31 in the account due to annual membership dues collected at the November meeting.

PIO Report—Ken VanBuskirk

• Rep. Finn is willing to take another look at the bypass. When WSDOT prioritized SR 3 2020 road projects, the Belfair Bypass was rated #1 priority. (www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/24468DB0-F037-464D-8EEE-8C86188AF872/0/BEDS_project_list_060309.pdf) Let Finn and our other representatives know how we feel about a Belfair bypass.

OLD BUSINESS

Ken shared an email he received from Sandra Herndon, president of the Mason County League of Women Voters, who was impressed with the Voice group’s web site: “We may want to consider some of their ideas as we develop our web site.”

NEW BUSINESS/FOR THE GOOD OF THE ORDER

Marcia Hamilton provided information about a new, free telephone reassurance service being launched by Faith In Action. Daily calls will be made to North Mason seniors to check on their well being and to socialize. For more information, to volunteer, to make a referral or apply for the service, call Gwen Gadberry at 360-877-6480.

Randy Neatherlin reminded the audience that the Voice was formed to educate the community by presenting both sides of issues. He would like people to think about what issues the Voice could promote.

Tamra Ingwaldson, a parent volunteer for the North Mason High School Seniors’ Grad Night party, asked for support of this year’s event. Previous grad nights have been very successful, keeping kids safe while letting them have fun. Up to 100 graduates can go, each paying a portion ($125) of the total cost. The rest is collected in donations from the community. This year their goal is $11,000.

Harry (“Sgt. Rock”) Tachell announced that the Veterans Services Office located at the North Mason Chamber of Commerce building is now open every Wednesday. He is currently working on 25 claims to the Veterans Administration.

County Commissioner Ross Gallagher said there are more and more young veterans returning who have needs. The commission is considering increasing property taxes to help pay for veteran supplements. He said the county budget looks pretty good. The county has a line of credit now instead of a loan, although they haven’t had to use it. They also haven’t had to lay off any more people, and even hired two new employees. He hopes to resolve the sheriff deputy contract. There are nine other county employee bargaining units.

The next meeting will be Monday, February 15. A Motion to adjourn was made, seconded and passed unanimously by voice vote.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 PM

Submitted by Linnie Griffin, Secretary. Approved by NMCV Board 2/15/2010.