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Joint meeting on paid parking coming

Town council Oct. 10 meeting

The Oct. 10 La Conner Town Council meeting was full of comings and goings.

Council will meet jointly with the planning commission Nov. 28 to hear a presentation from representatives specializing in paid parking systems.

“This will give you information on what some of the options are,” Planning Director Michael Davolio told them

Planning Commissioners John Leaver and Bruce Bradburn have spoken to two companies. They reported to the commission, noting Leavenworth and Bellingham have committed to paid parking.

Town Emergency Management Commissioner Jerry George, who wrote a Weekly News column on Thursday’s Great ShakeOut, followed up with comments on earthquake preparedness.

“Things are always shaking in La Conner,” he quipped, “so you might not have noticed that we had an earthquake on Sunday night.”

George said the quake rumbled some 35 miles beneath the earth’s surface and was centered south of Port Townsend, some 46 miles distant.

“If it had been nearer the surface,” George pointed out, “we could’ve really felt it in La Conner.”

La Conner Chamber of Commerce Chamber Director Mark Hulst promoted the annual Jingle Belles Ladies Night shopping Nov. 17. Participating stores are being encouraged to take part in a decoration contest voted upon by shoppers.

Council continued its discussion of funding future street maintenance and repairs with a one-tenth of one per cent sales tax increase.

“Transportation Benefit Districts are not uncommon throughout the state and here in Skagit County,” reported Town Administrator Scott Thomas. “Statewide, cities have formed 113 TBDs. Anacortes formed a TBD in 2014; Sedro-Woolley in 2014; and Mount Vernon in 2016. Anacortes’ and Mount Vernon’s TBDs are funded by a 0.2 per cent sales tax, while Sedro-Woolley’s is funded by a $20 vehicle license fee.

A vehicle license fee for town residents is the alternative.

“We just need to think about these two options,” council member Mary Wohleb said of the sales tax and license fee revenue sources.

Skagit County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brad Holmes, managing the La Conner detachment, reported a rash of vehicle prowls on the north side of town last month appeared to be “crimes of opportunity.”

“There wasn’t any smashing of windows,” Holmes said. “I think somebody walked through and took advantage of an opportunity.” They were unlocked vehicles, he noted.

Public Works Director Brian Lease said his staff have filled about 2,000 sandbags with a machine on loan from a local dike district. He said the Town had also purchased pre-filled bags that are being placed at locations in low-lying areas on the north and south waterfronts along with Ecology Blocks.

“Tides have been higher than normal,” Lease said, “so we’ll be doing this the next couple weeks.”

Staff reported plans to meet with Port of Skagit representatives to discuss funding for purchase of a fire boat and the state legislature will also be lobbied for support.

Council approved an ordinance limiting the operation and location of adult businesses to the town’s port industrial and light and medium industrial zones.. The measure, reminded Thomas, is necessary because without specific restrictions adult businesses could open anywhere in La Conner’s commercial areas.

The fairly mundane hybrid budget discussions, on the wastewater treatment plant, were interrupted by a profane and racist “Zoom Bomb” that for a few moments hijacked the 40-minute meeting.


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