The Aberdeen City Council took the first step to increasing multiple utility taxes at last night’s meeting.
The council had separate ordinances for increasing water and sewer, solid waste, cable television and the storm drain utility taxes each pass their first readings last night.
Councilwoman Kathi Hoder said the increases are necessary to keep the services the city provides.
The increases the city is looking at include a Water and Sewer increase from 2 percent to 4.5 percent, a Solid Waste and Recyclable Materials Collection tax of 4.5 percent, a Cable Television tax of 4.5 percent to those engaging or carrying on the business of providing cable TV services, and a Storm and Surface Water Drainage Utility tax of 4.5 percent.
There will be public hearings for each of these items at the next Aberdeen City Council Meeting which is set for Wednesday, December 10th at 7:15 pm.
The Grays Harbor County Commissioners had a public hearing yesterday to help them decide who could administer an admission tax.
The ordinance that was brought forward had the auditor taking over the role from the treasurer but Grays Harbor County Auditor Vern Spatz said he has not had the time to see how this would work out.
The commissioners voted to postpone the ordinance until December 15th to allow for more research about the issue.
Commissioner Frank Gordon says the tax has been in place since 1943 but it has not been administered.
Gordon said the tax would not affect charitable functions.
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2 accidents this weekend sent 4 people to the hospital.
A three vehicle accident 9 miles north of Hoquiam on highway 101 sent three people to the hospital on Friday afternoon.
An 18 year old Aberdeen teen traveling north in a 1987 Toyota pick up, on State Route 101, crossed the center line and struck a 2009 Kenworth with a loaded log trailer, head on.
A 2002 Dodge Dakota pick up being driven by a 19 year old Montesano teen that was following, struck the Toyota, forcing it off the road.
The 38 year old Hoquiam man driving the log truck and the two teens were taken to Grays Harbor Community Hospital and the driver of the Toyota was air lifted to Harbor View Medical Center.
The Washington State Patrol says drugs and alcohol were not involved, the cause is under investigation.
The road was blocked for 5 and half hours.
Saturday morning, a DUI was the cause of an accident that sent a 41 year old man and his 2004 Chevrolet Malibu into a tree.
Early Saturday morning, around ½ mile north of Ocean Shores, the car left the road, striking the tree and totaling the car.
The driver was transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital.
The Washington State Patrol says the cause of the accident was Driving Under the Influence.
The Aberdeen City Council heard a report from Cary Bozeman about their revitalization project, talking about what is needed to get the job done.
The City of Aberdeen hired Cary Bozeman 4 months ago to turn around the downtown and he spoke to the council last night about their three year action plan.
“I know money is the issue here. Everybody’s worried about money, but let’s not be worried about money right now.”
He said that our local unemployment rate is a double edged sword, “with demographics we have that say we’re the highest unemployment in the state, or one of them. That’s a good news/bad news thing. The good news is, people understand we have economic challenges and they’re willing to help. The bad news is, we have a high unemployment rate. But, good news is, people are willing to help.”
Bozeman also read sections of a report about revitalizing Aberdeen from 1968, and he says it was on point even back then.
He said the report points to issues of many travelers just passing through the town without stopping on their way to the beaches or Olympic National Forest.
“The city has the advantage of being so situated that all roads lead through from Southwest Washington, Northwest Oregon, and the densely populated Puget Sound area. It’s so true. It’s amazing that everyone comes over to that one area.
Bozeman said the City has to do something.
“I know people are scared about the risk, the financial risk, but there’s more risk in not doing anything.”
The three year action plan includes a downtown riverfront park, gateway center, and traffic opportunities. Each project has a list of potential partners to help with funding,
The Ocean Shores Fire Department told KXRO that it was a busy 4th of July weekend with a total of 64 calls between July 3rd and July 6th. They said, while they did not have many fires this year due to the cool, moist weather, they did have a large volume of EMS calls.
OSFD ran 52 medical calls and transported 22 patients to the hospital. Four of those with firework related injuries, and some of them were fairly severe. OSFD also responded to a variety of calls including multiple vehicle accidents, a near drowning on the beach, tent fire, propane explosion, jelly fish stings, and the two pipe bombs found at the Shilo Hotel.
OSFD said that they had had fire crews staged at many of the beaches to perform fire watch and advise people to keep fireworks and campfires at least 100 feet from the dunes. OSFD did respond to several calls of smoke in the dunes, but by the time crews arrived on scene, the fire was out.
Captain Matthew Krick said, “All in all, I would consider the Ocean Shores Fire Department’s fire prevention efforts a success. With the added crews, we were able to handle the additional call volume without calling the Hoquiam Fire Department for mutual aid. It was a busy weekend, but everybody went home safe, and we did not have any dune fires. “
Marijuana is now available for sale through retail stores across the state; and now more local licenses are being added to grow the product.
As of their latest update, the Washington State Liquor Control Board announced that 2 marijuana producer/processers now have active licenses in Grays Harbor. Typhoon Yolanda in Copalis Crossing and Growth Industries in Porter can now both grow and package legally for the recreational market.
There are 2 producers with active licenses in Pacific County, with Green Labs in South Bend and BMF Washington at the Port of Willapa Harbor industrial park in Raymond.
There are no active retail licenses for either Grays Harbor or Pacific County out of over 50 applications.
24 retail stores had their licenses approved to begin selling yesterday.
The first purchase at Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham was two grams of pot for $26.50.
Before the store opened at 8 a.m., several dozen people were lined up outside.
An Associated Press survey of the 24 licensees showed only about six planned to open Tuesday. Others said it could be a month or more before they could acquire marijuana to sell.