Public speaks first in county meetings

Beginning Feb. 4, the Board of Island County Commissioners will implement a new streamlined structure for its Monday meetings.

Similar to many Washington counties and cities, including Oak Harbor, the commissioners will use a consent agenda that groups together items considered routine and for which public comment or inquiries are not anticipated.

“Virtually everything that goes on the Monday agenda has been discussed at least once and frequently twice at the Wednesday staff sessions,” said Elaine Marlow, board clerk.

The commissioners can move any item on the consent agenda to the regular agenda. As opposed to the current system, in which each item requires a separate motion and vote, the consent agenda is typically approved on a single motion without discussion.

Meetings will now begin at 10 a.m. instead of 9:30 on the first three Mondays of the month and 2 p.m. on the fourth Monday.

“The public input time stays the same,” Marlow said. “Rather than make the public sit through a half-hour of meeting before having the opportunity to speak, we’re starting with them.”

During the public input portion, community members can comment on subjects not on the agenda, including those on the consent agenda. The regular agenda is reserved for issues that require staff briefings or have generated high public interest.

Regular meeting agendas are posted in the county administration building and in the annex. People interested in receiving agendas via email should send a message to bicc@co.island.wa.us or call Marlow at 679-7397.

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