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Island County commissioners tackle recycling at night meeting
Island County Board of Commissioners will hold its first regular nighttime meeting next month and one of the first items on the agenda is the repeal of a controversial curbside recycling ordinance.
This week, the board unanimously adopted a code amendment that changes the official start time of the commissioners’ fourth Monday meeting of the month from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The goal is to increase public participation by having at least one meeting at night when people aren’t at work.
The commissioners also agreed to modify the existing code to bring the board into better compliance with the rules.
The code used to say that, when possible, public hearings should be held at night, but it was a practice followed only occasionally on matters of great public interest.
The board’s decision this week softened that requirement to hearings of “significant impact” so that the commissioners could retain the flexibility to take action on timely day-to-day issues.
While the board agreed to the changes unanimously, the same can not be said for curbside recycling, which will be one of the first major issues heard at the new nighttime meeting.
“I don’t intend to support this,” Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said at a work session last week.
The curbside recycling ordinance was approved last year during the last days of a Democrat-led board, which included Price Johnson and former commissioner Angie Homola.
The new service was to be launched later this year and would be mandatory for Island Disposal customers who subscribe to trash pickup in Langley and rural areas of Island County.
The law was on the books less than a month, however, when the two Republican commissioners began talking about scrapping it before it got started.
Commissioners Kelly Emerson and Jill Johnson scheduled the formal ordinance repeal for the first evening meeting agenda.
Price Johnson made it clear that she continues to support the curbside service, saying it not only has widespread community support but that it’s a needed program.
This is an issue that won’t go away, she said.
“This county will reconsider it at some point in the future,” Price Johnson said.
“It’s going to happen.”
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Monday, April 22, and will be held in the Commissioners Hearing Room, 1 N.E. Sixth St., Coupeville.