County approves PUD boundaries

After considering a minor concern raised by one resident, the Island County Commissioners set the boundaries for the public utility district that could eventually turn electrical service into a public entity on Whidbey Island.

The PUD formation proposal will appear on the November ballot.

The boundary was clear cut: all of Whidbey Island.

“This seems pretty much a slam dunk in my opinion,” Commissioner John Dean said.

Dean explained that the public hearing wasn’t a debate about the pros and cons of a public utility district. Its purpose was to determine whether any part of Whidbey Island was unjustly included in the proposed district’s boundaries.

There are also boundaries within the Whidbey Island PUD for three commissioner districts based on Whidbey Island’s population. The northern district basically includes North Whidbey, northwest Oak Harbor and the Navy’s Seaplane Base. The central district includes the remainder of Oak Harbor south through San de Fuca to areas south of Coupeville. The southern district encompasses the remainder of Whidbey Island.

Bob Kuehn, treasurer for People for Yes on Whidbey PUD, wondered about including downtown Coupeville in the southern commissioner district. He was concerned that having the business center of the town in the south district would give Oak Harbor business interests influence in all three commissioner areas.

David Metheny, campaign coordinator for People for Yes on Whidbey PUD, disagreed, saying the proposed commissioner boundaries looked “great.”

The commissioners seemed to agree and Dean said he felt comfortable moving forward. The commissioners unanimously approved the resolution.

Metheny said there are people starting to line up to run for the commissioner spots. Pat Harmon is running for the District 2 position while David Ott and Dan Schlangeng are considering a run for the spot in the southern district.

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