Council plans to set city’s priorities for state lawmakers

Oak Harbor officials have ideas about what they would like to see accomplished in Olympia this year.

Today, Jan. 2, City Council members are set to make it official by adopting a list of legislative priorities that will be presented to elected state leaders who represent the city. The council is holding a special meeting at 6 p.m. today because the regular Tuesday meeting coincided with New Year’s Day.

“A resolution by City Council conveying its wishes to our Legislators can convey a formal and more comprehensive message than sending or voicing individual requests,” the agenda bill states. “Moreover, a resolution provides a concise listing as a priority of those needs the City Council deems crucial.”

The resolution asks lawmakers to advocate for sufficient funding, an extended implementation period and special considerations in assisting local jurisdictions in enacting additional National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase II requirements regarding stormwater control and planning. City officials have said the rules for the permit are onerous.

The council wants lawmakers to support the city’s request for funding regional park land acquisition and development, as well as future phases in the development of Windjammer Park.

In addition, the council wants lawmakers to advocate for allowing local governments to maintain the ability to regulate the installation of small cell sites within the public right-of-way and on private property. The small cells are nodes that are an important part of increasing cellular network capacity and quality.

The rest of the priorities address large-scale issues that affect many areas of the state.

One of the priorities is for lawmakers to pursue enhancements and reforms to improve the state’s “overwhelmed mental health and drug abuse response systems.”

The city also wants the state to address the lack of affordable housing through development tools and reforms to regulations that add to the problem.

In addition, the council members set economic development as a top priority. They want lawmakers to support the Public Works Trust Fund and other tools to encourage job creation and economic growth.

The resolution states that the list will be presented to state Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, and Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton.

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