Editorial: Freeland city worth exploring
July 3, 2008 · Updated 11:56 PM
Residents of Freeland are showing some initiative in studying the possibility of incorporating as a city.
The thriving community on Holmes Harbor would be larger than the existing cities of Langley and Coupeville if it incorporated, and it even has an industrial base with the presence of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders.
For years, Freeland has been ruled by the Island County Commissioners in Coupeville. The 20-mile distance has reduced Freeland residents input in what happens in their own community and has resulted in some hard feelings, particularly when unattractive commercial developments get the go-ahead. It might be time for Freeland residents to take control of their own destiny.
A city would have its own council and planning commission, perhaps a design review board, and it could take the lead in the long-delayed sewer system. It could contract with Island County for police service and Fire District 3 for fire services, which would reduce the number of employees needed to get a city started.
In the late 1970s, Freeland residents rejected a chance at cityhood because of fear of additional taxation. Times have changed considerably since then. If residents today can get better representation for the same or less in taxes, they might think differently this time. One thing for sure, its worth the study effort that is now under way.