Clallam County Administrator Jim Jones told members of the Forks Chamber of Commerce last week that the county is in a good position in 2018, the envy of many other counties. With $11 million in reserves, Jones said Clallam is one of a few not taking funds out of the road budget. “Here we are letting them spend it on roads,” he said.
Jone spoke a bit about covering the costs of indigent defense in the court system, and the fact those costs are way up. Jones praised the three county commissioners for working well together. “That consistency has been an important thing in getting things done,” Jones said.
Commissioner Bill Peach said the county is holding up well financially and “that gives us breathing room.” He touched on the threat being made again of moving District Court II to Port Angeles, the problem of the cost of indigent defense and possibly looking at other avenues with regard to sentencing. He praised the progress on the Olympic Discovery Trail and the current positive relationship with Olympic National Park on the project.
Commissioner Randy Johnson thanked Jim Jones for his over 12 years with the county, “I appreciate his history and knowledge and it has been a pleasure to work with him,” Johnson said. Johnson also talked about the need for two financial offices at the county as Jones prepares to retire soon. Johnson also shared how the county is stepping up code enforcement.
Commissioner Mark Ozias also thanked Jones and thanked his fellow commissioners on their collective commitment to the ODT. Ozias shared that as many grants fade away in the next few years the county will be faced with many unfunded mandates. “We may struggle to provide a more stable foundation,” Ozias said.
Rich James, Transportation Project Manager for the county, said next year they will be looking at about 21 projects on the West End. They will continue to work with Jefferson County on the Undi Road. James said that as the ODT gets closer to Forks it has the potential to create more activities in our area.