County once again a voting member of Council of Governments

Agency deals mostly with planning issues

Grays Harbor County again will be a voting member of the Grays Harbor Council of Governments.

For the past several years, the county has not contributed the funding requested by the Council of Governments. While the county has provided some funding, it was not enough to remain as voting members.

The Council of Governments is an agency that helps coordinate transportation and regional planning projects. Typically, it deals with issues that cross the lines of multiple governmental agencies. It can help pursue grant funding or planning matters. Cities throughout Grays Harbor also are members of the the Council of Governments.

“The engineer at the time didn’t feel like he was using it as much, and there was some discussion as to whether that would fully come out of the general fund or not,” Commissioner Wes Cormier said.

With the engineer not using it, and ongoing general fund budget problems, it was a line item that could be hacked back.

But staff has changed at the county, and the new county engineer has been working with the Council of Governments to facilitate projects throughout the county.

In 2016, Grays Harbor County contributed about $13,500. For 2018, Grays Harbor County will contribute about $54,000.

The commissioners also will contribute $27,000 for 2017, upping the contribution to cover for some Council of Governments services already provided this year.

Both commissioners Vickie Raines and Randy Ross agreed that it just made sense for the county to be a voting member.

“There’s no reason that the county, being the largest entity in the county, shouldn’t be participating as well,” Commissioner Raines said.

“Grays Harbor Council of Governments does planning for everyone in the county, and there’s not any single project in any municipality that doesn’t also affect the county in some way, shape or form when it comes to transportation projects,” Commissioner Ross said.

During the commissioners’ afternoon meeting on Dec. 11, Council of Governments Executive Director Vicki Cummings commended the county for approving the agreement.

“It’s very important to us to have county leadership at our table,” Cummings said. “We’ve been missing it for a while.”