Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Victoria Fowler
Gazette Reporter 

Whitcom funding remains a concern for commissioners


October 17, 2019

County commissioners continued the discussion of Whitcom concerns at their Monday workshop session.

“Whitcom worries me,” said Commissioner Michael Largent.

At the beginning of 2018, it was noted that there would be budget cuts to Washington state 911 coordination agencies.

Largent said at the most recent Washington State Association of Counties Board of Directors meeting he brought up the topic of Whitcom funding to see if other counties were also struggling.

“I was wondering if other counties are in the same boat with a reduction in 911 funding, and we are not alone,” Largent said. “Commissioner Peck from Franklin County said we are welcome to look into joining them.”

Largent mentioned that if it's an additional half a million in perpetuity for Whitcom and if things were to go south, it would be nice to know possible alternatives for the county.

Commissioner Swannack asked if there was any way to know how much money was being generated in 911 tax from Whitman County and if the state is just reorienting to other areas.

“It's not coming in our direction is all we know; it has been reduced and that's not good for local communities,” Largent said.

Commissioner Dean Kinzer had planned to attend a finance committee meeting for Whitcom this week, but the meeting was canceled.

Largent suggested that when the time comes and we want to look around and maybe contact Commissioner Peck and and analyze this particular scenario.

“Scaling back I don't think is the right answer, but 'going regionally,' I don't think that will make people happy either," said Bill Tensfeld, emergency management director.

Swannack said the county should be able to figure what is going on in terms of funding at the next Whitcom meeting.

“We will continue to bring up this topic, and I will set up a follow-up email to the legislative director,” Largent said.

Maribeth Becker, clerk of the board, suggested that in this upcoming legislative season this topic would be good to bring up when the commissioners talk to the legislators.


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