Mason County’s Preliminary 2014 Budget was released Tuesday. Expenditures for Department requests total just over $27 Million ($27,032,432) while anticipated revenue next year is nearly $24.8 Million ($24,767,024) leaving a shortfall of almost $2.3 Million ($2,265,408).
Mason County is accepting applications for funding from the Lodging Tax Fund for next year. Each year, the County provides grant funding from the L-Tax to support the advertising and promotion efforts of events and festivals that promote tourism in Mason County. Any group or organization may apply for funding consideration.
The Mason County Commissioners are seeking applicants to fill four soon to be open positions on the Mason County Historical Preservation Commission. The major responsibility of the Historic Preservation Commission is to identify and actively encourage the conservation of Mason County’s historic resources by initiating and maintaining a register of historic places and reviewing proposed changes to register properties. Members also work to raise community awareness of the County’s history and historic resources, and serve as the primary resource in matters of history, historic planning and preservation.
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife recently purchased the Thai Taste restaurant in Belfair. The grant funded purchase of the restaurant’s nearly five acre parcel on the west side of Highway 3 north of the intersection with Highway 106 will help protect habitat in the area and provide possible public access to Hood Canal. Mick Cope, Wildlife Program Manager for WDFW Region 6 explained the purchase and how it will tie in with other properties in the area Tuesday night at the Mason County Commission’s 5th Tuesday meeting in Belfair.
The Mason County Commission approved five bargaining agreements Tuesday morning during a special meeting. The agreements are with Teamsters Local Union No. 252 and Operating Engineers Local No. 302 who represents Appraisers, General Services, Juvenile Detention, Probation, and Public Works. The agreements cover the period July 2010 through December 2015.
The Mason County Commission is sending a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the Fairgrounds and the Port of Shelton Commission has “endorsed” that letter. In the County’s two-page letter, addressed to Randall S. Fiertz, Director, Office of Airport Compliance, the Commissioners explain the importance of the fairgrounds to the community and how frustrated citizens are about the restrictions on the property especially since the fairgrounds have “amicably co-existed with the airport for over 50 years.”
The Mason County Commission took testimony Tuesday night on whether to regulate garage sales and yard sales in the County. The issue of possibly regulating the number of garage sales one resident can hold in a year was brought forward by Commissioner Terri Jeffreys after she received a complaint. Currently, Mason County does NOT have limits on garage sales as long as they are no longer than three days. The City of Shelton and Thurston County limit garage sales to two days a year. What the Commissioners want to know is whether there should be similar limits in Mason County.
The Mason County Commission amended the 2013 Budget Tuesday morning. The amendment total more than $650,000 and included funds to pay for unanticipated murder trials, payments for accrued leave for unanticipated retirements, and funds to pay for the salary of the Human Resources Director but the largest transfer, $435,280, was what the Commissioners say is the final monies for the implementation of labor contracts.
The Mason County Commissioners are seeking applications from community members who are interested in serving on the Mason County Board of Equalization. The Board of Equalization is a three-member board appointed by the Commissioners that is responsible for ensuring all property evaluations are at 100% of market value, so equitable tax assessment can be established.