Board of County Commissioners

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Board of County Commissioners

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ OFFICE

1. Who is my County Commissioner, and what is a Commissioner District?

Skagit County is split into three geographic commissioner districts, based on population. Each Commissioner is elected to a four-year term. At the time of election, each Commissioner must live in the district he/she represents. The Commissioners are partisan elected officials, and candidates are nominated in a primary election, by ballots cast only their home district. All voters in the County vote in the general election to select the Commissioner who will ultimately serve.

District No. 1 encompasses Anacortes and Fidalgo Island, La Conner, Bayview, Bow, Edison, and north to the Whatcom County line. Ron Wesen is the District One Commissioner.

District No. 2 includes Mount Vernon, Conway, and south to the Snohomish County line. Ken Dahlstedt is the District Two Commissioner.

District No. 3 includes Burlington, Sedro-Woolley, and all of eastern Skagit County; it is the largest geographic district. Lisa Janicki is the District Three Commissioner.

Commissioner District map

2.  What are the duties of the County Commissioners?

In 34 of Washington State’s 39 counties, the Board of County Commissioners is the County’s legislative authority.  The Commissioners serve as the chief administrators for several important County operations and have some quasi-judicial duties as well.

The County Commissioners’ primary duty is to levy the taxes to operate the County and to adopt a balanced budget for each calendar year.  The Commissioners fix the budget amount for each department of the County, but variances and increases can be permitted during the year if extraordinary circumstances can be shown.  Other elected officials in the county are responsible for their own adopted budget and the County Commissioners are responsible for the operation of budgets under the control of appointed department heads.

Also within their legislative capacity, the Commissioners are responsible for adopting, amending and repealing all County ordinances (which are essentially laws of the County).  These include traffic, zoning, planning and public safety ordinances, and any other ordinance concerning the general welfare of the County.

As administrators, County Commissioners are responsible for:

  • Public roads and public works programs;
  • Public health services;
  • Planning and zoning of unincorporated areas;
  • Emergency Services or civil defense programs;
  • County park and recreation systems
  • Other services and programs, which are not clearly the responsibility of other elected County officials.

Commissioners also have a key role in a wide variety of community boards and commissions, which affect citizens within and beyond their jurisdictions. Commissioners serve on a variety of multi-county boards, state boards, and/or national committees, with other public officials and private citizens.

Commissioners are also responsible for appointing members of many County boards and commissions (for example, the Board of Equalization, and Civil Service Commission). See; "Local Boards and Committees"

3.  When do the County Commissioners meet and handle the County’s business?

The Board of Commissioners generally meets each Monday and Tuesday for regularly scheduled agenda items. The remainder of the week is spent with individual committee assignments and constituent appointments.

Agendas are available on the web site in the "Agenda" section. Or you may listen to a recorded agenda for the upcoming week by calling (360) 416-1316.

A weekly Public Comment Period is scheduled every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. to give the general public an opportunity to present concerns or discuss areas of interest with all three Commissioners.

Commissioner sessions may be viewed live on the County web site. They are also telecast live on Comcast Channel 21 and Wave broadband - Channel 21

4.  What is a Consent Agenda?

The Consent Agenda is a way for the Commissioners to handle multiple routine contracts, resolutions, and other items requiring their approval on a weekly basis. Staff presents and itemized list to the Board detailing dates and dollar amounts, and summarizing the contract or other document for consideration. The Board reviews this list and approves the entire list with one motion. The Commissioners have the option of removing any item that they do not wish to approve.

5.  How do I make an appointment to meet with my County Commissioner?

Simply call the Commissioners Office at (360) (360) 416-1300 and ask for Linda Hammons, the Clerk of the Board. She will arrange a mutually convenient time for you to meet with your Commissioner.

The Commissioners can be contacted via e-mail at: commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us.

The Commissioners office is located at:
1800 Continental Place, Suite 100, Mount Vernon, Washington 98273.