Pacific County Courthouse

SOUTH BEND — Pacific County is moving right along in 2021, with business carrying on as usual even though county buildings remain closed. The county commissioners’ first February meeting did have an optimistic moment, as for the first time in almost a year they were able to honor an employee for their years of service in person.

As usual, Commissioners Lisa Olsen, Frank Wolfe, and Michael Runyon were present inside the commissioners’ meeting room along with County Risk Manager Kathy Spoor and Assistant Marie Guernsey. The meeting was once again provided via Zoom, with observers being able to wave or comment via chat.

Cutting debt loose

At the Treasurer’s Office’s request, the commissioners were asked to approve the tax write-off of personal property taxes. The small amounts accrued over past years, and the treasurer’s office was trying to cut off the uncollectible debt of $10,547. The commissioners approved the request unanimously.

“Oftentimes, these are businesses that have gone out of business, or maybe they are no longer even living here [and] those kinds of things,” Spoor said. “So again, it’s a small amount of money and an administrative burden that it creates to generate and build reporting that goes along with it after so many years of attempting to collect.”

Supposed to shake

One of the first items on the agenda was honoring several employees for their years of service. James Worlton from general administration and Gracie Minks from the health department were honored for five years of service, and Cindy Vaughn from the department of public works was honored for 10 years of service working for the county.

Worlton was present for the meeting and was honored in the commissioners’ room, the first employee to have such an honor since last year.

“James does a good job for us down here,” Olsen said. “We are supposed to shake, but of course, that’s not allowed anymore.”

Langbaaten to retire

After a long career with the county, Kathy Langbaaten, who is an accounting manager with the health department, submitted her intent to retire effective Aug. 31, which will leave a big shoe to fill in the health department. The commissioners and Spoor were saddened at her intention to retire but understood. Spoor noted that she and Langbaaten started their careers with the county around the same time.

The health department requested to begin advertising the position so that the new hire could be cross-trained and prepared for when Langbaaten departs. The commissioners approved the request unanimously and praised the job she has done over her career.

“It’s a key position,” Spoor added. “For lots of reasons, nobody will be able to replace Kathy.”

“She is a gem,” Olsen also added.

Mini excavator

The Department of Public Works requested approval to purchase a mini excavator from Jennings Equipment Inc. from Puyallup for $84,993.25 for the north county region. The purchase had already been approved during the budgeting process late last fall. Runyon quickly seconded the motion, and the commissioners approved the request.

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(1) comment


WHY are government offices still closed to the public??? There is no reason for it! NONE. It's damned inconvenient for people, but evidently our "civil servants" do not give a rip. All private sector businesses are open and the government needs to be too.

Y'all aren't any more special than the small businesses that are managing to provide services to their customers.


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