Should Thurston County add two more county commissioners? 

Public hearing set on July 19

Posted

Due to the increasing population, the Thurston Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is eyeing expanding its ranks from three to five elected members. 

During its meeting Wednesday, the BOCC set a public hearing on Tuesday, July 19 at the Thurston County Courthouse Complex Building 1, Room 280, to get comments from the residents so that the commissioners can approve a ballot measure that would appear in the November 8 general election.

Commissioners Carolina Mejia and Gary Edwards voted in favor of the public hearing. Commissioner Tye Menser was excused from the meeting.

County Manager Ramiro Chavez said if the resolution gets a majority of voter approval, elections for the two new members will be in 2023.

“The county shall be divided into five commissioner districts so that each district shall comprise, as nearly as possible, one of one-fifth of the population of the county,” said Chavez.

RCW 36.32.055 authorizes any non-charter county, like Thurston, with a population of 300,000 or more and less than 400,000, to cause a ballot proposition at a general election on whether to authorize BOCC to increase its members to five.

Based on the latest data from the Office of Financial Management, Thurston County has a population size of 300,500.

Comments

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  • JulesJames

    Yes. A majority of two doesn't require much scrutiny of an issue. A majority of three requires multiple perspectives agreeing.

    Saturday, July 2 Report this

  • FirstOtter

    Only if it can be demonstrated that the new members are not in the pocket of a extraction/exploitation/develop at all costs business like the Master Builders.

    Saturday, July 2 Report this

  • DanielFarber

    This is a solid, good-government idea. Attention to all areas of the County will be more likely. Reasoned, balanced decision-making will be more likely. A couple of commissioners could talk with each other without setting off open meetings act questions.

    It's a bit more money for salaries and space, but improved democratic institutions are worth it.

    Monday, July 4 Report this

  • TonyW33

    It seems to me that this is a question whose time has truly come. From all the comments that I hear around the county, it should be a landslide in favor. I hear from all kinds of political perspectives, left, right and center, agreement in principle with this. A better balanced and more diverse group of commissioners will provide the governance that our county will require as it grows.

    Monday, July 4 Report this

  • Bryan Hildebrand

    It may be apples and oranges, but my father-in-law was a county commissioner in Georgia. His county was 100K less in population and almost a quarter the land area - and they had five county commissioners. My two cents...

    Wednesday, July 6 Report this