Islanders attended Monday’s town hall in support of the Vashon Senior Center (Paul Rowley/Staff Photo).

Islanders attended Monday’s town hall in support of the Vashon Senior Center (Paul Rowley/Staff Photo).

Local Services hosts town hall with county officials

Directors of nearly a dozen county departments gave briefings to large island audience.

King County officials were on-hand to discuss their work, answer questions and connect with islanders during a town hall and open house event Monday evening at Vashon High School.

The event was hosted by the Department of Local Services. Director John Taylor and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott delivered opening remarks that were followed by briefings from the directors of nearly a dozen county departments including Elections, the Sheriff’s Office, Community & Health Services, Permitting and Road Services.

Those were followed by three breakout groups where smaller, guided discussions were held about permitting and alternative housing throughout the county, public safety and funding for the Vashon Senior Center.

As part of his address, McDermott spoke about questions that he has been asked by islanders recently such as whether he would support a potential fireworks ban on Vashon.

“This year, in an unprecedented way, I heard concern about wildfires on Vashon well before the Fourth of July,” he said, adding that residents have expressed concern over fireworks elsewhere in unincorporated King County, such as White Center.

Later in the town hall, McDermott reiterated his dissatisfaction with how the county divided up funds from the expanded Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy this summer among “hubs” of senior centers that joined together in partnership to apply for support. The county awarded the Vashon Senior Center a one-time award of $90,000 compared to others that will receive $440,000 each year for five years, for a total of $2.2 million. The funding was awarded to senior centers that serve isolated populations, according to a county press release.

“Can you find a more isolated senior center than on an island that depends on ferry service for access?” he asked those in attendance. McDermott added that he will be working with local services and Executive Dow Constantine to find additional revenue for the Vashon Senior Center and others that were disproportionately affected by the shortfall.

A full story will appear in next week’s issue of The Beachcomber.

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