By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Collins was appointed by City Council members in early 2010 to fill the Position 1 seat left vacant by Larry Little, who resigned because Little's wife was battling cancer, and was elected to complete Little's four-year term in 2011.
“Now, I'm running for my own term,” Collins said.
Candidates will file declarations of candidacy the week of May 13-17.
The 2013 primary election is set for Aug. 6, while the general election will be Nov. 5.
Collins said Friday that one of the most pressing issues residents face is the specter of rising utility rates influenced by the various environmental projects the city is embarking on, such as the state Department of Ecology-mandated cleanup of the western portion of Port Angeles Harbor.
Utility rate increases
“Utility rate increases remain the No. 1 issue for most Port Angeles citizens, and the City Council and new City Manager Dan McKeen are working hard to get a handle on these environmental cleanup costs, which have escalated beyond the ability of our municipal and average family budgets to keep paying more and more each year,” Collins said.
For the harbor cleanup, Ecology has determined the city, Port of Port Angeles and three private companies all bear some responsibility in cleaning up the toxic substances found in the sediment of Port Angeles Harbor.
Ecology officials have said the city is responsible for the portion of contaminants that are thought to be associated with years' worth of untreated stormwater and wastewater flowing into the harbor, triggered by heavy rain events, from city-owned combined sewer outflows.
Last year, the city imposed a 30-month surcharge on wastewater utility bills to pay for the city's estimated $1 million share of studying how best to clean up the west Port Angeles Harbor contaminants.
With the help of McKeen, Collins said, the city's relationship with Ecology has grown more collaborative.
“I think we're still developing an approach that is positive for the city and for some of the companies involved,” Collins said, “as well as the Department of Ecology.”
Other environmental issues are stabilization of the shuttered landfill, combined sewer overflow project, shoreline master program and phase II of the municipal stormwater permit.
Moving forward, Collins, deputy director of resource development and capital projects at the nonprofit Serenity House of Clallam County, said he hopes to continue to be a “voice of reason” when it comes to finding options rather than simply throwing money at new city problems or issues that crop up.
Collins said he's enjoyed the collaboration with other council members.
“I think the council has worked well together,” he said. “I think it's diverse, but it has worked well together.”
Two grown children
Collins, who lives in Port Angeles with his wife, Jan, worked from 1989 to 2005 as the city's community development director.
Collins and his wife have raised two grown children in Port Angeles and have one granddaughter who also lives in the city.
Collins currently serves as the city's representative on a number of local commissions, boards and committees, including the William Shore Pool District Commission, the board of the Feiro Marine Life Center, the Clallam County Marine Resources Committee and the Strait Ecosystem Recovery Network.
Collins is the third announced candidate for a City Council seat, after real estate broker Dan Gase announced he will be running for the seat currently held by Councilwoman Brooke Nelson, who will not seek re-election, and online newspaper publisher and disability advocate Peter Ripley announced he will seek the council position currently held by Councilman Max Mania.
Neither Mania nor Councilman Patrick Downie, who is also up for re-election this year, has announced if he intends to seek re-election.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.