County signs on to letter regarding public health districts

Variety of Peninsula entities have approved the missive

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners have approved a letter to the state Legislature opposing a plan to regionalize public health.

The board also voted 3-0 to update the county’s building and construction code after a public hearing Tuesday.

Commissioners voted to co-sign a letter from Jefferson County to state lawmakers that opposes House Bill 1152, which has a companion bill in the Senate, SB 5173. The pending legislation would restructure county public departments.

The letter drafted by Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean calls on lawmakers to keep local control of public health.

The letter also urges support of SB 1549, which increases public health funding.

Dean hopes to send the letter to the state Thursday.

Commissioner Randy Johnson said he and other Clallam County residents have benefited from locally organized mass vaccination events for COVID-19.

“Our EOC (Emergency Operations Center) and everyone and all the volunteers out there help a lot, and how you coordinate that from a regional plan I do not understand, or will not understand,” Johnson said Tuesday.

“The coalition of everyone working together has to happen at a local level, and that was just emphasized one more time.”

Commissioners Mark Ozias, Bill Peach and Johnson approved the joint letter opposing House Bill 1152 and Senate Bill 5173 on their consent agenda Tuesday.

The letter was discussed at length during the commissioners’ work session Monday.

Commissioners also voted to endorse the Jefferson County letter as members of the Clallam County Board of Health on Feb. 16.

In other action Tuesday, commissioners voted to amend the building and construction code to reflect the current International Building Code.

The state Building Code Council has adopted a 2018 model code to regulate building construction, plumbing and mechanical equipment installation, fire protection systems in new and existing buildings, propane installations and the like, said Annette Warren, Clallam County acting manager to code enforcement.

“In all, there are 13 different disciplines that make up the Washington State Building Code,” Warren told commissioners Tuesday.

“Each of the code disciplines provide appendices to assist building staff with specific applications that are not addressed in the main body of the code.”

Clallam County previously adopted eight appendices to provide guidance to county staff on matters pertaining to the International Building Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, International Mechanical Code and the International Fire Code, Warren said.

“This proposal is to amend Clallam County code section 21.01 to reflect the appropriate 2018 model code year date for each of the appendices previously adopted to bring them in line with the current Washington State Building Code,” Warren said.

The code changes are highly specific and will not impact home prices, Warren said in response to Johnson’s query.

“They don’t have elements of cost,” Warren said.

“It’s just how to properly install something.”

No public testimony was received on the code amendments.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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