Citizen Editorial: Twenty Ways For The County To Cut Costs And Increase Revenues:

1) Reclaim tidelands held under dubious ownership and lease them to shellfish growers.
2) Support a more equitable property tax on privately owned forest lands.   
3) Dissolve the costly and redundant Commissioner Support Services Department.
4) Fire the director of Human Resources for negotiating employee contracts the county can’t afford.  
5) Support an increase in the retail sales tax.     
6) Lift the moratorium on Cannabis growers.  
7) Hire a contract attorney to draft a vendor agreement that better protects the county from lawsuits.
8) Support a tax levy shift.  
9)  Adopt performance measures for all departments and enforce them through budget allocations.  
10) Promote Mason County to biking, hiking, kayaking and running clubs in neighboring urban areas.   
11) Create a ‘Community Benefit Criteria’ for properties under consideration for open space designation.    
12) Hold onto marketable surplus property until economic conditions improve.
13) Replace county owned gas-gobblers with fuel efficient vehicles.
14) Don’t apply for ‘Matching Grants’ until the source of matching funds has been identified.
15) Create a ‘Salary Advisory Committee’ for elected officials.
16) Partner with the city to reduce costs of maintaining like facilities (Ex.: water and sewer).
17) Revisit designated timberlands 3 years after harvesting to assure they still qualify for tax exemption.   
18) Reconsider the cost of courthouse security in its current form.
19) Install a suggestion box in the lobby of the county administration building.
20) Other cost-saving suggestions involve installing governors on thermostats, the efficient use of county vehicles and offering employee furloughs, when conditions permit.       

I’m sure there are many other worthwhile cost cutting and revenue generating suggestions; these are just the ones that came to mind while waiting for my grilled cheese sandwich to melt. I’d be happy to flesh these (and others) out, for anyone who is interested.

Tom Davis, Shelton

July 14, 2104