Public Works Starts Flood Barrier Removal

The peak of the saltwater flood season has come to an end. According to Town Administrator Scott Thomas, the last king tide on Swinomish Channel until the following autumn will permit the removal of flood barriers that have been in place along the La Conner waterfront for several months.

La Conner News, the Public Works Department will remove sandbags and ecology blocks that have protected the town’s waterfront and low-lying areas. After saltwater flooding in December 2022 caused nearly $2 million in property damages, the La Conner Emergency Management Commission formed and drafted a flood mitigation plan.

To help with the task, the council authorized Public Works Director Brian Lease to hire La Conner firefighter Ben Mesman as a seasonal crew member to fill in for one of Lease’s injured permanent staff.

The council reached consensus to fund long-range street maintenance through the town’s new Transportation Benefit District.

Councilors endorsed Thomas’ recommendation to add 0.1% to the town’s sales tax rate, which would extend the burden to nonresidents.

“It seems to be appropriate for visitors who use the streets to pay for the streets,” Thomas said.

The council also supported his suggestion that the town bank half the benefit district’s revenue to pay for a planned extension of First Street south to Caledonia.

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