Published on Thu, Jan 31, 2002
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Whatcom County

By Pete Kremen
County Executive

Our community experienced tremendous challenges in 2001. The exceedingly rapid and precipitous increase in energy costs, the permanent closure of the pulp mill at Georgia Pacific when 420 workers have lost their jobs. Alcoa Intalco averting a catastrophic loss of jobs for 930 employees, despite being faced with a complete shutdown of the plant.

Whatcom County provides key leadership and support in efforts to address critical water resource issues. We’ve sponsored the acquisition of some 689 acres of land in the Lake Whatcom watershed to remain undisturbed for generations. We continue to diligently seek solutions to challenges in water quality and quantity, in-stream flows, and fish habitat issues.

Public safety and the administration of justice are critical to our quality of life. We have a revitalized law and justice council working on projects that will improve the administration of justice and ensure a safer community. There’s a 20 percent increase in the number of deputy sheriffs responding to crime and citizen concerns and an increased number of correction officers and alternative corrections programs.

The drug court continues to turn around the lives of severe drug users with an impressive 82 percent success rate. These graduates now contribute to our community, instead of draining from it. Whatcom County is one of eight programs in the U.S. to receive a $500,000 Department of Justice Drug Court Program Award over the next three years.

This spring, I announced a new agreement for the delivery of Medic One services. This will allow a proper response to the increasing demand for emergency medical assistance and set the stage for preparing a long-term EMA strategic plan.

Whatcom County is one of three counties in Washington that has received both the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and the Certificate of Achievement for excellence in financial reporting. These awards represent the highest form of recognition for budgeting and financial reporting in the United States.

Whatcom County has consistently been a leader in the effective use of technology and the internet. We encourage our citizens’ use of county services on-line rather than having them stand in line, such as EZ-Gov for payment of taxes and useful information.

This administration and the county council have worked positively together to enhance the quality of life for our citizens. Please be assured that my administration will continue to collaborate with the council and the other members of our team to maintain high quality and efficient service for the people of Whatcom County..