Chamber Leads the Way to One Lewis County

By: Alicia Bull

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have someone approach me with concerns in regards to our County government and how it is being run. Our members have concerns about the lack of leadership and decisions coming from the County Commissioners.

It’s really no secret at this point that things aren’t healthy at the County, and the County Commissioners haven’t show the expertise to effectively manage their budget. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increased level of poor fiscal management. Commissioners use the reserves as a credit card instead of saving for a rainy day. We’ve had continued lawsuits caused by unprofessional behavior, leading to hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars spent to settle. There is a lack of leadership vision, and a failure to partner effectively with key community organizations and decisions are being made that seem to be about personalities versus consistent policy.

We’re listening to you. We brought together a group of diverse, committed people in the county who share an interest in effective government. This group has been meeting for months and has identified a strong solution that will lead to better government and cost-savings.

Based on this group’s recommendation, the Chamber is leading an effort to change our form of County government to a “Home Rule” Charter County. Specifically, we propose to move from three full-time commissioners to five part-time commissioners. These five part-time commissioners will be more fully representative of our County. They will focus on policy, similar to a City Council model, and their salaries would be reduced to approximately $1,000 a month plus benefits.These will be public servants serving our community versus individuals serving for the paycheck. We can then use these savings to hire a professional county manager to oversee day-to-day operations. This will put a leader in front of our County that has the experience needed to run our government successfully.

To move forward, we need approximately 2,500 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. We plan to put this forward in the February 2018 election and are starting to collect signatures now. We are excited to see a strong solution to our defined issues and are anxious to get the ball rolling.

We need your support! Please sign the petition at the Chamber Office. Follow OneLewisCounty on Facebook and show your support there. Contact us at if you would like to volunteer to support this effort or provide financial support.


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