Mayor Nancy Conard gave her final State of the Town address last week rounding out a 20-year career as the seaside town’s level-headed leader.
Conard addressed members of the Coupeville Area Chamber of Commerce as Mayor-elect Molly Hughes, who is finishing her twelfth year on the town council, prepares to assume her new role in January.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve you as your mayor,” Conard said. “I thank you very much.”
Conard said Coupeville should be proud of its history of cooperation.
“I think Coupeville is more civilized than our neighbors,” Conard said.
“From a business standpoint the state of Coupeville is great,” Conard said, because residents believe in their town and shop local. Conard encouraged people to continue to spend money first in Coupeville, then within Island County and then online.
Local communities have seen a “huge improvement” in sales tax revenues in recent years due to a 2008 law that gives sales tax from some online purchases to the destination jurisdiction, Conard said.
Still, Coupeville has struggled with a smaller tax base than many communities as home to large untaxable properties like Whidbey General Hospital, Coupeville School District and Island County government buildings, Conard said. Lodging and sales tax has helped offset these property tax revenues.
Despite its small town obstacles, Conard said a number of projects are in the works. The Madrona Way improvement project is underway, and plans for additional municipal parking and a town bathroom are on the horizon.
“You’re an amazing person for this community and we’re going to miss you,” said Chamber Executive Director Lynda Eccles.
Hughes, who is running unopposed for Conard’s seat, said this week that while Conard will be missed, the town remains in good hands.
“We’ve got a really good staff across the board at Town Hall and there are a couple council members who have been around for a while,” Hughes said. “I think the town is going to be in good shape. I think Nancy has been an amazing mayor, she’s had a fabulous run. Coupeville has been lucky to have her.”