The Jan. 25 meeting of the Eatonville Town Council concluded with a discussion on the possibility of terminating the town’s state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an item added to the regular agenda during the meeting’s opening minutes.

Councilmember Robert Thomas posed the idea.

“I wanted to talk about this between staff and the council members — not necessarily make any motion to withdraw the state of emergency tonight — but I think we need to start considering it because I don’t know that the data supports continuing a state of emergency,” Thomas said.

Eatonville’s state of emergency proclamation, covered under the Revised Code of Washington 38.52, was signed by Mayor Mike Schaub on March 24, 2020.

Thomas said the state of emergency is hard to justify given the impact of the pandemic in south Pierce County has been “underwhelming,” although he made of point of acknowledging the seriousness of the virus that disproportionately impacts the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

“I don’t know that the emergency measures aren’t doing more harm than good down here on the bounce,” Thomas said, expressing his hope that the town could at some point begin to take some “baby steps back to normalcy.”

Councilmember Bob Walter disagreed.

"With all due respect Councilmember Thomas, I think your suggestion to try to ease our municipal state of emergency for some reason, is about two or three months of vaccinations premature,” Walter said, noting the growing number of deaths nationwide over the last few months and the mutating strains of the virus that make it more contagious.

“This is not the time to ease up on any kind of local government restrictions,” he said. “It’s just ridiculous to be thinking about lifting the state of emergency at this point. Let’s look ahead a few months.”

Mayor Schaub indicated more information on the state of emergency would be provided at the next town council meeting to further the conversation to the point about “how to move forward.”

In other business, the council passed Ordinances 2021-1 and 2021-2. Ordinance 2021-1 would see Mill Haus, LLC, owner of the proposed Eatonville Cidery and Brewery, vacate a portion of the alley adjacent to Adams Avenue South. The petitioner would be required to tender a check to the town in the amount of $11,700, the full appraised value of the property.

Ordinance 2021-2 would see Eatonville purchase the land from Mill Haus LLC for $5,400 and authorize the mayor to execute the necessary documents.

The council passed a request to add the adoption of a 2021 Comprehensive Plan amendment to the Planning Commission’s agenda.

The council passed Resolutions 2021-D and 2021-E, amending the expiration date of David Baublits, position 4 of the Planning Commission, to Dec. 31, 2023; and amending the expiration date of Daniel Adams, position 5 of the Planning Commission, to Dec. 31, 2024. Previous resolutions had the incorrect term expiration dates.

Finally, the council passed Resolution 2020-F, giving Mayor Schaub authority to sign a Letter of Agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local No. 483, regarding a collective bargaining agreement granting a 1 percent wage increase over Jan. 21, 2021, wage rates if certain revenue targets are met.