Colm Willis

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Read all newsletters from Commissioner Willis regarding the Wuhan virus


Several days ago I joined a call with the U.S. Forest Service. They invited commissioners in fire affected counties to ask questions. My question was very direct. Why did the federal government let the Beachie Creek Fire burn for weeks in the wilderness and not put it out when it was less than 20 acres? Frankly, the answer was not reassuring. I was told that although the Forest Service had ordered fire retardant it was not delivered because the fire was not considered a high enough priority. This is totally unacceptable. Now that we are on the road to recovery we need to take a hard look at our forest management practices at both the state and federal level. This type of mismanagement cannot be allowed to happen again. 

This week the board of commissioners made the decision to waive building permit and septic permit fees for people who are rebuilding their primary home that was destroyed by the fire. We believe it is important to let our friends and neighbors know that we support them and will remove as many barriers as possible to allow them to rebuild their homes. You can read more about our decision here and watch our discussion  by clicking the image below.

Commission in session

Highway 22 is now open all the way over the mountain. This means that residents from Gates and Idanha no longer have to wait for a pilot car to get back to their town. We still don't have city water in Detroit but a temporary water station is being set up for residents to use. Please reach out to the city for more information.

Last week FEMA also announced that Marion County has been approved for a housing mission. This means that about 100 people who have been displaced by the fire will receive temporary housing support from the federal government until they can get back on their feet. We met with FEMA this week to begin working on logistics. This is a bit of a complicated process, so if you qualify but have questions please reach out to me directly.  

Finally, I want to thank everyone who came out to the joint fundraiser that I hosted with Danielle Bethell. Danielle is going to be a great commissioner. If you missed the event, but still would like to make a contribution to support our efforts, you can do so by clicking here. The proceeds will be split between our two committees.

It is an honor to serve you as your county commissioner.

God bless,



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