Action Taken at June 6, 2022 Meeting
The mayor introduced Rebecca Mertzig the new Bellingham Police Chief. She has 18 years of law enforcement experience, had previously held the rank of lieutenant at the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and served as the police chief for the city of Stanwood. She was named Deputy of the Year in 2010 and has received the FBI-LEEDA Trilogy Award. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Washington University. (AB23361)
The mayor appointed two members to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board provides recommendations on plans and programs designed to enable the department to maintain and improve city parks and provide recreation programs for the general welfare of the people of the city. The board advises the City Council, mayor, Department of Parks and Recreation director, and other city departments.
Thor Beck was appointed as the student representative. A computer science pre-major at WWU, he has volunteered as part of the trail crew for Washington Trails Association and with Parks and Recreation. The initial one-year term will expire on 5/27/2023, at which time he may be reappointed.
Steve Walker, a 30-year resident of Bellingham, is a park ranger, university recreation manager, land steward, and executive director of the boating center with a masters in education. His first term will expire on 5/27/2025, at which time he may be reappointed. (AB23364) Nonvoting issue.
Shall the council:
94. Spend $35,000 to acquire .23-acre property located on 28th Street directly north of Hoag’s Pond in the South Neighborhood of Bellingham? (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
95. Approve a request for sewer service at 2337 Yew Street Road? At the 5/23/2011 meeting, vote #94, the council repealed all water and sewer services located outside the city limits. The Growth Management Act allows the expansion of city services into rural areas to protect public health and safety. The property at 2337 Yew Street Road has a single-family residence constructed in 1944, is a city of Bellingham water customer, and is located outside city limits but within the urban growth area. There are existing sewer mains abutting the property. On 3/30/2022, the Whatcom County Health Department confirmed that the septic system is failing. The county has ordered the property owner to correct the issue and lists connecting to the city of Bellingham sanitary sewer system as its preferred choice. The property will pay all appropriate connection and monthly charges. (AB23366) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
96. Authorize the police chief to sign the agreement establishing LEMART, the Whatcom County Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Response Team? LEMART shall conduct independent investigations as outlined by state law. Member agencies include Bellingham Police Department, Blaine Police Department, Everson Police Department, Ferndale Police Department, Lummi Law and Order Police Department, Lynden Police Department, Nooksack Tribal Police Department and Sumas Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Western Washington University police, and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. LEMART is composed of qualified commissioned peace officer investigators and crime scene investigators, and operates independently of the member agencies to conduct investigations where the use of deadly force by an officer results in death, or substantial or great bodily harm. (AB23368) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
97. Appropriate $4,239,462 for payroll checks issued from May 1 through May 15, 2022? (AB23374) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
98. Appropriate $ 2,294,633 for goods and services checks issued from May 13 through May 19, 2022? (AB23375) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
99. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the University of Washington? The City of Bellingham has a continued interest in training city staff regarding the requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Northwest ADA Center is part of the Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation within the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington. The center has created an accessibility checklist and customized training that has been designed to be a convenient tool for identifying architectural and communication barriers that may be encountered by people with disabilities in public and private buildings. The Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation will collaborate with city staff to provide training. (AB23376) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
100. Adopt the annual six-year (2023-2028) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held at the 5/22 meeting, comments taken electronically.) State law requires cities to update their transportation program by July 1 of each year. The program provides a list of capital improvement projects and establishes the city’s eligibility for state and federal funds. Projects funded include pavement resurfacing, nonmotorized transportation improvements, clean energy transportation, bridge reconstruction and various transportation and safety improvement programs. Twenty-two projects are listed in this year’s plan with an estimated cost of more than $152,000,000. AB23367 (Resolution 2022-11) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
101. Docket six amendments* to the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan for review in 2022-23? The first step in the annual process to amend the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan is to establish the list (“docket”) of amendments for review in the upcoming year. Public Works submitted two requests to update the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans, the Bellingham School District requests a rezone for property at 4160 Cougar Road, and three private property owners have asked for various adjustments to property zones. AB23372 (Resolution 2022-12) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
102. Increase a construction inspector position to full-time? The city has identified a budget adjustment that was not anticipated when the biennial budget was adopted. A full-time seasonal senior construction inspector is needed to perform required inspections of capital infrastructure projects. The number of projects under design and construction has increased as the city implements typical transportation and utility projects as well as new projects addressing fish barriers and those implementing the Climate Action Plan. This budget increase is funded through the existing budget and requires no increase in budget authority. AB23354 (Ordinance 2022-06-014) Approved 6-0, Hollie Huthman excused.
1. REZ 2022-0001: The Public Works Department requests an amendment to the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan to incorporate an updated Pedestrian Master Plan by reference.
2. REZ 2022-0002: The Public Works Department requests an amendment to the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan to incorporate an updated Bicycle Master Plan by reference.
3. REZ 2022-0003: The Bellingham School District requests a rezone of their properties located at 4160 Cougar Road and parcel 380308107121 in Area 6 of the King Mountain neighborhood from Residential Single to Public.
4. REZ 2022-0004: Talbot Real Estate LLC requests a rezone to adopt a new Urban Village plan and Urban Village designation in Areas 13-20 and 25 in the Barkley Neighborhood.
5. REZ 2022-0006: Dominion Sustainable Development requests a rezone of properties located at 755 Lincoln St. and 3816 Consolidation Ave. in Area 1 of the Samish Neighborhood from Commercial Auto to Commercial Planned.
6. REZ 2022-0009: Samish Heights Inc. requests an amendment to the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan, Samish Neighborhood Plan, and BMC 20.00.150 Prerequisite Considerations concerning the arterial route classification/alignment of Yew/Samish Connector (San Juan Blvd. and Governor Rd.).
Action Taken at June 27, 2022 Meeting
Shall the council:
103. Spend $295,000 to acquire 0.48-acre of watershed property with one potential development unit owned by Joyce Busch? (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
104. Spend $195,000 to acquire 0.33-acre of watershed property with one potential development unit owned by RKS Development? (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
105. Ratify the 2022-2023 collective bargaining agreement with IAFF, Local 106, with the following general terms? Effective 1/1/2022 – A 6 percent increase in base rate of pay. Effective 1/1/2022 – A 2 percent increase in captain’s pay grade. Effective upon ratification, a 1 percent increase in deferred compensation match. Add Juneteenth holiday. Adjustments to premiums including acting captains, paramedics, students, and specialties. Wage (COLA) reopener for 2023. Health Insurance: Increase city’s contribution to medical health care by 6 percent in each year of the agreement. Duration: 1/1/2022 through 1/31/2023. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
106. Ratify the 2022-2024 collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police with the following general terms? Wages and compensation: Effective 1/1/2022 – 1 percent increase over top step sergeant for a total of 17 percent. Effective 1/1/2023 – 1 percent increase over top step sergeant for a total of 18 percent. Add Juneteenth holiday. Future changes section defines where the Fraternal Order of Police will receive a “me too” agreement for relevant changes related to wages, deferred compensation, educational incentives, or longevity. Health insurance: increase city’s contribution to medical health care by 6 percent in each year of the agreement. Duration: 1/1/2022 through 1/31/2024. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
107. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County concerning planning, development review and annexation in urban growth areas? The city and county have had an UGA agreement since 2002 — the previous update was approved at the 4/16/2012 meeting, vote #62. The agreement has worked well for both jurisdictions, so only minor amendments are proposed. These amendments address the review and evaluation program (buildable lands), reimbursement for annexed lands, and sales tax revenue sharing. The County Council voted on the agreement with Bellingham at the 6/21/2022 meeting, vote #162 — it was approved 5-2. Annexations have occurred with agreement on the transition of services, reimbursements for infrastructure projects and revenue sharing. The new expiration date is 6/30/2032. (AB23380) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
108. Authorize the office of mayor to display Pride banners on city utility poles? (AB23383) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
109. Appropriate $4,232,123 for payroll checks issued from May 16 through May 31, 2022? (AB23384) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
110. Appropriate $15,220,410 for goods and services checks issued from May 20 through June 16, 2022? (AB23385/23386/23387/23388) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
111. Authorize the mayor to update an agreement with Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) for use of city-owned fiber optics? The city will supply fiber optic cabling infrastructure, bank conduit, access vaults, and network operation centers to support the telecommunications service needs of WTA. This agreement replaces a previous agreement that was formalized in 2011 — the language and pricing needed updating. The agreement will result in approximately $2,500 in annual revenue to the city. (AB23389) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
112. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the Bellingham School District for sports camps? The agreement provides recreational sport camps for children of all ages during school breaks. The Bellingham School District will provide staffing and facilities for the camps. The city will provide marketing, registration, and participant coordination. The parties agree to partner to provide recreational and sport services and each share in a portion of participant registration revenue. Revenue is collected to pay for administrative and operational costs of services, and as fundraisers for student body funds at the school district. (AB23390) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
113. Authorize the mayor to sign a $31,700 agreement with Western Washington University to conduct a 2022 residential survey? The scope of work for the project includes conducting a survey of randomly selected residents, with online and telephone options, providing a written report on findings, and making a presentation to the City Council. At the 8/29/2016 meeting, vote #137, 8/20/2018 meeting, vote #126, and the 11/9/202 meeting vote #201, the council authorized prior surveys and the costs have been $14,000, $15,500 and $25,200. The Center for Economic and Business Research at WWU is well suited to provide research and analysis involving and assisting local jurisdictions in evaluating, developing and interpreting opinion data. The survey will be mailed to 7,000 randomly selectrd residents and a follow-up post card. A renter population of 1,750 will be sent an invitation, and a social media campaign will target those under 30. (AB23392) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
114. Affirm that the display of flags on city property is government speech? Flagpoles on city property are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public, but rather as a nonpublic forum for the display of flags as required by law, for the expression of the city’s official government speech, or both. This resolution authorizes Pride, Juneteenth, and the official city flag as well as those of Sister Cities. A request to display a commemorative flag must be made by the mayor or a member of the City Council. AB23383 (Resolution 2022-13) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
115. Authorize the mayor to acquire certain property by eminent domain? The property is needed to construct the Telegraph Road safety improvement project. The project will reconstruct Telegraph Road from a narrow, rural section of roadway into a complete urban street with the full-spectrum of multimodal features and services (sidewalks, street lights, street trees, curbs, gutters, bike lanes, vehicle lanes, and center turn lane) from Deemer Road to James Street, together with new signals at the Deemer and James intersections. The project is scheduled for construction in 2023, design is underway and the final corridor width for the project improvements has been determined. Additional right-of-way width is necessary for the installation of sidewalks and signals. It requires the acquisition of right-of-way easements and temporary construction easements from multiple property owners. The city appraised the fair market value of the proposed property acquisition areas and has negotiated in good faith with the property owners. Negotiations will continue and eminent domain will only be used if necessary to construct the project. The city has acquired the majority of the required property interests needed for the project through successful negotiations. AB23362 (Ordinance 2022-06-015) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
116. Authorize a $4 million loan to Mercy Housing Northwest to preserve affordable housing? This loan will support the purchase of the Evergreen Ridge apartment complex located near the corner of Woburn and Sunset Drive. It is a 145-unit low-income housing facility that will lose its low-income restrictions if it is not preserved. Mercy has applied for, and is optimistic it will receive, a $4 million state grant. They will not receive confirmation of the grant until after June 20. The purchase of the facility closes on July 10. Because of the tight schedule, Mercy has asked the city to provide a bridge loan until the state funds are received. If Mercy does not receive the grant, they will seek other funding sources to repay the loan. If Mercy cannot purchase this facility, it will revert to market-rate housing in 2025. At the 5/9/2022 meeting, vote #82, the council committed $2,525,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds and $1,800,000 of housing levy funds to this project. AB23370 (Ordinance 2022-06-016) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.
117. Establish a shelter protection area boundary around 910 West Holly Street? At the 6/16/2020 meeting, vote #90, the council approved the lease for the emergency shelter/temporary building encampment (“Base Camp”). The building is located at 1530 Cornwall Avenue and the lease ends on 6/17/2024. The new facility at 910 West Holly Street will have up to 200 low-barrier beds (140 men, 60 women) along with 100 beds for families, behavioral health dormitories (13 men, 12 women), medical respite dormitories (13 men, 12 women), and a flex dormitory (24 beds). The shelter space boundary will be along H Street, Clinton Street, C Street, and Roeder Avenue. The area will not become effective until the new facility obtains all necessary approvals, a Type II Design Review Permit, Conditional Use Permit and a certificate of occupancy. The existing shelter protection area (created at the 10/12/2020 meeting, vote #182) around Base Camp at 1530 Cornwall Avenue will go away simultaneously with the establishment of the new shelter. Lighthouse Mission Ministries has requested the shelter protection area to protect its clients, and the shelter protection area will help mitigate the impacts of the new facility on nearby businesses and residences. LMM is currently in the entitlement process for the new facility, and no land use decisions have been made. AB23371 (Ordinance 2022-06-017) Approved 5-0, Holly Huthman and Michael Lilliquist excused.