Action Taken at September 26, 2022 Meeting
Mayor Fleetwood announced he is lifting the Covid-19 local emergency orders in conjunction with the governor rescinding the state emergency order on 10/31/2022. In-person meetings for boards and commissions will likely resume in November. This impacts grocery worker hazard pay, and staff will be communicating to stakeholders across the city.
Shall the council:
170. Concur with the mayor’s decision to halt further work on biodigestion for waste solids handling at the Post Point sewage treatment plant? Since 7/24/2017, the council has received 13 briefings on replacing the aging incinerators. On 8/29/2022, based on an estimated cost of 1.1 billion, Mayor Fleetwood announced his intention to stop further development of the Post Point Resource Recovery Project and any further pursuits regarding aerobic digestion improvements. The mayor’s 2023-2024 budget proposal will include funding for Post Point investments to existing equipment using sewer fund reserves and current revenue streams. Funding for maintenance of current systems will come from existing reserves and revenue streams without the need for outside financing. At the 5/9/2022 meeting, vote #79, the council approved applying for a $136 million federal Water Infrastructure and Financing Innovation Act loan; the staff are in process of withdrawing from the loan application process. This decision is based on affordability concerns, greater protection of the Salish Sea, and focusing our climate ambitions on achieving community-wide carbon reductions. While there are opportunities to improve the wastewater treatment plant, the Washington State Department of Ecology recently awarded an outstanding performance award for 2021 to the Post Point staff. (AB23182) Approved 7-0
171. Recommend the administration bring forward any policies previously adopted by the city that may need to be amended and relevant action plans and policies that are affected by the Post Point decision? The plans and policies will be referred to the council’s Climate Action Committee for review and modification to the Climate Action Plan and, if necessary, brought to the full council for consideration and possible adoption. (AB23182) Approved 7-0
172. Urge the administration to actively pursue and develop work plans to investigate alternative solid waste technologies and processes? The plans include but will not be limited to thermal processes such as pyrolysis and gasification, for supplementing and/or replacing the current incineration equipment and processes. (AB23182) Approved 7-0
173. Return to council chambers on 10/3/2022? The City Council’s decision at its 5/23/2022, to continue remote meetings was based on the state and local emergency proclamations remaining in effect. Given that all proclamations of emergency will be lifted on10/31/2022, City Council must resume in-person meetings at a physical location by no later than its 11/7/2022 meeting. However, given the current low Covid-19 levels in Whatcom County, the size and air filtering capacity of the city c ouncil chambers, and the city’s resumption of in-person services generally, the mayor recommends that council resume in-person meetings at its 10/3/2022 meeting. (AB23277) Approved 7-0
174. Appropriate $5,037,765 for payroll checks issued from August 16 through August 31, 2022? (AB23456) Approved 7-0
175. Appropriate $5,763,802 for goods and services checks issued from September 2 through September 15, 2022? (AB23457/23458) Approved 7-0
176. Grant a three-day noise variance to Astound Broadband? Construction work in residentially zoned areas between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. requires a noise variance. On behalf of Comcast, Astound Broadband is performing work in the Whatcom Falls neighborhood at the intersection of Old Lakeway Drive and Yew Street Road, installing two-inch conduit for connection to Comcast’s existing fiber optic cable network. The project will be performed at night to minimize impacts and maximize safety at the site. The crews will adhere to proper noise mitigation measures, including prohibiting truck tailgate bang. (AB23459) Approved 7-0
177. Approve a contract for inmate housing at the South Correctional Entity (SCORE)? At the 3/21/2016 meeting, vote #45, the council initially approved an agreement with SCORE to house inmates. The current agreement expires on 12/31/2022. The Bellingham Police Department would like to continue the contract with SCORE, located in Des Moines, WA. The 164,000-square-foot facility has a staff of 150 full-time positions and the capacity to house 813 inmates. SCORE will be used as an option when restrictions prohibit the arrestee from being booked into Whatcom County jail. The booking fee is $50 and general population bed rate is $199 per day. The agreement expires on 12/31/2023. (AB23460) Approved 7-0
178. Extend the terms of the jail facility use agreement with Whatcom County? This amendment extends the terms of this agreement between Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham. All terms and conditions in the original contract and any previous amendments remain in full effect. They take effect on 7/1/2022 and terminates on 12/31/2023. (AB23461) Approved 7-0
179. Authorize the mayor to sign a joint funding agreement with the federal government for the operation and maintenance of stream gages? The city partners with U.S. Department of Interior/U.S. Geological Survey for the operation and maintenance of 11 stream gauges. The total cost of the program is $237,239: the city’s share is $200,411 and the federal government’s share is $36,828. The program monitors the stream flow discharges of Olsen Creek, Carpenter Creek, Euclid Creek, Silver Beach Creek, Brannian Creek, and the turbidity of Anderson Creek and the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River. This year, Squalicum Creek and Chuckanut Creek will be added to the monitoring program. The agreement runs from 10/1/2022 through 9/30/2023. (AB23462) Approved 7-0
180. Repeal the transportation network company services portion of the Bellingham Municipal Code? At the 9/28/2015 meeting, vote #180, the City Council voted to regulate the operations of transportation network companies (like Uber and Lyft) and drivers within Bellingham. On 3/31/2022, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 2076 to establish comprehensive state-wide regulations for transportation network companies and drivers operating in the state. The City Council must repeal Bellingham Municipal Code 6.55 because the state legislation preempts local regulation. ESHB 2076 does not preempt generally applicable taxes, fees or charges, such as local business and occupations tax, sales and use tax, excise tax or property tax and, therefore, the repeal of BMC 6.55 will not excuse any transportation network company or driver from such obligations. AB23443 (Ordinance 2022-09-022) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at October 3, 2022 Meeting
Mayor Fleetwood and Chief Mertzig recognized and expressed gratitude for the quick actions and calm demeanor of Officer Dearborn, when confronted with an individual attempting suicide by cop over the weekend. The response displayed reflects extensive training and skills of Bellingham police officers.
Shall the council:
181. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Betty Sanchez to the Transportation Commission? She has lived in Bellingham for seven years, is a real estate managing broker and retired senior transportation planner with a land use and environmental planning certificate. She served as a senior transportation planner and project manager for 13 years and eight years as a planning commissioner. Her first term will expire on 10/3/2025 at which time she may be reappointed. (AB23466)Approved 7-0
182. Appropriate $4,830,451 for goods and services checks issued from September 16 through September 23, 2022? (AB23472) Approved 7-0
183. Appropriate $4,354,814 for payroll checks issued from September 1 through September 15, 2022? (AB23473) Approved 7-0
184. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County for domestic violence perpetrator treatment? Whatcom County currently experiences insufficient capacity of, and local accessibility to, certified treatment for defendants who have a history of violent behavior toward intimate partners and family members. These treatment services are often ordered by the courts as part of criminal justice proceedings. At the 3/23/2020 meeting, vote #49, the City Council approved up to $100,000 for indigent defendants for perpetrator treatment in domestic violence, but the amount was reduced in 2021 to $20,000 due to a slow start to the program and budget restraints. The amount was increased to $50,000 in 2022. Whatcom County District Court Probation is requesting that the annual amount for the next two years be increased to $100,000. The city will add $100,000 per year to the 2023-2024 budget. The county has established a protocol and procedure for distribution and documentation of the domestic violence perpetrator funds, and has agreed to provide continued administrative oversight. The city is allocating general funds to reimburse assessment and treatment expenses for defendants referred by Bellingham Municipal Court. This agreement expires on 12/31/2024. (AB23474) Approved 7-0
185. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County for probation services? The city of Bellingham contracts with the Whatcom County for probation services for persons who have been found guilty of violating ordinances of the city. Probation services have been provided by the District Court probation department for two decades. They provide all probation services for the court as well as administrating the domestic violence funding for the court .The city will reimburse the county a monthly rate of $10.00 per open active case. The county will submit monthly reports to the city detailing clients served. Active probation services include: monitoring compliance with drug, domestic violence, mental health, sexual deviance and other court-ordered treatment programs; monitoring completion of community service and payment of restitutions; indigence-status assessment; bail studies; and conducting breath, urine, and oral substance testing. The agreement runs from 1/1/2023 to 12/31/2025. (AB23475)Approved 7-0
186. Relinquish a surplus utility easement at 1752 Old Samish Road? (Public hearing held.) On 12/1/1980, the City of Bellingham vacated 33rd Street and the alleys between Old Samish Highway (now known as Old Samish Road) and Rainer Street between 32nd and 34th. The city retained an easement for potential future public utility needs within the vacated street segment. The owners of the property at 1752 Old Samish Road, Ken and Hope K. Hopf, have applied for a building permit for a new single-family residence but need the area encumbered by the city’s retained utility easement to properly complete the design and meet current regulations. The property is a vacant lot. Public Works has no need or plans to place public utilities in the retained utility easement area. Other franchise utilities do not exist in the retained utility easement area and their services are provided from outside the easement area. All managers of the franchise utility holders have been notified and no objections to the relinquishment of the easement have been made. AB23463 (Resolution 2022-18) Approved 7-0
187. Encourage voters to vote “Yes” on the emergency medical services property tax levy? (Public hearing held.) In 2016, the Whatcom County voters approved a six-year levy for countywide emergency medical services; it expires on 12/31/2022. At the 7/26/2022 meeting, vote #193, the Whatcom County Council voted to submit a six-year (2023-2028) levy to Whatcom County voters at the 2022 general election. It will renew a property tax each year for six years, collection beginning in 2023, at a rate of $0.295 or less per $1,000 of assessed valuation to continue to provide emergency medical services. If the EMS levy is not renewed by voters, the city anticipates a significant funding shortfall and may have to either reduce EMS or re-allocate funding from other important city services to maintain the current level of EMS funding. AB23464 (Resolution 2022-19) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at October 24, 2022 Meeting
Shall the council:
188. Spend $390,000 to acquire from Erik and Paul Senuty two parcels in the Lake Whatcom Watershed? The parcels total 0.93 acres with one potential development unit. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
189. Authorize the mayor to sign a professional services agreement with attorney Kinnon Williams with Foster Garvey of Seattle for legal advice and representation on eminent domain matters as the need arises? (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
190. The mayor reappointed Caleb Savage and Neil Schaner to the Greenways Advisory Committee? The Greenway Advisory Committee shall identify, develop, review, and recommend selection criteria, general project priorities and specific actions relating to the expenditure and allocation of Greenway levy funds. The committee shall work in cooperation with the Parks and Recreation Department staff. The board consists of eleven members appointed by the mayor. Appointments will be for three-year terms and a member may be reappointed. (AB23481)
190A. Approved the mayor’s reappointment of Caleb Savage to the Greenways Advisory Committee? Caleb Savage was appointed to a partial term at the 3/28/2022 meeting, vote #51. He has taught environmental education for the past 10 years and has lived in Bellingham less than two years. He is a program coordinator at Recreation Northwest and has a BS in parks, recreation and tourism from University of Maine. His full term will expire on 10/28/2025 at which time he may be reappointed. (AB23481) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
190B. Approved the mayor’s reappointment of Neil Schaner to the Greenways Advisory Committee? Neil Schaner was appointed to a partial term at the 9/28/2020 meeting, vote #163. He is a civil engineer, current employed at Herrera Environmental Consultants and he has been active with Engineers Without Borders, International Living Future Institute and WTA. He has lived in Bellingham for approximately four years. His full term will expire on 11/18/2025 at which time he may be reappointed. (AB23481) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
191. The mayor appointed Asa Deane to a partial term in 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. Asa Deane is the executive director of the Friends of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands and serves on the Anacortes Forest Advisory Board. He has lived in Bellingham for approximately four years. His partial term will expire on 9/29/2023 at which time he may be reappointed. (AB23482) Nonvoting issue.
192. Authorize as a one-year pilot program the removal of on-street parking along sections of W. Illinois Street, Meridian Street, Girard Street, Cornwall Avenue and Eldridge Avenue? (Public hearing held on October 3.) On-street parking will be removed on W. Illinois Street from Sunset to Lynn, on Meridian Street from East Victor to West Illinois, on Girard Street from Broadway to Young, on Cornwall Avenue from Laurel to Pine and on Eldridge Avenue from Broadway to Nequalicum. Removal of on-street parking along these streets is needed to provide the physical space for bicycle lanes. Consistent with the policies and objectives contained in the Bicycle Master Plan (approved at the 10/13/2014 meeting, vote #207), staff recommend removal of parking along these roadways to install bicycle infrastructure in the summer of 2023. The city conducted parking studies on multiple dates and times between 2017 and 2022 to determine parking utilization along the selected corridors and determined parking utilization ranged between 4 percent and 25 percent across the study areas. The 2023-2028 transportation improvement program, approved at the 6/6/2022 meeting, vote #100, includes more than $6.5 million for bike and pedestrian projects along the streets where parking removal is recommended. (AB23489) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
193. Grant a five-day noise variance to Astound Broadband? Construction work in residentially zoned areas between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. requires a noise variance. The work will take place at the intersection of Old Lakeway Drive and Yew Street Road in the Whatcom Falls neighborhood. The variance is for five non-consecutive nights between 10/25 and 11/11. Astound crews will adhere to proper noise mitigation measures, including prohibiting truck tailgate banging. The project will provide resiliency to the existing Comcast fiber network. At the 9/26/2022 meeting, vote #177, the council approved a noise variance for this work to be performed between 10/1 and 10/20 but Astound had issues with their driller and the work was not able to be completed. (AB23497) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
194. Authorize the police chief to accept a $22,500 state grant for archiving and records retention? The purpose of this grant is to help local government use technology to improve their records retention, management and disclosure of public records processes. The grant will be used for one year of services from Veritone Redact, an AI-enabled redaction solution that automates the process of redacting video and audio evidence. Veritone Redact systematically detects human heads, license plates, officer notepads, laptops as well as enables users to manually define other sensitive imagery and objects within a scene, then automatically redacts this information from audio, video and image-based evidence. From there, the redacted evidence can quickly be downloaded with logs to support chain of custody requirements and sharing. (AB23498) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
195. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom Council of Governments for the Lincoln-Lakeway Safety Assessment Data Acquisition Project? This is a multi-agency effort involving the Whatcom Transportation Authority, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Whatcom Council of Governments. At the 7/6/2020 meeting, vote #113, the council voted to contribute $20,000 to the multimodal transportation study. The study has been completed and it recommended several transportation improvements along corridors, intersections and freeway on/off-ramps in the Lincoln and Lakeway corridor areas. This agreement allows the Whatcom Council of Governments to hire a consultant. Video cameras will collect data on near-miss conflicts between people walking, biking, crossing, and driving. The data and subsequent findings will be used for transportation improvements designed to reduce conflicts and collisions; and gain a better understanding of user conflicts in the study area which will in turn allow the city and the state to design transportation improvements. The safety assessment data project will be jointly funded: The city will contribute $16,000, the state will contribute $15,000 and Council of Government will contribute $15,000 for a total cost not exceed $46,000. (AB23499) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
196. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Western Washington University to allow university police officers to enforce parking regulations around the campus? Illegal parking around WWU is impacting nearby residents, including student residents who live off-campus, and others who wish to lawfully and temporarily park on nearby streets to access the university. The Bellingham police department has a shortage of parking enforcement officers; however a previously executed mutual aid agreement which is still in effect, allows university police officers to enforce parking infractions around WWU. This agreement shall be effective until 12/31/2022 and may be extended upon agreement of both parties. The following areas will be covered by university police: 800 block of Taylor Ave., 100-200 blocks of Highland Dr., 500-700 blocks of N Garden St., 700 block of High St., 800 block of Billy Frank Jr St. to E. Ivy St., 700 block of 25th St., and 100 block of Arboretum Dr. and parking lot. (AB23500) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
197. Approve a stormwater line easement for a new PeaceHealth Medical Group office building? The 17,000 square-foot building is being constructed at 220 Birchwood Avenue, located at the intersection of Birchwood Avenue and Squalicum Parkway. The property is located directly south of the Squalicum Creek Trail, which lies on property owned by the city. A portion of the stormwater outfall structure is proposed to encroach onto city property to connect to an existing drainage ditch. PeaceHealth is requesting a permanent stormwater line easement to allow for installation, operation and maintenance of the stormwater line. The stormwater easement area is approximately 25 square feet. As consideration of the city granting the easement, PeaceHealth will install landscaping and/or improve the trail around the easement area. (AB23501) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
198. Appropriate $7,626,393 for goods and services checks issued from September 23, 2022 through October 13, 2022? (AB23502/23503/23504) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
199. Appropriate $4,276,461 for payroll checks issued from September 16 through September 30, 2022? (AB23505) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
200. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County and small cities in Whatcom County concerning procedures for amending the countywide planning policies? This agreement replaces the existing interim agreement put forward by the city/county planner group, which established a subcommittee that reviewed other jurisdictions’ procedures for countywide planning policy amendments, drafted a proposed agreement and brought it back to the city/county planner group for consideration. At the 3/9/2020 meeting, vote #41, the City Council adopted an interim amendment process with Whatcom County concerning countywide planning policies. These interim procedures were used to adopt countywide planning policies (CWPPs) relating to the Growth Management Act mandated review and evaluation of buildable lands. This long-term agreement sets the stage for amending the CWPPs in advance of the 2025 update to county and city comprehensive plans. (AB23506) Approved 6-0, Michael Lilliquist abstained.
201. Increase expenditures for the Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism Promotion Area by $450,000? The Tourism Promotion Area was created by the City Council at the 3/8/2021 meeting, vote #39. The promotion area was approved by the Whatcom County Council at the 3/9/2021 meeting, vote #63. The city has identified budget adjustments that were not anticipated when the biennial budget was adopted; these adjustments are necessary to comply with the agreement governing the operation of the Tourism Promotion Area. Collections received from qualified businesses in the city and unincorporated Whatcom County are deposited with the City of Bellingham. The city will contract with Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism to conduct the activities consistent with state law. Revenue will increase to $600,000, with $150,000 counted as reserve contribution. AB23469 (Ordinance 2022-10-023) Approved 5-0, Dan Hammill and Michael Lilliquist abstained.