Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at February 13, 2023 Meeting

Shall the council:
22. Authorize the mayor to sign an $82,500 purchase and sale agreement with Valarie Greffard for 0.67 acres of watershed property? The parcel has one potential development unit. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

23. Authorize the mayor to sign a $100,209 settlement agreement with Brad Parberry for water damages at 1308 E. Street?  Claim Amount Requested: $100,209. At 6 a.m. on 1/2/2022, a water main broke and flooded the lower level of the old territorial courthouse constructed in the summer of 1858. The building is on the National Register of Historical Places. It was recently restored and is currently The Helen Loggie Museum of Art (“The Loggie”). The Bellingham Herald archives, wooden floors and trim located in the basement sustained water damage. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

24. Authorize the mayor to sign a $750,000 settlement agreement with Sheila P. Hanlon? Claim Amount Requested: $3 million. Sheila P. Hanlon is the widow of Neil Carlberg. Mr. Carlberg worked for the Bellingham Fire Department and died from esophageal cancer in 2018. Sheila Hanlon claims that Mr. Carlberg’s death was work-related, that he was not property protected from smoke, PAHs and toxins. The city will make a lump sum payment of  $750,000 in exchange for dismissal with prejudice of the worker’s compensation appeal in Whatcom County Superior Court. The city’s contribution towards the settlement will be approximately $130,000; the balance will be paid by the city’s insurance carrier. The dismissal means that the board’s order on appeal is affirmed, and, consequently, the occupational disease claim is rejected. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

25. Ratify the 2023-2024 collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME Local 114? The following general terms will apply from 1/1/2023 through 12/31/2024. Wages effective 1/1/2023: 3 percent COLA with an additional 4 percent market adjustment for a total wage increase of 7 percent. Effective 1/1/2024: 3 percent COLA. Add Juneteenth holiday. Eliminated the perfect attendance bonus and implemented a sick leave cash-out provision. Eliminated the master service Premium, modify the telecommunicator certification premium, and added a new EMT certification premium. Create a bargaining unit longevity step consistent with the WhatComm unit and a $500 signing bonus. Medical insurance: for 2023,  increase the city’s contribution to medical health care by 5 percent and in 2024 by 6 percent. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

26. Authorize the mayor to sign a contract with outside counsel to assist the city attorney’s office in representing the city in the DeBruin et al. v. City of Bellingham lawsuit? Total Claim Amount Requested: $9 million. Amanda DeBrun (aka Amanda Laughlin) $5 million; Bree Laughlin $1 million; Fiona Laughlin $1 million; Kyla Laughlin Lanham $1 million and Sadie Laughlin $1 million. Amanda Laughlin was a victim of mental and physical violence by her husband Brooks Laughlin while he was employed by the Bellingham Police Department. Brooks Laughlin was arrested in 2018 for assaults and/or domestic violence-related offenses. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for domestic violence and violations of a no-contact order. Amanda DeBruin asserts that the city of was negligent in its duties to protect her from domestic violence by a city employee. Bree, Fiona and Sadie Laughlin as minor children assert that the city was negligent in its duties to protect them from suffering the effects of witnessing Amanda Laughlin’s domestic violence. Kyla Laughlin Lanham is the mother of Bree, Fiona and Sadie Laughlin. She has suffered mental and emotional trauma raising three daughters that witnessed mental and physical violence. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

27. Approve a request for sewer service at 2357 Yew Street Road? The property has a single-family residence constructed in 1977. It is a City of Bellingham water customer, is within the urban growth area, and a sewer main abuts the property. On 1/9/2023, the Whatcom County Health Department reported that the septic system had failed. The tank has root intrusion between the tank body and the tank top and is no longer watertight. The county has ordered the property owner to correct the issue and lists connecting to the city sanitary sewer system as its preferred choice. The Growth Management Act allows the expansion of city services into rural areas to protect public health and safety. The property owner will pay all connection charges and monthly service charges at 150 percent of the cost of service inside city limits. (AB23620) Approved 7-0 

28. Authorize the mayor to award a three-year contract not-to-exceed $2 million to Mills Electric of Bellingham for electrical services? Previously, the city has executed multiple contracts with multiple contractors for electrical repairs and maintenance services in the city’s buildings. City staff has found it difficult to keep up with the needed required repairs and maintenance for each system. The Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract will consolidate this work into a single, comprehensive agreement serving to provide centralized on-call maintenance and repairs at competitive prices. The city received three responsive bids. This three-year initial contract contains a provision for an optional one-year renewal. (AB23621) Approved 7-0

29. Approve a letter supporting recommendations by the Whatcom County Stakeholder Advisory Committee concerning the public health, safety, and justice initiative? The Whatcom County Council will vote on the recommendations at the 2/21/2023 meeting. The letter was authored by City Council — it supports the broad principles and recommendations developed by the stakeholder committee, which encompass both resources for a new jail and investments in services to reduce unnecessary incarceration and recidivism. The stakeholder committee drew upon knowledge developed over the last seven years by the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force, which was shared with stakeholder committee members via joint meetings. (AB23605) Approved 7-0 

30. Appropriate $6,084,646 for goods and services checks issued from January 12 through January 26, 2023? (AB23625/23626) Approved 7-0

31. Appropriate $4,318,739 for payroll checks issued from January 1 through January 15, 2023? (AB23627) Approved 7-0

32. Amend the city code for the enforcement of noncriminal parking regulations? This ordinance relocates the supervision of parking enforcement officers from the Bellingham Police Department to the Public Works Department. Recent staff challenges have resulted in the reassignment of commissioned police officers away from noncriminal enforcement. The 2023-2024 budget assigns civil parking enforcement (aka parking tickets) to the Public Works Department and includes the supervisory and support staff for the four authorized parking enforcement positions. This change helps the police department remain focused on high priority criminal enforcement and enhances the public works to manage parking operations. Parking regulations include meter payments, abandoned vehicles, blocking roadways, impeding access to emergency vehicles and fire suppression infrastructure. AB23603 (Ordinance 2023-02-003) Approved 7-0

33. Establish a policy for the procurement of compost for use in city projects? The Legislature adopted House Bill 1799 in 2022. It requires cities with populations greater than 25,000 to adopt a compost procurement ordinance by 1/1/2023. It requires the use of compost in city projects where appropriate, with the intent to encourage cities to procure more compost to support the economic viability of processes that turn organic materials into finished products, and the ultimate goal of increasing the diversion of organics from the waste stream. The practical effect of the ordinance will be to add a tracking and reporting element to the city’s existing practice of using compost in city projects where appropriate. Three main elements to the ordinance include provisions to require departments to determine if compost may be used for projects, requirements for the city to make annual reports to the state, and educational outreach to be performed by public works. AB23604 (Ordinance 2023-02-004) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at February 27, 2023 Meeting

Shall the council:
34. Authorize the city to spend $680,000 to acquire a 12-acre property located at 4447 Meridian Street and owned by Tsui-Li Horng? (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

35. Authorize the city to spend $375,000 to acquire a 3.78-acre property owned by Kristeen M. Peterson, Kevin R. and Gretchen E. Moore? It is located on Democrat Street, just west of Yew Street and abutting the North Samish Crest Open Space. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

36. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $3,494,089 to Faber Construction of Lynden for sewer replacements? The engineer’s estimate was $3,721,433. This project will upsize and replace the existing sanitary sewer main in a number of locations throughout Bellingham, including Woburn Street from Barkley to Texas and the 1600 block of Woburn, the 2200 block of Fraser, Barkley Boulevard from Newmarket to Woburn, the 2300 block of Yew Street, and in front of the Oak Street pump station. The city received four bids: the high bid was $5,169,318. (AB23632) Approved 7-0 

37. Authorize the mayor to sign a temporary use permit with the state of Washington to support the boat inspection program? At the 2/24/2014 meeting, vote #22, the city initially signed an agreement with Whatcom County for the financing of the boat inspection program. This agreement is for use of state property at Lake Samish for a boat inspection station. City staff will operate a seasonal check station to inspect boats and other watercraft for aquatic invasive species. The program is operated by the city under the umbrella of the Lake Whatcom Management Program. The goal of the boat inspection program is to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species and protect the drinking water source of over 100,000 people. The permit terminates on 10/31/2023. (AB23640) Approved 7-0 

38. Authorize the police chief to submit an application to Homeland Security Investigations for the reimbursement of overtime incurred during joint operations for retail theft? Homeland Security Investigations is an investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The joint operation is projected to start on 2/15/2023. This agreement states that police department remains fully responsible for its obligations as the employer of the officers assigned to the joint operation and is responsible for the payment of overtime earnings, withholdings, insurance coverage, and all other requirements by law, regulation, ordinance, or contract regardless of the reimbursable overtime charges incurred. The police department shall also certify that the request has not been made to any other federal law enforcement agency that may also be participating with the joint operation. The Treasury Forfeiture Fund is responsible for the reimburse of overtime charges. The council approved the agreement under the condition that the administration add the following statement under Section III: “This is not for any immigration enforcement against undocumented people and is for the sole purpose of reimbursement for cost of retail theft operations.” (AB23641) Approved 7-0 

39. Appropriate $4,558,703 for payroll checks issued from January 16 through January 31, 2023? (AB23642) Approved 7-0

40. Appropriate $3,286,210 for goods and services checks issued from February 2 through February 16, 2023? (AB23643/23644) Approved 7-0

41. Change the collection of citywide recyclables? This contract modification with Sanitary Service involves changing all residential recycling from three bins to a single bin, along with the addition of an organics collection (FoodPlus!) bin. The City of Bellingham contracts for garbage/recycling collection with the Sanitary Service Company. In recent years, Sanitary Service has seen a reversal of the recyclable commodity market to a cost rather than revenue, with significant increases in labor costs. The demand for certain commodities has dropped and left haulers and transfer stations unable to profit or even offset operating costs of collection or sorting. In addition, some trucks at the end of service life need to be replaced. Single stream is the predominant method for curbside collection in the state and most of the nation. Material recovery facilities are equipped to sort and separate with current technology to obtain more reusable products. The recovery facilities are more equipped to sort out contamination and have a higher rate of salvage of these materials than a “hand” sorted system. AB23645 (Resolution 2023-01) Approved 7-0

42. Create a subarea at 331 Chuckanut Drive N.? (Public hearing held at February 13 meeting.) AVT Consulting on behalf of the property owner Burton Baxter Testamentary Trust, applied to rezone approximately 3.77 acres with a single-family residence and detached garage. The rezone will add a “cluster” designation to the zoning. The site abuts Fairhaven Park along its eastern property line. Under current zoning, the site can contain a maximum of 22 dwelling units. It is estimated that wetlands and their associated buffers cover up to one-half of the site. The Planning Commission decided by a vote of 4-2 that the proposal is consistent with the rezone criteria outlined in city code and recommended to the City Council they approve the rezone. AB23616 (Ordinance 2023-02-005) Approved 7-0  

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