Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at August 8, 2023 Meeting
Shall the council:
198. Authorize the executive to sign two contracts — totaling $194,530 — with the Opportunity Council (not to exceed $87,570) and the Whatcom Center for Early Learning (not to exceed $106,960)? The contracts will provide child development services to eligible children with development disabilities from birth to three years of age. In the 2022 – 2023 fiscal year, an average of 340 children received monthly services. The contracts expire on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-486/487) Authorized 7-0
199. Authorize the executive to sign a $69,997 contract with Environmental Science Associates of Seattle to complete a climate vulnerability assessment? The assessment will focus on the public health impacts of increased extreme heat and wildfire smoke events on the residents of Whatcom County. The results of the assessment will be used to inform infrastructure, program, and policy decisions. The contract expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-488) Authorized 7-0
200. Authorize the executive to sign a $128,745 contract with Tetra Tech of Seattle? The contract will support the Point Roberts drainage study, including surface water planning and design services that address stormwater needs in the Point Roberts area. The contract expires on 4/30/2024 (AB2023-495) Authorized 7-0
201. Authorize the executive to accept a $700,000 state grant for the 2025 Comprehensive Plan and development regulations update? State law requires Whatcom County to update its comprehensive plan and development regulations by 6/30/2025. The following areas will be included in the update process: employment, housing, and population projections; land capacity and State Environmental Act analyses; tribal cultural resources and participation; 20-year capital facilities planning; 40-year general planning strategy; county council priorities; mineral resource lands assessment; subarea planning; essential public facilities and participation planning; the critical areas ordinance; and project management. (AB2023-496) Authorized 7-0
202. Authorize the executive to sign a $523,788 contract (amendment #1) with North Sound Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization of Mount Vernon? The contract will fund Whatcom County’s participation in the North Sound Integrated Care Network. The county partners with Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Snohomish counties health authorities to provide a regional health care network that provides behavioral health services coordination, management, and support within the five regional counties. The original contract for $449,191 was approved at the 4/11/2023 meeting, vote #83. The purpose of this amendment is to extend the contract period. The total amended contract is $972,979; it renews annually until terminated. (AB2023-498) Authorized 7-0
203. Authorize the executive to sign a $512,455 contract with the North Sound Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization of Mount Vernon for the Recovery Navigator Program (RNP)? As part of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programming, the contract will provide funding for three full-time positions; two outreach and one intensive case management position to support people who intersect with law enforcement because of simple drug possession or because of unmet behavioral healthcare needs. The contract expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-499) Authorized 7-0
204. Authorize the executive to accept a $4,122,656 state grant for continued implementation of the Swift Creek Sediment Management Action Plan? Swift Creek transports naturally-occurring asbestos and heavy metals that erode from Sumas Mountain into the Sumas River where it is deposited in channel banks and floodplains within Whatcom County, creating health risks for residents. At the 7/24/2018 meeting, vote #120, the council established the Swift Creek Sediment Management Fund and authorized $1 million for the first and second tasks. At the 2/12/2019 meeting, vote #36, the council entered into a $966,275 contract with Herrera Environmental Consultants of Seattle for preliminary project design services. At the 3/24/2020 meeting, vote #55, the council established a Swift Creek Capital Projects Fund and project-based budget in the amount of $5,217,160. The grant expires on 9/30/2025. (AB2023-502) Authorized 7-0
205. Fill a vacancy on the Wildlife Advisory Committee? The committee advises Planning and Development Services staff and the County Council on the value of wildlife and habitat management issues as they relate to the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan. Kristi Park was the only applicant. Kristi Park is a licensed landscape architect and planner specialized in community engagement and urban ecology. (AB2023-506) Appointed 7-0
206. Authorize the executive to accept a $3,952,642 federal grant for the construction phase of the E. Smith Road and Hannegan intersection improvement project? The project will install a roundabout with drainage, multi-modal transport, and stormwater improvements; it is listed as Item No. 6 on the 2023 annual construction program. The total estimated project cost — with $3,183,258 in local funds — is $7,135,900; the grant expires on 12/31/2027. (AB2023-508) Authorized 7-0
207. Authorize the executive to sign a $5,106,192 contract (amendment #4) with the Opportunity Council to administer the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program? The original contract for $2,530,694 was approved at the 6/21/2022 meeting, vote #161. The HEN program provides funding to counties for rent and utility assistance, essential needs items, and case management for county residents with established eligibility through the Whatcom Homeless Service Center. The purpose of the amendment is to extend the contract by two years. The total amended contract is $7,917,456; it expires on 6/30/2025. (AB2023-512) Authorized 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
208. Authorize the executive to award the low bid of $104,702 to West Coast Marine Services of Bellingham for the purchase of two rescue boats to be used for flood and river rescue operations? Two bids were received; the high bid was $235,662. (AB2023-514) Authorized 7-0
209. Authorize the executive to accept $174,945 (amendment #2) state grant funds to expand the Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) program in the jail? The first grant for $149,839 was approved at the 5/24/2022 meeting, vote #137. The MOUD program supports one nursing position, increased pharmaceutical supplies, deputy overtime, and methadone therapy. The total amended grant is $505,075; it expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-516) Authorized 7-0
210. Authorize the executive to sign a $216,792 contract with Siemens Industry of Bellevue? The current energy management software is no longer supported by the vendor and requires an upgrade to a newer version. Siemens will install a new server and software, graphics package and provide operator training. The contract expires on 12/31/2023. (AB2023-517) Authorized 7-0
211. Place an amendment to the Whatcom County Charter on the November 2024 general election ballot to change the sheriff’s position from elected to appointed? There was vehement public testimony in opposition to the proposal. Most felt that the Charter Review Commission in 2025 was the proper place for this proposal to be discussed. (AB2023-518) Tabled 4-2-1, Todd Donovan and Carol Frazey opposed, Kaylee Galloway abstained.
212. Authorize the executive to sign a $235,592 contract with the Chuckanut Health Foundation of Bellingham? At the 10/11/2022 meeting, vote #251, the council created the 31-member Whatcom Racial Equity Commission to serve as an advisory board to local government agencies and other organizations that promote racial equity in the county. The commission is a partnership between Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham; it is jointly funded with the county serving as lead agency. This contract will provide administration support services for the commission. The contract expires on 12/31/2024. (AB2023-520) Authorized 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
213. Affirm that affordable housing and homelessness are public health crises and request updates on county actions? (Council acting as the Health Board.) The 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness was adopted at the 12/6/2005 meeting, vote #250; phase three was adopted at the 2/26/2008 meeting, vote #38. At the 11/19/2019 meeting, vote #251; phase five of the 10-year plan was updated with A Home for Everyone: Strategic Plan to End Homelessness in Whatcom County. This vote acknowledges housing loss, unemployment, and mental illness as the top factors leading to homelessness and identifies seven strategies to address it: a centralized point of entry; rapid rehousing; permanent supportive housing; increased supply of affordable housing; homelessness prevention and diversion; interim housing; and economic security. This resolution continues the work to understand the causes of homelessness and design and implement strategies to address these causes. It also requests a progress report from the Housing Advisory Committee of Whatcom County before the end of the year. AB2023-485 (Resolution 2023-020) Substitute amended and approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
214. Authorize the temporary closure of West Smith Road from Northwest Drive to the Ferndale city limits? (Public hearing held.) The City of Ferndale has requested the closure as part of the decommissioning of Pump Station 15 which will require 600 linear feet of new sewer main to be installed. The temporary closures will expire when the project is complete. AB2023-471 (Ordinance 2023-046) Adopted 7-0
215. Amend the 2023 budget (request #11) in the amount of $250,000? Appropriated: $250,000 in operating transfers from the Ferry Fare Capital Surcharge Fund. The surcharge will be $1 per trip. AB2023-470 (Ordinance 2023-047) Adopted 7-0
216. Establish the Lummi Island Ferry Replacement and System Modernization Fund and an initial project-based budget of $4,237,575? At the 7/24/2018 meeting, vote #118, the council established a level of service for the Lummi Island ferry system; included in the vote was an action plan for construction of a new hybrid diesel-electric ferry vessel, modifications to the existing terminals to accommodate the new vessel, and upland improvements at the Lummi Island terminal queuing and loading lanes, and ADA-compliant restrooms. Anticipated costs of the new ferry exceeds $50 million. So far, $40.4 million in grant funding has been awarded to the project. AB2023-475 (Ordinance 2023-048) Adopted 7-0
Action Taken at September 5, 2023 Special Meeting
Shall the council:
217. Override the executive’s veto of an ordinance relating to ferry rates? At the 7/25/2023 meeting, vote #197, the council voted 5-2, Barry Buchanan and Todd Donovan opposed, to update and amend municipal code language that: requires a valid photo identification when purchasing needs-based multi-ride punch cards; clarifies where punch cards may be purchased and how they are handled during fare changes; and directs the handling of fare box revenue. The ordinance was vetoed by executive Satpal Sidhu. A motion to override the veto failed for a lack of a second. (AB2023-563) Veto sustained.
Action Taken at September 12, 2023 Meeting
Shall the council:
218. Authorize the executive to accept two state grants – totaling $3,359,999 – to support the county’s efforts following the November 2021 flood event? The grants are from the state military department ($1,480,000-AB2023-531) and the state commerce department ($1,879,999-AB2023-533) and are disaster recovery grants related to November 2021 flooding and mudslides. The grants will support household appliance and home repair costs and fund emergency response equipment and supplies. AB2023-531 was authorized 6-0, Tyler Byrd was absent and AB2023-533 was authorized 7-0.
219. Authorize the executive to accept a $237,643 state grant for solid waste management compliance and illegal dumping enforcement? The grant will provide funding for: investigation of solid waste management complaints; solid waste code enforcement; site inspections at conditionally permit-exempt solid waste handling facilities; and illegal dumping enforcement activities. The county will provide $79,214 in matching funds for an enforcement total of $316,857. The grant expires on 6/30/2025. (AB2023-536) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
220. Authorize the executive to accept a $540,858 state grant for solid waste management planning and implementation activities? Solid waste disposal activities have been funded by a state grant since 1996, funding operations at the disposal of toxics facility, which is utilized for the proper disposal and recycling of moderate-risk wastes and three rural waste oil and antifreeze collection stations. An estimated 315,000 pounds of household hazardous waste will be handled properly as a result of these operations. The two-year grant requires a local match of $180,286 for a grand total of $721,184; the grant expires on 6/30/2025. (AB2023-537) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
221. Authorize the executive to accept a $135,000 federal grant (amendment #1) for drug enforcement activities? The grant funds portions of the wages of a division secretary and a detective assigned to the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force. The original federal grant for $199,375 was authorized at the 10/25/2022 meeting, vote #252. A primary focus of the task force is investigative work to identify, interdict, dismantle, and prosecute mid- to upper- level criminal organizations engaged in illicit gang, gun, and drug activities. This amendment is an extension of the original grant. The amended contract amount is $334,375; it expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-556) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
222. Authorize the executive to sign an agreement with the City of Bellingham to consolidate the WHAT-COMM communication centers? This agreement replaces the previous agreement approved at the 9/10/2019 meeting, vote #182. Currently, the city and county have two communication centers, one for law enforcement and one for fire/EMS. This agreement combines the two centers into one. An administrative board of nine voting members and one non-voting member will establish broad policy guidelines for the operation of the new center and determine the financial contributions of the parties. A feasibility and concept design report will be performed on city property at 4447 Meridian; the new facility is anticipated to cost $12 million. This agreement terminates on 12/31/2027. (AB2023-561) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
223. Authorize the executive to accept a state grant of up to $470,230 to provide an advance in funding for services for individuals with developmental disabilities? The advance is intended to manage cash flow for county Developmental Disability Administration programs that are funded on a reimbursement basis. The grant expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-562) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
224. Authorize the executive to sign a contract not to exceed $270,876 with the state Administrative Office of the Courts? The contract is for reimbursement of services relating to Superior Court cases related to truancy, at-risk youth, and child-in-need of services. The contract expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-564) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
225. Authorize the executive to sign a $5,000 agreement with the Whatcom Council of Governments for an electric vehicle infrastructure study? Whatcom County will manage the administration of the study to assess existing electric vehicle infrastructure conditions, review existing policies and codes impacting electric vehicle charger installation, and infrastructure siting prioritization. This agreement outlines the project administration, traffic analysis, and reporting requirements. (AB2023-572) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
226. Authorize the executive to accept a $625,000 federal grant for the Jackson Road/Terrell Creek bridge replacement project? The 2-lane, 62-foot-long bridge with timber piles is at the end of its service life and will be replaced with a prestressed concrete girder and a reinforced concrete substructure. The total estimated cost of the project is $4,840,700; the grant expires on 12/31/2029. (AB2023-573) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
227. Authorize the executive to accept a $112,700 state grant to fund the removal of litter and illegally discarded materials from public lands? The funding will support the Adopt-a-Road cleanup program on county roads, illegal dump sites, trails, beaches, and other public areas and will be performed by correctional work crews. The grant expires on 6/30/2025. (AB2023-576) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
228. Authorize the executive to sign a cooperative agreement with the Meridian School District to provide $450,000 in funding for behavioral and mental health services? The contract will support one full-time equivalent mental health professional position to provide direct therapeutic and care coordination services to address anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders during the 2023-2024, 2024-2025, and 2025-2026 school years. The contract expires on 6/30/2026. (AB2023-577) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
229. Authorize the executive to sign a cooperative agreement with the Nooksack Valley School District to provide $300,000 in funding for behavioral and mental health services? The contract will support two half-time equivalent mental health professional positions to provide direct therapeutic and care coordination services to address anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders during the 2023-2024, 2024-2025, and 2025-206 school years. The contract expires 6/30/2026. (AB2023-578) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
230. Authorize the executive to accept a $651,108 state grant to provide funding for treatment and recovery support services for individuals involved in the criminal-legal system? Services to be provided include: care-coordination for basic needs requirements; substance-use disorder case management; medication-assisted therapy; access to therapeutic court programs; life skills, education, and employment support. The grant expires on 6/30/2025. (AB2023-581) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
231. Authorize the executive to sign a cooperative agreement with the Bellingham School District to provide $1,140,000 in funding for mental and behavioral health personnel and staff professional development? The funding will support the addition of two full-time-equivalent director and specialist positions and one 8-hour per week special projects manager position to provide direct therapeutic and care coordination services to address anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders during the 2023-2024, 2024-2025, and 2025-2026 school years. It expires on 6/30/2026. (AB2023-584) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
232. Authorize the executive to sign a cooperative agreement with the Lynden School District to provide $495,000 in funding for behavioral health and social services personnel? The funding will support the addition of a part-time Positive Behavior Intervention Para-educator and a full-time Family Community Services Coordinator position to provide direct therapeutic and care coordination services to address anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders during the 2023-2024, 2024-2025, and 2025-2026 school years. It expires on 6/30/2026. (AB2023-586) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
233. Authorize the executive to sign a $181,575 contract with the state of Washington to sponsor a Washington Conservation Corps crew? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The six-member crew will assist with water quality and habitat monitoring, installation and maintenance of salmon recovery and stormwater projects, water quality monitoring and county road mitigation projects. The crew term will run from 10/1/2023 to 9/30/2024. (AB2023-539) Authorized 7-0
234. Authorize the executive to accept a $2,890,020 federal grant to maintain current levels of homeless subsidies and emergency housing services? The grant will replace expired pandemic-relief funding sources first introduced in 2020 in order to continue work on priorities outlined in the Whatcom County Plan to End Homelessness, including emergency shelter provision and re-stabilization for households experiencing homelessness. The grant expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-540) Authorized 7-0
235. Authorize the executive to accept a $10 million grant from the state County Road Administration Board to replace the Lummi Island ferry? The funding will be used to continue preliminary engineering and environmental permitting activities prior to the construction phase of the Lummi Island Ferry Replacement and System Modernization Project, listed as Item No. 44 on the 2023 Annual Construction Program. The county will receive 20 annual payments of $500,000. (AB2023-545) Authorized 7-0
236. Authorize the executive to sign an $80,000 agreement (amendment #2) with the City of Bellingham to support staffing and implementation of the Alternative Response Team (ART) program? ART aims to reduce the burden on law enforcement by diverting lower-risk calls to a behavioral health team. The team responds to low-risk, low-acuity and non-criminal calls. The original two-year contract for $427,127 was signed at the 4/26/2022 meeting, vote #116, and amended at the 3/7/2023 meeting, vote #57. The purpose of the amendment is to extend the agreement. The total amended contract is $570,096, it expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2023-553) Authorized 7-0
237. Authorize the executive to sign an agreement with the City of Bellingham to contribute up to $110,000 annually for mental health support staff embedded at the Bellingham central library? The downtown library is used by over 1,000 individuals each day, some of whom experience behavioral and mental health challenges that impact the environment and functioning of the facility. To provide seven days per week mental health support staff, the City of Bellingham will also contribute up to $75,000 annually. The agreement expires on 12/31/2028. (AB2023-560) Authorized 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
238. Authorize the executive to apply for and accept a $100,000 state grant to fund completion of deferred maintenance at several Silver Lake Park cabins? The cabins are more than fifty years old and require updates to plumbing and electrical systems, exterior siding, windows, and interior wall treatments. AB2023-552 (Resolution 2023-021) Authorized by Consent 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
239. Consider vacating a portion of Camp 2 Road? On 6/27/2023, Karen Atkinson submitted a petition to vacate a 3,506 square foot portion of Camp 2 Road, accompanied by the penal sum of $790. Approximately one-third of the house build in 1992 is in county right-of-way. Karen Atkinson purchased the house is 2020 and recently learned about the encroachment. The county engineer will investigate the vacation and issue a report to the council, a public hearing will be held. AB2023-558 (Resolution 2023-022) Approved 7-0
240. Consider vacating a portion of County Road and an unnamed alley within the amended plat of South Wickersham? On 6/28/2023, Kathryn Nims, Frank and Lynn Hardy submitted a petition to vacate portions of County Road and an unnamed alley the county has never used, maintained or relied upon within the amended plat of South Wickersham, accompanied by the penal sum of $790. The county engineer will investigate the vacation and issue a report to the council, a public hearing will be held. AB2023-559 (Resolution 2023-023) Approved 7-0
241. Establish parking control on Euclid Avenue? (Public hearing held.) A “No parking” zone will be established from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the east side of Euclid Avenue from approximately 735 feet south of Crescent Street on the north to Glen Cove Road on the south. The county engineer is directed to install the appropriate signage. AB2023-526 (Ordinance 2023-049) Substitute adopted 7-0
242. Establish parking control on Samish Way? (Public hearing held.) A “No parking anytime” zone will be established 500 feet east of Galbraith Lane and 500 feet west of Galbraith Lane on the south side of the road.The City of Bellingham accepted a $350,000 donation from the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition to expand a parking lot in Lake Padden Park The new addition will expand the lot from 30 cars to 140 cars. The lot is across Samish Way from Galbraith Lane. The city will put a crosswalk, flashing beacon and signage at Galbraith Lane. AB2023-501 (Ordinance 2023-050) Adopted 7-0
243. Establish parking restrictions on Aldrich Road? (Public hearing held.) There have been many nuisance complains along Aldrich Road so a “no parking” zone will be established on both sides of Aldrich Road from the southerly intersection of the right of way of Waldron Road to the Bellingham city limits. The county engineer is directed to install the appropriate signage. AB2023-528 (Ordinance 2023-051) Adopted 7-0
244. Amend by $88,000 the project budget (request #6) for the Jail Improvement Fund? At the 7/26/2011 meeting, vote #121, the council approved a $3,117,700 fund to replace fire alarms and control systems within the main jail and juvenile detention. The budget was amended at the 1/30/2018 meeting, vote #17, the 2/27/2018 meeting, vote #17 the 10/9/2018 meeting, vote #157, the 4/23/2019 meeting, vote #94, and the 5/24/2022 meeting, vote #148. This amendment will replace the failing hot water heater used for the jail kitchen and laundry. The total amended project-based budget is $9,632,700. AB2023-507 (Ordinance 2023-052) Adopted 7-0
245. Amend the 2023 budget (request #12) in the amount of $2,126,139? Appropriated: $1,000,000 to fund a multi-unit affordable housing development; $592,950 to fund a Comprehensive Plan update; 20 other expenditures — all are below $100,000 — totaled $533,189. AB2023-509 (Ordinance 2023-053) Adopted 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.