Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale

Action Taken at February 6, 2024 Meeting

Shall the council:

35. Confirm the executive’s appointments of Charlie Heggem, Becca Shew, and Pete Sharp to the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee? The committee assists the county in the planning, funding, development, and implementation of facilities and programs that will increase the safety and use of bicycle and pedestrian travel for transportation and recreation. Charlie Heggem is property manager for a supported living company and experienced cyclist. Becca Shew owns and operates a graphic design business and is an experienced bicycle commuter. Pete Sharp is a reappointment, having served on the committee since 2021. (AB2024-097) Confirmed 7-0

36. Authorize the executive to sign a contract — not to exceed $100,000 — with Pacific Surveying & Engineering Services of Bellingham to provide on-call professional land surveying services for 2024? This contract will provide Public Works with additional professional and surveying services for reasons of workload capacity, work outside of expertise, and independent opinions. The contract expires on 12/31/2024. (AB2024-098) Authorized 7-0

37. Authorize the executive to accept an $800,250 federal grant for the fish passage barrier remediation program? The EPA grant is funneled through the state Department of Fish and Wildlife grant and is part of a Water Resources Inventory Area 1 salmonid recovery plan that will provide corrective action for blocked fish passage barriers that reduce access for Chinook salmon, steelhead, bull trout, and other salmonids to tributary, floodplain, and estuarine habitats. The grant expires on 12/30/2025. (AB2024-102) Authorized 7-0

38. Authorize the executive to accept a $250,000 state grant to conduct a climate vulnerability assessment and develop shoreline management solutions? At the 4/26/2022 meeting, vote #121, the council appropriated $110,000 to conduct a climate vulnerability assessment. This vote to accept funding from the state Department of Ecology will be used to continue a Phase 1 coastal and lower river assessment done in 2022 and implement a Phase 2 vulnerability assessment of Nooksack riverine shorelines upstream to Deming, including the Everson outflow. The grant expires on 6/30/2025. (AB2024-104) Authorized 7-0

39. Authorize the executive to sign a $1,100,000 agreement with the Nooksack Indian Tribe? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) This project will be funded by a state grant of $6,320,000 for flood hazard reduction that was accepted by the council at the 5/10/2022 meeting, vote #132. Whatcom County will contribute $880,000 and the Nooksack Tribe will allocate $220,000. The agreement will permit the flood control district to reimburse the tribe for 80 percent of the eligible grant costs for work specific to the South Fork Nooksack Fish Camp Integrated Fish and Flood Project. The agreement expires on 6/30/2025. (AB2024-106) Authorized 7-0

40. Confirm the executive’s appointments of Paul Schissler and Ashley Thomasson to the Whatcom County Housing Advisory Committee? The committee will work together with public and private partners to reduce and eventually end homelessness in Whatcom County. Paul Schissler is a community development planning consultant. Ashley Thomasson is the executive director at Lydia Place and a current member of the committee. (AB2024-107) Confirmed 7-0

41. Confirm the executive’s appointments of Elma Burnham, Thomas Hoats, and Avery Maverick to the Marine Resources Committee? The committee addresses local marine issues and recommends remedial action to local authorities. Elma Burnham is a former commercial fisherperson and current committee member who has served since 2021. Thomas Hoats is a professional merchant mariner and vessel master, operating in the Salish Sea. Avery Maverick is employed as a coastal geologist and holds a master’s degree coastal geology from Western Washington University. (AB2024-109) Confirmed 7-0

42. Confirm the executive’s appointments of David Kershner, Trevor Gearhart, and Alison Moon to the Whatcom County Conservation Easement Program Oversight Committee? The program enhances the protection of the county’s farmland, forestland, and ecological areas, enhances the long-term viability of agricultural and forestry enterprises within the county and provides public benefit by retaining properties in permanent resource use. David Kershner lives/owns 47 acres on Lummi Island that is protected by a conservation easement. Trevor Gearhart is employed by the Whatcom Conservation District. Alison Moon is a real estate broker and the owner/operation of a small-scale farm. (AB2024-119) Confirmed 7-0

43. Fill two vacancies on the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection Advisory Committee? The committee advises the council on water quality issues in the Drayton Harbor watershed. The Whatcom County Council created the Drayton Harbor district in 1995; it was in response to pollution and related closures. Katherine Garrah is a biologist with the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company. Stephen Seymour is the owner of the Drayton Harbor Oyster Company. (AB2024-120) Approved 7-0

44. Declare a Whatcom County-owned structure located in Bay Horizon Park as worthless? The former Birch Bay Hostel, located at 7467 Gemini Street in Blaine, has been vacant since 2012 and has asbestos-abatement risks. The county property management committee has met and determined that it is in the best interest of the county to declare the structure worthless and demolish it. The area will be used to expand the day-use and open grass field activities at Bay Horizon Park. After the council voted on this resolution, they voted to hold it in committee. At the 2/20/2024 meeting, the council voted to put a hold on this item for up to two months. AB2024-117/AB2024-118 (Resolution 2024-007) Approved 7-0

45. Correct the levy amounts for the City of Bellingham and re-certify property tax levies for collection in 2024 by the county assessor? At the 12/5/2023 meeting, vote # 380, the council certified (Resolution 2023-056) the 2024 levy amounts by the county assessor, and corrected the certification at the 12/19/2023 special meeting, vote # 391, because certain districts had not submitted their levy amounts. The amendment will revise the levy requests for the City of Bellingham. AB2023-131 (Resolution 2024-008) Approved 7-0

46. Temporarily suspend (extension #3) the Whatcom County Code related to correctional facilities operational standards? Existing county code related to correctional facilities will be suspended for 12 months and the Whatcom County sheriff’s office correctional facilities standards will be temporarily adopted in their place. It was originally suspended at the 6/18/2019 meeting, vote #137, for a period of 12 months, extended for 18 months at the 6/29/2021 meeting, vote #157, and extended for 11 months at the 3/7/2023 meeting, vote #65. This extension will provide more time for the Whatcom County Law and Justice Committee and the County Council to review correctional facility operational standards and proposals. AB2024-096 (Ordinance 2024-006) Amended and adopted 7-0

47. Abolish the Whatcom County Appeals Board? The county has been assigning most administrative appeals to the county hearing examiner and the board has not met for eight years. These amendments will abolish the board and officially assign its duties to the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner. AB2024-100 (Ordinance 2024-007) Adopted 4-3 with Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas and Mark Stremler opposed.

48. Amend the Whatcom County code for various county committees? The amendments will change the qualifications for serving on the Wildlife Advisory Committee, to have a representative of a state or federal wildlife agency and include representatives with expertise that do not reside in Whatcom County; the composition of the Conservation Easement Program Oversight Committee, to include members from the forestry industry who recuse themselves from voting; and clean up the Agricultural Advisory Committee establishing code. AB2024-088 (Ordinance 2024-008) Adopted 4-3 with Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas and Mark Stremler opposed.


Action Taken at February 20, 2024 Meeting

Shall the council:

49. Authorize the executive to sign a $523,788 agreement (amendment #2) with North Sound Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization of Mt. Vernon to fund Whatcom County’s participation in the North Sound Integrated Care Network? The original contract for $523,788 was approved at the 4/11/2023 meeting, vote #83, and amended at the 8/8/2023 meeting, vote #202, for $449,191. The contract provides behavioral health services coordination and management. This amendment extends the contract by six months. The total amended contract is $1,496,767; it automatically renews. (AB2024-130) Authorized 7-0

50. Authorize the executive to accept a $130,000 state grant to implement stormwater management programs required by the Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit? The programs are intended to address pollutant discharge through activities including: public outreach and education; pollutant discharge field mapping, monitoring, mitigation; and tracking; and staff training. The grant expires on 3/31/2025. (AB2024-135) Authorized 7-0

51. Authorize the executive to sign an amendment to a state grant removing $29,391 from the original grant? At the 9/12/2023 meeting, vote #218, a state grant of $1,879,999 was accepted by the council for work related to the November 2021 flooding. This amendment changes the scope of work and reduces the funding for two temporary recovery coordinator positions associated with an emergency rapid response grant. Changes to the scope of work include the addition of a project to install emergency road gates. The total amended contract is $1,850,608; it expires on 6/30/2024. (AB2024-137) Authorized 7-0

52. Authorize the executive to sign a $14,460 contract (amendment #3) with ImageTrend of Lakeville, Minnesota, for electronic patient care record management? At the 2/13/2018 meeting, vote #23, the council approved the original contract for $143,134 with ImageTrend. The purpose of this amendment is to update pricing to reflect current services and add new services to support the timely updating of patient records for Emergency Medical Services. The total amended contract is $201,876; it expires upon vacation by either party. (AB2024-141) Authorized 7-0

53. Approve the Economic Development Investment Board’s funding recommendations for the City of Blaine and City of Bellingham? The county administers the EDI program; the money comes from portions of the rural sales tax which can only be used for public facility projects. The City of Blaine was awarded a $1,333,334 loan and a $666,666 grant for the Wellfield Reservoir Replacement Project and the City of Bellingham was awarded a $1,500,000 loan and a $1,500,000 grant for the Old Town Urban Village Infrastructure Improvement Project. (AB2024-142) Substitute approved 7-0

54. Authorize the executive to accept a $234,344 federal grant (amendment #1) funneled through the Washington State Military Department to promote border security? This is the 16th year of the Homeland Security/Operation Stonegarden grants (first accepted at the 5/26/2009 meeting, vote #129.). The grants coordinate measures between local, tribal, state, and federal law enforcement agencies operating in Whatcom County. Participating agencies will not enforce federal immigration law. The purpose of the amendment (initially accepted at the 7/7/2020 meeting, vote #111) is to update budget categories and personnel contact information, and to extend the agreement by one month, The total amended contract is $639,944; it expires on 8/31/2024. (AB2024-143) Authorized 7-0

55. Authorize the executive to sign an easement agreement with Sierra Pacific Land & Timber Company (a Delaware corporation) to allow perpetual public access to Canyon Lake Community Forest? The forest was jointly acquired by Whatcom County and Western Washington University in 1998 and opened to the public in 2001. Access to the property was via a road network through former Crown-Pacific, now Sierra Pacific, property until a landslide closed access in 2017. The agreement will provide $100,000 in funding to Sierra Pacific for the restoration of public access to the Canyon Lake Community Forest. The county will install gates and signage and is responsible for proportional costs associated with road maintenance and resurfacing. AB2024-148) Authorized 7-0

56. Order the cancellation of an accounts receivable invoice from the sheriff’s office? State law requires county legislative authorities to audit the collection of money belonging to the county. The $850 invoice to the U.S. Forest Service is for 10 hours of overtime by a deputy. The invoice (dated 8/12/2020) is from a contract that has been closed and it has been deemed as uncollectible by the sheriff’s office finance staff. AB2024-129 (Resolution 2024-009) Approved 7-0

57. Authorize the conservation easement program administrator and Whatcom County executive to proceed with the acquisition of a conservation easement on the Jacoby application? At the 10/24/2023 meeting, vote #286, the council accepted a $169,650 state grant to acquire the Jacoby property. Local matching funds (55 percent) will come from the Conservation Future Fund. The Jacoby application (two development rights; 85 acres of farmland/15 acres of working forestland) is located off Mosquito Lake Road in the South Fork/South Acme watershed. AB2024-140 (Resolution 2024-010) Approved 6-0-1, Ben Elenbaas abstained.

58. Amend the 2024 Flood Control Zone District and Subzones budget (request #1) in the amount of $14,400? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) Appropriated: $14,400 to fund upgrades of geographic information systems software for data mapping analysis. AB2024-111 (Resolution 2024-011) Approved 7-0

59. Establish a $325,000 project-based budget for the Eagleridge Stormwater Improvements Project Fund? The project will install water quality treatment facilities to serve the 34-acre Eagleridge neighborhood, with runoff being treated to remove sediments and phosphorous before entering Lake Whatcom. The project is listed as item #4 on the six-year water resources improvement program for the Lake Whatcom watershed. AB2024-110 (Ordinance 2024-009) Adopted 7-0

60. Establish a $1 million project-based budget for a 23-hour crisis relief center fund? At the 7/11/2023, vote #180, the council adopted, in accordance with the Justice Project Needs Assessment Implementation Plan, a fund and budget to be used to build a facility to provide behavioral and mental health support for individuals in crisis. The county has been awarded a $9 million state grant for the crisis relief center; the total anticipated cost is $16 million. AB2024-114 (Ordinance 2024-010) Adopted 7-0

61. Amend the 2024 Whatcom County budget (request #4) in the amount of $3,247,623? Appropriated: $192,344 for District Court; $185,314 for the 2025 comp. plan; $100,000 for access to Canyon Lake Road; $1 million for crisis center; $111,000 to fund swift river rescue; $310,000 for Eagleridge stormwater project fund; $115,0000 for Courthouse security improvements; $172,2000 for parks’ headquarters annex HVAC; $300,000 for sheriff patrol vehicles; $125,000 for Williamson Way generator; and 22 other expenditures — all below $100,000 — totaled $636,765. AB2024-116 (Ordinance 2024-011) Adopted 7-0

62. Establish a chapter in the Whatcom County code adding a sales and use tax? At the 1/9/2024 meeting, vote #18, the council adopted a two-tenths of one-percent sales and use tax to be used for a new county jail, behavioral health, supportive housing, public safety, and criminal justice facilities and programs. The code language will establish the collection and expenditure of this tax. AB2024-122 (Ordinance 2024-012) Substitute adopted 7-0

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