Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at November 9, 2020 Meeting

Mayor’s Report:
The mayor announced two appointments to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. The board provides recommendations on plans and programs designed to enable the Department of Parks and Recreation to maintain and improve city parks and provide recreation programs for the general welfare of the people of the city.

The mayor reappointed Neha Harle as the student representative for a one-year term on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. At the 9/9/2019 meeting, vote #156, Neha Harle was appointed the student representative for a one-year term. A 16-year-old student at Sehome High School and a South Hill resident, she belongs to the Sehome High School environmental club and the Lake Padden kayak sprint team. The current term for Neha Harle will expire on 8/29/2021, at which time she may be reappointed.

The mayor appointed Jeannie Gilbert to her first term on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Jeannie Gilbert is a 20-plus-year resident of Bellingham and a retired scientific lab technician for WWU, and currently acts a part-time restoration tech primarily for wetlands. Jeannie also has a degree in biology with a background in ecology, restoration, marine science and fire ecology. The term for Jeannie will expire on 10/1/2023, at which time she may be reappointed. (AB22801) These appointments do not require council confirmation.

Shall the council:
194. Amend the cost-sharing agreement with Whatcom County related to the Covid-19 health crisis? At the 6/8/2020 meeting, vote #82, the city council approved addendum #1 with Whatcom County. This addendum outlines the roles and responsibilities and financial commitments of the city and Whatcom County to relocate the drop-in center (now referred to as Base Camp) from Bellingham High School to 1530 Cornwall Avenue to reduce the opportunities to spread Covid-19. Since the addendum was approved, Whatcom County has received additional funds for homeless services, including shelters. The primary purpose of the amendment is to reflect an increase in Whatcom County’s financial commitment and a decrease in the city’s financial commitments. The city’s financial commitments have decreased from $700,000 to $500,000 for the interlocal cost-sharing agreement. (AB22650) Approved 7-0

195. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Annika Taylor to a partial term on the Greenway Advisory Committee? The 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. Annika Taylor is currently a junior at WWU studying business and sustainability, has lived in Bellingham for the past two years, and is a member of the WWU varsity cross country and track and field teams. Appointments shall be for three-year terms and a member may be reappointed. Annika Taylor’s term will expire on 7/9/2021, at which time she may be reappointed. (AB22802) Approved 7-0

196. Execute technical and other budget adjustments requested by the administration prior to budget adoption? The administration requests the council move to incorporate a number of technical and other minor changes that will improve the accuracy of the budget into the preliminary 2021-2022 biennial budget prior to adoption. This housekeeping vote will result in a net reduction in the general fund expenditure budget by $18,000 over the biennium. (AB22803) Approved 7-0

197. Appropriate $3,647,610 for payroll checks issued from October 1 through October 15, 2020? (AB22811) Approved 7-0

198. Appropriate $10,845,256 for goods and services checks issued from October 16 through October 29, 2020? (AB22812/22813) Approved 7-0

199. Authorize a retroactive payment of $833.65 in employer contributions and interest to the Public Employees Retirement System for a former City Council member? A council member who served on the City Council from 2016 through 2019 applied for service credit for the time period from when she was initially eligible (1/1/2016) until she actually joined in (4/16/2016). Council authorization is required because payment by the city is optional. Retroactive payment of employer contributions for council members was authorized previously in 2001, at the 10/23/2006 meeting, vote #268 and the 11/19/2012 meeting, vote #215. (AB22814) Approved 7-0

200. Authorize the mayor to sign a $65,000 financial assistance agreement with Whatcom County to address alcoholism and other addictions? Financial assistance is provided by the city to the county Health Department for crisis intervention services. The services include 16 beds to provide acute substance withdrawal management services to adults. Sixteen beds are dedicated to provide mental health stabilization services to adults and medication-assisted treatment to mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal and stabilize recovery. The city’s share of liquor taxes and profits in the amount of $22,000 is included in this total. The agreement terminates on 12/31/21. (AB22815) Approved 7-0

201. Authorize the mayor to sign a $25,200 agreement with Western Washington University to conduct a residential survey? The city conducts periodic residential surveys to evaluate progress made towards the city’s nine legacies and strategic commitments. The agreement is for professional services by the Center for Economic and Business Research at WWU to update and field the 2020 residential survey. The scope of work for the project includes a survey of 8,750 randomly selected residents, with online and telephone options, a report on findings, and a public presentation to the City Council. The council has previously authorized agreements for residential surveys at the 8/29/2016 meeting, vote #137 and the 8/27/2018 meeting, vote #126. (AB22816) Approved 7-0

202. Authorize the mayor to sign a $25,000 agreement with the Whatcom Council of Governments to help fund the 2021 Whatcom Smart Trips program? Whatcom Smart Trips is an ongoing program between local governments, public agencies, employers and schools to promote transportation by walking, bicycling, sharing rides and riding the bus. The program expands the city’s educational opportunities to increase use of nonmotorized transportation and transit options, helping the city meet mode shift goals identified in the Comprehensive Plan and Climate Action Plan. The 2021 budget is $280,000 with the county contributing $75,000; the federal government $103,000; and the state $77,000. (AB22817) Approved 7-0

203. Authorize the police chief to sign an agreement with the state of Washington for increased traffic patrols? This agreement awards $57,000 from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission for a safety grant project. The emphasis patrols will be for impaired driving, distracted driving and motorcycle safety. This agreement will expire on 9/30/2021. (AB22818) Approved 7-0

204. Authorize the partial relinquishment of a surplus utility easement encumbering real property at 614 and 622 11th Street? (Public hearing held.) At the 5/6/2019 meeting, vote #88, the council passed an ordinance vacating 25 feet on the easterly side of South State Street and a 10-foot-wide portion of Easton Avenue, but retained easement rights. This was in response to a petition by the owners, the Kink Family LLC. There are no utilities in the subject portion of the retained easement corridor. The Public Works Department reviewed the request by the property owners and determined the easement is not needed. AB22797 (Resolution 2020-41) Approved 7-0

205. Authorize an increase in the 2021 property tax levy? State law limits annual increases of the property tax levy to the lessor of one percent or inflation, as measured by the implicit price deflator. If inflation is less than one percent, state law provides that the jurisdiction may still levy the full one percent if the legislative authority passes a resolution of substantial need. The 2020 implicit price deflator is 0.6 percent and a resolution of substantial need is required to increase the levy by one percent. This resolution must pass with a majority plus one to meet the statutory requirements. Without a resolution of substantial need, the property tax levy can be increased by only $100,581; with this resolution the levy can be increased by an additional $94,244. The property tax levy will be passed at the 11/23/2020 meeting. AB22676 (Resolution 2020-42) Approved 7-0

206. Adopt a medical/prescription/dental/vision self-insurance program for city employees? The city is already self-insured for vision benefits for most bargaining groups. The city’s continued goal is to provide affordable, comprehensive benefit options for our employees. Self-insurance for medical and prescription benefits represents the best available path forward to provide a long-term strategy for cost containment, including effective prescription utilization. There are also additional premium savings by adding self-insured dental. The change to self-insurance does not come at an increased cost to the city and is currently budgeted appropriately. AB22809 (Resolution 2020-43) Approved 7-0

207. Set the times and dates for 2021 regular council meetings? Twenty-four meetings are scheduled, the same as 2020. Meeting time will be 7:00 p.m. Roberts Rules of Order are to be used unless otherwise provided by Charter. AB22810 (Resolution 2020-44) Approved 6-1, Michael Lilliquist opposed.

208. Extend the moratorium on development applications and permits for redevelopment of existing mobile home or manufactured home parks? (Public hearing held at June 8 meeting.) At the 6/3/2019 meeting, vote #114, the council adopted an emergency ordinance establishing a one-year moratorium on the acceptance or processing of development applications or permits relating to the redevelopment of any of the ten mobile home parks in Bellingham. These parks, and the units they contain totaling about 900 spaces, are some of the most affordable housing in the city. Therefore, it is appropriate to try to preserve all of them. Goals and policies identified in the amendment encourage the preservation of existing manufactured home parks to ensure their continued provision of affordable housing. A six-month extension of the moratorium is needed to allow staff to finalize recommendations and conduct a Type IV legislative review process. AB22025 (Ordinance 2020-11-028) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at November 23, 2020 Meeting

Shall the council:
209. Authorize the mayor to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Bellingham School District #501 for a property trade? As part of the Sunnyland Elementary School remodel, the Bellingham School District has requested a small strip of unimproved land in the King Street right of way be vacated. In exchange, they would transfer property adjacent to Shuksan Middle School, located at 2806 W. Maplewood Avenue and known as Shuksan Meadows Park to the city. The city is currently maintaining the property and has an active playground improvement project that should be completed in June of 2021. The parties agree upon the location and plans for a pedestrian trail to replace the current Memorial Park trail partially located on the eastern half of vacated King Street. The district would, as part of its construction activities for the new Sunnyland Elementary School, construct such trail for Memorial Park. (AB22822) Approved 7-0

210. Approve the 2021 joint legislative objectives? The city partners with Whatcom County and the Port of Bellingham on a shared legislative agenda. The joint legislative agenda outlines and defines the shared objectives of the three entities and the commitment to work cooperatively with the Legislature, to strengthen the partnership between state and local governments, and to ensure that we have the full resources to implement the policies and goals as adopted by the state of Washington. In anticipation of the upcoming 2021 Session, the following are presented as the legislative objectives that have been identified as priorities by the three entities: Covid-19 relief, capital budget priorities, transportation budget priorities, clean energy, housing affordability, fiscal sustainability, criminal justice and social services funding and water resources. (AB22823) Approved 7-0

211. Appropriate $3,878,966 for payroll checks issued from October 16 through October 31, 2020? (AB22824) Approved 7-0

212. Appropriate $3,387,684 for goods and services checks issued from September 18, 2020 through October 1, 2020? (AB22825/22826) Approved 7-0

213. Authorize the mayor to sign a $200,000 agreement with Whatcom County for the Lake Whatcom Homeowner Incentive Program? The agreement with Whatcom County was initially approved at the 1/23/2017 meeting, vote #13. Whatcom County will also contribute $200,000 to the program. Homeowners within the sub-basin are eligible to apply for $1,000 to $6,000 reimbursement for the installation of landscape features on their property to improve water quality, including impervious surface and lawn removal, infiltration trenches, native plantings, porous paving and rain gardens. (AB22827) Approved 7-0

214. Authorize the mayor to accept a $653,215 state grant for the Donald Avenue water quality treatment facility within the Lake Whatcom Watershed? The city’s match is $217,738; the total estimated cost is $870,953. This project will address a portion of the watershed which currently drains to the lake without treatment for phosphorus by retrofitting an existing stormwater treatment facility in the 2000 block of Northshore Drive — within the city — for treatment and infiltration systems designed specifically for phosphorus removal. This project will reduce total suspended solids, dissolved copper and zinc, and total phosphorus by replacing the existing sand filter with media designed to maximize phosphorus removal. It will treat runoff from 27 acres of residential development and remove about 24 pounds of phosphorus annually. (AB22828) Approved 7-0

215. Amend the authorization for two Washington Conservation Crews? At the 8/24/2020 meeting, vote #145, the council authorized the expenditure of $451,000 for two crews. This amendment increases the contract amount by $37,125 for a total of $488,125. The crews serve the city though an interagency agreement with the Department of Ecology. They will perform habitat restoration and maintenance work throughout Bellingham, including Juilanna Park and the Lake Whatcom Watershed. Specific tasks could include invasive weed control, native species installation, plant nursery care, scientific monitoring, and fence installation or repair.(AB22829) Approved 7-0

216. Amend the Climate Protection Action Plan? An important first step toward achieving 100 percent renewable energy is to set a public long-term renewable energy target to demonstrate political commitment, and to provide both stakeholders and the community with an understanding of the long-term vision for the city of Bellingham. At the 5/7/2018 meeting, vote #65, the council approved the 2018 Climate Action Plan and established the Climate Action Task Force. The task force presented their final report at 12/9/2019 meeting, vote #210. This amendment includes measures to electrify new buildings, which allows for development of an implementation plan for requiring the electrification for all new buildings built in Bellingham while supporting a just transition with labor and our utility on electric capacity, and evaluate community-wide renewable energy programs, which allows for further discussions to develop new partnerships to provide low-carbon renewable electricity for all Bellingham residents. AB22505 (Resolution 2020-45) Approved 7-0

217. Vacate an alley generally located south of West Chestnut Street and between Cornwall and Commercial streets? (Closed record hearing.) David Hovde, on behalf of Chestnut Flats LLC, requested the vacation of a 10- by 25-foot portion of an alley southwest of Chestnut Street, adjacent to 107 W. Chestnut Street. The subject right-of-way abuts a building he owns and seeks to legitimize existing private parking and an existing ADA accessible ramp that provides ingress and egress to petitioner’s building. The Bellingham Hearing Examiner held a public hearing on 6/27/2018 and recommended approval of the street vacation. AB22804 (Ordinance 2020-11-029) Approved 7-0

218. Vacate a portion of Pasco Street between the West Line of Samish Way and the north line of Abbott Street? (Closed record hearing.) The Bellingham Housing Authority seeks the city to vacate the portion of Pasco Street abutting the redevelopment project at the former Aloha Motel site in the Samish Way Urban Village. The authority desires to use the proposed vacation area for the purposes of stormwater management and potentially a building entrance and plaza for a project currently under construction. At the 7/6/2020 meeting, vote #112, the City Council directed staff to waive all fees and compensation costs associated with vacating the subject right-of-way pursuant to the Housing Cooperation Law. The Bellingham Hearing Examiner held a virtual public hearing on 8/26/2020 and recommended approval. AB22805 (Ordinance 2020-11-030) Approved 7-0

219. Establish surface and stormwater utility rate fees? Bellingham’s Surface and Stormwater Comprehensive Plan was established in 1990 to further the public health, safety, and welfare by promoting a comprehensive approach to surface and stormwater problems, controlling water runoff and enhancing environmental protection. At the 9/28/2020 meeting, vote #171, the council adopted the 2020 Surface and Stormwater Comprehensive Plan. Staff presented a utility rate ordinance to the City Council on 10/12/2020. Based on input from council and public comment, staff made several changes to the proposed ordinance including: 1) Delayed rate increases for the large customer rate class until 2022; 2) Increased rates for all customer classes by the consumer price index effective 1/1/2021; 3) Continuation of the public education credit until 2022 then gradually phased out by 2026; and 4) Continuation of the payment for streets through 2021. These changes provide large footprint customers more time to adjust to and budget for the necessary rate increases. Changes to existing credits, permit fees and system development charges will take effect on 1/1/2021 and have no impact to the proposed 2021-2022 budget. AB22741 (Ordinance 2020-11-031) Approved 7-0

220. Reduce the public meeting requirements of the Planning Commission’s Shoreline Committee? Currently, Bellingham code requires the Shoreline Committee to hold a public meeting to review every shoreline permit application and make a recommendation to the planning director. This step may be unnecessary for smaller and non-controversial projects that do not propose impacts to shoreline riparian areas. This amendment gives the Shoreline Committee chair the option of requesting the aforementioned public meeting. The Planning Commission currently has a similar practice and supports this amendment. AB22806 (Ordinance 2020-11-032) Approved 7-0

221. Amend the 2019-2020 biennial budget to ensure the city can meet its Sportsplex debt obligation? Activities at the Sportplex include indoor soccer, ice hockey, figure and speed skating. At the 1/26/2004 meeting, vote #15, the counci1 authorized the sale of 25-year obligation bonds to finance the Sportplex purchase and at 2/23/2004 meeting, vote #40, authorized the payment of $4,315,000 for the purchase. The city leases the facility to Whatcom Sports & Recreation, with revenues from the lease paying the bond payments. A debt payment is due on 12/1/2020. Due to the impacts of Covid-19 and related restrictions, the city waived three months of rent. Since then, Whatcom Sports & Recreation has been unable make lease payments and is now in default. The city remains supportive of Whatcom Sports & Recreation and is actively working with them to ensure the long-term success of the Sportsplex. Funds will be sourced from $37,306 in existing cash in bond payment fund; $147,725 from the Sportsplex deposit fund and $52,163 from general fund for a total of $237,194. AB22808 (Ordinance 2020-11-033) Approved 7-0

222. Establish the 2021 property tax levy? (Public hearing held at October 26 meeting.) State law requires the city to pass an ordinance stating its intent to increase property taxes. The city’s 2021 property tax levy will increase by $194,825 plus new construction. The ordinance must be delivered to the Whatcom County assessor by 11/30/2020. This represents the statutorily allowed one percent increase, exclusive of the affordable housing portion of the regular levy, as calculated upon the previous year’s actual levy less refunds. The affordable housing levy is fixed at $4,000,000 and will not increase. Revenue from new construction will provide an additional $314,330, resulting in a 2021 property tax levy of $28,211,745. AB22819 (Ordinance 2020-11-034) Approved 7-0


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