Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at February 8, 2021 Meeting

Update on Covid-19 Response:

Erika Lautenbach, Whatcom County Health Department Director, announced that as of 2/5/2021, there are 34 enrolled provider sites that offer vaccines. This week, Whatcom County has received 3,275 doses of vaccine. On 2/4/2021, she moderated a Town Hall live event session with Peace Health, Family Care Network, Unity Care Northwest, and SeaMar Community Health Centers that was broadcast by Facebook Live and attended by about 1,400 people. It was also live streamed on KGMI. The Health Department aims to provide virtual town halls twice monthly to stay on top of new information and provide it to the community in a timely manner. On Friday, 2/12/20201 the governor moved us into Phase II of the Road Map to Recovery. Fire Chief, Bill Hewett, announced that Liz Coogan has been promoted as the city’s new emergency manager. (AB22593) Nonvoting issue.

Shall the council:

27. Grant a noise variance to Grandview North, LLC of Arlington? Construction work in residentially zoned areas between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. requires a noise variance. The request is for two nonconsecutive early mornings between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. at Sterling Drive and Northwest Avenue. The variance will allow work during one morning during the week of February 8th and one morning during the week of March 29th or April 5th. A concrete deck will be constructed for the 177-unit apartment complex, and will require 80 concrete trucks. The project manager will notify all residents and commercial businesses of the early morning work activities in advance of both of the proposed days. (AB22905) Approved 7-0

28. Appropriate $2,454,419 for goods and services checks issued from January 15 through January 21, 2021? (AB22911) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.

29. 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 seven stream gauges. The total cost of the program is $171,325: the city’s share is $132,559 and the federal government’s share is $38,766. The program monitors the stream flow discharges of Olsen Creek, Carpenter Creek, Euclid Creek, Silver Beach Creek, Brannian Creek, Anderson Creek and the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River and the turbidity of the last two. The agreement runs from 10/1/2020 through 9/30/2021. (AB22912) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused. 

30. Increase greens fees for the Lake Padden golf course? In December 2017, the city entered into a management agreement with Premier Golf Centers to operate and maintain the Lake Padden golf course. At the 1/28/2019 meeting, vote #22, the council froze all golf course fees for one year. At the 1/28/2019 meeting, vote #22, the council approved a slight fee reduction and at the 12/16/2019 meeting, vote #239, repealed the golf course occupation tax. At the 1/27/2020 meeting, vote #15, the council approved a 3 percent green fees increase. Premier is requesting a 6 percent cumulative annual fee increase and to switch from seasonal rates to an “in season” (March-October) and “off season” (November-February) rate structure. The changes are warranted based on increased operating costs and to keep pace with inflation and increases to the minimum wage. The new rate structure does not change the cost of annual passes, but includes a 3 percent annual increase for grandfathered annual passes. Premier is estimating that approximately $55,000 to $75,000 additional revenue will be generated in 2021 from the proposed changes. AB22907 (Resolution 2021-01) Approved 7-0

31. Increase wastewater fund appropriations by $2,400,000 for the Whatcom Creek Trunk Main Project? The 2021-2022 biennial budget included $5 million for this project. Public Works estimated and put the project out to bid as the council was considering the biennial budget. Bids (see 1/25/2021 meeting, vote #12) were opened after the council adopted the budget. The project design and construction costs are approximately $1.3 million over the original budgeted amount due to the unique technical nature of the project and delays in getting the final design advertised. The revised budget for this project will be $7,400,000, providing sufficient funding for the bid and a 10 percent contingency. AB22887 (Ordinance 2021-02-006) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.

Action Taken at February 22, 2021 Meeting

Mayor’s Report:

The mayor commented that small and simple grants are available. The program provides funding for neighborhood-led projects that make positive improvements and encourage community engagement. Applications submitted by the 5/1/2021 deadline will be considered for funding through a competitive process conducted by the mayor’s office. Past projects funded by small and simple grants include street trees, neighborhood signs, murals, community gardens, structures, supplies, and other projects. All city-recognized neighborhood associations are encouraged to apply. For more details: Nonvoting matter.

The city has implemented software for residents to use for nonemergency notifications (potholes, street lights, vegetation, litter, traffic lights, etc.). Requesters have the option to create an account, or, if they prefer, submit anonymously. Submitted requests can be shared and viewed. To report: (AB22913) Non-voting matter.

Shall the council:

32. Amend the Broadband Advisory Workgroup meetings? The workgroup was created at the 8/24/2020 meeting, vote #151, and the initial nine members were approved at the 1/11/2020 meeting, vote #5. The original resolution prohibited the recording of meetings. This amendment requires Zoom meetings to be recorded. AB22007 (Resolution 2021-02) Approved 7-0

33. Appropriate $5,964,530 for goods and services checks issued from January 22 through February 11, 2021? (AB22917/22918/22919) Approved 7-0

34. Appropriate $7,523,442 for payroll checks issued from January 1 through January 31, 2021? (AB22920/22921) Approved 7-0  

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