Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at January 8, 2024 Meeting

Swearing-in ceremonies:
Bellingham Municipal Court Judge Debra Lev conducted two ceremonies. One for City Council members Jace Cotton, At-Large; Hannah Stone, First Ward; Daniel Hammill, Third Ward; Lisa Anderson, Fifth Ward and one for Mayor Kim Lund.

Mayor’s Report:
On the first Friday of the month, Whatcom Museum will have free admissions, hours extended to 9 p.m. and free programming. For additional information go to:

Shall the council:

1. Authorize the mayor to sign a $40,000 settlement agreement with Karri Benson for the following terms: dismissal of the lawsuit and resolution of all claims? On 7/15/2015, an automobile driven by Kerri Benson at 25 miles-per-hour was rear-ended by a police vehicle. The driver surfered neck and back pain and was referred to physical therapy. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Motion carried 7-0

2. Ratify the 2024-2026 collective bargaining agreement with Teamster Union Local 231? The agreement includes a 4 percent wage increase starting on 1/1 2024, a 3 percent wage increase starting on 1/1/2025 and 1/1/2026. Effective 1/1/2024, the city’s deferred compensation is increased one-half of one percent to a total of 3 percent. For each year, the city’s contribution to medical health care is increased by 6 percent. The agreement runs from 1/1/2024 to 12/31/2026. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Motion carried 7-0

3. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $8,517,997 to Strider Construction of Bellingham for the James Street/Whatcom Creek Bridge and Meador Avenue/Whatcom Creek Bridge Project? The engineer’s estimate was $10,926,868. Two deteriorating timber pier bridges, originally built in 1936 and rebuilt in 1962, will be repalaced with a concrete single span bridge at each location, will remove existing creosote piles from in the creek, provide 100-year flood conveyance, and improve fish passage. The project will also replace existing water mains on the bridges, relocate existing sanitary sewer infrastructure and other franchise utilities, and mitigate stormwater. The project also includes roadway improvements, sidewalks and stormwater systems on James Street and Meador Avenue. The city received five bids — four were below the engineer’s estimate. The high bid was $12,007,764. The bridge portion of the project is funded by federal and state grants and includes 1,200 apprenticeship hours. (AB23974) Approved 7-0

4. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement renewing a lease with Whatcom County and the Port of Bellingham for the Emergency Operation Center located at 3888 Sound Way? At the 12/9/2013 meeting, vote 269, the council approved the original agreement for the port-owned facility located at the Bellingham airport, which was used by the federal government during the 2010 Winter Olympics and had been vacant since then. At the time, the county did not have a location in the county to assemble and respond to an emergency. This renewal makes a market adjustment for the rent (a 5 percent increase over 2023) and adds a provision to update the generator for the facility. The city, county and port divide the costs with an inflator each year for the Consumer Price Index. The renewed agreement expires on 12/31/2033. (AB23975) Approved 7-0

5. Authorize the mayor to sign a renewed agreement with Whatcom County for the What-Comm contract? The previous agreement was approved at the 8/19/2019 meeting, vote #141, and expired on 12/31/2023. This agreement will combine two 911 call centers (one for the sheriff/city police department and one a fire/EMS center) into one for law enforcement, fire and medical emergency dispatching. The proposed site is on city-owned property and adjacent to Cordata Park at 4447 Meridian. At the 7/24/2023 meeting, vote #154, $1.5 million was transferred to the What-Com Construction Fund for a feasibility study and concept design. The new facility is anticipated to cost $12 million and will be finanaced through a bond issuance this year. This agreement expires on 12/31/2027. (AB23977) Approved 6-0-1, Jace Cotton abstained.

6. Authorize the mayor to sign a hold-harmless agreement with Whatcom County for GRACE interactions? GRACE is the acronym for Ground Level Response and Coordinated Engagement. GRACE reduces first responder calls, emergency department visits, arrests, and jail admissions while improving health, well-being, and stability among frequent users of public services. As part of this partnership, there are times when county GRACE employees may use city facilities or vehicles, and conversely times when city employees may use county facilities or vehicles. This agreement clarifies each party’s intention to be responsible for their own employees and hold the other agency harmless in the event of an incident or injury, and helps to facilitate the sharing of vehicles and office spaces between city and county employees in facilitating this work. (AB23978) Approved 6-0-1, Jace Cotton abstained.

7. Authorize the mayor and police chief to sign a one-year agreement with the Bellingham Housing Authority for police services? A drug and crime prevention program has been in place since 2000; the housing authority will pay the city a total of $154,530 in 12 monthly payments and provide office space for the officer to work directly with staff and residents of housing authority properties and surrounding neighborhoods. The officer will provide both law enforcement and crime prevention services, such as setting up block watch meetings, coordinating with the police department crime prevention units in targeted neighborhoods, working to locate drug dealers, and providing counseling to juveniles at risk of drug involvement. The agreement exires on 1/13/2025. (AB23979) Approved 6-0-1, Jace Cotton abstained

8. Appropriate $10,579,855 for payroll checks issued from November 16 through December 15, 2023? (AB23972/23980)Approved 6-0-1, Jace Cotton abstained

9. Appropriate $17,828,284 for goods and services checks issued from December 1 through December 28, 2023? (AB23981/23982/23983/23984)Approved 6-0-1, Jace Cotton abstained


Action Taken at January 29, 2024 Meeting

Shall the council:

10. Authorize the legal department to sign a consent decree with the state of Washington regarding the R.G. Haley Site? At the 9/14/2009 meeting, vote #193, the council authorized the mayor to purchase for $1.00 the R.G. Hale property from the Douglas Management Company. Cleanup costs were estimated at between $3 million and $9 million. Between 1887 and 1947, lumber mills operated at the site and from 1950 until 1985 it was used for wood treatment. The marine area of the site is owned and managed by the state of Washington. Studies between 1991 and 2016 found petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pentachlorophenol (PCP) and dioxins/furans to be present in the soil, soil vapor, groundwater and/or sediment at concentrations that represent a potential threat to human and ecological health. This decree requires the city to perform remedial actions in accordance with the Cleanup Action Plan. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Motion carried 7-0

11. Ratify the 2023-2024 collective bargaining agreement with the Bellingham Police Guild? The agreement runs from 1/1/2023 through 12/31/2024. Cost of living increase effective: 1/1/2023-7 percent; effective 1/1/2024-4 percent; educational incentive effective increase 1/1/2024-½ percent. Effective upon ratification: 1 percent increase to several existing premiums and the addition of a new premium and increase deferred compensation match to 7 percent and restructure the conversion to longevity. No changes to medical coverage. Increase vision coverage from $10 per member per month to $11.86 per member per month. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Motion carried 7-0

12. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $988,311 to Hytech Roofing of Lynden for the Post Point reroofing project? The engineer’s estimate was $1,386,335. There are currently 12 existing buildings at the wasterwater treatment facility in need of new roofs. Reroofing these buildings will prevent further deterioration while decisions are made on the future of the structures within the treatment facility. The roof projects were split into two groups encompassing six roofs each, to accommodate site logistics and maintain 24/7 operation during construction. Another bid covering the second group of six roofs will be presented to City Council for approval in June of this year. Three bids were received — the high bid was 1,481,663. The project includes an apprenticeship-hour requirement. (AB23989) Approved 7-0

13. Authorize the mayor to award the lowest responsible bid of $3,486,091 to Dawson Construction of Bellingham for the West Illinois Multimodal Improvements Project? The engineer’s estimate was $3,648,500. This project adds sidewalks, bike lanes, pavement markings, fiber optic conduit, flashing beacons, stormwater improvements and new curb and gutter in selected locations from Meridian Street to Lynn Street. The Meridian and West Illinois intersection will have the traffic signal removed and a roundabout installed. The project also adds bike lanes, pavement markings and three crosswalks with flashing beacons along Meridian and Girard streets. Eight bids were received — the high bid was $3,907,386. New X Inc. of Monroe submitted the lowest bid of $3,067,145, but it did not meet the mandatory bidder responsibility criteria. The project includes an apprenticeship-hour requirement. (AB23990) Approved 7-0

14. Name a new city park the Northern Lights Park and establish playground facilities? Northwest Neighborhood Park/Aurora Court Park were casual names. The design, construction, and dedication of a new neighborhood park dedicated to the city was a condition of approval (9/10/2018 meeting, vote #142) of the Aurora Court (north of Costco and within the proximity of Bear Creek) preliminary plat. The preliminary park design is .8 acres between townhouses from June Road to Talus Way; Snowfield Way intersects the park. The developer is proposing to include a bamboo jungle for older children/young adults and climbing rocks and net for younger children, with swings planned. A survey was conducted and a name was suggested by 735 contributors — the parks advisors board chose Northern Lights Park.(AB23992) Approved 7-0

15. Correct the Whatcom County Water District No. 2 boundary map? In 1997, the City of Bellingham entered into an agreement with Whatcom Water District No. 2 to provide wholesale water to the district. Whatcom Water District No. 2 is currently updating its water system comprehensive plan with the state of Washington and has determined the current district boundary map does not accurately depict a number of properties that have been historically served by the district — four areas need revision. These four areas are single-family lots. (AB23999) Approved 7-0

16. Appropriate $4,953,871 for payroll checks issued from December 16 through December 31, 2023? (AB24000) Approved 7-0

17. Appropriate $8,904,644 for goods and services checks issued from December 29, 2023 through January 18, 2024? (AB24001/24002/24003) Approved 7-0

18. Support the passage of rent stabilization legislation by the Washington State Legislature, including House Bill 2114 and Senate Bill 5961? The most recent U.S. Census and American Community Survey data show that over half of Bellingham residents are renters, with nearly a third spending more than half their monthly income on rent. Recent analysis by city staff shows that rents within the City of Bellingham have risen by over 40 percent since 2019, and continue to exceed local wage growth and the rate of inflation. AB23994 (Resolution #2024-01) Approved 7-0 

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