Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale

Action Taken at June 5, 2018 Meeting

Shall the council:
87. Authorize the executive to award the low bid of $197,549 to Iverson Earth Works of Custer for levee repairs? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors). The engineer’s estimate was $197,078. Four bids were received; the high bid was $253,666. The contract will provide repair services for 1,075 feet of levee on the east bank of the Nooksack River adjacent to Marine Drive that was damaged by winter storm events, most occurring in 2017. The levee helps prevent frequent flooding of Slater Road. Approval will also increase the estimated capital cost of the project from $200,000 to $300,000, and authorize the executive to execute contracts up to the increased estimated capital cost. (AB2018-166) Approved 6-0, Satpal Sidhu absent.

88. Authorize the executive to sign a $181,700 contract with the Whatcom Conservation District for the Pollution Identification and Correction Program? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The Pollution Identification and Correction Program was created at the 9/30/2014 meeting, vote #175. The purpose was to identify and address bacterial pollution sources that are impacting freshwater and marine water sources. The contract will include non-dairy technical assistance, data coordination, and small farm outreach and extend the support period for these activities, the total amended amount is $535,066 and it expires on 6/30/2019. (AB2018-167) Approved 6-0, Satpal Sidhu absent.

89. Authorize the executive to sign a $250,000 contract with the Opportunity Council? The contract will provide partial support for continuous facility-based staffing at 22 North, a 40-unit apartment building that will provide affordable, permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness together with behavioral and other health problems. The contract expires on 6/30/2019. (AB2018-170) Approved 5-0, Tyler Byrd abstaining and Satpal Sidhu absent.

90. Authorize the executive to sign a $1,087,355 contract with the Opportunity Council? The contract will to provide rental and utility assistance for participants in the state Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) Program. In the last 12 months, the HEN program has provided assistance to 281 Whatcom County households. Eligibility for assistance will be determined by Washington State Department of Social and Health Service requirements The contract expires on 6/30/2019. (AB2018-171) Approved 6-0, Satpal Sidhu absent.

91. Authorize the executive to act as the authorized representative on behalf of Whatcom County for the receipt of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and Washington Wildlife and Recreation Farmland Preservation Project Grants? Funded projects covered by the authorization include: the Anderson Creek area acquisitions (including the Grubbs, Carbee, and Carbee properties); the Cougar Creek Ranch acquisitions; the Brar acquisition; the Roper agricultural conservation easement; the TeVelde agricultural conservation easement; and the McLeod agricultural conservation easement. AB2018-168 (Resolution 2018-018) Approved 6-0, Satpal Sidhu absent.

92. Amend the Whatcom County Code relating to solid waste recycling and collection district in Point Roberts? (Public hearing held) The amendments will remove exemptions for mandatory curbside collection and require monthly charges for curbside collection at a minimum level with fees to be included in the annual property tax bill. AB2018- 146B (Ordinance 2018-031) Amended and adopted 5-2, Barara Brenner1 and Tyler Byrd opposed.

93. Amend Whatcom County Code relating to administration and personnel; public peace, morals and welfare; building and construction; the environment; zoning; land division regulations; shoreline management programs; and health? (Public hearing held.) In addition, the amendment creates new land use and development procedures to relocate and revise procedures for land use and used development related to project permits and legislative actions to non-substantive clarifications and grammatical corrections. It also addresses: vesting and expiration of applications, designation of an appeals process, time limits for major project permits, requirements for written appeals and timelines for agency responses. AB2018-056 (Ordinance 2018-032) Adopted 6-1, Todd Donovan opposed.

94. Amend Whatcom County Code relating to purchasing systems? The amendment will strike the sunset provision in the chapter of the code establishing administrative procedures for advertising and approving public contracts. AB2018-160 (Ordinance 2018-033) Substitute adopted 5-1, Barbara Brenner2 opposed and Satpal Sidhu absent.

95. Establish Whatcom County Code 1.32, relating to the Public Records Act? Rules are adopted for compliance, including: definition of included records; definition of the the role of the Public Records Officer, description of the request process, rules for requesting lists of individuals, denial and appeal of denial process, charges for records requests, exemptions from disclosure requirements and indexing of records. AB2018-155 (Ordinance 2018-034) Substitute adopted 6-0, Satpal Sidhu absent.

Action Taken at June 19, 2018 Meeting

Shall the council:
96. Authorize the executive to accept a $225,000 state grant to address new “buildable land” requirements under state law? Requirements include: the amendment of countywide planning policies to establish a “buildable lands” program, development of methodology, collection of development data, issuance of a “buildable lands” report, the consideration of reporting in the update of the Comprehensive Plan. The grant expires on 6/30/2019. (AB2018-189) Approved 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

97. Authorize the executive to sign a $128,152 contract (amendment #3) with Kimberly K. Geariety for labor negotiator services? At the 2/7/2017 meeting, vote #21, the council authorized amendment #1 with Ms. Geariety for labor negotiator services. This amendment will extend that contract through 6/30/2020 to complete a bargaining cycle for five agreements. This vote brings the total amended contract to $214,528. (AB2018-191) Approved 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

98. Authorize the executive to sign Jail Facility Use agreements with the cities of Bellingham/Blaine/Everson/Ferndale/Lynden/Nooksack/Sumas? The contracts provide inmate housing services for criminal offense cases initiated by participating cities, paid for by those cities through booking and other fees. The agreements expire 6/30/2020 and can be renewed for three additional two-year terms, for a total period of six additional years. (AB2018-192/193/194/195/196/197/198) Approved 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

99. Establish expenditure authority for Point Roberts Transportation Benefit District tax revenue funds? (Council acting as the governing body for the Point Roberts Transportation Benefit District) (Public hearing held) This vote allows gas tax revenue funds, in an amount not to exceed $20,000, to be spent on landscape maintenance of Tyee Drive between Benson and Gulf roads. AB2018-174 (Resolution 2018-019) Approved 5-1, Barbara Brenner3 opposed and Rud Browne absent.

100. Authorize the executive to accept $1,530,000 in state grants? The Washington Wildlife and Recreation program grants will fund the following projects: $380,000 for Maple Falls Park trailhead development; $500,000 for Lake Whatcom Park trailhead and trail development; $150,000 for the Lookout Mountain forest preserve trail development; $500,000 for Birch Bay Beach Park development. AB2018-184/185/186/187 (Resolutions 2018-020/021/022/023) Approved 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

101. Update the appendix of the 2015 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy? The Economic Development Strategy is a planning tool required by the Federal Economic Development Administration in order to be eligible for public works funding and includes community development projects identified by governments and other economic development entities in Whatcom County. A development strategy was first approved at the 8/13/2002 meeting, vote #153; the 2015 strategy was approved at the 3/31/2015 meeting, vote #49, and updated at the 4/19/2016 meeting, vote #68. The update adds, removes, or revises projects on the list to reflect new or updated county and community priorities. AB2018-188 (Resolution 2018-024) Amended and approved 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

102. Amend the Point Roberts and Wiser Lake LAMIRD requirements? (Public hearing held) The Growth Management Act authorizes counties to include “limited areas of more intensive rural development” in the sections of the Comprehensive Plan that relate to rural areas. In the Point Roberts LAMIRD, amendments will allow “auto and equipment repair,” with maximum building sizes defined. In the Wiser Lake LAMIRD, amendments will allow “manufacturing and fabrication,” with maximum building sizes defined, with a concurrent reduction in the allowed size of buildings for the “storage/warehouse” classification. AB2018-177 (Ordinance 2018-035) Adopted 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

103. Amend the 2018 budget (request #8) in the amount of $44,642? Appropriated: $5,000 to fund a recreational boating safety program, including increased patrols and education, provided by the Sheriff’s Department; $33,642 to fund a Clerk III position in Elections at the Recording Department; $6,000 to fund an ice machine for the kitchen at the jail AB2018-178 (Ordinance 2018-036) Adopted 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

104. Approve an additional $1 million for the Triage Center expansion fund (amendment #1) and establishment of a project-based budget? The North Sound Behavioral Health Organization awarded a $2,500,000 grant for the expansion project. At the 9/12/2017 meeting, vote #168, the council voted to establish a $300,000 expansion fund and project-based budget for a phased plan design, architectural support, and public outreach efforts. The Triage Center will address the emergency needs of individuals experiencing substance abuse and/or mental health issues. The current capacity at the center is 13 beds, eight for alcohol and/or drug detox and five for metal health stabilization. The center will expand to a 32-bed capacity, 16 for mental health related needs and 16 for drug- and alcohol-related needs. This vote brings the total amended project budget to $1,300,000. AB2018-179 (Ordinance 2018-037) Adopted 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

105. Authorize an interfund loan of $546,000 to continue financing the Central Plaza Building? At the 3/17/2009 meeting, vote #44, the council authorized the executive to spend $1,800,000 to purchase the building occupied by the public defenders’ office. The loan will be used to continue the financing of the building at 215 North Commercial Street until 7/1/2021. AB2018-180 (Ordinance 2018-038) Adopted 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

106. Adopt emergency zoning regulations for the siting, establishment and operation of temporary tent encampments? The encampments are an emergency response to address the challenge of homelessness in Whatcom County. The ordinance allows for tents or other temporary structures such as “tiny homes” to reside on land owned or leased by a sponsoring state or federal not-for-profit organization. Requirements for the temporary encampments include: the establishment of a 20-foot buffer from adjoining property; a restriction on siting within critical areas designated under Whatcom County Code; fencing and lighting requirements; maximum resident capacities; parking requirements; age restrictions; written code of conduct requirements; transit access requirements; requirements for toilet facilities and potable water provision; requirements for waste management and collection; limitations on tent/structure size; requirements for restoration of the site to the original condition; and application and permitting requirements. The emergency ordinance expires 8/18/2018. AB2018-182 (Ordinance 2018-039) Amended and adopted 6-0, Rud Browne absent.

1. From Barbara Brenner: I opposed amending recycling and collection because it will likely cause many people to stop recycling. Exemptions are supposed to be issued when the applicant shows he/she is adequately handling waste and recycling. This new law removes the incentive for people to recycle since they would be charged the same whether or not they recycle. Without proof, there were statements made that the people with exemptions were the problem, i.e. dumping their garbage. No one provided any proof as to who was causing dumping problems. Pt. Roberts is a huge tourist attraction, which would more likely be the main cause of dumping. Our health department never checks those with exemptions and apparently the health department doesn’t want to do its job of checking so the health department promoted this solution, which would allow the health department to continue to do nothing. Also, the garbage disposal facility owner claimed it was causing a loss for him, again, without any proof as to whether he was simply mishandling the monies. The Washington State Utilites and Transportation Commission (UTC) is supposed to do an audit on this business but the UTC hasn’t done an audit yet. That would be happening in the fall. I believe this should not have happened before the UTC audit.

2. From Barbara Brenner: I opposed amending the purchasing systems because I believe this is an example of the council abdicating our authority to the county executive. I did not vote for the original ordinance for the same reason. Once the council gives up more of its authority, it just gets easier for some of them to do it again. We are supposed to be a check and a balance on the executive branch instead of the council continuing to give the executive more authority over what the council is supposed to do.

3. From Barbara Brenner: I opposed the gas tax expenditure authority because the gas tax revenue funds are supposed to be used for transportation-related solutions. When this was held in committee, we were told it would be specifically for transportation-related solutions, not for gardens and flowers, which are a nice thing but not the proper use of the funds. However, when we got the final document it included money for someone to take care of gardens and flowers. That was not supposed to happen. I proposed using the monies for trails instead, since that is for transportation. But the council majority didn’t want to make the changes so I opposed.

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