Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale

Action Taken at May 4, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:
107. Authorize the executive to a sign a $240,000 four-month contract (amendment #3) with G6 Hospitality Property? The county leases Motel 6 at 3701 Byron Ave. in Bellingham for the purposes of providing Covid-19-related quarantine and isolation facilities, as well as emergency lodging for families and seniors experiencing homelessness. Both the original contract signed in April and the first amendment signed in June were emergencies so they didn’t need council approval; amendment #2 was approved by the council at the 11/10/20 meeting, vote #214. Amendment #3 will extend the lease through 9/30/2021 and increase it by $10,000 each month to $60,000 monthly. (AB2021-253) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd absent.

108. Authorize the executive to accept a $405,600 federal grant to promote border security? This is the 13th year of the Operation Stonegarden grant for coordination measures between local, tribal, state, and federal law enforcement agencies operating in Whatcom County. Participating agencies will not enforce federal immigration law. The grant expires on 3/31/2023. (AB2021-256) Approved 5-1, Todd Donovan opposed, Tyler Byrd absent.

109. Approve the public participation plan for amending the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan and development regulations? State law requires public participation when amendments are made to county-level comprehensive plans. Differences over last year’s plan include the insertion and removal of completed or withdrawn amendments. (AB2021-257) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd absent.

110. Extend the 2020-2021 collective bargaining agreement with the Whatcom County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild? The agreement covers employees in the bureau of corrections, deputies and sergeants. The agreement runs from 1/1/2022 to 12/31/2022 and includes a 2.75 percent wage increase for 2022. (AB2021-272) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd absent.

111. Adopt the Whatcom County Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan? (Public hearing held.) Federal law requires that persons with disabilities have equal access to public programs and services. Adoption of the plan will bring Whatcom County into compliance with federal law as applies to public facilities, including: sidewalks, curb ramps, pedestrian push buttons, and other public infrastructure. The plan is available at: www.whatcomcounty.us/ADATransitionPlan. AB2021-244 (Resolution 2021-016) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd absent.

112. Authorize the executive to submit an application for a federal grant up to $129,400? (Public hearing held.) The application is for a community development block grant to be used to provide services for low- to moderate-income residents accessing the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center. Contracted services provided by the Opportunity Council include: early childhood education, food resources; and energy assistance. AB2021-245 (Resolution 2021-017) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd absent.

113. Conclude the work of the Homeless Strategies Workgroup and transfer its responsibilities to the Whatcom County Housing Advisory Committee? At the 10/24/2017 meeting, vote #205, the council voted to establish the Housing Advisory Committee to identify solutions to reduce the population of unsheltered individuals. At the 7/23/2019 meeting, vote #150, the scope was increased and membership enlarged from 10 to 17, and, at the 2/25/2020 meeting, vote #40, three additional members were added for a total of 20 members. The workgroup submitted final short- and long-term strategy recommendations to the council, and the duties will be transferred to the Housing Advisory Committee. AB2021-281 (Resolution 2021-018) Approved 5-1, Todd Donovan opposed, Tyler Byrd absent.

114. Close a portion of Manley Road to motorized vehicular traffic? (Public hearing held.) Illegal dumping has taken place on Manley Road for many years and efforts to stop it have been ineffective. At the request of residents and adjacent property owners, a gate will close approximately 0.98 miles of Manley Road to vehicle traffic from the Pacific Highway to the end of the county right-of-way. Pedestrians and bicycles will continue to access and use the closed section. AB2021-243 (Ordinance 2021-027) Adopted 6-0, Tyler Byrd absent.

Action Taken at May 18, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:
115. Change Rodd Pemble’s position on the Solid Waste Advisory Committee? The committee has members from public interest groups, business, the waste management and recycling industries and local elected public officials (or their designees). It provides for coordination and information exchange between the groups about solid waste issues as well as providing ongoing public input and advice to Whatcom County on solid waste management issues. At the 5/7/2019 meeting, vote #97, Rodd Pemble was appointed to the represent “business/industry “position on the committee. His term expired on 1/31/2020; he was reappointed at the 1/14/2020 meeting, vote #7. Rodd Pemble has been the recycling manager for Sanitary Service Company in Bellingham since 1996. His position will be changed to “waste collection industry” so the “business/industry” member that can bring a different perspective to the committee deliberations. (AB2021-273) Approved 7-0

116. Authorize the auditor to sign a five-year agreement with the state of Washington for a combined state and local voters’ pamphlet? The average annual cost is $15,000 for an approximate total of $75,000 — costs can vary depending on the size of the election. The state does not usually produce a voters’ pamphlet for primary elections in odd years. The agreement runs from 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2026. (AB2021-277) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

117. Authorize the executive to award all bidders for rental rates for maintenance and construction equipment? Awards will be made on an as-needed basis and shall not exceed $100,000. Eight bids were received: Ahern Rentals, Birch Equipment, Herc Rentals, NC Machinery, PacWest Machinery, SE Rents, Star Rentals, and United Rentals. Rental equipment includes: cranes, dozers, dump trucks, forklifts, front end loaders, log loaders, mowers, pile drivers, road graders, scrapers, steel rollers, sweepers, water trucks and trailers. (AB2021-288) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

118. Approve a resolution with the city of Bellingham and the Whatcom County Transportation Authority supporting the creation of a countywide public radio system? This vote supports the development and operation of an 800 MHz digital public radio system for use by public agencies in the county. AB2021-286 (Resolution 2021-019) Approved 7-0

119. Approve eight applications for open space current use assessment? The Open Space Taxation Act was passed by the state Legislature in 1970 to prevent development inconsistent with commercial agriculture and forestry, and the preservation of other natural environments of historic and recreational importance. The county Planning and Development Services administers the open space and farm conservation land classification programs and received 11 applications for open space current use assessment. It recommended eight applications: Suzanne Vawter/Everson (Open Space Farm and Agricultural Conservation – 29.94 acres); Richard Kroon/Lijuan Ren/Bellingham (Open Space Land/Farm and Agricultural Conservation – 3.7 acres); Joseph and Kelsey Maddux/Custer (Open Space Farm and Agricultural Conservation – 17.6 acres); Charles and Leslie Power/Bellingham (Open Space Farm and Agricultural Conservation – 34.29 acres); Ren and Connie Kamps/Everson (Open Space Farm and Agricultural Conservation – 14.36 acres); Denis and Carol Delahoyde/Deming (Open Space Farm and Agricultural Conservation – 7.2 acres). (AB2021-252 (Resolution 2021-020) Amended and approved 7-0.

120. Amend the six-year (2021-2026) capital improvement program for Whatcom County facilities? (Public hearing held.) The six-year capital improvement program requires updating every two years, it was last updated at the 11/24/2020 meeting, vote #237. The program addresses county parks, trails, activity centers, maintenance and operations, general government buildings and sites, the sheriff’s office, emergency management, adult corrections, juvenile detention, transportation, and stormwater facilities. This amendment adds roof replacement at the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center. The estimated cost to replace the roof on the 24,000 square-foot building is $405,842. AB2021-258 (Ordinance 2021-028) Adopted 7-0

121. Continue an interim moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications and permits for new or expanded facilities in the Cherry Point urban growth area? (Public hearing held.) The moratorium covers facilities including but not limited to piers, wharfs, buildings, tank farms, pipelines, rail loading and off-loading facilities, road spurs, and other infrastructure purposed on exporting unrefined fossil fuels, including stabilized or unstabilized crude oil, diluted or raw bitumen, syncrude, coal, methane, propane, butane, and liquid or gaseous natural gas. An emergency ordinance was adopted at the 8/9/2016 meeting, vote #147; the first interim moratorium was passed at the 9/27/2016 meeting, vote #173. This vote is the 10th time the interim moratorium has been renewed. Interim moratoria are required to be renewed every six months. AB2021-227 (Ordinance 2021-029) Adopted 5-2, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.

122. Amend the 2021 budget (request #7) in the amount of $5,156,985? Appropriated: $28,615 for the sheriff’s office to purchase 27 ballistics vests; $100,000 for the Planning Department to fund an offsite buffer mitigation program feasibility study; $2,171,429 for the Health Department to fund a mass vaccination program site at Bellingham Technical College and other locations in the county; $1,621, 652 for the Health Department to fund the medical staffing in response to Covid-19; $309,712 to fund case management, emergency shelter space, and rental assistance programs; $113,000 to fund a mandatory update of the Comprehensive Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Plan; $253,000 to fund the purchase of development rights for the 55.6 acre Kiera-Duffy forestry and ecological conservation easement; $70,000 to fund Whatcom County’s share of the Unified Emergency Command Center roof replacement project; AB2021-264 (Ordinance 2021-030) Adopted 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.   

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