Whatcom County Council

Action Taken at August 2, 2021 Special Meeting

Shall there council:
179. Appoint committee members to prepare voters’ guide statements for two ballot measures? Andrew Reding and Cindy Madigan were appointed to write the pro statement for the charter amendment. Ruth Higgins, Doralee Booth and Keith Alesse were appointed to write the pro statement for the Birch Bay library capital facility area. (AB2021-473) Approved 6-0, Ben Elenbaas absent.

Action Taken at August 10, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:
180. Authorize the executive to sign a $525,000 contract with the Bellingham Housing Authority for phase 3 of the Samish Commons Project? The housing project is located at the former Aloha Motel site on Samish Way. See the February 2019 issue of Whatcom Watch for details about it. The contract will provide American Rescue Plan Act funds to construct 49 new apartments for low-income residents. The contract expires on 6/30/2023. (AB2021-430) Approved 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas, and Kathy Kershner opposed.

181. Authorize the executive to sign six contacts totaling $85,077 for the Plantation Rife Range? The range will provide firearms qualifications for commissioned and non-commissioned personnel. The contracts are with: Skagit Valley College ($17,486); Sedro Woolley Police Department ($6,289); Bellingham Police Department ($26,382); Mount Vernon Police Department ($6,764); Marysville Police Department ($12,868) and Skagit County Sheriff ($15,287). (AB2021-443/444/445/446/448/449) Approved 7-0

182. Authorize the executive to accept a $236,340 state grant for solid waste management compliance and illegal dumping enforcement? The grant will provide funding for: investigation of solid waste management complaints; solid waste code enforcement; site inspections at conditionally permit-exempt solid waste handling facilities; and illegal dumping enforcement activities. The county will provide $78,780 in matching funds. Whatcom County will spend $315,120 to enforce solid waste handling standards. The grant expires on 6/30/2023. (AB2021-452) Approved 7-0

183. Authorize the executive to sign a $1,917,500 contract (amendment #2) with the city of Bellingham Fire Department and Fire Protection District No. 7 for advanced life support services? The contract will provide funding associated with the creation of a fifth paramedic unit to serve Whatcom County, including: a fire truck and equipment; station and facilities upgrades; and hiring ten new firefighter/paramedics. In 2021, the county will reimburse the city $421,000 and in 2022 will reimburse the city $1,496,500 related to the purchase of a rig and related equipment plus facility upgrades. (AB2021-458) Approved 7-0

184. Confirm the executive’s appointment of Jagwinder Gill to the Agricultural Advisory Committee? The committee was created at the 7/24/2001 meeting, vote #128, to provide review and recommendations the council on issues that affect agriculture. There are nine voting members. Mr. Gill is employed in transportation and blueberry farming. (AB2021-461) Confirmed 7-0 

185. Authorize Karen Frakes, chief civil deputy prosecuting attorney, to vote in behalf of Whatcom County in favor of the Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals reorganization plan? Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the United States, filed for chapter 11 in the U.S. bankruptcy court. In 2019, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the company, charging that it knowingly paid illegal kickbacks as part of an elaborate scheme to make millions of dollars and leave the American taxpayer with the bill. (AB20201-469) Approved 7-0 

186. Authorize the executive to sign a $173,090 three-year contract with Helmsman Management Services of Kent? The contract will provide administrative services for the county’s self-insured workers’ compensation program. The county has self-insured their workers’ compensation program since 1984, and Helmsman has served as the claim administrator since 2005. The contract expires on 12/31/2024. (AB2021-472) Approved 7-0 

187. Authorize the executive to accept a state grant (not to exceed) $470,230 to provide an advance for DSHS-funded programs? DSHS provides counties with advances in funding to manage cash-flow for developmental disabilities related programs. The grant expires on 6/30/2022. (AB2021-477) Approved 7-0

188. Authorize the executive to sign a $236,470 contract (amendment #3) with Lydia Place for additional emergency shelter capacity? The original contract to provide motel room capacity for families experiencing unsheltered homelessness ran from 10/1/2020 to 12/30/2021. The purpose of the amendment is to increase the number of families receiving emergency shelter and other supportive housing services. The total amended amount is $354,922; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-483) Approved 7-0

189. Appoint Angela Anderson as interim Whatcom County District Court Judge? Judge David  Anderson retired before the end of his term; the County Council appoints a replacement. At a special meeting on August 5, the council interviewed six candidates, Lisa Keeler, Royce Buckingham, Melissa Nelson, Jeffrey Lustick, Angela Anderson and Shoshana Paige. Angela Anderson will fill the judge position until the November 2022 general election. She graduated with a JD from Washington and Lee University School of Law and has served in the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office. (AB2021-485). Appointed 5-2, Ben Elenbaas voted for Jeffrey Lustick and Kathy Kershner voted for Royce Buckingham.

190. Authorize the executive to sign a $725,000 contract with Bellingham Housing Authority for the purposes of funding an Economic Development Invest Program (EDI) loan for phase 3 of the Samish Commons redevelopment project? The EDI loan will fund structured parking, commercial space for an early learning center, and other road improvements to the urban village. Payments over the 20-year loan will total $807,580. (AB2021-390) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.

191. Transfer Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District property to the Lummi Nation? (Public hearing held – Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The flood control district purchased the property along Ferndale Road in 2008 for a stream buffer mitigation project. The Lummi Nation requested the land for fishing access and will exchange the property for $17,000 in wetland mitigation credits. AB2021-417 (Resolution 2021-026) Approved 7-0

192. Declare county property at 1661 Baker Creek surplus? (Public hearing held.) At the 5/23/2006 meeting, vote #114, the county spent $697,350 to purchase the Baker Creek property for animal control. The facility was leased to the Whatcom Humane Society at $10 per year until 2014. When the Whatcom Humane Society and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center merged (2/25/2014 meeting, vote #40) the Humane Society moved to the county building at 3671 Mt. Baker Highway occupied by the Wildlife Center.  AB2021-433 (Resolution 2021-027) Approved 7-0

193. Adopt the Whatcom County Employee’s Personnel Handbook? The seven-page handbook contains policies contained in employment law, collective bargaining agreements for represented employees and resolutions for unrepresented employees. AB2021-476 (Resolution 2021-028) Approved 7-0

194. Consider vacating portions of Wynn, Thomas, Horton, and Boxwood Roads? Two Wynn Road landowners (Alan Kennedy/Steve Guyer) and the City of Bellingham (Thomas, Horton, and Boxwood Roads) submitted petitions for the vacation of rights-of-way currently owned by Whatcom County. The county engineer will investigate the vacations and issue a report to the council; a public hearing will be set on the matter. AB2021-464/465/466/467 (Resolutions 2021-029/030/031/032) Approved 7-0

195. Reestablish a 35 mph speed limit on a portion of Bay Road? (Public hearing held.) At the 5/22/2018 meeting, vote #78, the speed limit on Bay Road from 500 feet east of Jackson Road to Halibut Road was lowered to 25 mph when the area became part of the Birch Bay golf cart zone. Residents of Birch Bay have requested that the speed limit be increased to 35 mph. This portion of Bay Road will no longer be part of the golf cart zone. AB2021-422 (Ordinance 2021-050) Adopted 7-0

196. Amend the 2021 budget (request #12) in the amount of $1,506,763? Appropriated: $97,486 for the sheriff’s office to fund acquisition of a new “less lethal” munition to be used against suspects; $43,277 to fund What-Comm emergency services operations; $591,000 to fund the addition of a fifth medic unit for Whatcom County; $25,000 to fund the scanning and digitizing of 73 volumes of county commissioner minutes, proceedings and indexes; $750,000 to fund the Port of Bellingham rural broadband project. AB2021-412 (Ordinance 2021-051) Adopted 7-0

Action Taken at August 16, 2021 Special Meeting

Shall the council:
197. Repeal the interim moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications and permits for new or expanded facilities in the Cherry Point urban growth area? The moratorium covered 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. At the 5/18/2021 meeting, vote #121, the council passed for the 10th time an interim moratorium. At the 7/13/2021 meeting, vote #175, the council passed amendments to the Cherry Point urban growth area nullifying the moratorium. AB2021-475 (Ordinance 2021-052) Approved 6-0, Todd Donovan absent.

Action Taken at September 14, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:
198. Authorize the executive to sign a $97,662 contract (amendment #2) with Michael Bobbink for Whatcom County Hearing Examiner services? Mr. Bobbink has been the hearing examiner for 26 years and was the sole respondent to the request for proposals. The total amended contract amount is $288,102; it expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2021-487) Authorized 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.

199. Authorize the executive to sign a $153,110 contract with the state administrative office of courts and Whatcom County Superior Court for reimbursement of minor guardianship services? Whatcom County will reimburse Whatcom County Superior Court for services providing legal representation for minors and parents involved in superior court activities during the period from 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2022.  (AB2021-493) Approved 7-0

200. Authorize the executive to sign a $110,000 contract (amendment #3) with Northwest Workforce Council of Bellingham? At the 10/27/2020 meeting, vote #196, the original contract was approved to provide reimbursement of wages and benefits for eleven temporary health department employees (at a rate of $16,000 per participant) working on coronavirus-related response activities from 10/28/2020 to 6/30/2021. This amendment will extend the contract and increase the total overall funding for each position from $20,000 to $30,000. The total estimated contract amount is $330,000; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-497) Approved 7-0

201. Authorize the executive to accept $293,568 state grant? The grant will support technical assistance and education outreach for small businesses with the goal of promoting pollution prevention and maintaining the water quality in the Puget Sound. The two-year grant expires on 6/30/2023. (AB2021-498) Approved 7-0

202. Authorize the executive to sign a three-year $143,007 contract with West Publishing? The contract will provide online access and physical hardcopy access to proprietary law publications. West Publishing, a division of Thomson Reuters Inc. a Canadian corporation, has been designated as a sole source provider for web-based, legal research since 2004. The contract expires on 7/31/2024. (AB2021-506) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

203. Authorize the executive to accept a $300,000 state grant (supplement #5) for the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility Project? At the 11/20/2012 meeting, vote #199, the council approved a project fund for the 1.58-mile long project to develop a berm/trail to minimize beach  storm erosion and promote bicycling and walking. The grant requires a county match of $46,821. The county has received $4,598,890 in state grants for the project. The total estimate cost of the project is $15,291,786. It will construct a soft-shore roadway protection berm; make drainage upgrades from Lora Lange to Cedar Avenue; and install an ADA-compliant pedestrian pathway between Lora Lane and Cottonwood Avenue. It is listed as No. 1 on the annual county roads program. The amendment will provide matched grant funding for the construction phase of the project. (AB2021-523) Approved 7-0

204. Authorize for the executive to sign a $725,000 contract with Bellingham Housing Authority? The contract will provide an Economic Development Invest Program (EDI) loan for phase 3 of the Samish Commons redevelopment project that will construct 49 new apartments for low-income residents. The project is located at the former Aloha Motel site on Samish Way. See the February 2019 issue of Whatcom Watch for details about it. The loan is scheduled to be paid off in 2040, with $145,000 in interest accrued over the life of the loan. (AB2021-535) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.

205. Authorize the sale of surplus property located at 1661 Baker Creek Place? (Public hearing held.) At the 5/23/2006 meeting, vote #114, the county spent $697,350 to purchase the Baker Creek property for animal control. The facility was leased to the Whatcom Humane Society at $10 per year until 2014. When the Whatcom Humane Society and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center merged (2/25/2014 meeting, vote #40) the Humane Society moved to the county building at 3671 Mt. Baker Highway occupied by the Wildlife Center.  State law permits the sale of property declared to be surplus and after a public hearing the council has determined it is in the best interest of the county to sell the property. It will be sold to the Lake Whatcom Treatment Center, a state non-profit agency AB2021-434 (Resolution 2021-033) Approved 7-0

206. Declare property as surplus and set September 28 as the date for public hearing? State law permits the sale of property declared to be surplus and the county purchasing agent has determined that it is in the best interest to sell the following property: seven trucks; two hybrid automobiles; one grader; one dozer; three snow plows; two mowers; two tractors; one grader; and other miscellaneous equipment. AB2021-502 (Resolution 2021-034) Approved 7-0

207. Amend the salary schedule and policies for unrepresented Whatcom County employees? The council adopted the salary schedule for unrepresented employees at the 11/10/2020 meeting, vote #215. This amendment will permit an end-of-year (2021) carryover of up to 280 hours of accrued vacation and can cash out up to 40 hours at 100 percent. AB2021-518 (Resolution 2021-035) Approved 7-0

208. Amend the 2021 Flood Control Zone District budget (request #2) in the amount of $1,142,000? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The amendment will provide funding for the construction of a berm and other mitigation measures to protect the town of Acme from flooding events on Jones Creek. Construction is scheduled for 2023-24.  AB2021-450 (Resolution 2021-036)Approved 7-0

209. Approve $1,469,575 for the 2022 convention center fund allocations? There were 16 applications for annual lodging tax funding allocations and all were approved. Approved applications: Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism ($290,000); Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce ($110,000); Mt. Baker Foothills Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center ($110,000); Sustainable Connections ($35,000); Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce ($25,000); Whatcom Events ($25,000); Sylvia Center ($25,000); North Cascades Bluegrass Festival ($20,000); Seafest ($20,000); Whatcom County Glacier Restrooms ($19,500); Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce ($17,500); Allied Arts ($14,800); Ferndale Chamber of Commerce ($12,000); Bellingham Festival of Music ($10,000); Cascadia Film Festival ($10,000); Scottish Dance Society ($10,000). AB2021-489 (Resolution 2021-037) Approved 7-0

210. Amend the county code related to flood damage prevention? (Public hearing held.) The county participates in a flood insurance program operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is required to meet minimum legal requirements. To meet those requirements and thereby reduce the flood insurance rates by 20 percent, code will be updated related to agricultural and accessory structures. AB2021-408 (Ordinance 2021-053) Adopted 7-0

211. Amend the 2021 budget (request #13) in the amount of $1,615,450? Appropriated: $18,611 to fund one additional court clerk position at the clerk’s office; $88,178 to fund additional staff and pro-tem services at the district court; $99,419 to fund four additional staff positions at the prosecuting attorney’s office; $262,506 to fund nine additional positions at the public defender’s office; $129,605 to fund commissioner and judicial assistant positions at the Superior Court; $129,400 to fund a federal grant pass through to the Opportunity Council; $32,200 to fund election security improvements; $27,000 to fund behavioral health training first responders and social service workers; $39,000 to fund building maintenance expenses at the crisis triage facility; $132,024 to fund a grants manager and grants consultant positions at the county health department. AB2021-451 (Ordinance 2021-054) Adopted 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Kathy Kershner opposed.  

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