Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at September 27, 2022 Meeting
Shall the council:
236. Authorize the executive to award a $1,125,000 grant to the Port of Bellingham for construction costs associated with the Bellingham Shipping Terminal Clean Power/Telecom project? The Economic Development Investment Board (EDI) approved the grant. This project will remove underground and overhead power lines, upgrade power service, eliminate a safety hazard and allow large equipment to fully utilize the limited footprint of the shipping terminal. The new infrastructure will increase the power available to Berth 1 and the two warehouses, expand power service to the area adjacent to the BST and extend new fiber (high-speed internet) for shipping terminal customers. The port will contribute $2,250,000 to the project. (AB2022-509) Approved 7-0
237. Authorize the executive to award three grants/loan — totaling $1,300,00 — to the City of Ferndale? The Economic Development Investment Board (EDI) approved the grants/loan. The contracts include: the construction of an emergency water main with the city of Bellingham ($525,000 grant/$325,000 loan); the construction of a booster station on Church Road ($250,000 grant); and the construction of a skatepark ($200,000 grant) The city of Ferndale will contribute $2,500,000 million to the three projects. (AB2022-512/513/514) Approved 7-0
238. Authorize the executive to award four grant/loans — totaling $2,250,000 — to the City of Lynden? The Economic Development Investment Board (EDI) approved the grants/loan. The contracts include: repair and construction of the city’s community center ($300,000 grant); the Grover Street pavement improvement project ($500,000 grant); the construction of a trail connector project ($500,000 grant); and construction on the South Park Street water and street improvement project ($387,500 grant/$562,500 loan). The city of Lynden will contribute $2,300,000 to the four projects. (AB2022-515/516/517/518) Approved 7-0
239. Authorize the purchase — not to exceed $265,000 — of 10 EMS Stryker Power-Load systems from Stryker Medical of Portage, Michigan? The cot fastening systems will aid in loading/unloading patients. They are required to be used by new ambulance cots purchased at the 12/8/2020 meeting, vote #262. The purchase does not include installation costs, which will be completed in a separate agreement. (AB2022-525) Approved 7-0
240. Update the six-year (2023-2028) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held.) The council approved the previous plan at the 9/28/2021 meeting, vote #230. State law requires counties to annually update their transportation plans. The program establishes a list of needed capital improvements and eligibility for site and federal funds and sets the rate for impact fees. Updates also include the 14-year capital ferry improvement program. AB2022-493 (Resolution 2022-040) Approved 7-0
241. Approve $1,440,925 in allocations by the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee? The 2023 allocations* are for 14 applicants in the amount of $725,150 for tourism-related facilities and activities. Plus additional contingency use in the amount of $150,000, and an additional allocation of $565,775 for completion of the delayed Wayfinding project. AB2022-523 (Resolution 2022-041) Approved 7-0
242. Adopt amendments to the Whatcom County Code relating to zoning, referencing stormwater, the Lake Whatcom watershed and resource protection overlay districts? (Public hearing held.) The amendments will; fix grammar, remove outdated code language, and make updates to titles; reduce the amount of permitted exemption of impervious surface from 501 to 201 square feet for stormwater system installation requirements; reduce the amount of tree canopy that can be removed in single clearings and address definitions of tree size as relates to overall canopy cover; change redundant review processes; and implement measures to ensure Public Works staff are trained on changes to the stormwater manual. AB2022-489 (Ordinance 2022-061) Adopted 7-0
243. Amend the 2022 budget (request #13) in the amount of $2,081,283? Appropriated: $310,000 to fund an increase in assigned counsel cases; $87,500 for Public Defender council increases; $13,833 to fund a harmful algal bloom program; $80,000 to fund public health programs; $290,000 to fund a new medic unit; $300,000 to fund the courthouse building envelope project; $45,000 to fund chiller repair at the courthouse; and $1,127,000 to fund increased premium and settlement costs at the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. AB2022-485 (Ordinance 2022-062) Adopted 7-0
244. Amend the Courthouse Building Envelope Fund project-based budget (request #4) in the amount of $300,000? The fund to address water damage from leaks was established at the 11/25/2014 meeting, vote #226, with funding added at the 3/21/2017 meeting, vote #55; 5/16/2017 meeting, vote #98, and the 2/26/2019 meeting, vote #57. The total amended budget is $7,677,809. AB2022-487 (Ordinance 2022-063) Adopted 7-0
245. Restructure the Public Health Advisory Board? The 21-member board advises county health department on issues relating to the development and implementation of public health policies. In 2021, the state Legislature established new requirements for community health boards. This amendment will increase membership and update roles and responsibilities to meet advisory board requirements under state law. AB2022-454 (Ordinance 2022-064) Substitute adopted 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
Action Taken at October 11, 2022 Meeting
Shall the council:
246. Fill three vacancies on the Child and Family Well-Being Task Force? The task force has 30 members; 15 are permanent members appointed by their designated agency. The County Council appoints 15 members for four-year terms with a two-term limit. The task Force provides ongoing review of the impact of county government policies on children and families. There were nine applicants: Barbie Jimenez, Tilda Doughty, Sarah Kidd, Monika Mahal, Katherine Orlowski, Christina Jackson, Allison Bishop, Abby Franklin and Netta Darling. Appointed: Allison Bishop, Netta Darling, and Sarah Kidd. Allison Bishop is currently employed as an early childhood educator at the Whatcom County Cooperative Preschool. Netta Darling is owner of a pre-school in Bellingham. Sarah Kidd is currently employed as a family support specialist at Lydia Place and as a postpartum doula. All three terms will expire on 1/31/2025. (AB2022-465)
247. Fill a partial-term on the Climate Impact Advisory Committee? The committee provides review and recommendations on issues related to preparation and adaption for, and the prevention and mitigation of, impacts of climate change. There were four applicants: Fletcher Wilkinson, Tracy Petroske, Irena Lambrou, and Derek Gremban. Appointed: Derek Gremban. Mr. Gremban is currently employed as an engineering manager at BP. At the 1/30/2018 meeting, vote #5, 11 initial appointments were made to the committee; Mr. Gremban was one of them. In September 2018, he resigned from the committee when he moved to Germany. His term will expire on 1/31/2023. (AB2022-469) Approved 4-3, Carol Frazey, Kaylee Galloway and Barry Buchanan opposed.
248. Authorize the executive to sign four contracts – totaling $509,840 – to assist with the operation of senior activity centers in the cities of Blaine, Lynden, Ferndale and Bellingham? The Bellingham contract ($127,460) is with the Council on Aging; the Lynden contract ($127,460) is with the city of Lynden; the Ferndale contract ($127,460) is with the Jet Oldsters Association and the Blaine contract ($127,460) is with the city of Blaine. The county will reimburse the cities in 24 equal payments. The contracts run from 1/1/2023 to 12/31/2024. (AB2022-528/540/542/543) Approved 7-0
249. Fill six vacancies on the Public Health Advisory Board? The board advises the Whatcom County Health Department on: using a health equity framework to assess and identify community health needs; evaluate the impacts of proposed health policies and programs; promote public participation in public health processes; provide community forums and hearings; establish community task forces; and review and advise local health authorities on budgets and outcome measurement. All applicants were appointed. Emily O’Connor was appointed to a partial term ending on 1/31/2024 and all the others to a term ending on 1/31/2026. Emily O’Conner is the executive director of Lydia Place. Christopher Brown is employed as a readjustment counseling therapist with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Teri Bryant is the director of the Whatcom Homeless Service Center at the Opportunity Council. Christine Espina is employed as an assistant professor of nursing at Western Washington University. R. Michael Massanari is the executive director of the Critical Junctures Institute at Western Washington University. Vesla Tonnessen is employed as the coordinator for the Whatcom Early Learning Alliance. (AB2022-559) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
250. Establish regular Whatcom County Council meeting dates for 2023? The Whatcom County Charter requires the council to meet 22 times per year. Meetings are scheduled for Tuesday; they will be held twice per month, except for one meeting scheduled in August and December. AB2022-534 (Resolution 2022-042) Approved 7-0
251. Create a Whatcom Racial Equity Commission? (Public hearing held.) The new 31-member commission will: serve as an advisory board to local government agencies and other organizations working within Whatcom County to promote racial equity; serve as a community forum to identify issues, needs, and resources related to issues of racial inequity; gather and analyze data to identify areas of disparities and disproportionality; develop a coordinated and comprehensive plan with strategies to address racial inequity; educate the community about contemporary and historical issues of racial inequity; and seek additional separate funding to support the work of the commission. AB2022-521 (Ordinance 2022-065) Adopted 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.
Action Taken at October 25, 2022 Meeting
Shall the council:
252. Authorize the executive to accept a $199,375 state grant for drug and gang interdiction efforts? The Washington State Department of Commerce grant will support positions within the sheriff’s office that are assigned to the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force. A primary focus of the task force is investigative work to identify, interdict, dismantle, and prosecute mid- to upper- level criminal organizations engaged in illicit gang, gun, and drug activities. The grant expires on 9/30/2023. (AB2022-563) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
253. Authorize the executive to accept a $2,213,000 state grant for emergency response? The Washington State Health Care Authority grant will support the creation of an Alternative Health Team Program to respond to 911 calls that do not require law enforcement or emergency medical services. The goal is to connect persons in behavioral health and related crises with ongoing services that will improve the health and well-being, while also reducing criminogenic behavior, when present. The grant expires on 6/30/2023. (AB2022-567) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
254. Authorize the executive to sign a $1,489,509 contract with the Opportunity Council to provide funding to support childcare stabilization? The federally-funded (American Rescue Plan Act) contract will support multiple interventions that provide childcare and related needs for employees of local businesses in response to negative impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The contract expires on 12/31/2024. (AB2022-576) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
255. Authorize the executive to sign a $131,000 pass-through grant with the Opportunity Council? The Department of Housing and Urban Development grant was funneled through the state Community Development Block Grant program. It will fund public services for low- to moderate-income residents of Whatcom, Island, and San Juan Counties. The contract expires on 6/30/2023. (AB2022-579) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed.
256. Authorize the executive to sign a $2,625,000 economic development contract with the City of Bellingham? The $2,625,000 is an Economic Development Investment Program (EDI) grant for design and construction of the Meridian Birchwood roundabout project. Money from the EDI’s loans and grants program comes from portions of the rural sales tax which can only be used for public facility projects. The City of Bellingham will design and construct the project; the total cost is estimated at $7,000,000. The two-phase project will increase pedestrian safety, sight distance, access, and efficiency. Phase 1 will merge the Squalicum Parkway freight truck route with Birchwood Avenue on the west side of Meridian Street; Phase 2 will reconstruct the Meridian/Birchwood intersection and connect Squalicum Creek and Cornwall Memorial Park with a greenway trail. Construction is expected to begin in 2025. (AB2022-582) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
257. Authorize the executive to sign a $600,000 contract with the City of Bellingham for joint support of the Whatcom Racial Equity Commission? The county will contribute $300,000 over a three-year period and the city will contribute the same amount over three years. At the 10/11/2022 meeting, vote #251, the council created the commission. The new 31-member commission will: serve as an advisory board to local government agencies and other organizations working within Whatcom County to promote racial equity; serve as a community forum to identify issues, needs, and resources related to issues of racial inequity; gather and analyze data to identify areas of disparities and disproportionality; develop a coordinated and comprehensive plan with strategies to address racial inequity; educate the community about contemporary and historical issues of racial inequity; and seek additional separate funding to support the work of the commission. The day-to-day operations will be managed by a 501c3 organization. (AB2022-590) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
258. Adopt the six-year (2023-2028) water resources improvement program? (Public hearing held; council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The council adopted the previous plan at the 9/28/2021 meeting, vote #231. State law requires counties to annually update their six-year water resource improvement programs. The plan includes 43 projects that address flood management, salmon recovery, sediment/debris flow issues, and stormwater plans. AB2022-545 (Resolution 2022-043) Approved 7-0
259. Approve the Whatcom County 2023 annual construction program? (Public hearing held.) State law requires that county engineers recommend an annual plan for laying out, constructing and maintaining county roads. The council adopted the previous plan at the 10/26/2021 meeting, vote #256, and amended it at the 11/23/2021 meeting, vote #291. The 2023 plan includes 55 projects and total estimated expenditures of $29,536,000. AB2022-555 (Resolution 2022-044) Approved 7-0
260. Adopt policies as required by the state County Road Administration Board? The County Road Administration Board was created by the Legislature in 1965 to provide statutory oversight of Washington’s 39 county road departments. State administrative code requires that county legislative authorities develop policies covering matters related to county road department administration, construction, and maintenance, including: organization, complaint handling, contracted work, county road standards, and survey monument preservation. This resolution will adopt recent Washington Administrative Code amendments. AB2022-562 (Resolution 2022-045) Approved 7-0
261. Approve a system of rates and charges for the Whatcom Conservation District? (Public hearing held.) State law authorizes county legislatures to approve rate and charge systems to fund conservation district activities and programs, including conservation of agriculture and protection of fish habitat. The following rate schedule will be added to property taxes: residential ($5.00), commercial ($4.99), institutional/public ($5.00), agricultural ($5.00), designated forest land ($2.99), and undeveloped ($5.00). The schedule expires on 12/31/2032. AB2022-529 (Ordinance 2022-066) Amended and adopted 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas, and Kathy Kershner opposed.
262. Increase the per diem amount paid to Board of Equalization members? The Board of Equalization hears property tax appeals and complaints regarding the assessor’s property value determinations. State law requires that board members receive a per-diem amount as set by county legislative authorities. The last per-diem increase was $75 dollars per day in 1992. This increase will raise the per diem compensation to $150 for each day of board meeting attendance. AB2022-536 (Ordinance 2022-067) Adopted 7-0
263. Amend the 2022 budget (request #14) in the amount of $420,917? Appropriated: $96,708 to fund increased medical examiner costs; $133,000 in Community Development Block Grant pass-through funding for public services provided by the Opportunity Council; $111,000 to fund increases in election services; $80,209 to fund the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center. AB2022-554 (Ordinance 2022-068) Adopted 7-0