Bellingham City Council

Compiled by Boris Schleinkofer

Action Taken at January 11, 2016 Meeting

Shall the council:
1. Endorse the mayor’s letter to Governor Jay Inslee requesting the declaration of a State of Emergency on homelessness within the city of Bellingham? A declaration would make available additional resources for local governments to provide services to homeless individuals, and alleviate the causes of homelessness. Actions encouraged to be taken by the state include passage of bills prohibiting tenant screening based on evictions which had not been lost in court, and outlawing discrimination against low-income renters who rely on government assistance to pay their rents. Council placed a low income housing levy on the 2012 general election ballot; it passed with 56.6 percent of the vote. (AB21101) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.

2. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Bret Beaupain to the Transportation Commission? Mr. Beaupain has lived in Bellingham for the past 12 years, is a civil engineer, and has worked in transportation, stormwater and utility planning, design and analysis. This will be his first term, which will expire on 1/11/2019. (AB21102) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.

3. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $73,242 to Cutters Inc. of Bellingham for steel meter box lids? These covers are used to upgrade existing services and for the installation of new meter boxes in order to comply with the state’s mandatory metering program. The city received seven bids with the highest bid $212,769. (AB21107) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.

5. Appropriate $5,675,781 for payroll checks issued from November 26 through December 23, 2015? (AB21108/21109) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.

5. Appropriate $7,635,409 for goods and services checks issued from December 5 through December 31, 2015? (AB21110/21111/21112) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.

6. Change 8th Street in Fairhaven to a one-way street northbound between McKenzie and Harris avenues? The twelve-foot wide-street with an eight-foot-wide sidewalk will affect the eastern one-half of the 8th Street right-of-way. At the 7/11/2005 meeting, vote #144, the council voted to change 8th Street in Fairhaven to a one-way street northbound between McKenzie and Harris avenues for the construction a two building mixed use development called the “Fairhaven Harbor Project;” at the 3/11/2006 meeting, vote #76; the previous vote was rescinded because the “Fairhaven Harbor Project” was not built. The street remains open but has been identified as a viable location for a water quality treatment facility for urban storm water runoff generated in the Fairhaven area; a permit for the new facility was granted on 7/1/2015. AB21086 (Resolution #2016-01) Approved 5-0, Pinky Vargas and Michael Lilliquist excused.

7. End the Clean Green Program? The Clean Green Program was created in 1989 to provide a low cost and locally recycled option for residential yard waste disposal. Operating costs increased from what was originally a free program but ended as a $10 fee, and the volume of material became unmanageable. Clean Green material is currently trucked to Skagit County; local companies such as Sanitary Service Corporation, Regional Disposal Service, and Green Earth Technology all offer low cost, convenient disposal options. All three options result in locally available compost at a lower price than the city can offer without the current subsidy. Elimination of the Clean Green program will save upwards of $100,000 in annual operating expenses, and $1 million in necessary capital expenses. AB21100 (Resolution 2016-02) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.

8. Accept the donation of the Stonecrest Stormwater Facility to the city of Bellingham? Alliance Properties 2000 has offered to donate this facility to the city. Acceptance of this donation would ensure the proper maintenance of the facility and would be consistent with public ownership of stormwater facilities. No environmental or title concerns were identified. Closing costs are estimated not to exceed $4,000. Regular, ongoing maintenance costs are estimated between $3,000 – $4,000 annually. AB21085 (Ordinance 2016-01-001) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.

9. Vacate an alley between Samish and 37th streets? The property, which is immediately south of Consolidation Avenue, was purchased from the city at the full market value of $12,493.50. One half of the compensation must be dedicated to the acquisition, improvement, development and related maintenance of public open space or transportation capital projects within the city. At the 9/14/2015 meeting, vote #177, the council set 10/14/2015 as the public hearing date before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner. AB21088 (Ordinance 2016-01-002) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.

10. Grant a tax exemption for venues featuring paid live music in the downtown and Fairhaven entertainment districts? Participants are required to host at least three shows a week and must apply for the exemption. The current tax is figured at five percent of the cost of admission; a potential reduction of approximately $20,000 in the general fund is projected to be offset by corresponding increase from franchise fee allocation. AB21090 (Ordinance 2016-01-003) Approved 5-1; Michael Lilliquist opposed, Pinky Vargas excused.

Action Taken at January 25, 2016 Meeting

At the council meeting a $500,000 check from Puget Sound Energy was presented to the city for energy savings due to recent upgrades at the Post Point treatment plant.

Shall the council:
11. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $1,291,746 to Strider Construction of Bellingham for sewer replacements? The project consists of installing approximately 2,900 linear feet of sanitary sewer main, associated manholes and side services on Old Fairhaven Parkway, 21st Street, 22nd Street and Donovan Avenue, and will eliminate two existing sewer siphons below Padden Creek. The engineer’s estimate was $1,159.683. The city received six bids; the highest bid was $1,606,001. (AB21115) Approved 7-0

12. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $451,485 to HB Hansen of Lynden for upgrades to the Commercial Street parking garage? Updates include handrail improvements to comply with ADA accessibility requirements, comprehensive signing and wayfinding improvement for increased visibility, ease of access and re-branding, stairwell lighting and the addition of windows for security and safety improvements, access controls for permit holders, and electric vehicle charging stations for public hourly parking. The city received five bids; the highest bid was $635,895. The engineer’s estimate was $550,926. (AB21116) Approved 7-0

13. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District (amendment #1) for repayment of sewer services? The city recently completed the Post Point treatment plant improvements project. Under the terms of the city contract approved at the 2/24/2014 meeting, vote #21, the Post Point project qualifies as a “major improvement.” The water and sewer district’s proportionate share of the project, at 4.8 percent of eligible project costs, has been calculated to be $2,362,364. The sewer fund will receive principal and interest payments over a 20-year period totaling $3,872,787. (AB21130) Approved 7-0

14. Authorize the mayor to accept a state grant/loan for phase 3 of the Squalicum Creek reroute and biotic integrity improvements project? The State of Washington has awarded a grant in the amount of $500,000, a loan in the amount of $616,880 and a forgivable principal in the amount of $205,627. At the 1/28/2013 meeting, vote #16, the council authorized a $1,044,637 state loan for phase 1 of the project and at the 11/4/2013 meeting, vote #243, authorized a state loan of $1,245,280 for phase 2 of the project. Loan terms are 20 years at 2.4 percent interest. Fund 430 will increase by $822,507, of which $205,627 is forgivable principal, along with grant reimbursement of $500,000. AB21119 (Resolution #2016-03) Approved 7-0

15. Renew an agreement with the Port of Bellingham for mutual use of facilities? The city and the port have had a long-standing agreement for the mutual use of their facilities at no charge. The agreement allows up to three free uses per year of each other’s facilities to be booked on an “availability basis.” The city of Bellingham can use the following port facilities: Bellingham Cruise Terminal, Squalicum Boathouse, Blaine Boating Center, airport conference room, Cornwall Conference Center and Technology Development Center. This agreement expires on 12/31/2015.(AB21126) Approved 7-0

16. Authorize the mayor to sign agreements with Whatcom County, the city of Lynden and the Washington State Department of Transportation for continued use of Bellingham’s vactor waste transfer facility? The facility, located at 2140 Division Street, handles street wastes from roadway and storm drainage systems in compliance with federal, state and local environmental regulations. Currently, the city’s Vactor Waste transfer facility is the only facility in Whatcom County that is an approved solid waste transfer facility for roadway and storm drain solid waste. Each user pays for the transfer costs as well as a proportionate share of all operation and maintenance costs for the facility. The agreements terminate on 12/31/2015. (AB21127/21128/21129) Approved 7-0

17. Appropriate $3,602,095 for payroll checks issued from December 24, 2015 through January 8, 2016? (AB21131) Approved 7-0

18. Appropriate $4,300,228 for goods and services checks issued from January 1 through January 15, 2016? (AB21132/21133) Approved 7-0