Whatcom County Council
Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at September 24, 2019 Meeting
Shall the council:
198. Authorize the executive to sign an agreement with the city of Bellingham? The agreement will permit the city of Bellingham radio shop to provide installation, maintenance, and repair services for communications equipment used by the WhatcomCounty sheriff’s office. The 2019 labor rate is $90.00. The city can make necessary shop rate/labor rate adjustments on an annual basis. (AB2019-446) Approved 7-0
199. Authorize the executive to sign a $172,000 contract (amendment #1) with the Opportunity Council? The original contract for $415,000 was approved at the 10/9/2018 meeting, vote #154. The county had the 12,000 square foot East Whatcom Regional Resource Center built in 2010/2011 at an approximate cost of $6 million. This amendment will help fund phase II of the project. The Opportunity Council raised $2,705,000 towards $2,877,000 of the project budget. Construction of a second building began in early 2019, the 4,900 square-foot project includes a food bank distribution center with refrigerated storage space and multi-use community space. A third building will begin construction when funding is secured. It will be a 6,000 square-foot covered area for recreation and community gatherings. The total amended contract is $587,000. (AB2019-471) Approved 7-0
200. Confirm the executive’s appointment of Alec Howard to the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee? Mr. Howard is currently employed at the Community Food Co-Op. He has not owned an automobile for many years, is deeply concerned about climate change and thinks alternative transportation is crucial to a sustainable future. (AB2019-473) Confirmed 7-0
201. Authorize the executive to award the low bid of $373,499 to Inventech Marine Solutions of Bremerton for a full-cabin patrol boat? The 27-foot patrol boat will be used by the sheriff’s office for safety patrols, predominately on salt water in the Straits of Georgia. The purchase is funded by a $280,125 grant from the Department of Homeland Security, a $25,0000 donation from Phillips 66 and $68,375 from the vessel registration fee account. Two bids were received; the high bid was $421,042. (AB2019-477) Approved 7-0
202. Approve the creation of seven resident lots and one reserve track in the Meridian School District? The site is proposed by Wesley Herman, it is approximately 40-acres with a resident building in a rural zoning district located off Zander Drive. It contains agricultural protection overlay soils and extensive wetlands. The Whatcom County Hearing Examiner recommends the council approve the development agreement grant and preliminary long plat subdivision, subject to recommended conditions. (AB2019-481) Affirmed 7-0
203. Vacate all of Safsten Road? (Public hearing held.) Safsten Road is approximately 0.5 mile of unmaintained right-of-way currently owned by Whatcom County. BP West Coast Products and five land owners in the vicinity have submitted a petition requesting the county vacate Safsten Road. The road is gated at the Safsten/Grandview Road intersection and provides access to three BP mitigation areas. The company will be required to pay the fair market value of 33 cents per square foot, plus an application fee of $790, for a total of $29,540. AB2019-379 (Resolution 2019-039) Approved 7-0
204. Approve the six-year (2020-2025) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held.) State law requires counties to annually update their six-year transportation plans. The program establishes a list of needed capital improvements and eligibility for state and federal funds and sets the rate for impact fees. Amendments to the program include the addition of ten projects, the removal of eight completed projects, the re-ordering of two projects, and the division of one project into two separate projects. This vote also includes the first six years of the 14-year ferry capital improvement program. AB2019-445 (Resolution 2019-040) Approved 7-0
205. Adopt the six-year (2020-2025) water resources improvement program? (Public hearing held; Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) State law requires counties to annually update their six-year water resources improvement plans. The plan includes thirty-three projects that address flood management, salmon recovery, sediment/debris flow issues, and stormwater plans. AB2019-456 (Resolution 2019-041) Approved 7-0
206. Approve the 2019 update to the 2007 rural land study? The Agricultural Advisory Committee designed and implemented the study to identify areas of agricultural significance within Rural 5 and Rural 10 zones requiring increased protection. The study is a component of the 2018 agricultural strategic plan, approved by the council at the 8/8/2018 meeting. AB2019-475 (Resolution 2019-042) Approved 7-0
207. Grant a non-exclusive franchise to Comcast Cable Communications Management to provide cable services? (Public hearing held.) Comcast Cable Communications is the successor of TCI Cablevision which was granted a cable service franchise on 1/23/1996. The last franchise agreement expired on 1/1/2011. The county and Comcast have been operating under a good faith agreement. Comcast will be allowed access to county rights-of-way in order to continue to provide cable services. AB2019-366 (Ordinance 2019-063) Approved 6-1, Todd Donovan opposed.
208. Grant a non-exclusive franchise to WaveDivision I to provide cable services? (Public hearing held.) WaveDivision I is the successor of County Cable which was granted a cable service franchise on 10/27/1992. The last franchise agreement expired on 10/27/2017. The county and WaveDivision I have been operating under a good faith agreement. This agreement will allow WaveDivision I to access county rights of way in order to continue to provide cable services. AB2019-368 (Ordinance 2019-064) Approved 6-1, Todd Donovan abstained.
209. Establish a speed limit on portions of the Everson-Goshen Road and East Smith Road? (Public hearing held.) A roundabout was installed at the intersection of E. Smith Road and Everson Goshan Road. The speed limit will be reduced to 35 miles per hour on sections of the Smith Road, 1000 feet east and west of the Everson-Goshen Road, and to 35 miles per hour on sections for the Everson-Goshen Road, 1000 feet north and south of the East Smith Road. AB2019-450 (Ordinance 2019-065) Approved 7-0
210. Amend Whatcom County code relating to the solid waste disposal and solid waste excise tax? (Public hearing held) At the 9/12/2017 meeting, vote #165, council voted to apply an $8.50 per ton tax to solid waste deposited by residential and commercial self-haulers in order to address decreased revenues and equity in taxation. To balance taxes collected and taxes remitted, this amendment will convert the $8.50 per ton tax to 3.3 per cent of the invoice. AB2019-458 (Ordinance 2019-066) Approved 7-0
211. Appropriate an additional $3 million (amendment #5) for the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility project fund and project-based budget? The project fund for the two-mile project was established at the 11/20/2012 meeting, vote #199. It was amended at the 6/17/2014 meeting, vote #127, the 12/6/2016 meeting, vote #253, the 4/18/2017 meeting, vote #78, and the 11/21/2017 meeting, vote #233. The project includes the development of a berm/trail to minimize beach erosion and storm damage, as well as promoting bicycling and walking activities. Completed are the design, property acquisition, permits, and a Lummi Nation agreement. This vote brings the total amended amount to $14,450,000. AB2019-451 (Ordinance 2019-067) Approved 7-0
212. Appropriate an additional $172,000 (amendment #9) for the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center? The first vote on the project was at the 7/8/2008 meeting, vote #134. The county had the 12,000 square foot structure built in 2010/2011 at an approximate cost of $6 million. At the 2/9/2016 meeting, vote #28, council voted to increase the project budget by $1,050,000; at the 7/10/2018 meeting, vote #113, council added $425,000 from real estate excise taxes; and at the 4/2/2019 meeting, vote #81, the council voted to add $115,000. This amendment to the project budget brings the total amended amount of $6,384,571. AB2019-460 (Ordinance 2019-068) Approved 7-0
213. Appropriate an additional $1 million (amendment #3) for the Triage Center expansion project budget? 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. At the 9/12/2017 meeting, vote #168, council voted to establish a $300,000 expansion fund and project-based budget, and at the 6/19/2018 meeting, vote #104, and 11/20/2018 meetings, vote #182, council voted to add $2,500,000 and $1,950,000 from grant awards to the project budget. The total amended amount is $13,400,000. AB2019-464 (Ordinance 2019-069) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed.
214. Amend the 2019 budget, (request #12) in the amount of $2,759,531? Appropriate: $362,000 to fund increased medical costs for jail inmates; $36,531 to fund electrical repairs at the downtown jail facility; $9,000 to fund increases in the cost of providing information technology services to the work center facility; $362,000 to fund medication assisted treatment/hospital visits and or care/Medic 1 transport services/psychiatric medications for incarcerated individuals at the downtown jail and work center; $172,000 to fund the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center expansion project; $50,000 to fund refurbishing office space for the Whatcom Unified Emergency Operations Center; $750,000 to fund the Port of Bellingham’s rural broadband construction project, which will provide broadband access to unincorporated areas of Whatcom County, as well as the townships of Kendall, Mt. Baker, Deming, and Glacier; $1 million to fund an operating transfer for Triage Center expansion project; AB2019-465 (Ordinance 2019-070) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed.
Action Taken at October 8, 2019 Meeting
Shall the council:
215. Authorize the executive to spend $13,391 in federal grant proceeds to purchase ballistic resistant vests to be used by the sheriff’s office? (Public hearing held.) The grant funds come from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, administered by the city of Bellingham, which will receive $22,685 to be used for ballistic vests. (AB2019-452) Approved 7-0
216. Authorize the the executive to accept a $75,000 state grant to provide coordination for the local integrating organization? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The grant agreement is between the Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District and Puget Sound Partnership. The Puget Sound Partnership is a state agency leading the region’s efforts to restore and protect Puget Sound. The local integrating organization is responsible for organizing and supporting a committee of representatives to discuss and make recommendations related to action agenda planning and local ecosystem recovery planning. The expiration date is 9/30/2020. (AB2019-478) Approved 5-1-1, Barbara Brenner opposed, Tyler Byrd abstained.
217. Authorize the executive to accept a $577,550 state grant for the county’s substance abuse prevention program? The agreement, with the state health care authority and the division of behavioral and recovery, will provide strategies that are designed to delay the misuse of alcohol and drugs, increase mental health promotion and prevent suicide in high-need communities. The expiration date is 6/30/2021. (AB2019-485) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed.
218. Authorize the executive to accept a $174,881 state grant for those involved in the criminal justice system? The contract, with the state health care authority, will provide drug treatment and recovery support services for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. The expiration date is 6/30/2020. (AB2019-486) Approved 7-0
219. Authorize the executive to sign a $68,616 contract between Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District and Geneva Consulting Services of Bellingham? The Water Resource Inventory Area 1 (WRIA) acts as the local integrating organization for protection and recovery of WRIA in coordination with the Puget Sound Partnership. The contract will provide coordination of the following tasks: 1) organize, support, administer, facilitate, and coordinate of the local integrating organization, 2) steward and implement the Puget Sound action agenda 2018-2022. The contract expires on 9/30/2020. (AB2019-494) Approved 5-2, Barbara Brenner and Tyler Byrd opposed.
220. Authorize the executive to sign a $28,715 contract with FLO Analytics of Portland, Ore., to assist with the development of the 2020 Lake Whatcom stormwater utility fee? At the 3/27/2018 meeting, vote #46, the council established the Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Advisory Committee to determine a funding mechanism for the Lake Whatcom Management Program, addressing water quality improvements in the unincorporated Lake Whatcom watershed. The contract will provide GIS database management and technical assistance with the development of the 2020 fee roll for the utility. The contract expires on 9/30/2020. (AB2019-501) Approved 5-2, Barbara Brenner and Tyler Byrd opposed.
221. Authorize the executive to accept a $182,313 state grant to fund administrative support and activities for the Marine Resources Committee? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The Marine Resources Committee advises Whatcom County government on marine issues, including remedial action. Projects include education and outreach, water quality monitoring, bull kelp surveys, forage fish spawning surveys, and monitoring of a pilot Olympia oyster restoration project. (AB2019-487) Approved 7-0
222. Consider a petition to vacate a portion of Horton Road? Chad TerWisscha and Ken Jorgensen submitted a petition to vacate a portion of Horton Road within unincorporated Whatcom County. The portion of Horton Road is south of 4610 Aldrich Road and north of 4592 Aldrich Road. The narrow width of the property does not have space for buildings and appears to be wetlands. The county engineer will investigate and report to the council on the proposed vacation, a public hearing will be held on the matter. AB2019-499 (Resolution 2019-043) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at October 22, 2019 Meeting
Shall the council:
223. Authorize the executive to sign a $20,000 agreement with the Whatcom Conservation District? The agreement will support the development of a water use efficiency program for agricultural water users within the Water Resources Inventory Area 1, in order to offset the impacts of permit-exempt wells. The agreement expires on 12/31/2020.(AB2019-512) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd was out of the room.
224. Authorize the executive to sign an $14,250 agreement between the Flood Control Zone District and the Whatcom Conservation District? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The agreement will support the development of a water use efficiency and incentive program for domestic and municipal water users. The agreement expires 3/31/2020. (AB2019-513) Approved 6-1, Barbara Brenner opposed.
225. Update the criminal justice treatment account plan? In 2002, state legislators established an account to fund alternatives such as drug court for treating nonviolent offenders with substance use disorder. County legislative bodies must approve the plan and develop a local criminal justice panel to determine allocation of funds, which are provided by savings from the reduction of prison sentences. The 2019-2020 plan is $174,881 with 10 percent allocated to support county administration, 34 percent for assessment of substance use disorders,15 percent for residential treatment and 41 percent for housing support/rent/deposit. (AB2019-520) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd was out of the room.
226. Authorize the executive to sign a $404,200 contract (amendment #2) with Herrera Environmental Consultants of Seattle? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The original contract for $39,0000 was signed on 3/19/2008, the purpose was to update and broaden the scope of the Lower Nooksack Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan. At the 9/11/2018 meeting, vote #130, the council voted to amend the contact and added $150,000 to support integrated planning services for the plan, including feasibility screening; landowner outreach; partnership formation; and restoration design. This amendment will support the development of detailed work and quality assurance plans, as well as a time line. The total amended contract is $593,200; it expires on 9/30/2021. (AB2019-522) Approved 7-0
227. Authorize the executive to accept a $60,000 state grant? The state Office of Financial Management will provide funding for Opportunity Council support to expand community outreach for the 2020 census.(AB2019-534) Approved 7-0
228. Amend the funding mechanism of the the Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources ManagementDistrict? (Public hearing held; council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The funding mechanism was initially approved at the 7/22/2008 meeting, votes #140 and #141. This amendment will add an exemption from impervious surface fees for senior citizens, disabled person property tax exemption, and property owned by the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District. The Flood Control Zone District works together with the Water and Sewer District to collaborate on water quality projects. AB2019-502 (Resolution 2019-044) Approved 7-0
229. Adopt the 2020 annual road construction program? (Public hearing held.) The road construction program (also called the annual construction program) is identical to the first year of the six-year transportation improvement plan, which was approved at the 9/24/2019 meeting, vote #204. Expenditures of county road funds are estimated at $17,101,000, other funds at $3,821,000 for a grand total of $20,922,000 for 45 projects. AB2019-504 (Resolution 2019-045) Approved 7-0
230. Order the cancellation of uncashed checks issued prior to 6/30/2017? There are 363 uncashed jail inmate trust fund checks totaling $2,207. The largest check is $205, three checks are between $147 and $110. The mean amount of the remaining 359 checks is $4.49. The money will be transferred to the state of Washington as abandoned property where it will remain available to the payee indefinitely. AB2019-515 (Resolution 2019-046) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd was out of the room.
231. Declare personal property surplus and the set November 6 as the public hearing date? The surplus property is a courthouse backup generator purchased in 1992. A water pump leaked into the crankcase, parts are not readily available, and it is too costly to repair. AB2019-526 (Resolution 2019-047) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd was out of the room.
232. Declare real property surplus and set November 6 as the public hearing date? The surplus property is comprised of a 1,428 square foot house located at Silver Lake Park. The building had served as the park manager’s house, but will be removed from the property as it is in poor condition and is too costly to repair. AB2019-527 (Resolution 2019-048) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd was out of the room.
233. Support the renaming of Squaw Creek to Páatstel Creek? The new name will reflect the historical Nooksack tribal name for the 4.3 mile creek that empties into Johnson Creek near Sumas. George Swanaset, Jr., Curtural/Natural Resource Director of the Nooksack Indian Tribe filed an application for a name change with the Washington State Board of Geographic Names. AB2019-514 (Resolution 2019-049) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd was out of the room.
234. Establish regular Whatcom County Council meeting dates for 2020? The Whatcom County Charter requires the council to meet 22 times per year. Meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, except for Wednesday, August 5. Meetings will be held twice per month except for one time meetings in August and December. AB2019-532 (Resolution 2019-050) Approved 6-1, Barbara Brenner abstained.
235. Establish the Affordable and Supportive Housing Fund? (Public hearing held.) The 2019 state legislature passed Substitute House Bill 1406, allowing local governments to receive a tax credit against a part of the state’s share of local sales and use tax to be used for the creation, operation, and maintenance of affordable housing, including rental assistance for individuals at or below 60 percent of the area median income for counties with populations of 400,000 or less. This vote will allow Whatcom County to receive the tax credit and to work in partnership with the city of Bellingham and the other six cities to address affordable housing needs. At the 11/24/2009 meeting, vote #267, the Whatcom County Housing Advisory Committee was appointed as the advisory committee to the affordable housing incentive fund. The Housing Advisory Committee will act as the advisory body for use of these additional funds. The committee will submit an annual report reflection priorities, strategies, and accomplishments and identify steps for the coming year. AB2019-489 (Ordinance 2019-071) Approved 7-0
236. Reauthorize a golf cart zone on certain roads in the Birch Bay area? (Public hearing held.) At the 5/22/2018 meeting, vote #79, council approved a golf cart zone on Birch Bay Drive and all Whatcom County roads that lead to or are contiguous with Birch Bay Drive. As perstate law, roads within the zone are require to be posted at 25 mph. The golf cart zone expires on 10/31/2019. This ordinance will extend authorization for the zone. AB2019-495 (Ordinance 2019-072) Approved 7-0
237. Amend the 2019 budget (request #13), in the amount of $375,570? Appropriate: $65,000 in state grant funds to support 2020 census services provided by the Opportunity Council; $77,500 in state grant funds to assist with Growth Management Act implementation; $12,083 in state grant funding to promote voter outreach for the 2019 and 2020 election cycles; $15,295 in state grant funding to pay for prepaid return postage for ballots; and $205,692 to fund housing affordability through the Workforce program to support the construction of new and affordable housing. AB2019-508 (Ordinance 2019-073) Approved 7-0
216. From Barbara Brenner: I opposed the state grant to the local integrating organization because this type of decision is supposed to come to the council as a recommendation from the Planning Unit, which never happened.
219. From Barbara Brenner: I opposed the contract with Geneva Consulting Services because much of the money is not being used for the Planning Unit (PU), which creates a lack of adequate involvement by the organization (PU) that is supposed to make final recommendations to the county council.
220. From Barbara Brenner: I oppose the Lake Whatcom stormwater utility fee because the structure set is by size of property instead of by size of impacts so doesnot inspire property owners to reduce/eliminaterunoff from their properties and because of the way it is set up it is a tax, not a fee.
224. From Barbara Brenner: I opposed the agreement with the Whatcom Conservation District because it included domestic users but did not include wellowners. The previous vote, #223 was about agriculture use and included agricultural users in the agreement. Well users make up a significant percentage of domesticwater users in unincorporated Whatcom County.
234. From Barbara Brenner: I abstained from establishing meeting dates because I believe the council should meet weekly as we used to do instead of every other week as is the current practice. The county has many more issues to decide than there used to be. But I won’t be on the council so I abstained instead of voting no.