Whatcom County Council
Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at September 29, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
160. Appoint Patricia Lulu to the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District Advisory Committee? The committee advises the County Council on water quality issues in the Drayton Harbor watershed. At the 6/16/2020 meeting, vote #102, council voted to remove term limits for this committee. Ms. Lulu holds degrees in business and nursing. (AB2020-340) Approved 7-0
161. Authorize the executive to sign a $223,932 contract (amendment #1) with the Whatcom Conservation District? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) At the 9/30/2014 meeting, vote #175, council created the Pollution Identification and Correction Program to identify and address bacterial pollution sources impacting freshwater and marine water sources. The program includes data coordination, technical assistance for non-dairy agricultural operators, and farm series workshops. This amendment will increase the project budget and extend the timeline of the program. The total amended contract is $530,182; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2020-356) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent
162. Authorize the executive to sign a contract not to exceed $153,520 with Washington State Department of Ecology? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) County public works department sponsors a Civilian Conservation Corps work crews to assist with salmon-recovery and stormwater projects, including: invasive species control; native species installation; plant nursery care; scientific monitoring; and fence installation and repair. The contract will fund a six-member crew for the 2020-2021 service term. (AB2020-357) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent
163. Authorize the executive to accept a $12,832 federal grant? (Public hearing held.) The funds are from the U.S. Department of Justice Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance program and are intended to be used for the purchase of ballistic vests. The grant is administered by the city of Bellingham. (AB2020-366) Approved 7-0
164. Update the 2020-2021 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. The council established the Criminal Justice Treatment Account plan at the 1/29/2019 meeting, vote #19. The county will receive $326,081 in state funds (2020-2021 fiscal year) for participants with substance use disorder who require treatment and recovery. The account is funded by savings from sentence reduction in state prisons. (AB2020-383) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
165. Authorize the executive to sign an $145,0000 contract (amendment #1) with Whatcom Family & Community Network of Bellingham? The contract will extend the provision of outreach, education, mentoring, family programming, and case management supports for Whatcom County families with youth who are experiencing behavioral health issues, including substance abuse and poor mental health. This amendment brings the total contract to $210,000; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2020-395) Approved 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
166. Authorize the executive to sign a contract with PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, the Opportunity Council and Unity Care NW? The contract will initiate a capital campaign for the construction of the “The Way Station,” a county-owned building at 1500 State St. in Bellingham. The building will house recuperative respite care, health care services; including expanded access to laboratory testing for illness, vaccine administration and health monitoring, hygiene services, case management services; including link visitors and respite residents for individuals who are homeless and living either in shelters, or who are unsheltered. The PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center governing board has approved a contribution of $400,000.00 in capital funds for expenses incurred and associated with the design and construction of The Way Station. (AB2020-396) Approved 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
167. Authorize the executive to sign contracts with six school districts – the total not exceeding $780,000 – for internet connectivity and equipment assistance? The contracts are with the Meridian, Nooksack Valley, Mount Baker, Ferndale, Blaine, and Lynden school districts and provide funding for one year of technology and support costs associated with distance instruction and learning resulting from the Covid-19 emergency. Each contract shall not exceed $130,000 and all expire on 10/31/2020. (AB2020-399/400/401/402/403/404) Approved 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
168. Authorize the executive to sign a $110,000 contract with PogoZone Internet Solutions of Bellingham for rural broadband access? The contract will provide internet connectivity for distance learning for approximately 180 households identified by the school districts. The contract commences on 10/1/2020 and expires on 11/25/2020. (AB2020-410) Approved 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
169. Authorize the executive to sign a contract not to exceed $400,000 with the Bellingham Food Bank? The contract will reimburse for costs associated with food insecurity resulting from the Covid-19 emergency. Expenses eligible for reimbursement include: distribution and processing equipment; food purchases; operational expenses; and other qualifying expenses under the federal CARES Act. The contract expires on 11/30/2020. (AB2020-412) Substitute approved 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
170. Authorize the executive to sign a $5,962,796 contract (amendment #17) with the state Department of Health? The contract will provide funding for the local delivery of public health programs, including: emergency preparedness and response for Covid-19 ($4,506,000); disease control and health statistics ($1,219,324); influence coverage/PHEP/PPHS ($237,472). The total amended amount is $10,890,796; it expires on 12/31/2020. (AB2020-417) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
171. Adopt the six-year (2021-2026) water resources improvement program? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors; public hearing held.) State law requires counties to annually update their water resources improvement plans. The plan includes seventeen projects that address flood management, salmon recovery, sediment/debris flow issues and stormwater plans. AB2020-358 (Resolution 2020-033) Substitute approved 6-0, Rud Browne absent.
172. Approve the six-year (2021-2026) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held.) State law requires counties to annually update their 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 twelve projects, the removal of ten projects, and modification of three projects. This vote includes the first six years of the 14-year ferry capital improvement program. AB2020-363 (Resolution 2020-034) Amended and approved 6-0, Barry Buchanan temporarily absent.
173. Update the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District Comprehensive Water Plan? State law requires counties to approve comprehensive water system plans. The plan update received a determination of non-significance under state environmental policy requirements and has been approved by the Whtcom County Health Department. Public Works has also approved the plan with the following notations: All work performed in county rights-of-way requires revocable encroachment permits; the county may require additional permits depending on the scope of work; and the district should coordinate planned water and sewer construction with the county planned road construction program when possible. AB2020-415 (Resolution 2020-035) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
174. Update the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District Comprehensive Sewer Plan? State law requires counties to approve comprehensive water system plans. The plan update received a determination of non-significance under state environmental policy requirements and has been approved by the Whatcom County Health Department. Public Works has also approved the plan with the following notations: All work performed in county rights-of-way requires revocable encroachment permits; the county may require additional permits depending on the scope of work; and the district should coordinate planned water and sewer construction with the county planned road construction program when possible. AB2020-416 (Resolution 2020-036) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
175. Support Whatcom County sheriff deputies, corrections deputies and law enforcement officials across the county? The council appreciates the work of law enforcement and court personnel and condemns acts of violence against them. AB2020-406 (Resolution 2020-037) Substitute approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
176. Update the 2015 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Project list? State law requires grant applicants seeking public works funding from the Economic Development Administration to develop and update an economic development plan. At the 8/13/2002 meeting, vote #154, council adopted the first Comprehensive Economic Development Plan and updated it every five years. The 2015 strategy was approved at the 3/31/2015 meeting, vote #49, and updated at the 4/23/2019 meeting, vote #88. This update will add, remove, and/or revise projects previously listed. AB2020-388 (Resolution 2020-038) Approved 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
177. Amend a salary schedule and policies (amendment #2) for unrepresented Whatcom County employees? This vote is an amendment to the resolution passed at the 11/19/2019 meeting, vote #263. The Covid-19 emergency increased paid time off and vacation balances beyond allowable limits, resulting in losses of accrued time. The amendment will increase the amount of paid time off and vacation hours that can be carried over: from 362 to 442 hours for department heads and managers, and from 272 to 352 for other unrepresented employees. The schedule runs from 1/1/20 through 12/31/2020 AB2020-392 (Resolution 2020-039) Approved 7-0
178. Add the Tony and Shanda Kelstrup application to the open space assessment? The state Open Space Taxation Act was passed in 1970 to encourage rural land conservation and gives counties the authority to assess property values based on current use rather than potential use, creating tax incentives for landowners to conserve property. The Kelstrup application seeks to reclassify 4.67 acres of land in Ferndale area from open space farm and agriculture to open space land. AB2020-397 (Resolution 2020-040) Approved 7-0
179. Amend zoning regulations for roads, bridges, land use and development procedures? (Public hearing held.) Amendments will: clarify county code; fix inconsistencies and grammar; and modify policies relating to: LAMAIRD (building size in rural communities) uses; stormwater requirements; boundary line adjustment requirements for non-conforming lots; agricultural lot exemptions and requirements; and the creation of a new administrative variance process. AB2020-352 (Ordinance 2020-045) Adopted 7-0
180. Amend the appointment and responsibilities of the Citizen Address and Road Name Appeals Committee? (Public hearing held.) The five members will serve three-year terms and shall be eligible for reappointment. The committee will develop a list of road names from which applicants may choose and may propose changes or additions to address numbering, road naming and sign policy. Decisions by the committee may be appealed to the County Council. In the absence of the committee, appeals will be decided by the County Council. AB2020-360 (Ordinance 2020-046) Adopted 7-0
181. Amend the 2020 budget (request #17) in the amount of $871,548? Appropriated: $50,000 to fund fossil-fuel related legal consultation services provided by Cascadia Law; $75,000 to fund electronic home detention programs as alternatives to incarceration; $690,571 to fund the emergency response to Covid-19 at the health department; $43,145 to fund emergency response to Covid-19 at the sheriff’s department; $12,382 to fund the purchase of ballistics vests at the sheriff’s department. AB2020-368 (Ordinance 2020-047) Adopted 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
182. Amend the standards of practice for Public Defenders? The amendment will update code to reflect current standards of practice relating to conflicts of interest outlined by Washington court rules of professional conduct, including: compensation; caseload limits and types of cases; administrative and other expenses; training, supervision, monitoring, and evaluation standards; and disposition of client complaints. AB2020-371 (Ordinance 2020-048) Adopted 6-0, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
183. Amend the 2020 budget (request #18) in the amount of $220,000? Appropriated: $220,000 to fund an increase in shelter bed capacity related to the Covid-19 emergency. The 1/23/2020 Point-in-Time Count, a local census of individuals experiencing homelessness, identified 707 qualifying individuals in Whatcom County. AB2020-377 (Ordinance 2020-049) Adopted 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Tyler Byrd temporarily absent.
Action Taken at October 13, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
184. Fill three vacancies on the Climate Impact Advisory Committee? The council established the committee at the 12/5/2017 meeting, vote #259. It consists of 11 members appointed by the council. At least seven committee members will have professional or educational backgrounds in climate science, renewable energy development, energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling, farming, food security, land use planning, municipal government, flood mitigation, and planning. The committee advises the council on the implementation of the climate action plan. The climate action plan went into effect in January 2007, with a goal of 100 percent renewable energy use for Whatcom County operations. Appointed: Stevan Harrel, Sue Gunn, Hunter Hassig. (AB2020-362) Approved 6-0-1, Ben Elenbaas abstained.
185. Authorize the executive to accept a $125,000 grant from the Puget Sound Partnership? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The WRIA-1 Watershed Management Board acts as the local integrating organization for water resource programs in the county. This contract will provide organization and support services for representatives participating in water resource planning processes. (AB2020-394) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
186. Authorize the executive to award the only bid of $113,000 to Maul Foster & Alongi of Portland, Oregon for environmental consulting? The state requires the Comprehensive Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Plan to be updated every five years; it was last updated at the 1/24/2017 meeting, vote #13. The contract will provide support services, including project scoping and management, to county staff conducting an update to the plan. The contract expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2020-420) Approved 7-0
187. Authorize the executive to sign a grant agreement with Western Washington University? It will permit students currently participating in a federal work-study program to be employed at the county health department in Covid-19-related positions. The estimated cost is between $500 to $2,000 per student, per quarter, and the county will receive from WWU a 75 percent reimbursement of each student’s wages. The federal work-study contract expires on 6/15/2021. (AB2020-423) Approved 7-0
188. Authorize the executive to sign a $12,500 contract with Snohomish Health District? The contract to provide prevention-related services for tobacco and vapor device use by youth residents of Whatcom County. The contract expires 6/30/2021. (AB2020-425) Approved 7-0
189. Set October 27 for a public hearing on the sale of surplus property? State law permits the sale of property declared to be surplus and the county purchasing agent has determined it is in the best interest of the county to sell the following property: 17 automobiles; 11 trucks; one grader; two bulldozers; two tractors; and 14 other items. AB2020-427 (Resolution 2020-041) Approved 7-0
190. Authorize the installation of a stop sign on Homesteader Road? (Public hearing held.) In response to a citizen request, Public Works conducted an investigation and determined that the limited sight distance requirements warranted the installation of a stop sign on Homesteader Road westbound at the intersection with Standard Road. AB2020-390 (Ordinance 2020-050) Adopted 7-0
191. Lower the speed limit on portions of Marine Drive? (Public hearing held.) Local residents of the Fort Bellingham neighborhood, supported by the county Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee, submitted a petition for a speed limit reduction on portions of Marine Drive. In response, Public Works conducted a traffic study and determined that the speed limit should be reduced from 40 to 35 miles-per-hour on Marine Drive, from 1000 feet east of Locust Avenue to Old Marine Drive, and from 40 to 30 miles-per-hour from Old Marine Drive to Bancroft Road. AB2020-391 (Ordinance 2020-051) Adopted 7-0
192. Amend Whatcom County Code relating to the Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility District service area? (Public hearing held.) At the 12/5/2017 meeting, vote #255, the council established the Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility District and at the 7/23/2019 meeting, vote #152, authorized funding for stormwater management activities within the unincorporated Lake Whatcom watershed area, including removal of phosphorous. This amendment will: modify the definitions of “equivalent service units” and “impervious surface” to be consistent with current adopted definitions in code; and expand on the charge assessments for single-family residential and other developed parcels. AB2020-393 (Ordinance 2020-052) Adopted 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
Action Taken at October 27, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
193. Authorize the executive to sign a $470,793 contract (amendment #1) with SeaMar Community Health Centers of Seattle? At the 5/5/2020 meeting, vote #71, council approved a contract for oversight and administrative services for the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. The program is intended to reduce justice system involvement by individuals experiencing behavioral health or substance use issues and will operate as part of the GRACE program. The total amended amount is $759,571. (AB2020-408) Approved 7-0
194. Authorize the executive to sign a $605,000 contract with Bayside Pathology/Dr. Gary Goldfogel of Bellingham? Dr. Goldfogel has provided medical examiner services since 1992. The contract will provide medical examiner services to the county, including investigations to determine the cause of death in instances of sudden, unexpected, violent, suspicious or unnatural death. The contract expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2020-443) Approved 7-0
195. Authorize the executive to sign a contract not to exceed $238,172 with the Port of Bellingham for Cornonavirus Relief Funds? The contract will reimburse the port for expenses related to the Covid-19 emergency response, including: cleaning services related to transmission control; public health signage; personal protective equipment purchases; facility HVAC filters; reimbursement for payroll expenses incurred by port staff serving on the Whatcom Unified Command; technology costs related to the performance of remote work; and Point Roberts emergency ferry service. The contract expires on 10/31/2020. (AB2020-451) Approved 5-1-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Tyler Byrd abstained.
196. Authorize the executive to sign a contract not to exceed $112,000 with the Northwest Workforce Council of Bellingham? The contract will provide to provide reimbursement from federal funding for the wages and benefits of positions related to the Covid-19 emergency response, including: nurses, contract tracers, and testing site support staff. The contract will fund seven participants at a rate of $16,000 per participant, for a total contract amount, expiring 6/30/2021. (AB2020-452) Approved 7-0
197. Authorize the executive to sign a $60,000 contract with Elliott Bay Design Group of Seattle? The contract will provide engineering services for the annual dry dock for the Lummi Island ferry, as well as on-call support services. The contract expires on 11/30/2021. (AB2020-454) Approved 7-0
198. Authorize the executive to sign four contracts (amendment #1) with county school districts – with a total not to exceed $400,0000 – for internet connectivity and equipment assistance? At the 9/29/2020 meeting, vote #167, council voted to provide funding for one year of Covid-19 related technology and support costs associated with distance instruction and learning to the Lynden, Blaine, Ferndale, and Meridian school districts. The original contract was for $130,000. The total amended amount shall not exceed $230,000 for each school district; the contract expires on 10/31/2020. (AB2020-456/457/458/459) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
199. Authorize the executive to sign a $232,437 contract with the North Whatcom Fire and Rescue? The contract will support the participation in a paramedic training program for two students. The agreement provides subsidized paramedic training by the Bellingham Fire Department in exchange for an agreement to serve as a firefighter/paramedic in Whatcom County for five years, or reimburse the costs of their training. The contract expires on 2/28/2021. (AB2020-460) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed.
200. Authorize the executive to award the only responsive bid of $329,641 to Norix Group, Inc. of West Chicago, Illinois, for the purchase of furnishings for the Lighthouse Mission Ministries Base Camp? The project involves equipping the Base Camp (1530 Cornwall Avenue) shelter space with 200 lift deck beds with underbed storage and mattresses. Two bids were received, the low bid of $91,525 by Ecologic Industries of Waukegan, Illinois did not include the underbed storage. (AB2020-464) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed.
201. Authorize the executive to sign a $92,779 contract (amendment #1) with Michael Bobbink to provide hearing examiner services? Mr. Bobbink has been the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner for 25 years and was the sole respondent to the request for proposal. This contract includes a five percent reduction (from $97,662) approved at the 12/3/2019 meeting, vote #277. This amendment expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2020-467) Approved 4-2-1, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed, Todd Donovan abstained.
202. Authorize the executive to sign a contract with city of Bellingham? The contract will provide for a cost-sharing agreement for expenses related to the relocation of the Lighthouse Mission Ministries drop-in center from a temporary site at Bellingham High School to another temporary site at the Base Camp space at 1530 Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham. The relocation is required to address the need for physical distancing and other Covid-19 prevention measures. (AB2020-473) Substitute approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
203. Vacate a portion of Horton Road? (Public hearing held.) Two landowners submitted a petition to vacate 39,600 feet of unmaintained right-of-way currently owned by Whatcom County. At the 10/8/2019 meeting, vote #222, the council approved an investigation into the vacation by a county engineer’s office. The office has determined that the public will benefit from said vacation. The landowners will be required to pay the fair market value of 40 cents per square foot for a total of $15,840. AB2020-308 (Resolution 2020-042) Substitute approved 7-0
204. Authorize the sale of surplus personal property? (Public hearing held.) State law permits the sale of property declared to be surplus and the county purchasing agent has determined it is in the best interest of the county to sell the following property: 17 automobiles; 11 trucks; one grader; two bulldozers; two tractors; and 14 other items and miscellaneous worn, obsolete or broken office equipment. AB2020-428 (Resolution 2020-043) Approved 7-0
205. Adopt the 2021 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 9/29/2020 meeting, vote #172. Expenditures of county road funds are estimated at $16,765,00, other funds at $4,595,000, for a grand total of $21,360,000 for 46 projects. AB2020-435 (Resolution 2020-044) Approved 7-0
206. Establish regular Whatcom County Council meeting dates for 2021? 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. AB2020-471 (Resolution 2020-045) Approved 7-0
207. Continue interim zoning regulations for the siting, establishment and operation of temporary homeless facilities? (Public hearing held.) Interim regulations were first adopted at the 6/24/2018 meeting, vote #106, continued at the 7/24/2018, vote #119 and at the 11/9/2019 meeting, vote #247. Allowed are tents or other temporary structures such as “tiny homes” to reside on land owned or leased by sponsoring state or federal not-for-profit organizations not to exceed 190 days with one 190-day extension. Requirements for the temporary encampments include: the establishment of a 20-foot buffer from adjoining property; a restriction on siting within critical areas designated under Whatcom County Code; fencing and lighting requirements; maximum resident capacities; parking requirements; age restrictions; written code of conduct requirements; transit access requirements; requirements for toilet facilities and potable water provision; requirements for waste management and collection; limitations on tent/structure size; requirements for restoration of the site to the original condition; and application and permitting requirements. AB2020-373 (Ordinance 2020-053) Amended and adopted 7-0
208. Appropriate an additional $841,786 (amendment #6) for the the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility Project Fund? The budget increase will address Covid-19-related and other cost increases and brings the total approved project budget to $15,291,786. The two-mile project fund for the development of a berm/trail to minimize beach erosion and storm damage, and to promote bicycling and walking was established at the 11/20/2012 meeting, vote #199. The original estimated cost was $11,450,000 with $8,278,000 in local funding. The project will: construct a soft-shore roadway protection berm; make drainage upgrades from Lora Lane to Cedar Avenue; and install an ADA-compliant pedestrian pathway between Lora Lane and Cottonwood Drive. Approximately 35 percent of the project is completed, the rest of the project will be financed with approximately $2,771,786 in federal funds and $10,390,000 in county road funds. The project is listed as No. 1 on the annual county roads program. AB2020-430 (Ordinance 2020-054) Adopted 7-0
209. Amend the 2020 budget (amendment #19) in the amount of $7,904,575? Appropriated: $75,000 to partially fund programs that offer supports for individuals charged with non-violent crimes, including substance use disorder assessments, residential and outpatient treatment options, and housing assistance; $2,990,000 to fund salary expenses for health department staff providing Covid-19-related emergency services, rent for quarantine and isolation facilities, and public health-related social marketing communications; $42,827 to fund behavioral health services delivered through the GRACE program to individuals experiencing mental illness while incarcerated; $264,234 to fund the LEAD program to divert individuals away from incarceration and into community-based harm-reduction programs in order to address unresolved behavioral health needs and reduce recidivism; $19,470 to fund a student engagement center to offer in-person voter registration and election outreach materials on the Western Washington University campus; $8,044 to fund an additional drug court case manager; $4,506,000 to fund Covid-19 response programs in the county. AB2020-433 (Ordinance 2020-055) Adopted 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas, and Kathy Kershner opposed.