Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale

Action Taken at February 9, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:

37. Appoint Dorie Belisle to the Portage Bay Shellfish District Advisory Committee? She is a former manager (2001 – 2008) of the Tenmile Creek watershed project and is currently a member of the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Board. She has served two terms on the Portage Bay Shellfish Committee. Term limits were removed by the council at the 6/16/2020 meeting, vote #102. (AB2021-040) Approved 6-0-1, Ben Elenbaas abstained.

38. Appoint Brandi Hutton to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee? There is a public interest group vacancy. The committee meets four times a year and has 11 members from public interest groups, business, the waste management and recycling industries and local elected public officials (or their designees). It provides for coordination and information exchange between groups about solid waste issues, as well as providing ongoing public input and advice to Whatcom County on solid waste management issues. Brandi Hutton is currently employed by Sustainable Connections with a primary focus on their food recovery program. She graduated from WWU and worked for the Whatcom Conservation District. (AB2021-043) Approved 7-0

39. Authorize the executive to sign a $103,088 contract (amendment #5) with Lighthouse Mission Ministries to fund staffing at the Covid-19 temporary housing facility? The original contract ran from 3/20/2020 until 8/10/2020. Services include: providing assistance with laundry and meal services; cleaning and sanitizing rooms between guests; coordination of care for guests; and scheduling for onsite staff. The amendment will add state health department funding to extend services. The total amended amount is $476,302; it expires on 5/31/2021. (AB2021-052) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.

40. Authorize the executive to sign a $79,425 contract (amendment #4) with Pacific Security to provide Motel 6 security services, the Covid-19 temporary housing facility? The original contract and amendment #1 were deemed an emergency and so didn’t need council approval. Amendment #2 was passed at the 12/8/2020 meeting, vote #251, and Amendment #3 was passed at the 1/12/2021 meeting, vote #10. The amendment will add state health department funding to extend services. The total amended contract is $278,972; it expires on 5/31/2021.(AB2021-053) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed. 

41. Authorize the executive to sign contract amendment #1 with US Imaging Inc. of Saginaw, Mich. for digital image enhancement services? At the 9/10/2019 meeting, vote #187, the council approved a $128,000 contract as part of an effort by the auditor’s office to make images back to 1853 available to the public through the online document search function on the auditor’s website. The amendment will extend the original contract due to coronavirus-related delays. The original contract amount of $128,000 does not change; amendment #1 expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-066) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

42. Authorize the executive to sign a $95,460 contract (amendment #2) with SeaMar Community Health Centers of Seattle to provide oversight and assistance at the Covid-19 temporary housing facility? The original contract ran from 3/1/2020 to 12/30/2020. The purpose of the amendment is to extend the contract. The total amended contract amount is $357,976; it expires on 5/31/2021. (AB2021-079) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.

43. Authorize the executive to accept a $6,911,585 grant from the federal government? The grant will provide federal funding for rental and utility assistance and other housing expenses related to Covid-19 emergency relief. The assistance will be provided to eligible county residents through 12/31/2021, when the contract expires. (AB2021-080) Approved 7-0

44. Authorize the executive to sign a two-year contract with the city of Bellingham? The county will receive up to $89,000 per year from the city of Bellingham for providing fully-equipped inmate work crew services, including: cleaning and weeding sidewalks, curb planters, roundabout installations, and tree wells; and invasive plant removal and other landscaping at local creek and preserve sites. The contract expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2021-081)  Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

45. Appoint Dale Yoder to District 1 and Alexander Vomdrell to District 4 on the Noxious Weed Control Board? The board promotes public education regarding the impact and management of noxious weed species, including: knapweed; knotweed; purple loosestrife; and tansy ragwort. Mr. Yoder, a farmer residing in Lynden, has served on the board since 2000.  Mr. Vomdrell is employed as a construction inspector for the city of Bellingham. He was initially appointed to the noxious weed board at the 6/13/2017 meeting, Vote #112. (AB2021-084) Approved 7-0

46. Authorize the executive to sign a $303,935 contract with Brown & Caldwell of Seattle to complete phase 2 of the Lake Whatcom total maximum daily load reassessment? Whatcom County is required by state water resource planning law to update the phosphorous loading capacity targets for Lake Whatcom. At the 2/11/2020 meeting, vote #24, the council approved the phase 1 reassessment services contract for $193,013. This contract expires on 10/31/2022. (AB2021-087) Approved 7-0

47. Authorize the executive to accept a $865,006 federal grant for the replacement of the breakwater at the Lummi Island ferry terminal? This is local agency agreement (supplement #2); the original contract was for $150,000. The current breakwater is deteriorating and requires replacement. The timber breakwater was constructed in the 80s; it will be replaced with steel piles. The total estimated cost of the construction phase is $2,197,063; with $1,005,006 in federal and state funds and $1,192,057 in local funds. The project is scheduled for completion in summer of 2021. (AB2021-091) Approved 7-0

48. Authorize the executive to sign a $13,215 contract (amendment #2)  with Crossroads Consulting of Deming? The contract will provide consulting and facilitation services for the Covid-19 employer support task force. The original contract ran from 4/20/2020 to 10/31/2020 and amendment #1 from 11/1/2020 to 12/30/2020. This amendment brings the total contract to $134,000; it expires on 3/31/2021. (AB2021-094)  Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

49. Approve the 2021 collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters’ Local Union No. 231? The agreement covers 76 sergeants and deputies in the sheriff’s Bureau of Corrections office. The agreement includes: a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase; an increase in the monthly medical contribution from $1,271 to $1,291; a change in dental plans; an extension of the time period in  which deputies are required to meet firearms qualifications from 18 to 24 months. The agreement runs from 1/31/2021 to 12/31/2021. (AB2021-099)  Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

50. Approve the 2021-2022 collective bargaining agreement with the Washington State Nurses Association? The agreement covers 21 public health nurses and nurse supervisors. The agreement includes: a 1.25 percent cost-of-living increase in 2022; a realignment of nursing classification and elimination of some promotion steps; a change of medical plans; the inclusion of temporary, benefitted positions to address staffing needs related to the coronavirus. The agreement runs from 1/1/2021 to 12/31/2022 (AB2021-100)  Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

51. Cancel uncollectible personal property taxes totaling $42,160? State law requires that the county treasurer present to the council a list of taxes certified as uncollectible. There are 31 businesses totaling $41,741.The following owed above $1,000: Family Christian Stores, B’ham and Lynden $1,976; NYP Bar & Grill, B’ham and Lynden $6,874; Old Country Buffet, B’ham $4,206; Sports Authority #548, B’ham $13,491; Top Shelf Cannabis, B’ham $3,474; Taste of India, B’ham $1,141; Tandoori Bites, B’ham $2,352; Topnuggs, B’ham $1,608; Stonebreak Growers, Ferndale $1,048) and six individual mobile homes totaling $419 are listed. AB2021-067 (Resolution 2021-006) Approved 7-0

52. Adopt countywide planning policies relating to the review and evaluation program related to buildable lands? (Public hearing held.) The Growth Management Act requires county governments to adopt countywide planning policies in cooperation with the cities in that county. At the 7/7/2020 meeting, vote #109, council authorized a planning agreement with the seven cities in Whatcom County to establish interim procedures. At the 10/13/2020 meeting, the council voted to submit a final draft of the countywide planning policies to Whatcom County’s seven city councils for amendment and approval. This ordinance will adopt the approved policies. AB2021-051 (Ordinance 2021-003) Adopted 7-0

53. Authorize the installation of temporary stop signs on Deer Trail? (Public hearing held.) The roadway is experiencing severe erosion. The stop signs will be installed for a single-lane configuration related to the repair of a slope failure on Deer Trail, 100 feet south of Cherry Tree Lane. AB2021-058 (Ordinance 2021-004) Adopted 7-0

54. Authorize the temporary closure of a portion of 4th Street in Custer? (Public hearing held.) A section of 4th Street from the Tony’s Tavern southern property line to the intersection of 4th and Main streets in Custer will be closed until a state or local seating mandate is lifted. The temporary closure is for the purposes of providing additional space for outdoor dining while abiding coronavirus-related density requirements. As a condition of the closure, the owners of Tony’s Tavern agree to install approved signs and barriers to mark the closure. AB2021-075 (Ordinance 2021-005) Adopted 7-0

55. Amend the county code related to county-owned vehicles? The amendments would allow for limited authorized use of county-owned vehicles by non-employees participating in community health programs, including: community paramedics; GRACE/SeaMar employees; and authorized volunteers. AB2021-074 (Ordinance 2021-006) Adopted 7-0

Action Taken at February 23, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:

56. Authorize the executive to sign a $100,000 contract (amendment #1) with the Opportunity Council to provide funding for emergency shelter in motels? At the 12/8/2020 meeting, vote #257, council approved the original contract for $796,701 to provide operations services for the Whatcom Homeless Services Center. The amendment will increase the amount of funding to provide motel-based emergency shelter for 30-35 families. The total amended contract is $896,701; it expires on 6/30/2021. (AB2021-120) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.

57. Authorize the executive to sign a $6,807,911 contract with the Opportunity Council? The contract will provide administrative services for a rental and utility assistance program for eligible recipients in Whatcom County, including application support and disbursement of payments to landlords. The contract expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-124) Approved 7-0

58. Authorize the executive to sign a $200,000 contract with DH of Spokane? The contract will fund the creation and implementation of a social marketing campaign and messaging platform to reduce Covid-19 infection and transmission among the 18- to 26-year old demographic in Whatcom County; this group has the second highest infection rate in the county. The contract expires on 6/30/2021. (AB2021-125) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.

59. Docket comprehensive plan and development regulation amendments?1 State and local laws require that the county council review proposed amendments. Five new amendments were proposed and twenty-one amendments with incomplete reviews were carried over from previous years. The proposals will be submitted for state environmental policy review, planning department review, and public hearing before they are given final approval by the council. AB2021-116 (Resolution 2021-007) Substitute approved 6-1, Todd Donovan opposed.

60. Amend the Whatcom County code related to buildings and construction standards? (Public hearing held.) For the purposes of updating and editing code, the amendments will adopt by reference the 2018 editions of the following International codes: Building Code; Existing Building Code; Swimming Pool and Spa Code; Residential Code; Fire Code; Mechanical Code; Fuel Gas Code; the Uniform Codes for Plumbing and Abatement of Dangerous Buildings; the Washington State Energy Code; and certain provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. AB2021-096 (Ordinance 2021-007) Adopted 5-2, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.

61. Amend the 2021 budget (request #3) in the amount of $7,854,280? Appropriated: $47,016 to fund repair of a road failure in the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve; $30,625 to fund the replacement of a storm-damaged stairway that provides shore access at Point Whitehorn; $163,777 to fund Operation Stonegarden border security operations; $2,419 to fund organized drug crime enforcement actions by the sheriff’s department; $6,809,443 to fund an emergency rental assistance program operated by the Opportunity Council; $551,000 to fund the emergency response to Covid-19; and $250,000 to fund the purchase of land for Glenning Park in the city of Lynden. AB2021-092 (Ordinance 2021-008) Adopted 7-0  

1. Proposed amendments docketed

PLN2021-00001: Add a definition of battery energy storage system to the zoning code;

PLN2021-00002: Designate the LA Robertson Farms as a transfer of development rights receiving area;

PLN2021-00003: Allow the establishment and operation of temporary homeless facilities;

PLN2021-00005: Update the zoning code relating to wireless communication facilities;

PLN2021-00006: Revise the zoning code to implement Comprehensive Plan policies;

From past years

PLN2020-00003: Neighborhood commercial to residential rezone;

PLN2020-00004: Rural forestry designation and text amendment;

PLN2020-00006: Shoreline program update;

PLN2019-00002: Mineral resource lands expansion – Breckenridge Rd;

PLN2019-00004: Lummi Island ferry program;

PLN2019-00005: Density credit program and associated zoning code;

PLN2019-00010: Surface mining pipeline buffer;

PLN2019-00011: Surface Mining of dry meander zones;

PLN2018-00002: Density credit program;

PLN2018-00003: Repeal Cherry Point-Ferndale subarea plan;

PLN2018-00005: Critical Area Ordinance on-going agriculture;

PLN2018-00008: Wind energy system amendments;

PLN2018-00009: Cherry Point amendments;

PLN2018-00010: Sustainable salmon harvest goal;

PLN 2017-00004: Mineral resource lands countywide designation;

PLN2016-00009: Wireless communications facilities;

PLN2016-00011/PLN2014-00020: Vacation rental regulations;

PLN2015-00003: Code enforcement amendments;

PLN2014-00016: Weddings and special events;

PLN2012-00007: Agricultural strategic plan implementation;

PLN2012-00009: Mineral resource lands expansion – North Star Road