Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at June 7, 2021 Meeting

Mayor’s Report
The Bellingham library remodel is complete; it opened on June 7 with limited in-person services and 50 percent capacity limitation. The Port of Bellingham in partnership with the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce will host a fireworks display, Blast on the Bay, scheduled for July 4, 2021.

Shall the council:
104. Authorize the mayor to renew a lease with Woods Coffee for a coffee shop in Boulevard Park? At the 12/11/2006 meeting, vote #307, the council authorized the mayor to sign a five-year lease with Woods Coffee for a former pottery studio building located within Boulevard Park; the lease was modified in 2012 and again in 2016. With the construction of the new park restroom, Woods Coffee and the city have agreed to add the attached restrooms and storage room to the rentable area and adjust the base rent and leasehold tax accordingly. Woods Coffee also agrees to pay all charges for water utilities and be responsible for all restroom maintenance, repairs, daily cleaning, and security. The rentable area will increase from 2,034 square feet to 2,294 square feet. The annual rent will increase from $26,612 for the first year to $30,851 for the fifth year. (AB23014) Approved 7-0

105. Appropriate $3,734,832 for payroll checks issued from May 1 through May 16, 2021? (AB23016) Approved 7-0

106. Appropriate $4,631,230 for goods and services checks issued from May 7 through May 20, 2021? (AB23017/23018) Approved 7-0

107. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County for Whatcom Unified Command Covid-19 support services? Whatcom County will reimburse the city for up to $60,000 of staff time for the ongoing support that city personnel are providing to the Covid-19 response through the Bellingham Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Management. The city currently staffs the following two Whatcom Unified Command positions: (1) logistics section chief; and (2) situation unit staff member. The logistics section chief is responsible for: supervision of the volunteer branch and warehouse staff, serving as logistics committee co-chair for the community vaccination clinic, distribution and management of nonoperational PPE to care facilities and government departments, and requisitioning and management of resources and personnel from the state Emergency Operations Center. The situation unit staff member is responsible for: demobilization unit leader duties, documentation of community vaccination clinic steering committee meetings, and production of various status reports. The agreement shall be in effect from 1/1/21 through 6/30/2021. (AB23019) Approved 7-0

108. Adopt the annual six-year (2022-2027) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held at May 24 meeting.) State law requires cities to update their transportation program by July 1 of each year. The program provides a list of capital improvement projects and establishes the city’s eligibility for state and federal funds. Projects funded include pavement resurfacing, nonmotorized transportation improvements, clean energy transportation, bridge reconstruction and various transportation and safety improvement programs. Seventeen projects are listed in this year’s plan with an estimated cost of $106,973,000. AB22994 (Resolution 2021-13) Approved 7-0 

109. Set July 14 at 6:00 p.m. for a public hearing before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for consideration of a “Center Street” vacation petition between D and E streets and Astor and Bancroft Streets in Old Town? The petitioner desires to clear title on the underlying parcels in order to sell or transfer the properties currently encumbered by the subject right-of-way. The city of Bellingham provided notice to private utility companies on May 18, 2021, with no response. AB23020 (Resolution 2021-14) Approved 7-0

110. Approve a nontraditional arterial street standard for James Street in the King Mountain neighborhood? (Public hearing held at the May 10 meeting.) At the 12/8/2008 meeting, vote #338, the City Council voted to annex approximately 635 acres identified as the East Bakerview-James Street (King Mountain) annexation. The James Street corridor is expected to see an increase in traffic, both from general growth in Bellingham and the imminent development of multiple large parcels for new residences. James Street corridor improvements are cost prohibitive due to restrictions associated with critical areas (ravines, wetlands, fish barrier culverts) as well as site distance limitations in the roadway profile, making it too expensive for individual parcels to develop. This alternative arterial standard for James Street (between Orchard Drive and Gooding Avenue) includes construction of a separated 10- to 12-foot-wide paved multiuse pathway on the west side of James Street. The separated path is in lieu of traditional sidewalks and bike lanes on each side of the roadway. Developers would be given the option of contributing funding towards city design and construction of the alternative standard instead of making traditional street improvements at the time of development. AB22979 (Ordinance 2021-06-024) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at June 21, 2021 Meeting

Update on Covid-19 Response
Case rates are down from November 2020 and vary by county subarea, but all are decreasing. We are currently under 100 cases per 100,000 persons in Whatcom County. The number of persons with Covid-19 infection requiring hospitalization is four to five people as of 6/21. As of June 16, 2021, 58 percent of the total population has initiated vaccination and 51.6 percent are fully vaccinated. Swim floats have been installed at Bloedel Donovan Park and finishing touches are underway; lifeguards will be on duty starting June 26. Starting June 30, the permit center, finance, and the mayor’s office will be open for some in-person services. Members of the public who are not vaccinated will be asked to wear masks while in city offices. The city awaits guidance about in-person meetings from the governor’s office and will continue holding public meetings via online platforms. (AB22593) Nonvoting issue.

Shall the council:
111. Authorize the mayor to sign contracts with outside legal counsel to assist the city attorney’s office in Lev vs. City of Bellingham, et al.? Municipal Court Judge Debra Lev filed a lawsuit charging the city interfered with her supervising authority over Municipal Court personnel. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

112. Direct the administration to enter negotiations with Whatcom County for costs associated with prosecution, adjudication, and sentencing in criminal cases filed in District Court, if the City Council terminates the Bellingham Municipal Court? The city was investigating Municipal Court employee complaints about working conditions. Municipal Court Judge Debra Lev filed a lawsuit charging the city interfered with her supervising authority over Municipal Court personnel. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 6-1, Hanna Stone opposed. 

113. Authorize the mayor to sign a renewal agreement with Premier Golf Centers, LLC of Seattle for management of the Lake Padden golf course? Premier Golf Centers was established in 2001 and currently manages 11 golf courses for seven municipalities in the Puget Sound region. Lake Padden Golf, LLC decided not to renew the Lake Padden golf course lease; the city entered into a lease with Premier Golf Centers in November 2017. At the 12/11/2017 meeting, vote #225, the council amended the golf course budget. At the 1/28/2019 meeting, vote #22, the council froze green fees for one year and increased them at the 1/27/2020 meeting, vote #14. This renewal agreement is for four years expiring on 12/31/2025. In addition, the city and Premier mutually agree to develop a detailed golf course maintenance equipment replacement schedule utilizing city funds. The city shall retain ownership of all equipment, which will be regularly inventoried and inspected. All other terms and conditions remain the same as previously agreed upon. (AB21801) Approved 7-0

114. Reappoint Ada Rumford and Liz Darrow to two-year terms on the Immigration Advisory Board? At the 11/4/2019 meeting, vote #197, the council established the Immigration Advisory Board. It reviews and evaluates policies regarding compliance with state law and makes specific recommendations regarding policies related to immigration matters; provides for data collection regarding contact between the city of Bellingham, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection; and includes periodic updates to the council. Ada Rumford and Liz Darrow were two of four initial appointments to one-year terms expiring on 2/24/2021. Ada Rumford, a one-time resident of New York and first-generation American, is a digital marketing project manager and has a master’s global management from Arizona State University and B.A. from UW. Liz Darrow, a 23-year resident of Bellingham has a B.A .from WWU and is a board member of the Lettered Streets Neighborhood Association. She was involved in the creation of the Immigration Advisory Board. Both terms expire on 6/23/2023, at which time they may be reappointed. (AB23022) Approved 7-0

115. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $403,193 to JT Thorpe and Son Inc. of Burlington for Post Point on-call incinerator repair? Previously, the city independently advertised for competitive bids and issued separate contracts for incinerator repairs. This consolidates the work into a single, comprehensive agreement serving to provide centralized on-call repairs at fixed, competitive prices. This contract will have a three-year term and shall not exceed $2,100,000 using the hourly rates provided in the JT Thorpe bid, based on an estimated number of hours and parts. The city has the option to extend or renew the unit priced contract for one additional year. Projects delivered through an on-call process will be included in regular approved budgets and the sewer fund. The city received four bids: the agenda bill did not list bidders. (AB23024) Approved 7-0

116. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $445,942 to Colacurcio Brothers of Blaine for the Anderson Creek water quality improvement project? The engineer’s estimate was $319,929. Anderson Creek is located between Mirror Lake and the southeast end of Lake Whatcom. The project involves the removal of a derelict railroad bridge and creosote covered pilings, installation of engineered log jams, creek channel improvements, associated riparian planting and restoration activities to improve the water quality flowing to Lake Whatcom. At the 3/25/2019 meeting, vote #59, the city received a $499,500 state grant for final design and construction of the Anderson Creek water quality improvement project. The state grant requires $166,500 in city matching funds for a total budget of $666,000. The city received three bids: the high bid was $449,463. One of the bids was determined to be nonresponsive. (AB23025) Approved 7-0

117. Appropriate $7,052,582 for goods and services checks issued from May 21 through June 10, 2021? (AB23034/23035/23036) Approved 7-0

118. Appropriate $4,043,195 for payroll checks issued from May 16 through May 31, 2021? (AB23037) Approved 7-0

119. Amend the 2021-2022 budget by $169,500? One full-time position will be added to the Planning and Community Development Department to process permits and support the development of new building codes related to electrification as recommended by the Climate Action Task Force. This amendment is for six months of salary and benefits for 2021 and 12 months in 2022. AB23013 (Ordinance 2021-06-025) Approved 7-0

120. Amend and revise the Bellingham Municipal Code to provide new rules on parks, trails and open space for electric-assisted bicycles, smoking, speed limits, with other updates? (Public hearing held at May 24 meeting.) Several sections of chapter 8.04 providing general provisions and rules in parks and trails are outdated and require updating and refinement to be consistent with changing circumstances, park use, and state law. The changes include reducing speed limits from 20 to 15 mph, providing rules that allow ebikes on trails, prohibition of smoking in parks, and clarification of outdated language in the existing code to reflect changing use and policies. Following the public hearing, the council sent the changes back to Parks & Recreation Committee and instructed no change to overnight camping and removal of the new section restricting drones. AB22982 (Ordinance 2021-06-026) Approved 7-0