Whatcom County Council
Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at June 1, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
123. Authorize the executive to sign a $94,000 contract (amendment #2) with the Northwest Workforce Council of Bellingham? The original contract was approved at the 10/27/2020 meeting, vote #196, and amended at the 1/12/2021 meeting, vote #13. It provided reimbursement from federal funding of wages and benefits for eligible temporary employees working in various Covid-related positions. This amendment will increase the number of allowable participants, the rate per participant, and the total amount of the contract. The amended contract total is $220,000; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-298) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
124. Authorize the executive to sign a $120,776 contract with the Opportunity Council? The contract will provide behavioral health services for individuals experiencing homelessness by funding a full-time outreach worker and substance use disorder consulting services to the Opportunity Council’s Homeless Outreach Team with the goal of connecting them to appropriate treatment. The contract expires on 6/30/2022. (AB2021-301) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
125. Authorize the executive to accept a $510,000 state grant (amendment #1) for the Birch Bay/Lynden Road pavement rehabilitation project? At the 5/21/2019 meeting, vote #109, the council authorized the executive to accept a $165,000 state grant for the Birch Bay/Lynden Road pavement rehabilitation project (Enterprise Road to Rathbone Road). This amendment will add grant funding to the project for a total of $675,000. The total estimated cost of the project is $1,150,000. It is listed as Item No. 5 on the annual construction program; construction is anticipated to begin in 2021. (AB2021-302) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
126. Confirm the executive’s appointment of J.G. “Sandy” Phillips and Jeannine Heidenreich to the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee? The committee assists the county with planning, funding, and the development and implementation of facilities and programs that increase bicycle and pedestrian safety and practicality. Mr. Phillips is a retired military and warehouse manager, a recreational bicyclist and fitness instructor; Ms. Heidenreich holds a Bachelor of Science degree in international marketing and has been employed in tourism development. (AB2021-308) Confirmed 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
127. Authorize the executive to sign a $151,680 three-year contract with West Publishing for online database subscriptions? The contract will provide subscriptions for the Whatcom County prosecuting attorney’s office. The contract expires on 9/30/2023. (AB2021-313) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
128. Authorize the executive to spend $250,000 to purchase a conservation easement from the city of Lynden for Glenning Park? The park is a four-acre parcel of land within Lynden city limits with two basketball courts and four baseball fields. The easement will preserve public access to the open space in perpetuity for recreational activities. At the 2/23/2021 meeting, vote #61, the council authorized Conservation Futures Fund money be used to purchase the park. (AB2021-315) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
129. Authorize the executive to spend $1,250,000 to purchase a conservation and public access easement from the Whatcom Land Trust for the Upper Skookum Creek property? At vote #132, the council authorized the purchase money be taken from the Conservation Futures Fund. The 1,000-acre parcel of land includes both banks of a 2.5-mile section of Skookum Creek, a tributary of the South Fork Nooksack River and will provide both public recreation and salmon habitat conservation benefits. (AB2021-316) Approved 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Kathy Kershner absent.
130. Grant Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless of Bedminster, New Jersey, a non-exclusive 10-year franchise for the provision of wireless telecommunications services? (Public hearing held.) Cellco Partnership will be allowed to access county rights of way to install and maintain small wireless communications facilities. AB2021-261 (Ordinance 2021-031) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
131. Amend the Whatcom County Charter to align signature requirements for citizen initiatives with state norms? (Public hearing held.) The current charter requires the signatures of 15 percent of the votes cast at the last general election. This vote reduces the signatures to eight percent of the votes cast in the last election for county executive. To place this amendment on the ballot requires another vote; see the 6/15/2021 meeting, vote #134. AB2021-278 (Ordinance 2021-032) Adopted 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Kathy Kershner absent.
132. Amend the 2021 budget (request #8) in the amount of $1,250,000? Appropriate: $1,250,000 from the Conservation Futures Fund to a match a $1,750,000 contribution from the Whatcom Land Trust to acquire the 1,000-acre Skookum II forest property. The purchase includes both banks of a 2.5-mile section of Skookum Creek, a tributary of the South Fork Nooksack River, and will provide both public recreation and salmon habitat conservation benefits. The Whatcom Land Trust will own and manage the Skookum II property. When combined with Skookum I, there will be 5.3 miles of public access terminating at Arlecho Creek. AB2021-289 (Ordinance 2021-033) Adopted 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed and Kathy Kershner absent.
133. Establish the Dearborn (Drayton Harbor) no-shooting zone? (Public hearing held.) The city of Blaine submitted a resolution on 7/12/2019 requesting that the council establish a no-shooting zone for all aquatic areas and tidelands within Drayton Harbor, and the council acknowledged receipt of a supporting citizen petition at the 11/6/2019 meeting, vote #246. State law allows counties to restrict the discharge of firearms within their jurisdictions to protect public health and safety. Twenty-three other no-shooting zones have been established in Whatcom County. AB2021-186 (Ordinance 2021-034) Approved 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Kathy Kershner absent.
Approved at June 15, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
134. Submit a Whatcom County Charter amendment to the voters of Whatcom County? At the 6/1/2021 meeting, vote #131, the council voted to decrease the number of signatures needed to place an initiative on the ballot. The Whatcom County Charter requires a unanimous vote by the council to place a charter amendment on the ballot. This vote did not meet that criterion so it failed. (AB2021-279) Failed 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas, and Kathy Kershner opposed.
135. Authorize the executive to sign a $150,616 contract with Arc of Whatcom County for disability-related services? The contract will provide information and support services for individuals with developmental disabilities, their family members, and the general public. These services have been provided by the Arc of Whatcom County since 2011. The contract expires on 6/30/2022. (AB2021-319) Approved 7-0
136. Authorize the executive to accept a $170,100 state grant for the Hampton Road pavement project? The grant is for a 4.65-mile section of Hampton Road. The total anticipated project cost (design and construction) is $1,980,000. (AB2021-321) Approved 7-0
137. Authorize the executive to accept a $205,073 federal grant for areas with high intensity drug trafficking? The grant will fund salaries and benefits for two employees in the county prosecuting attorney’s office. The expiration date is 12/31/2022 (AB2021-322) Approved 7-0
138. Authorize the executive to accept a $1,100,000 federal grant (supplement #4) for the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility Project? The grant requires a county match of $171,676. At the 11/20/2012 meeting, vote #199, the council approved a project fund for the 1.58-mile-long project to develop a berm/trail to minimize beach erosion and storm damage, to promote bicycling and walking. The estimated cost of the project is $15,291,786. It 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. The March 2021 issue of Whatcom Watch contained an article about the project. It is listed as No. 1 on the annual county roads program. (AB2021-324) Approved 7-0
139. Authorize the executive to sign an estimated $77,812 contract (amendment #2) with the Opportunity Council of Bellingham to provide child development services? Funding to be provided services that support children (birth to age three) with developmental disabilities and delays was approved at the 6/18/2019. In 2020, two contracted developmental disabilities program providers supported an average of 244 children and families. This amendment will extend the contract by one year. The total estimated amended contract amount is $213,952; it expires on 6/30/2022. (AB2021-325)Approved 7-0
140. Approve the Economic Development Investment Board’s recommendation to fund applications from the city of Lynden, Port of Bellingham, and Bellingham Housing Authority? Money for the EDI board’s loans and grants comes from portions of the rural sales tax which can only be used for public facility projects. Funding recommendations for the three projects include: Port of Bellingham county rural broadband ($2,000,000 grant); city of Lynden West Front Street Road improvements ($666,667 grant/$1,333,333 loan); and the Bellingham Housing Authority ($725,000 loan). At the 1/28/2020 meeting, vote #17, the council voted on an EDI board recommendation for a $2 million loan and $1 million grant for West Front Street Road in Lynden. The vote failed. (AB2021-330) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd abstained.
141. Authorize the executive to award the low bid of $1,032,353 to Tiger Construction of Everson for the Plantation Indoor Range? The contract covers the installation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and roof replacement? The county provides the range at 5102 Samish Highway to cities for training purposes. The range is managed by the Whatcom County Parks Department; it has two separate shooting ranges. Four bids were received: The high bid was $1,139,902. The contract expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-331) Authorized 5-2, Rud Browne and Carol Frazey abstained.
142. Amend the 2019-2020 collective bargaining agreement with the General Teamsters’ Local Union 231? In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the union agreed to observe 32 hours of unpaid furlough in 2020 and a wage freeze for 2021. This amendment includes a 2 percent wage increase for each wage step in all ranges of the hourly matrix effective 7/11/2021. This amendment extends the contract to 12/31/2021. (AB2021-333) Approved 7-0
143. Amend the 2021-2022 collective bargaining agreement with the Washington State Nurses Association? In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, union agreed to a wage freeze for 2021. The amendment includes a 2 percent wage increase for each wage step in all ranges of the hourly matrix effective 7/11/2021. The expiration date is 12/31/2022. (AB2021-335) Approved 7-0
144. Amend the 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement with PROTEC17 (Professional and Technical Employees Local 17)? In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the union agreed to 32 hours of unpaid furlough in 2020 and a wage freeze for 2021. The amendment includes a 2 percent wage increase for each wage step in all ranges of the hourly matrix effective 7/11/2021. This amendment expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-336) Approved 7-0
145. Authorize the executive to sign a $121,000 contract with Northwest Educational Services District 189 of Anacortes? The contract will provide substance use disorder prevention services to an estimated 75 families living within the Nooksack Valley School District. Cost-benefit estimates show that effective school-based programs can save $18 for every $1 spent on these programs. The contract expires on 8/31/2022. (AB2021-337) Approved 7-0
146. Amend a salary schedule and policies for unrepresented Whatcom County employees? At the 11/10/2020 meeting, vote #215, the council adopted the 2021 salary schedule with wages frozen at 2020 levels. This amendment includes a 2 percent wage increase for each wage step in all ranges of the hourly matrix effective 7/11/2021. AB2021-332 (Resolution 2021-021) Approved 7-0
147. Amend the 2021 budget (request #9) in the amount of $1,138,322? Appropriated: $23,936 to fund radio tower leases for public safety purposes; $76,335 to fund reinstatement of two frozen positions at the assessor’s office; $32,722 to fund reinstatement of one frozen position in the auditor’s office; $153,980 to fund reinstatement of three frozen positions in Planning & Development; $67,476 to fund reinstatement of two frozen positions in the sheriff’s office; $53,321 to fund reinstatement of 1.5 frozen positions in the county clerk’s office; $31,786 to fund reinstatement of one frozen position in Public Works; $237,214 to fund reinstatement of five frozen positions in the sheriff’s corrections bureau; $44,711 to fund reinstatement of one frozen position in mental health court; $190,000 to fund the GRACE program from PeaceHealth ($50,000) and the city of Bellingham ($140,000) donations; $60,000 to fund emergency management system software maintenance; $142,905 to fund reinstatement of three frozen positions in administrative services. AB2021-307 (Ordinance 2021-035) Adopted 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.
148. Establish an American Rescue Plan Act fund and budget? On 3/11/2021, President Biden signed the act containing $362 billion for coronavirus related response and recovery. Whatcom County will receive $44,528,542 in two 50 per cent installments and is required to establish a dedicated fund to account for the restricted revenue source. The fund will be approved with an initial budget of $1,732,850. Money from the act will be used for continuing coronavirus response, replacement of tax revenue, and investment in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. AB2021-310 (Ordinance 2021-036) Adopted 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.