Whatcom County Council
Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at May 2, 2017 Meeting
Shall the council:
80. Appoint April Bader to District 3 of the Noxious Weed Control Board? The board educates the public regarding the impacts and management of noxious weeds such as tansy ragwort, knapweed, purple loosestrife, and knotweed. Ms. Bader is a resident of Ferndale, a Master Gardener in training in Washington, and has completed the program in Colorado. (AB2017-140) Approved 7-0
81. Authorize the executive to sign a $50,000 contract (amendment #4) with Northwest Youth Services? At the 5/20/2014 meeting, vote #101, the council approved a $108,054 contract to provide management services for youth aged 13 to 24 experiencing homelessness and receiving services through the Whatcom Homeless Service Center. The amendment will fund personnel costs related to the operation of the Positive Adolescent Development Facility, an emergency shelter for 13- to 17-year old individuals. The total amended amount is $255,000, it expires on 12/31/2017. (AB2017-143) Approved 7-0
82. Approve the 2017-2018 collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters’ Local 231? The agreement covers 445 employees and includes: a 2.25 and 2.5 per cent wage increase for 2017 (retroactive to January) and 2018, respectively; a monthly county contribution to employee health plans of $1,090 for January-April 2017, $1,195 for May-December 2017, and $1,250 for 2018; language addressing callback hours, the cashing out of accrued vacation time related to benefits, posting of vacant positions, and the elimination of the right of return for injured employees absent from their position for longer than 365 days. The agreement expires 12/31/2018. (AB2017-146) Approved 7-0
83. Authorize the executive to sign an $288,000 agreement with the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization? The agreement will ensure that revenue from cannabis product sales is used to provide evidence-based substance use disorder treatment and prevention services for middle- and high-school aged youth. The agreement expires on 3/31/2018. (AB2017-147) Approved 7-0
84. Authorize the executive to sign a $246,000 agreement with the City of Bellingham to finance the 2017-18 aquatic invasive species boat inspection program? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) At the 10/24/2011 meeting, vote #210, the Bellingham City Council directed staff to develop an aquatic invasive species prevention program after Asian clams had been discovered in Lake Whatcom. The City of Bellingham provides boat inspections and related services on behalf of the Lake Whatcom Management Program. At the 9/13/2016 meeting, vote #155, the County Council voted to enter into a partnership with the City of Bellingham to jointly manage an aquatic invasive species inspection and outreach program for 2016. Under the agreement for 2017-18, the county will reimburse the city for labor and equipment costs associated with the program. The two-year agreement is for an annual amount not to exceed $123,000, it expires on 12/31/2018. (AB2017-148) Approved 7-0
85. Confirm the executive’s appointment of Glen Alexander to the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee? The County Council established the committee in 1999 for the purposes of marine resource conservation and habitat protection in Whatcom County. Projects include community education and outreach, citizen science, water quality, bull kelp monitoring, forage fish spawning surveys, site evaluations, and obtaining permits for Olympia oyster restoration. The opening is due to the resignation of citizen-at-large member Bert Rubash. Mr. Alexander has recently retired as the education coordinator of the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. He holds a masters of education in environmental education. (AB2017-150) Confirmed 7-0
86. Sell tax-title property by public auction? (public hearing held) Request No. TR2017-02. State law allows for the sale of county-owned property through auction. The Glenhaven Lakes property will be sold for not less than the principal taxes, interest, penalties, and foreclosure costs of $2,546. AB2017-131A (Resolution 2017-022) Approved 7-0
87. Sell tax-title property by public auction? (public hearing held) Request No. TR2017-03. State law allows for the sale of county-owned property through auction. The Sudden Valley property will be sold for no less than the principal taxes, interest, penalties, and foreclosure costs of $2,528. AB2017-132A (Resolution 2017-023) Approved 7-0
88. Approve the Purchase of Development Rights Oversight Committee’s current ranked list of properties and authorize the application for matching funds? Since the county created the Purchase of Development Rights program in 2002, 866 acres of farmland have been preserved, with 118 future development rights permanently restricted through the enactment of 16 conservation easements, at a total expenditure of $5,809,121, of which the Conservation Futures Fund paid $3,149,021, with the balance being funded through cost share agreements with state conservation agencies. The current application through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office seeks forestland preservation grant funding. AB2017-141 (Resolution 2017-024) Approved 7-0
89. Authorize the executive to sign an agreement with other municipalities in Skagit, Whatcom, and Island Counties to apply for funding to address homelessness and the shortage of affordable homes for lower-wage workers? The agreement will permit Whatcom County to access federal Housing and Urban Development grant funds to support existing programs to provide tenant-based rental assistance to prevent homelessness. AB2017-142 (Resolution 2017-025) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at May 16, 2017 Meeting
Shall the council:
90. Appoint George Kaas to the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District Advisory Committee? The committee advises the County Council on proposed actions and operations relating to the restoration of water quality in Drayton Harbor. Mr. Kaas teaches aquaculture at Blaine High School (AB2017-139) Approved 7-0
91. Authorize the executive to sign a $100,000 two-year contract with the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center for mandatory family law mediation? The contract will provide: certification for family law mediators; conduct mandatory parenting seminars with interpretation services as needed; facilitation of mediation sessions; and a fee subsidy for low-income participants. The contract is in the amount of $50,000 per year, it expires on 12/31/2018. (AB2017-166) Approved 7-0
92. Amend the 2017 Flood Control Zone District and subzone budgets (amendment #2) in the amount of $17,850? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The funds will provide support for the development of a groundwater modeling study to determine levels of interaction between ground and surface water in the Lynden-Everson-Nooksack-Sumas area. AB2017-154 (Resolution 2017-026) Approved 7-0
93. Set May 30 for a public hearing regarding the sale of surplus property? The surplus property is comprised of objects that are outdated, too costly to repair, or parts cannot be obtained. The surplus property includes: one horse trailer, one plow, one van, one water tank, three trucks, four SUVs, and 18 sedans. The vehicles and equipment have either been replaced or have been deemed damaged or obsolete. AB2017-162 (Resolution 2017-027) Approved 7-0
94. Authorize the purchase of renewable wind energy from Puget Sound Energy? At the 5/6/2006 meeting, vote #107, the council voted to join the Counties and Cities Climate Protection Plan. At the 9/11/2007 meeting, vote #177, it adopted the Whatcom County Climate Protection and Energy Conservation Plan, establishing goals and priorities for reducing greenhouse emissions. Puget Sound Energy provides long-term renewable solar and wind energy contracts for municipal governments. The 10-year contract, beginning in 2019, includes a rate that increases 2 percent annually over the term of the contract, 1 percent below the annually predicted market increase over same term. AB2017-163 (Resolution 2017-028) Approved 7-0
95. Amend the duties of the Whatcom County Auditor? (Public hearing held) Delegate the sole responsibility for certifying the annual Whatcom County Financial Report from the Whatcom County auditor to the Washington State Auditor’s Office. AB2017-151 (Ordinance 2017-025) Adopted 7-0
96. Amend the Point Roberts Character Plan? (Public hearing held) There are no substantive changes to the plan, it only makes formatting and procedural changes for the purposes of expediting the public comment and the architectural guideline update processes. AB2017-152 (Ordinance 2017-026) Adopted 7-0
97. Adopt Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan amendments related to the Cherry Point Urban Growth Area? (Public hearing held) At the 7/26/2016 meeting, vote #132, council initiated Comprehensive Plan and zoning amendments by submitting them to the Planning Commission for recommendations. The amendments address environmental protection, water usage, fossil fuel exports, and the number of piers permitted in the Cherry Point Urban Growth Area. AB2017-063A (Ordinance 2017-027) Adopted 6-1, Barbara Brenner1 opposed.
98. Appropriate an additional $752,621 (amendment #2) for the Courthouse building envelope project and establishing project-based budget? The appropriation is from the Economic Development Investment Program. At the 5/6/2014 meeting, vote #55, the council authorized a $507,857 contract with HKP Architects of Mount Vernon to conduct a survey the courthouse exterior. At the 11/25/2014 meeting, vote #226, established the Courthouse building envelope project. At the 3/21/2017 meeting, vote #55, council added $2,427,809 to fund scheduled maintenance and repairs, including: removal and replacement of the roof, replacement of single-pane windows, replacement of cracked bricks; and cleaning of exterior insulation and finish systems. The total amended project budget is $2,677,809. AB2017-153 (Ordinance 2017-028) Adopted 6-1, Kenn Mann opposed.
99. Amend the 2017 budget (request #5) in the amount of $251,050? Appropriate: $50,000 to fund housing supports for Medicaid recipients experiencing mental illness; $165,000 to fund substance use disorder prevention programs from cannabis tax revenues; $10,000 to fund public health emergency response training for public health staff; and $26,050 to purchase a surplus Forest Service vehicle for use by the sheriff’s office offender work crew. AB2017-155 (Ordinance 2017-029) Adopted 7-0
Action Taken at May 30, 2017 Meeting
Shall the council:
100. Authorize the executive to accept a $715,000 state grant for the Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The grant will support the Whatcom County Pollution Identification and Correction Program, including: project management and reporting; data management; non-dairy agriculture landowner contacts; technical assistance and compliance; and community education, incentive, and outreach programs. The grant expires on 3/31/2019. (AB2017-172) Approved 6-0, Barbara Brenner2 was out of the room.
101. Authorize the executive to sign a $100,000 agreement between the Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District and Whatcom County Public Utility District No. 1? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) This agreement will provide $100,000 from the PUD for the development of phase 4 groundwater flow model. The estimated cost of phase 4 is $336,526. At the 5/16/2017 meeting, vote #92, council voted to increase the flood control district budget by $17,850 to partially fund the Lynden-Everson-Nooksack-Sumas area of Whatcom County. The groundwater flow model will provide information about the interaction between groundwater and surface water to assist in water management planning. The expiration date is 12/31/2018. (AB2017-173) Approved 6-0, Barbara Brenner2 was out of the room.
102. Authorize the executive to sign a $336,526 contract with Associated Earth Sciences of Kirkland for phase 4 of a groundwater flow model? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The contract is with the Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District. The contractor will provide development support for phase 4 of a groundwater model of the Lynden-Everson-Nooksack-Sumas area of Whatcom County, including: construction of a numerical model; surface and ground-water model coupling; model calibration; draft revisions; project meeting facilitation; and technical review. The contract expires on 12/31/2018. (AB2017-174) Approved 6-0, Barbara Brenner2 was out of the room.
103. Authorize the executive to establish prices and identify firms interested in providing maintenance and construction equipment for rent to the county? A preference will be given to low bidders and will be based on equipment availability and suitability. The bid award for each vendor will not exceed $100,000. The list of eligible vendor includes: United Rentals, Herc Rentals, Zylem Dewatering, Star Rentals, Birch Equipment, NW Heavy Equipment Repair, and Darling Sons. (AB2017-175) Approved 6-0, Barbara Brenner2 was out of the room.
104. Approve 2018 and 2019 salaries3 and benefits for elected officials? At the 2011 general election, voters passed an amendment to the Whatcom County Charter that created a commission to set salaries for elected county officials. At the 2/28/2012 meeting, vote #39, the council approved the creation of the Whatcom County Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials. The ten-member commission serves two-year terms and prepares salary schedules for the Whatcom County assessor, auditor, council members, executive, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, and treasurer. The salaries for these elected officials are increasing (see below table) in 2018 and 2019. AB2017-171 (Resolution 2017-032) Substitute approved 6-0, Barbara Brenner2 was out of the room.
105. Grant a quit-claim deed to the City of Bellingham? (Public hearing held) The property under consideration is located within the limits of the City of Bellingham and is currently being used as a city right-of-way as part of Toledo Street. Whatcom County will relinquish rights to the property and transfer it to the City of Bellingham. AB2017-167 (Resolution 2017-029) Approved 7-0
106. Sell surplus property by public auction? (Public hearing held) The surplus property is comprised of objects that are outdated or too costly to repair. The surplus property includes: one horse trailer, one plow, one van, one water tank, three trucks, four SUVs, and 18 sedans. The vehicles and equipment have either been replaced, or have been deemed damaged or obsolete. AB2017-162A (Resolution 2017-030) Approved 7-0
107. Authorize the executive to sign a Jail Facility Financing and Use Agreement with the cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack and Sumas? The agreement covers operations and financing for the Whatcom County correctional facilities. The amended substitute deletes the location of the proposed jail site from the text of the original agreement; reduces the range of the number of beds; and includes language that identifies conditions under which the number of beds at the new facility might be further reduced. The AB2017-107A (Resolution 2017-031) Substitute amended and approved 4-3, Ken Mann, Barry Buchanan, and Todd Donovan opposed.
108. Express support for efforts to reduce homelessness by investing in vocational programs for homeless youth? The council requests that the executive allocate $25,000 to support a pilot project to create opportunities for low-barrier employment for homeless youth. AB2017-184 (Resolution 2017-033) From Barbara Brenner:
109. Set June 13, 2017 as the hearing date to collect public comment on the size of the proposed Whatcom County jail? The current total inmate capacity is 212 beds at the main jail and 150 beds at the work center. The county administration estimates that between 463-489 beds will be necessary at the new jai. AB2017-185 (Resolution 2017-034) Amended and approved 5-1, Carl Weimer opposed and Todd Donovan was out of the room.
110. Adopt amendments to the Whatcom County Code that make corrections, updates, and clarifications? (Public hearing held) The Planning Commission has recommended amendments to the Title 20 Zoning section of the code, including: updating code references to development standards, international building codes, lot consolidation, mining standards, mobile home park and recreational vehicle standards, the Guide Meridian improvement plan, and wireless application requirements; clarifying the definitions of animal husbandry, kennels, park model trailers, and structures; and clarifying code language related to agricultural district lot depths and widths, maximum building size, maximum heights of emergency communication facilities, road frontage requirements, roof overhang limits, setback standards and many more. AB2017-169 (Ordinance 2017-030) Corrected version adopted 7-0.
1. From Barbara Brenner: I opposed initiating the Comprehensive Plan and zoning amendments because numerous proposed amendments appeared to be extremely punitive toward the refineries at Cherry Point. I believe we are fortunate to have excellent refineries. I do not support export of crude oil to Asia and very much prefer it to be refined in Whatcom County, where it is done to high environmental standards. If sent as crude to Asia, it will create environmental problems as the refining standards there are not good. Those problems already come our way in the prevailing winds and water currents and it will only get worse if we cause our refineries to cut back, which I believe some of the amendments will do. But people don’t see the acidification coming from Asia and they blame the refineries. Further, although the title implied the amendments are only about unrefined fossil fuel, the text of the amendments additionally includes refined products.
2. From Barbara Brenner: The meeting had a long, uninterrupted session with many people in attendance. When we finished I asked for a break, which we usually do after a long session. We do it for two reasons, so we can let the many people leave without causing impacts for those who remain and so we can use the bathroom. I was denied the break and had to go to the bathroom. All this took only a few minutes. When I returned the council had already rushed through five items. Although I was irritated, they were all items I had supported in committee so I let it go.
3. Yearly Salaries 2017 2018 2019
Assessor $104,407 $106,391 $108,519
Auditor $104,407 $106,391 $108,519
Council $30,660 $31,243 $31,867
Executive $158,823 $169,022 $172,042
Prosecuting Attorney $165,870 $169,022 $172,042
Sheriff $134,904 $138,452 $142,000
Treasurer $104,407 $106,391 $108,519