Whatcom County Council
Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at January 14, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
1. Authorize the executive to sign a five-year contract with the state of Washington? The contract with the Secretary of State will address cost sharing for vendor maintenance and support relating to the statewide voter registration database, VoteWA. The county will pay $11,342 annually, for a five-year total of $56,709. (AB2020-005) Approved 7-0
2. Authorize the executive to sign an agreement with the cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack, and Sumas? The agreement will allow the county to retain an additional .0146 percent of the state’s portion of the local sales tax to be dedicated to affordable- and supportive-housing programs. (AB2020-010) Approved 7-0
3. Fill seven vacancies on the Climate Impact Advisory Committee? The 11-member committee advises the council and executive on issues related to the prevention and mitigation of the impacts of climate change. There were eight applicants. At least seven committee members are required to have professional or educational backgrounds in: climate science, renewable energy development, energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling, farming, good security, land use planning, municipal government, flood mitigation and planning. Applications: William Harman earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Idaho and is employed as an Electrical Engineer at Puget Sound Energy. Katherine Kissinger recently graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. Kaylee Galloway earned a master’s degree in policy studies from the University of Washington and has experience working on environmental issues at the federal and state levels of government. Erika Nuerenberg has professional experience working in the waste reduction/recycling fields. Stevan Harrell has graduate level instructional experience on environmental subjects at the University of Washington. Philip Thompson is employed as a professor in the department of economics at Western Washington University. David Kershner earned a master’s degree in natural resource policy and administration from the University of Michigan and has experience in environmental research. Tim Miller earned a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering and serves as a board member and executive of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce. Cynthia Mitchell has experience with research and analysis of environmental and energy issues. Appointed to a full term expiring on 1/31/2022: William Harman, Kaylee Galloway, Erika Nuerenberg, Philip Thompson and David Kershner. Appointed to a partial term expring on 1/31/2021: Katherine Kissinger and Cynthia Mitchell. (AB2020-011) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
4. Fill one vacancy on the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District? The Whatcom County Council created shellfish protection districts for Drayton Harbor (1995), Portage Bay (1998), and Birch Bay (2009) in response to pollution and related closures. The water quality in these areas continues to require improvement in order to maintain “approved” status. At the 1/15/2019 meeting, vote #12, council extended the sunset date of the districts until 12/31/2022. There was one incumbent applicant for the four-year term on the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District. Appointed: George Kaas is a retired Blaine High School aquaculture teacher. (AB2020-012) Approved 7-0
5. Fill three vacancies on the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force? The task force has 22 permanent members and eight appointed members. At the 6/9/2015 meeting, vote #198, the council created the task force to make specific evidence-based recommendations for incorporating interventions and policies to safely reduce the number of incarcerated individuals experiencing mental illness and chemical dependency, as well as those pre-trial defendants who can be safely released, and at the 7/11/2017 meeting, vote #129, the council entered into a memorandum of agreement with the city of Bellingham to share task force costs. There were four incumbent applicants: Stephen Gockley serves as a commissioner on the Bellingham/Whatcom County Housing Authorities Board. Greg Winter serves as the executive director of the Opportunity Council. Arlene Feld has professional experience in marriage and family therapy and public health. Jack Hovenier is a business owner with 29 years in substance abuse recovery. Appointed: Stephen Gockley, Greg Winter and Arlene Feld. (AB2020-014) Approved 7-0
6. Fill one vacancy on the Whatcom County Planning Commission? The commission has nine council-appointed members and provides the council with citizen review and recommendations on planning-related issues. There were six applicants: Jim Hansen earned a bachelor’s of science in sociology/anthropology at Western Washington University and has professional experience in natural resource and environmental issues. Francis David Fitzgerald earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and has professional experience with technical applications of resource management. Alvin Scott Van Dalen is the owner of Eagle Contracting and Steel Buildings, Inc. Kathy Stanford is a co-owner of the local construction company ResComNW. Jeff Chalfant earned a bachelor’s degree in geography/urban planning and is employed by BP Cherry Point Refinery. Towhee Wean earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and has professional experience in masonry. (AB2020-015) Appointed: Jim Hansen. Approved 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.
7. Fill two vacancies on the Solid Waste Advisory Committee? 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. There were two incumbent applicants. Appointed: Larry McCarter is the owner and manager of recycling and disposal services. Rodd Pemble is employed as the recycling and safety manager for Sanitary Service Company, Inc.. (AB2020-016) Approved 7-0
8. Authorize the executive to sign a $70,000 contract with state of Washington? The contract with the Department of Social and Health Services will provide technical and financial support for the Generations Forward initiative to address the health of children in Whatcom County. The focus of the initiative for 2020 will include the development and delivery of community-based solutions for improving access to services and resources in the areas of behavioral support, childcare, healthcare, housing, and living-wage jobs. The contract expires on 9/30/2020. (AB2020-019) Approved 7-0
9. Affirm the Purchase of Development Rights Oversight Committee rankings and authorize the acquisition of 77 acres of agricultural and forestry conservation easements? The Purchase of Development Rights program is used to preserve forest and farmland for farming, habitat conservation, and outdoor recreation purposes. In 2019, the program protected 237 acres. The 2020 ranked list includes: Roper (26.75 acres, $195,000), McLeod (16.59 acres, $400,000), TeVelde (19.6 acres, $120,000), and Hirschkorn (13.91 acres, $85,000) applications. AB2020-007 (Resolution 2020-002) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
Action Taken at January 28, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
10. Approve the extension of the lease of the Ostrom Conservation Site to the Nooksack Valley School District? (Public hearing held.) The school district has maintained and operated the 38.62-acre property located near South Pass Road in Everson for 25 years. The amendment extends the site’s use as an outdoor education and public recreation space for another 25 years, expiring on 12/31/2044. The county will not charge for the lease since its use fulfills a public purpose. AB2020-001 (Resolution 2020-003) Approved 7-0
11. Authorize the executive to sign a contract with Skagit County? The contract will continue reciprocal maintenance on minor road projects, with labor, equipment, or materials available on a reimbursable basis, effective from 2/1/2020 to 1/31/2024. (AB2020-003) Approved 7-0
12. Authorize the executive to sign four contracts totaling $196,888 with Skagit ($153,411) and Island ($4,626) counties, and the cities of Oak Harbor ($1,845) and Marysville ($37,006) for mini-chain services? The above revenue is paid to Whatcom County for services rendered. Whatcom County operates the northern part of the northwest shuttle transport system, retrieving individuals arrested in one county and wanted for trial in another county. The contracts will continue the mini-chain transport service; they expire on 12/31/2020. (AB2020-034/035/036/050) Approved 7-0
13. Approve an agreement with the state of Washington for $350,000 in matching funds? At the 1/14/2020 meeting, vote #9, council voted to affirm the Purchase of Development Rights Program Oversight Committee rankings and proceed with acquisition of properties. This agreement will provide state matching funds for the acquisition of agricultural conservation easements on the Roper ($100,000), McLeod ($175,000) and TeVelde ($75,000) properties through the Purchase of Development Rights Program, which is used to preserve farmland for farming, habitat conservation, and outdoor recreation purposes in Whatcom County. (AB2020-039/040/041) Approved 7-0
14. Authorize the executive to sign a $100,000 contract with the Max Higbee Center of Bellingham? The center currently provides social, health, and life skills programs for 463 teens and adults with developmental disabilities. Due to limited capacity at the former space, waiting lists exist for all programs. The contract will support construction improvements at a new expanded location at 1400 North State Street. The contract expires on 12/31/2020 (AB2020-043) Approved 7-0
15. Authorize the executive to sign a $125,000 contract with Northwest Youth Services of Bellingham? The contract will provide funding to support an expansion of open hours at the Ground Floor day-use center, a service-oriented space located at 2500 E Street for youth aged 13-24 who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness. The center is currently operating at 4 hours per day and will expand to 8 hours per day. The Ground Floor staff provide or connect youth with community partners that offer: vocational readiness; educational support; behavioral health and substance use treatment; housing case management; transportation assistance; and LGBTQ+ resources and support. The contract expires 12/31/2020. (AB2020-044) Approved 7-0
16. Authorize the executive to sign a collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police? The agreement is with the Matt Herzog Memorial Lodge #24 representing the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Management Group. It is effective from 1/1/2020 to 12/31/2020, covers three chief deputy and three lieutenant positions and includes: a 3 percent wage increase for 2020 and 2021, respectively; county medical coverage contribution of $1,430; and a $400 stipend for on-call coverage rotations. (AB2020-045) Approved 7-0
17. Approve the Economic Development Investment Board’s recommendation to fund the city of Lynden’s request for a $2 million loan and $1 million grant? Money for the Economic Development Investment Board loans and grants comes from portions of the rural sales tax which can only be used for public facility projects. The city of Lynden request is for support of the West Front Street Road development project from Duffner Creek to Tromp Road, intended to provide transportation access to 100 acres of commercial- and industrial-zoned lands. (AB2020-053) Failed 1-6, Rud Browne, Barry Buchanan, Tyler Byrd, Todd Donovan, Carol Frazey and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
17A. Support environmentally friendly renewable energy projects? The council recognizes the value of renewable fuels and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and supports the transition to lower carbon alternatives. A desire to pass on a clean environment to future generations; encourage more environmentally friendly energy projects locally and create new and maintaining existing living-wage jobs within Whatcom County. The council will work with the executive and planning department to create an expedited permitting process and try to define legal uncertainties for all renewable energy projects, including the Green Apple Renewable Fuels Facility project. AB2020-072 (Resolution 2020-004) Amended and approved 7-0.
18. Amend the Lake Whatcom stormwater utility funding mechanism? (Public hearing held.) At the 12/5/2017 meeting, vote #255, the council established the Lake Whatcom Stormwater Service Area to provide funding for stormwater management activities within unincorporated Lake Whatcom watershed area, including removal of phosphorous. At the 7/23/2019 meeting, vote #152, the council voted to establish a rate of $1,730 per parcel or equivalent service unit, defined as 4,200 square feet of impervious space. The amendment will change the date for collection of capital facility charges from 1/1/2020 to 1/1/2021 AB2019-614 (Ordinance 2020-001) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed.
19. Amend the boating and swimming regulations for Lake Samish? (Public hearing held.) At the 6/18/2019 meeting, vote #129, council voted to: amend county code to establish a 6 mph speed limit and prohibit water skiing and wake surfing within 300 feet of the shore; and phase in a prohibition on operation of watercraft equipped with a two-stroke engine on Lake Samish. In response to a community request, the 300-foot prohibition will be reduced to within 150 feet of the shore, with a 6 mph speed limit. AB2019-480 (Ordinance 2020-002) Approved 5-2, Todd Donovan and Carol Frazey opposed.
20. Amend the 2020 budget (request #3) in the amount of $1,586,506? Appropriate: $300,000 to fund Opportunity Council housing rehabilitation programs; $52,454 to fund the Next Generation Project at the Health Department to connect families with children to appropriate medical services; $445,512 to fund the Carbee (73.3 acres) and Neptune Beach/Sigurdson (15.3 acres) conservation easements; $782,350 to fund heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades and roof replacement at the plantation rife range. AB2020-020 (Ordinance 2020-003) Approved 7-0