Whatcom County Council
Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at February 11, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
21. Authorize the executive to sign a $96,000 contract with Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center of Bellingham? The contract will fund the coordination of supervised child visitation or exchange services, including: recruitment, screening, and training of volunteers; client intake and orientation; court liaison services; program promotion and evaluation and the production of quarterly program reports. The contract expires on 12/31/2020. (AB2020-002) Approved 7-0
22. Authorize the executive to sign a $629,694 contract with Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. of Seattle? At the 2015 and 2017 general elections, voters opposed a sales tax increase to construct a new county jail. At the 7/7/2019 meeting, vote #176, council adopted a statement expressing planning principles for meeting community behavioral health needs, and at the 12/3/2019 meeting, vote #288, council created a 23-member committee to solicit and collect community input during the needs assessment process. This contract will fund the development and implementation of a new jail facility needs assessment with broad participation from the public. The contract expires on 12/31/2020. (AB2020-055) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
23. Authorize the executive to sign a $15,000 contract (amendment #1) with RE Sources? At the 9/29/2015 meeting, vote # 176, a contract was initially approved with RE Sources for a countywide waste reduction and recycling education program in Whatcom County schools. At the 9/10/2019 meeting, vote #194, council approved a new $50,000 contract for a waste reduction and recycling education program for elementary, middle, and high schools in Whatcom County. This amendment will increase the number of educational program sessions from 60 to 75 at elementary schools and from 30 to 45 sessions for middle/high school schools. This amendment brings the total contract to $65,000, it expires on 8/31/2020. (AB2020-069) Approved 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas, and Kathy Kershner opposed.
24. Authorize the executive to sign a $193,013 contract with Brown & Caldwell of Seattle to complete phase 1 of the Lake Whatcom total maximum daily load reassessment? Whatcom County is required by a state water resource planning law to update phosphorous loading capacity targets for Lake Whatcom. The contract will fund the reassessment of the lake’s response to phosphorous loading and updates to calculations of phosphorous removed by previous upgrades. The contract expires on 12/31/2020. (AB2020-073) Approved 7-0
25. Authorize the executive to sign a $66,000 agreement (amendment #1) with the city of Bellingham and Fire Protection District #7? At the 2017 general election, Whatcom County voters passed the Emergency Medical Services levy for funding life support services over the next six years.This amendment will provide additional funding for analysis and production of billing costs for the purposes of requesting federal Medicaid reimbursement for local emergency medical transport services. Each year of the agreement is $16,500. It expires 12/31/2023. (AB2020-075) Approved 7-0
26. Authorize the executive to amend a contract with the city of Blaine? At the 8/7/2019 meeting, votes #170, the council approved an Economic Development Investment Board loan of $1,766,666 and grant of $883,333, to partially fund the Gateway regional stormwater and wetland facility project. The project will provide stormwater conveyance and detention for commercial and industrial entities in the city of Blaine. The amendment will defer the 16-year loan payment by one year. The contract expires on 12/31/2035. (AB2020-077) Approved 7-0
27. Confirm the executive’s appointment of Daniel Sulak to the Marine Resources Committee? The Marine Resources Committee advises Whatcom County government on marine issues, including remediation actions. Mr. Sulak earned a master of science in geological sciences from University of Oregon and is employed as a dairy nutrient inspector with the Washington State Department of Agriculture. (AB2020-080) Approved 7-0
28. Send a letter — at the request of national opioid litigation attorneys — to the sponsors of HB 2786? At the 4/10/2018 meeting, vote #57, the council voted to join national opioid litigation actions against manufacturers and wholesalers of prescription opioid painkillers and other associated defendants. The letter requested an increase in local government participation on the advisory council created by the Washington State attorney general. (AB2020-084) Approved 7-0
29. Declare county tax-title property surplus to be sold by public auction and set the public hearing for April 21? The Paradise Lakes Country Club parcel shall be sold to the highest bidder for no less than foreclosure, interest, penalty, and tax costs of $1,614. AB2020-067 (Resolution 2020-005) Approved 7-0
30. Cancel uncollectible personal property taxes totaling $21,095? State law requires that the county treasurer present to the council a list of taxes certified as uncollectible. Twenty-four businesses totaling $20,395 and four individual mobile homes totaling $700 are listed. AB2020-049 (Resolution 2020-006) Approved 7-0
31. Accept the Whatcom County treasurer’s list of petitions for 2019 property tax refunds? The refunds total $1,091,648 and reflect: senior/disabled exemptions ($892,587); Board of Equalization order change/corrective evaluation ($117,075); measurement and calculation corrections ($41,922); taxes paid in error; changes in tax status; destroyed property ($11,597); personal property ($3,596); court orders; and miscellaneous exemptions ($24,871). The 2018 refunds totaled $766,543 AB2020-047 (Resolution 2020-007) Approved 7-0
32. Set 2020 income eligibility standards for Whatcom County Veterans Assistance Program? The eligibility standard will be based on 60 percent of the area median income, instead of 150 percent of the federal poverty level. The council considers this adjustment to better reflect local economic conditions when determining support for veterans who struggle with meeting their basic needs such as childcare, food healthcare, and housing. AB2020-056 (Resolution 2020-008) Approved 7-0
33. Amend the membership of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the public health, safety, and justice (jail) facility needs assessment? At the 2015 and 2017 general elections, voters opposed a sales tax increase to construct a new county jail. At the 7/7/2019 meeting, vote #176, council adopted a statement expressing planning principles for meeting community behavioral health needs, and at the 12/3/2019 meeting, vote #288, council created a 23-member committee to solicit and collect community input during the needs assessment process. This amendment will add one member of the Teamsters Local 231 Whatcom County Corrections Business Unit, add four criminal justice advocate members for a total of nine and add five formerly-incarcerated members.This will increase the committee from 23 to 36 members. AB2020-083 (Resolution 2020-009) Approved 7-0
34. Amend the 2020 budget (request #4) in the amount of $193,202? Appropriated: $93,202 to fund a community outreach facilitator position at the executive’s office; $100,000 to fund continued childcare subsidies for families affected by the potential closure of Kid’s World; $273,548 to fund a 2020 sheriff deputies’ guild wage and benefit settlement. AB202-046 (Ordinance 2020-004) Approved 6-0-1, Rud Browne abstained.
35. Approve the expenditure of $550,000 for the project budget (request #5) of the new jail improvement project fund? At the 2015 and 2017 general elections, voters opposed a sales tax increase to construct a new county jail. At the 7/7/2019 meeting, vote #176, the council adopted a statement expressing planning principles for meeting community behavioral health needs, and at the 12/3/2019 meeting, vote #288, council created a 23-member committee to solicit and collect community input during the needs assessment process. This amendment will fund an updated facility needs assessment and change the name to New Health, Safety and Justice Facility Project Fund. AB2020-052 (Ordinance 2020-005) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at February 25, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
36. Fill a vacancy on the Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources Management Advisory Committee? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The committee represents residents of the subzone district and makes recommendations regarding the implementation of the Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resource Management District stormwater program. Apppointed: Jackie Bourgault. Ms. Bourgault is a civil engineer employed at BP Cherry Point Refinery. She is responsible for the stormwater, air compliance and land use permitting programs. (AB2020-078) Approved 7-0
37. Approve the 2020-2022 collective bargaining agreement with the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (Pacific Maritime Region) and the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific? The agreement covers three masters and nine deckhands, and includes: contributions to medical coverage of $1,362 and $1,397 per month in 2020 and 2021, respectively; limited re-opening of medical plan bargaining for 2022; changes to overtime billing increments; elimination of union membership for county employment; changes to medical leave compensation from a flat rate to a percentage of the injured employee’s wage; the provision to hire seasonal temporary employees. The agreement begins on 1/1/2020 and expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2020-089) Approved 7-0
38. Confirm three executive appointments to the Whatcom County Housing Advisory Committee? At the 11/24/2009 meeting, vote #267, the council established the Whatcom County Housing Advisory Committee as an advisory committee to the Countywide Housing Affordability Task Force. At the 12/3/2019 meeting, vote #235, the council established the Affordable and Supportive Housing Fund. These new members are expanding the committee to deal with the new fund. Appointed: Diana Phair, Hadrian Starr and Marc Walker. Diana Phair is employed as the executive director of the Lummi Nation Housing Authority. Hadrian Starr is a certified peer counselor and member of the Community Outreach Recovery Support Team. Marc Walker is a developer and since 2005 the owner of Walker/Parkland Apartments in Bellingham and since 1991 the president of the Walker Corporation in Bellingham. (AB2020-090) Approved 7-0
39. Appoint one councilmember to serve on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Justice Project (Public Health, Safety, and Justice Initiative)? At the 2015 and 2017 general elections, voters opposed a sales tax increase to construct a new county jail. At the 8/7/2019 meeting, vote #176, the council adopted a statement expressing planning principles for meeting community behavioral health needs and for professional needs assessment services. At the 12/3/2019 meeting, vote #288, council established the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Justice Project (a public health, safety, and justice (jail) facility). The committee consists of 36 voting members: 20 members are appointed by the County Council; two members by small cities, two members by tribal nations and 15 members by government agencies. (AB2020-100) Appointed: Barry Buchanan.
40. Amend membership in the Homeless Strategies Workgroup? At the 10/24/2017 meeting, vote #205, the council voted to create the workgroup of 10 members for the purpose of identifying multiple policy initiatives that address the needs of individuals living unsheltered in Whatcom County. The membership was amended to add one member at the 2/27/2018 meeting, #32 and was expended to 17 members at the 7/23/2019 meeting, vote #150. This amendment will further expand the membership by three to include: one additional law enforcement member; one member representing populations experiencing domestic violence, behavioral health concerns, and/or medical or age-related disabilities; and one member representing schools. AB2020-094 (Resolution 2020-010) Approved 7-0
41. Amend the 2020 budget (request #5) in the amount of $792,558? Appropriated: $30,000 to fund main office power pole replacement at the Parks & Recreation administrative office on the Mt. Baker highway; $314,600 to fund state-mandated development planning as part of the Growth Management Act; $13,391 to fund the purchase of ballistic vests at the sheriff’s department; $359,567 to fund the 2020 Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility budget; and $75,000 to replace the county-owned Point Roberts transfer station office trailer. AB2020-076 (Ordinance 2020-006) Approved 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.