Bellingham City Council
Action Taken at June 8, 2020 Meeting
Chief Bill James of the Lummi Nation died recently.
The City Council condemned the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Aubery because of racial discrimination and is dedicated to equity and vows to uphold their responsibility to community members to address instances of injustice, condemning the men who recently visited downtown businesses with military style weapons in an attempt to terrorize community members. A record number of people — between 5,000 and 7,000 – attended the peaceful gathering in downtown Bellingham’s Maritime Heritage Park June 8 to raise awareness against discrimination. The hosts were: Terrance “Teejay” Morris, Australia Hernandez, Kiki Davis, Eve Marianne, Beth Andrews, Deauna “DeeDee” Davis, Jesi van Leeuwen, Geneva Blake. Speakers and Presenters were: William “Bill” John, Lummi Elder, Nathaniel Gaines, (Negro National Anthem), Vernon Damani Johnson, AnaCecilia “Ceci” Lopez, Terrance “TJ” Adams, Jade (dance), Abdul Malik Ford, Australia Hernandez, Nicholaus “Nick” Lewis, Megan Scott, Taryn Harris (song), Janae Payne, Deidre Smith, Chanan Suarez, Satpal Sidhu, Terrance “Teejay” Morris. The police department will be looking at their use of force policy, civilian oversight, and armed civilians in downtown. Use of force statistics and policy are online at the city’s website. Non-voting issue.
Presentation: Update on the Covid-19 Response.
The Unified Command Center is currently in its fifth operational period which ends on June 30, at which time it plans to assess whether they need to create a sixth operational period for the month of July. They meet twice weekly to assess their objectives, the first of which is to ensure the continuity of city services. The second is provide support and direction to the personnel, including the provision of proper equipment, personal protective equipment, and supervision and guidance on policies so they can do their work safely. Third, they partner in providing essential communications to community and personnel. Whatcom County is now in Phase 2 of the Safe Start Washington Plan to restart the economy as modeled after the Centers for Disease Control recommendations. The business assistance team is working rapidly to develop a grant program to be available to area businesses. Meanwhile, the city is currently working on developing protocols for Phase 3. The Public Health Advisory Board Task Force that provides employer support has convened meetings with 140 people from 18 different business sectors throughout the county, working to build guidance documents for businesses to follow. Through Whatcom Unified Command, they have purchased 100,000 disposable masks which will be distributed to local businesses. Parks staff will be adding new signs in the parks to remind visitors of health guidelines and are publishing a summer playbook instead of the usual leisure guide, which will be available at the beginning of July. The playbook will outline what types of outdoor recreation options are available at each phase in the parks. (AB22593) Non-voting issue.
Shall the council:
76. Accept $60,000 from the state of Washington for use of the northend regional pond? At the 7/1/2013 meeting, vote #145, the council approved the spending of $1,850,000 to purchase 33 acres east of I-5, north of Division Road and west of Northwest Drive. Of that amount, 13 acres were used to build the stormwater facility and the other 20 acres for future wetland mitigation. The intent was to create a single, publicly owned facility providing stormwater control instead of multiple small on-site facilities. The state Department of Transportation would like to utilize the pond to provide stormwater mitigation for their new on-ramp connecting Bakerview Road to I-5. An agreement has been prepared which would allow the state to use the facility in exchange for a pro rata share of the original cost of construction. Maintenance of the facility is done by the city and is paid for by stormwater utility charges. (AB22642) Approved 7-0
77. Authorize the mayor to award the lowest responsive bid of $1,413,880 to Tiger Construction of Everson for the central library remodel project? The engineer’s estimate was $1,754,715. The base work includes reconfiguration of the space and new sorting equipment purchased by the library. Also, included are basic repairs and the construction a new ADA-accessible restroom on the main floor. Fire alarm panel upgrades and annunciating devices were bid as alternates to the first-floor remodel to bring the whole building into compliance with current codes. In addition, a conversion of the lighting to LED fixtures, shelving, a loading dock canopy, painting, ceiling tile replacement, carpet replacement and low-energy emission glazing replacement were also included as bid alternates. In order to award the contract at this amount, a budget amendment will be required as a separate council action (see vote #105 at the June 22 meeting). BFC Construction of Federal Way was the lowest bidder at $1,385,702, but a failure to submit bonding documentation deemed it non-responsive. They were notified of the error and acknowledged receipt of the notice. The city received nine bids: the high bid was $1,774,260. (AB22647) Approved 7-0
78. Approve the CARES Act funding from the federal government? The city was awarded $2,703,300 of reimbursable revenue from the CARES Act through the U. S. Department of Commerce related to the city’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic from 3/1/2020 through 10/31/2020. The funding cannot be used to replace lost revenues and must be used on expenditures unbudgeted or used in a significantly different manner than budgeted. A separate ordinance proposes to budget $500,000 of these funds. The administration will bring forward budget ordinances for the remainder at future council meetings as needed. (AB22649) Approved 7-0
79. Authorize the mayor to sign the jail facility use agreement (amendment #2) for correctional services between Whatcom County and the city of Bellingham? This amendment extends the agreement from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2022 and updates names of the new county executive and mayor of bellingham. (AB22658) Approved 7-0
80. Appropriate $9,533,400 for goods and services checks issued from April 25, 2020 through May 29, 2020? (AB22643/22644/22659/22660/22661) Approved 7-0
81. Appropriate $7,382,467 for payroll checks issued from April 16, 2020 through May 15, 2020? (AB22662/22663) Approved 7-0
82. Authorize the mayor to sign a cost-sharing agreement with Whatcom County (addendum #1) related to Covid-19? This agreement relates to joint cooperation and cost sharing related to the impacts of Covid-19, including addressing the immediate need to relocate the drop-in center from Bellingham High School to another location. The addendum to the interlocal agreement anticipates up to $700,000 from the city and $800,000 from Whatcom County. Expenditures have included but are not limited to establishing isolation and quarantine housing in Bellingham, procuring and supplying PPE countywide, securing on-call Covid-related transportation (Cabulance) service, providing temporary shelter, meals, and services for vulnerable members of the community, and providing direct assistance to nursing and long-term care facilities suffering the disproportionate impacts of Covid-19. Specific action items deemed appropriate for cost and revenue sharing will be established through future addenda. AB22650 (Resolution 2020-12) Approved 7-0
83. Adopt the 2020 action plan of the 2018-2022 consolidated plan? The federal government requires the consolidated plan to be updated every five years. The consolidated plan covers the period from 7/1/2018 to 6/30/2023. The 2019 action plan of the 2018–2022 consolidated plan was last approved at the 5/6/2019 meeting, vote #86. The action plan designates city use of federal funds for low- and moderate-income households. It allocates federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Program funding, city housing levy funds and city general funds to homebuyer, public facilities, housing preservation and production, rental assistance and services. New federal and city allocations are $11,913,337 and existing commitments are $5,416,747 for a total of $17,330,085. AB22652 (Resolution 2019-13) Approved 7-0
84. Set July 8 in the City Council chambers for a public hearing before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for consideration of a street vacation petition for a portion of Douglas Avenue? The petitioner submitted the vacation petition on 10/16/2019 in order to facilitate future use of the undeveloped right-of-way for access alternatives and potentially an increase in density. Two private utilities specified that they have existing facilities within the subject right-of-way petitioned for vacation. AB22653 (Resolution 2020-14) Approved 7-0
85. Authorize the city to apply for three state grants for partial funding of the Little Squalicum Estuary project? The project will create approximately 2.4 acres of estuarine habitat and open an additional 1,180 feet of new shoreline. The project’s goals are to support salmon recovery by returning tidal and sedimentary processes, riparian vegetation and historic wetlands for juvenile salmonids and forage fish utilizing Bellingham Bay, Squalicum Creek and the Nooksack River. Two grants are estimated at $500,000 and one at $400,000: the estimated city match for the first two grants are $50,000. The first grant application seeks funding from the aquatic lands enhancement account; the second grant application seeks funding from the estuary and salmon restoration program; the third grant application seeks funding from the Washington wildlife and recreation program. The state requires a council resolution authorizing the city to submit the applications. AB22654 (Resolution #2020-15) AB22655 (Resolution 2020-16) AB22656 (Resolution 2020-17) Approved 7-0
86. Authorize the city to apply for a state grant estimated at $170,400 for a fish passage project? The grant will help fund the Padden Creek fish passage restoration project at 30th Street. The state requires a council resolution authorizing the city to submit the application. AB22657 (Resolution 2020-18) Approved 7-0
87. Adopt the annual six-year (2021-2026) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held at May 28 meeting.) State law requires cities to update their six-year 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 street repaving, bridge repair, intersection, sidewalk and crosswalk maintenance, pedestrian and bicycle projects and other transportation projects. Projects listed in this year’s plan are valued at over $120,000,000, comprised of 19 projects. AB22634 (Resolution 2019-19) Approved 7-0
88. Set aside on a temporary basis certain permitting requirements for short-term closures of residential streets during the Covid-19 crisis? In order to facilitate local access closures of residential streets during the Covid-19 health emergency without unduly burdening individual property owners with standard insurance or indemnification requirements, an emergency ordinance is required to temporarily waive these code requirements. Waiving insurance and indemnification requirements means the city will face increased financial risk if a claim for damages or injury occurs. The cost of application is also proposed to be waived and will be absorbed with existing budgets, and is expected to be negligible. AB22646 (Emergency Ordinance 2020-06-012) Approved 7-0
89. Amend the 2019-2020 biennial budget decreasing appropriations in the general fund? This action results in a $2,179,000 budget reduction for the general fund. The economic impact of Covid-19 will result in revenue shortfalls for the city. As an initial response, the administration is taking action to reduce budget authority and expenses in the general fund. Although other city funds will miss revenue targets, the most significant impact will be in the general fund. Only the fire department and the hearing examiner are not included, as both fully expended the 2019 portion of their appropriations. All other general fund departments will turn back some or all of their 2019 appropriation. AB22641 (Ordinance 2020-06-013) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at June 16, 2020 Special Meeting
Shall the council:
90. Approve a lease for an emergency shelter/temporary building encampment at 1530 Cornwall Avenue? The Bellingham School District needs the high school site back to prepare for the school year. The shelter cannot return to the drop-in center site on Holly Street due to insufficient space for adequate distancing. City staff looked at vacant property, vacant retail space, converting existing parking lots to temporary shelters, modular buildings, adapting existing buildings, potential tent encampment sites, dormitories at colleges and universities in the community, etc. In each examination, time and cost were the most important criteria. The city concluded that the building at 1530 Cornwall was the best financial choice. The city will be the lessee and will sublease to the Lighthouse Mission to operate the shelter. Estimated financial commitment is $1,500,000, but total cost for the duration of the lease cannot be fully anticipated. The city will contribute $700,000 (in CARES ACT and housing levy funds) and the county will provide $800,000 (from a variety of sources). The mission is anticipating $500,000 a year to operate the site. The city and county will also contribute to improvements of the property. The lease will be for three years with the opportunity to extend for one year. The mayor approved the lease action after determining that the usual approval process would cause undue delay and put guests at the drop-in center at significant risk. Under the current emergency ordinance, the drop-in center may remain in the public market building for the duration of the declared emergency. (AB22665) Approved 7-0
91. Exempt the drop-in center at 1530 Cornwall Avenue on a temporary basis from state building code requirements and authorize $700,000 in city contribution for expenses such as lease payments, tenant improvements and furnishings? The Lighthouse Mission will operate the former Public Market as an emergency shelter. At the 3/23/2020 meeting, vote #53, the council passed an emergency ordinance allowing the mayor to bypass normal permit review. Consistent with state law, building code requirements may be waived provided that: the building provides housing to indigent persons, is preexisting; is owned or administered by a public or a nonprofit corporation, and is found to be safe. The building official and fire marshal have determined that the building poses no threat to human life, health or safety. This vote applies to both the Covid-19 emergency shelter and the subsequent permit of the temporary encampment, and allows concurrent time for the building to be used without compliance with state building code requirements until 6/16/2024. AB22666 (Resolution 2020-020) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at June 22, 2020 Meeting
Mayor Fleetwood announced the appointment of Nicole Oliver to the position of parks and recreation director. She has worked as the interim director since January.
The Bellingham assistance team has helped to craft criteria for spending and allocation of the assistance funds that have been made available to help local business. Businesses on 10th Street in Fairhaven have applied for a partial street closure. Business owners along Railroad Avenue between Holly and Magnolia have agreed to a plan to use parking stalls for outdoor dining. Business owners along lower Holly Street near Commercial and Bay Streets have come together to propose closure of parking stalls and partial and/or full closure of the street for their business use. Business owners on State street between Holly and Chestnut have expressed interest in expanding sidewalk dining options. Discussions will continue. Non-voting issue.
Presentation: Update on COVID-19 Response.
The Bellingham Public Library is sponsoring a communitywide initiative to gather and record unique experiences of life during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are three goals for the project: to create as many ways for community members to participate under one umbrella, to inspire broad participation, and to create an archive that will serve as a resource for future generations. It is called Peoples’ Perspectives. The website can be found at: https://www.wcls.org/covidperspectives/. Unfortunately, the Whatcom County Health Department has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases in the past week. As of 6/26/2020, due to the increase of cases, Whatcom County is not eligible to apply for phase 3. (22593) Non-voting issue.
Shall the council:
92. Authorize the mayor to sign a $210,408 settlement agreement for property damages? On May 1, 2020, a water main break flooded the Roger Jobs car dealership at 2200 Iowa Street. The break resulted in 20 inches of water and silt in the parking lot and six inches in the building. The total cost for repairs and replacement of furniture and equipment is $210,408. Some of the major expenses: exterior repairs, concrete repairs, interior repairs, $71,945; miscellaneous parts damages, $52,688; office furniture, $45,066; Audi service estimate, $13,283; vehicles, $5,733 and computers $5,494. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0
93. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Chris Kobdish to a partial term on the Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence? She has previously served on the commission as vice chair and chair and is the current director of planning and development at Unity Care NW. The commission works to increase community awareness and understanding about domestic violence, and serve as an advisory board to local government agencies and the community with respect to domestic violence issues. The commission has 28 members, who are limited to two consecutive four-year terms. The term for Chris Kobdish will expire on 1/31/2023, at which time she may be reappointed. (AB22667) Approved 7-0
94. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $1,767,727 to Tiger Construction of Everson for phases 3 and 4 of the Squalicum Creek reroute project? The engineer’s estimate was $2,635,110. The City Council approved phase 1 and 2 at the 6/15/2015 meeting, vote #109. Phases 1 and 2 were to the east of I-5; it allowed the creek to bypass Sunset Pond and allow fish passage under I-5. Phases 3 and 4 are to the west of I-5; they will partially fill in Bug Lake, route the creek south of Bug Lake and through a new culvert under Squalicum Parkway. The project will address water quality issues from the warm-water impact of Bug Lake and will provide enhanced salmonid and riparian habitat. The city received eight bids: the high bid was $3,160,206. (AB22669) Approved 7-0
95. Authorize a trail easement? The Cordata Presbyterian Church is donating a 30-foot-wide public trail easement through their property located just west of 400 Meadowbrook Court. The trail was built on an old roadbed as an Eagle Scout project in 2016 along East Bear Creek for approximately 750 feet. Acquisition of this trail easement will retain important connectivity from Julianna Park to the northwest to Durham open space. The trail will also be part of the future trail corridor to the south (new Horton Road extension and Cordata Elementary School). In conjunction with this trail easement, the city will install bollards at each end of the trail, install wayfinding signage to identify the public trail, and relocate the eco blocks from the eastern edge of the property to the western edge of the public trail at Aldrich Rd. (AB22674) Approved 7-0
96. Appropriate $1,169,707 for goods and services checks issued from May 30, 2020 through June 4, 2020? (AB22678) Approved 7-0
97. Authorize a Puget Sound Energy easement along Harrison Avenue? Puget Sound Energy plans to replace poles along Harrison Avenue between 34th and 36th streets immediately. New tree wire will sway and overhang the southerly five feet of the adjacent city-owned Samish Glen Trail. Puget Sound Energy has requested a perpetual maintenance and access easement over the south five feet of the city’s property to allow for line replacement and continued minor brush clearing and tree trimming to facilitate the project. The city will be compensated in the amount of $1,909 based on fair market value of the easement. Puget Sound Energy has agreed to indemnify the city from liability. (AB22679) Approved 7-0
98. Authorize the executive to sign a $66,000 four-year agreement (amendment #1) with Whatcom County 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. (AB22680) Approved 7-0
99. Authorize the mayor to award a low bid not to exceed $138,000 to Eltec Systems of Seattle for elevator inspection, maintenance and repair services? The city is seeking to consolidate elevator inspection, maintenance and repair services for the city’s 14 elevators located within 12 separate city buildings into a single unit priced contract. In late 2019, the city participated a public bidding process conducted by the state of Washington. The state received four bids. This will be a two-year agreement with a one-year optional renewal. The contract provides for regular inspection and maintenance required for compliance with state regulations. This agreement provides one-time funding to bring all city elevators into sustainable operability and compliance and establishes fixed pricing for annual maintenance, required five-year testing and necessary replacement parts. (AB22681) Approved 7-0
100. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $26,587 to Blythe Mechanical of Bellingham for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) maintenance and repair services? The city is seeking to consolidate HVAC inspection, maintenance and repair services for the city’s buildings into a single unit priced contract. Due to number of repairs needed, the varying type, age, and manufacture of city-owned HVAC units, staff has found it difficult to keep up with the needed required testing, repairs, and maintenance for each unit. The city received two bids: the high bid was $32,639. This bid amount was based on an estimated number of hours and parts. The contract is for an unspecified amount not to exceed $300,000 over the three-year contract. (AB22682) Approved 7-0
101. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the Port of Bellingham to assume consultant’s invoice payments (not to exceed $62,000) to update design for rising sea levels at the Cornwall Avenue landfill? The Cornwall Avenue landfill is approximately 25.8 acres located at the south end of Cornwall Avenue next to the bay. From 1888 to 1946, the property was used by a sawmill for log storage and wood disposal. Next, it was a city dump from 1953 to 1965. At the 11/5/2005 meeting, vote #232, the council authorized the mayor to purchase 49 percent of port property next to the landfill to be used to monitor the environmental cleanup. The city and port have negotiated an agreement wherein the city will be obligated to pay 100 percent of the port’s consultant’s invoices related to changes in engineering and design. This is due to the city’s current policy of requiring a 50-inch sea level rise in the next 100-year planning horizon for construction in the Waterfront District. When the design began (the consent decree was approved at the 5/19/2014 meeting, vote #92), a sea-level rise of 28 inches was in common practice and design was allowed to proceed. Now, however, new science shows that 50-inches is a more accurate measure for future planning to protect the cleanup remedy and the future city park. Therefore, the city has requested a redesign and agreed to pay the whole portion of that redesign. (AB22683) Approved 7-0
102. Authorize the mayor to sign a $28,800 agreement with Whatcom County for boat patrols on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species? The sheriff’s patrol boat will be scheduled to coincide with high volumes of recreational boating activity. Generally, the shifts will focus on weekends, but will also occur during periods of weather that encourage boating. The patrol boat deputies will contact boaters without a 2020 aquatic invasive species decal and maintain a boaters’ contact log. This agreement will enable the city to partner with Whatcom County in collecting valuable information on the effectiveness of the permit and inspection program. (AB22684) Approved 7-0
103. Authorize the city to apply for a $500,000 state grant to assist in funding phase two of Cordata Community Park development? At the 3/23/2015, vote #32, the council authorized the expenditure of $3,620,000 to purchase 21 acres that became Cordata Community Park. It is located on the east side of Cordata Parkway between Stuart and Horton roads. Design and development of phase two is currently scheduled to begin in 2021. The project includes the design, permitting and construction of a park pavilion with restroom facilities, a children’s activity area, a small picnic shelter, a covered stage and lawn area for seating, basketball court, pickleball courts, vehicular driveway and lighted parking area, park signage, and wetland mitigation. The state requires a resolution to apply for a grant. The total estimated project cost is $4,098,827. If the grant is not awarded, the project scope will be modified. AB22672 (Resolution 2020-21) Approved 7-0
104. Authorize the city to apply for a $1,000,000 state grant to assist with the acquisition of property for future park development? At the 3/9/2020 meeting, vote #38, the council authorized the city to spend $2,310,000 to acquire 29 acres from Bakerview Nursery property for park purposes. The property is located south of East Bakerview Road between James Street and Deemer Road. A council-adopted resolution is a requirement for the grant application. Design and development of the neighborhood park is scheduled to begin in 2022, with a goal of opening to the public in 2023. AB22673 (Resolution 2020-22) Approved 7-0
105. Appropriate $600,000 to fully fund the central library remodel project? Constructed in 1951, the Bellingham central library was last renovated in 1985 and is currently in need of a remodel. The 2019-2020 biennial budget included an initial $1 million placeholder appropriation for refurbishment of the central library main floor. After design, the council added an additional $750,000 in the midbiennial adjustment to include rebuild of the passenger elevator approved at the 1/27/2020 meeting, vote #6. Staff further refined the project and created a bid schedule that included a number of alternates to improve the library space (painting and carpeting) and further climate action goals (LED lights and window improvements). This ordinance fully funds the project as bid with all alternates and contingency by increasing total appropriations to $2,350,000 and transferring $600,000 from the real estate excise tax and facilities fund. AB22648 (Ordinance 2020-06-014) Approved 7-0
106. Appropriate an additional $1.3 million for relocation of the drop-in shelter to be operated by the Lighthouse Mission Ministries? In March, Whatcom County Unified Command moved the drop-in shelter from its Holly Street location to Bellingham High School to accommodate appropriate social distancing for its population, but the shelter must vacate Bellingham High School before the school year begins in the fall. The city will contribute $500,000 of its $2.7 million CARES Act allocation and the county will reimburse the city up to $800,000. Staff expects the total project cost will be $1.5 million. The city housing levy will provide the remaining $200,000 from its existing budget as part of the Community Development Division’s 2020 action plan. City and county staff are working to identify and secure a new location that can provide sufficient capacity while maintaining necessary social distancing for the individuals who use the shelter. AB22651 (Ordinance 2020-06-015) Approved 7-0