Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at January 4, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:
1. Authorize the mayor to allow the temporary use of private facilities to provide emergency Covid-19 responses? Current city code authorizes the mayor to “make and issue orders which shall have the force of law on matters reasonably related to the protection of life and property as affected by such disaster [or emergency]” — to preserve and protect public health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. The mayor issued executive order 2021-01 on 1/4/2021, allowing him to authorize the temporary use of public and private facilities to provide Covid-19-related vaccinations, testing, and medical services. This emergency ordinance confirms the mayor’s executive order, and shall be in effect until the mayor rescinds the executive order or until 1/15/2022. AB22863 (Emergency Ordinance 2021-01-001) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at January 11, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:
2. Authorize the city attorney’s office to hire the Cascadia Law Group to represent the city of Bellingham in the lawsuit arising from the Bornstein Seafoods Inc. v. City of Bellingham claim? (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0 Claim #2020-44

3. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Victor Crosetti to the Planning and Development Commission? The commission consists of seven members appointed by the mayor. Terms of office are four years with a two-term limit. The commission conducts hearings on the city Comprehensive Plan and its implementation. It reviews and makes recommendations to the City Council on the adoption and enforcement of plans and regulations for the physical development of the city. The commission also advises the council through the planning director. Mr. Crosetti works for the Washington State Department of Revenue and has lived in Bellingham for 12 years. He graduated from the U.S. Navy Law Enforcement Academy in 2005 and from WWU in 2011 with a B.A. in political science. He managed small boat operations controlling military assets during Operation Enduring Freedom. His first term will expire on 1/11/2025, at which time he may be reappointed. (AB22866) Approved 7-0

4. Approve the mayor’s appointments of Lauren Staley and Kate Galambos to the Greenway Advisory Committee? The board consists of up to 11 members appointed by the mayor. Appointments shall be for three-year terms, and a member may be reappointed. The committee shall identify, develop, review, and recommend selection criteria, general project priorities and specific actions relating to the expenditure and allocation of Greenway levy funds. The committee shall work in cooperation with the Parks and Recreation Department staff. The mayor appointed Lauren Staley to her first term; it will expire on 1/11/2024, at which time she may be reappointed. Ms. Staley has lived in Bellingham for two years.Her current occupation is outside maintenance coordinator for Whatcom County and she has multiple professional licenses and certifications related to horticulture, open space management, and arboriculture. The mayor also appointed Kate Galambos to a partial term, which will end on 7/9/2021, at which time she may be reappointed. Ms. Galambos has lived in Bellingham for six years. She is currently the community and youth engagement coordinator for the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and is completing a master’s degree in environmental studies at WWU. (AB22867) Approved 7-0

5. Approve the mayor’s initial appointments* to the Broadband Advisory Workgroup? At the 8/24/2020 meeting, vote #151, the council voted to create the Broadband Advisory Workgroup to study and recommend options for use of the city’s fiber optic system. It will evaluate the municipally owned broadband infrastructure and issue a final report by November 2021, so that the council can hold public discussions. The 2021-2022 budget includes $100,000 for consultant services in support of the workgroup. (AB22869) Approved 6-1, Lisa Anderson opposed.

6. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $3,195,890 to Razz Construction of Bellingham for the State-Ellis bridge replacement? The engineer’s estimate was $2,812,296. The failure of this bridge is not only a public safety and transportation issue, but also has environmental consequences as it spans Whatcom Creek. The concrete deck is completely supported by timber planks. The bridge was built in 1940, is on the National Highway System, and has experienced major timber substructure deterioration. The city received a $3.4 million federal grant to replace the bridge. The new bridge will allow the city to tee up the north leg of the Ellis/State intersection, provide wider, more pedestrian friendly sidewalks and crossings, and add a bike lane across the bridge to connect to the recently installed buffered bike lanes at York Street. The project includes $600,000 in work for disadvantaged business enterprises and 800 hours of mandatory apprenticeship work as required by the federal funding. The city received seven bids: the high bid was $4,028,727. (AB22870) Approved 7-0

7. Appropriate $7,652,778 for payroll checks issued from November 16, 2020 through December 15, 2020? (AB22873/22874) Approved 7-0

8. Appropriate $8,296,807 for goods and services checks issued from December 4 through December 31, 2020? (AB22875/22876/22877/22878) Approved 7-0

9. Authorize the mayor and police chief to renew an agreement with the Bellingham Housing Authority for police services? A drug and crime prevention program has been in place since 2000; the housing authority will pay the city $134,297 to provide a police officer and will provide office space for the officer to work with staff and residents of housing authority properties and surrounding neighborhoods. The officer will provide both law enforcement and crime prevention services, such as setting up block watch meetings, working to locate drug dealers, and providing counseling to juveniles at risk of drug involvement. The officer will be available to residents and staff Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This agreement runs from 1/14/2021 through 1/13/2022. (AB22879) Approved 7-0

10. Authorize the mayor to renew a $26,382 agreement with Whatcom County for use of the Plantation Rifle Range? The county provides the use of the range at 5102 Samish Highway to the Bellingham Police Department for training purposes on pre-agreed-upon dates. Bellingham police-commissioned personnel must qualify three times per year with assigned weapons per organizational policy and WASPC accreditation. The rifle range is managed by the Whatcom County Parks Department, and has two separate shooting ranges. The agreement expires on 12/31/2021. (AB22880) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at January 25, 2021 Meeting

Shall the council:
11. Approve the mayor’s reappointment of Jeff Daffron to a second term on the Lake Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board? The board shall advise the city regarding the protection, cleanup, and restoration of the Lake Whatcom Reservoir and the surrounding watershed, the city watershed land acquisition program, and the management, maintenance, and use of acquired property. Jeff Daffron was first appointed to the board at the 1/22/2018 meeting, vote #11. A 50-year resident and former owner of Quicksilver Photo Lab, he has previously served on the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Board, as a precinct committee member and participates in the Homeowner Incentive Program. His second term will expire on 1/22/2024, at which time he may be reappointed. (AB22884) Approved 7-0

12. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $6,088,695 to Allied Trenchless of Chelan for the Whatcom Creek main sewer line repairs? The engineer’s estimate was $7,437,961. The Whatcom Creek project involves rehabilitation of the sewer trunk main along Whatcom Creek between Nevada St. and the intersection of State and York streets. It is not a typical sewer repair and replacement project. The sanitary sewer was constructed in 1909 and is in a tunnel constructed of brick and concrete. The tunnel runs under and adjacent to Whatcom Creek from Nevada Street to York Street and continues into downtown Bellingham. It has been identified as a high risk for failure due to its age and its proximity to Whatcom Creek. Improvements include cured-in-place pipe and manhole rehabilitation, construction of new manholes, concrete and asphalt paving, site restoration and other work. The city received four bids: the high bid was $8,589,306. (AB22888) Approved 7-0

13. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with North Whatcom Fire and Rescue for the transfer of paramedics? The fire department is requesting the agreement with Whatcom County Fire District 21 (North Whatcom Fire & Rescue) to allow for the transfer of North Whatcom employees that have completed paramedic training to the city of Bellingham. It allows experienced firefighters from North Whatcom Fire & Rescue to enter into the county paramedic training program, and is based on the understanding that, upon successful completion of paramedic training program, these employees would transfer into the Bellingham Fire Department to serve in the countywide paramedic program. Employees transferring into the city are filling vacant positions and would not be displacing any current city employees. This program is modeled after a similar program in King County. (AB22891) Approved 7-0

14. Authorize the mayor to sign a $709,610 agreement (amendment #1) with Whatcom County for the EMS levy? This amendment to the 2019 agreement with Whatcom County expands the agreement to financially support the community paramedic program that was previously funded through the general fund. With this agreement, both of the fire department’s community paramedics’ program including labor, vehicle and technology costs will be funded through the countywide EMS levy. (AB22892) Approved 7-0

15. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $631,388 to Tiger Construction of Everson for the Boulevard Park restroom improvement project? A new restroom building will replace the north end restroom building that was constructed in 1979 and closed to the public in 2016 due to damaged utilities. The new building will be located at the south end of the park near the coffee shop and a playground and will have a finished elevation above the largest predicted sea level rise. The city received two bids: the high bid was $790,792. (AB22893) Approved 7-0

16. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $71,055 to the King County Directors Association of Kent for the Joe Martin mound conversion project? Artificial turf (the FieldTurf USA product) will be purchased and installed at Joe Martin field. The King County Directors Association is a founding member of the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies. It is a purchasing cooperative owned by Washington’s public school districts and saves money by ordering in volume. The city of Bellingham is permitted to participate in intergovernmental cooperative purchasing. (AB22894) Approved 7-0

17. Authorize the mayor to accept the Whatcom County donation of tiny homes? The ownership of 25-50 tiny homes will be transferred to the city of Bellingham. The city has authorized a temporary encampment site (“Swift Haven”) at the civic athletic complex to be operated by HomesNOW. The emergency encampment was established in the response to the current housing emergency in Whatcom County and will be used for the future deployment of temporary shelters at additional Whatcom County locations beyond the existing emergency location. (AB22896) Approved 7-0

18. Authorize the mayor to accept a $79,999 state grant (amendment #1) for the Meridian Street water quality improvement project? The project area is near W. Kellogg Road and Meridian Street. At the 5/4/2020 meeting, vote #67, the council authorized the low bid of $1,423,942 for the water quality improvement project. The state awarded a $983,792 grant to improve water quality in Spring Creek, Baker Creek, Squalicum Creek and ultimately Bellingham Bay through enhanced treatment runoff generated by an approximately 10-acre tributary basin. The city’s 25 percent match will be $26,666. (AB22897) Approved 7-0

19. Extend project deadlines and delay payments for the Puget Sound Coastal Storm Modeling System? At the 11/4/2019 meeting, vote #189, the council authorized the mayor to sign a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey for development of combined storm surge and sea level rise model for the Whatcom County shoreline. As the administrative lead for the project, the city also entered into agreements with Whatcom County, the Port of Bellingham and the city of Blaine for sharing the cost of the project, which was estimated at $500,000. The project was initially scheduled to begin in 2019, but was delayed and began in 2020. This agreement with Whatcom County needs to be adjusted to match the delayed timeline. It will align the terms of the local agreement with the terms of the collaborative agreement, will enable Whatcom County to pay 2021 invoices, and will expire on 12/31/2021. (AB22898) Approved 7-0

20. Authorize the mayor to renew an interagency agreement with the state of Washington? The city has had a cooperative partnership agreement with the state Department of Enterprise Services – Energy Program since 2014 to help local agencies manage cost effective and efficient energy improvement programs; the agreement expired on 12/31/2020. At the 9/28/2015 meeting, vote #183, the city received a $500,000 state grant to install 3,600 LED street lights. At the 11/13/2017 meeting, vote #197, the city received a $63,287 state grant for two energy improvements. The city is seeking approval to enter into a new master agreement with the state to continue to pursue opportunities to make similar improvements by piggybacking onto the state’s competitive bidding process and using pre-qualified energy services companies from the state’s master contract. The new expiration date is 12/31/2024. (AB22899) Approved 7-0

21. Appropriate $3,861,761 for payroll checks issued from December 16 through December 31, 2020? (AB22900) Approved 7-0

22. Appropriate $3,311,495 for goods and services checks issued from January 1 through January 14, 2021? (AB22901/22902) Approved 7-0

23. Adopt the 2018 International Fire Code with local amendments? Statewide implementation of the Fire Code is set for 2/1/2021. The International Fire Code is updated every three years. Due to Covid-19, the state postponed implementation of the 2018 code from 7/1/2020 to 2/1/2021. The council last updated the fire code at the 8/8/2016 meeting, vote #131. Significant changes: an exception for meeting full aerial apparatus access requirements, an increase in the current new construction testing threshold from 5,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet, a requirement that old fire alarm systems (installed 15-plus years ago) with a nonfunctional fire alarm control panel be brought up to modern standards (which include visual and low-frequency notification for hearing impaired and central station monitoring) and a safety margin when connecting a new sprinkler system to the city’s municipal water supply to account for pressure fluctuations throughout the day. Recent amendments granted extensions to certain deadlines for development projects. AB22853 (Ordinance 2021-01-002) Approved 7-0

24. Adopt the 2018 Washington State Building Code with local amendments? The Washington State Building Code is updated every three years. Statewide implementation of the building code is set for 2/1/2021. Due to Covid-19, the state postponed implementation of the 2018 code from 7/1/2020 to 2/1/2021. The council last updated the code at the 7/11/2016 meeting, vote #116. The Washington State Building Code is comprised of several different codes. These include the International Building Code, International Existing Building Code, residential code, mechanical code, fuel gas code, uniform plumbing code, swimming pool and spa code and property maintenance code. Significant changes include: building-integrated photovoltaic panels and solar panels that make up part of the building, a requirement to include automatic doors in larger facilities such as assembly, mercantile and hotel occupancies on at least one door, and a requirement for heat detectors or smoke alarms in newly constructed attached garages. AB22854 (Ordinance 2021-01-003) Approved 7-0

25. Accept the donation of 60 acres in the Lake Whatcom Watershed? In late 2019, Neal and Ann Koblitz offered to donate to the city a 60-acre parcel, which is adjacent to the Lookout Mountain Preserve at the south end of the lake near the intersection of Cain Lake Road and South Bay Drive. The donation is contingent upon the city executing a conservation easement over the property. The Whatcom Land Trust will manage the property in perpetuity. The city will pay the Whatcom Land Trust a one-time management fee of $12,000. AB22871 (Ordinance 2021-01-004) Approved 7-0

26. Accept the donation of a conservation easement over 0.87-acres in the Lake Whatcom Watershed? The Koblizes intend to convey their fee interest in the property to the Glenhaven Lakes Homeowners Association, subject to the conservation easement granted to the city and the Whatcom Land Trust. The association intends to enroll the property into their density reduction program, which is consistent with the management of the property under the conservation easement and the city’s watershed acquisition program. The conservation easement would be granted to the city and the Whatcom Land Trust as co-grantees, requiring the property to be managed for watershed conservation purposes in perpetuity.The city will pay the Whatcom Land Trust a one-time management fee of $10,000. AB22872 (Ordinance 2021-01-005) Approved 7-0


These nine Broadband Advisory Workgroup voting members were appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council:

 Maximilian Carper is an IT and network technology professional with a strong technical background;

 Linda Fels retired from a career as a software developer with the Indian Health Services and is a small business owner relying on internet access;

 Don Gischer is a former Bellingham City Council member with a background in business and general public policy;

 Kristopher Keillor is an electrical engineering student at WWU with relevant technical expertise, and has been a disaster relief volunteer with Americorps;

 Michelle Kopcha has been active in the community through the League of Women voters and Bellingham City Club and is a former livestock veterinarian and educator;

 Milissa Miller retired from a long career associated with fiber optic deployments on the West Coast;

 Spencer Moore is a network engineer with a strong technical background;

 Steven Spitzer recently retired from a long career working with international organizations to develop standards and policies for maritime communications requiring a consensus and diverse perspectives in highly technical fields;

 RB Tewksbury has a strong background in business administration and finance.

The background about the appointments is from the city agenda bill. Jon Humphrey called the descriptions totally inadequate. For more background information about the appointments, see the Northwest Citizen article and reader comments for “The Fix Is in the BAG” by Jon Humphrey.


The following non-voting members did not need council approval.

 Vincent Buys, Comcast

 Allan Meeks, MOX Fiber

 David Namura, Lumen (formerly CenturyLink)

 David Brinn, Wave Communications

 Kurt Gazow, Bellingham School District IT

 Gina Stark, Port of Bellingham

 Brian Walter, Whatcom PUD

City Staff

 Eric Johnston, City of Bellingham, Public Works

 Marty Mulholland, City of Bellingham, ITSD