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Whatcom Watch Online
Whatcom County Council


October-November 2012

Watching Government

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by the League of Women Voters

Action Taken at August 7, 2012 Meeting

Shall the council:

135. Modify the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner’s decision issuing a conditional use permit to Dick Bosch for Glen Echo Gardens? The permit allows the gardens to be used for weddings, anniversaries, church socials and other outdoor events with a maximum of five events per month from May through September and no more than 25 events per year and no more than 100 people per event. Mr Bosch appealed the hearing examiner decision banning all amplified sound. The decision is amended to allow one hour per day of amplified sound. (AB2012-226) Amended and approved 7-0

136. Authorize the executive to sign a $320,000 contract with The Watershed Company of Kirkland to perform consultant services for the Lower Nooksack River flood management plan? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The services are for hydraulic modeling, habitat analysis and conceptual design for the flood plan below Ferndale. The contract is being funded by a state grant that was approved at the 3/27/2012 meeting, vote #52. The grant requires a local match, funds will come from the flood control district. The contract commences on 8/10/12 and expires on 12/31/2013. (AB2012-259) Approved 7-0

137. Authorize the executive to sign a $255,890 contract with Wheeler Consulting Group of Burlington to prepare an environmental impact statement for Swift Creek? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The EIS will analyze the Swift Creek Management Plan for future decisions on long-term management of asbestos-containing sediments in Swift Creek. The contract is being funded by a state grant that was approved at the 3/27/2012 meeting, vote #53. The contract commences on 8/7/12 and expires on 8/31/2013. (AB2012-260) Approved 7-0

138. Authorize the executive to sign seven contracts — totaling $491,500 — with county school districts for behavioral health services? The contracts are with: the Bellingham School District for $90,000; the Ferndale School District for $75,000; the Lynden School District for $67,500; the Meridian School District, the Blaine School District, and Mt. Baker School District for $65,000 and the Nooksack School District for $64,000. The services are for students with mental health and substance abuse problems. (AB2012-261/262/263/264/265/266/267) Approved 7-0

139. Authorize the executive to sign a $16,016 contract (amendment #1) with the Kitsap Public Health District for completion of work related to chronic disease prevention? The Whatcom County Health Department was selected to serve as the hub for Kitsap, Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan, Island, Clallam, and Jefferson counties. The goal is to reduce obesity, tobacco use, and resulting chronic health conditions in these areas. Funding is a federal grant and the amended contract total is $111,417. (AB2012-268) Approved 7-0

140. Authorize the executive to accept a $176,799 state grant for the implementation of services for low-income first time mothers? The program helps improve family functioning by reducing child abuse and neglect and improving school outcomes. Risk factors such as Hispanic ethnicity, geographic location, young age, and family related substance abuse are targeted. The Washington Early Learning Fund/(doing business as) Thrive by Five Washington grant commences on 7/1/2012 and ends on 6/30/2013. It requires local matching funds provided by the Behavioral Health Fund and maternal support services revenues. A portion of the funding will fill a vacant public health nurse position. (AB2012-269) Approved 7-0

141. Authorize the executive to sign a $79,590 contract (amendment #1) with SMS Cleaning of Tacoma to provide custodial services for six Whatcom County buildings? They include: Forest Street Annex, Health Department on Girard, Central Shop on Smith Road, Central Plaza and Civic Center on N. Commercial Street, and the Northwest Annex on Northwest Drive. The amended amount brings the total to $216,030. (AB2012-270) Approved 7-0

142. Authorize the executive to award the second lowest bid of $130,652 to HBD Marine of Florence, Oregon, for a replacement dock and fishing platform at Samish Park? The low bid of $130,266 by Northwest Docks was approved at the 7/24/2012 meeting, vote #128. After the vote, Northwest Docks withdrew the bid. The difference between the low bid and second low bid was $385.89. (AB2012-252A) Approved 5-2, Barbara Brenner1 and Bill Knutzen opposed.

143. Adopt the annual six-year (2013–2018) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held) State law requires counties to update their transportation plans yearly. The program establishes a list of needed capital improvements, eligibility for state and federal funds, and sets the rate for impact fees. The 14-year (2013–2026) ferry capital program is attached. AB2012-243 (Resolution 2012-023) Approved 5-1-1, Ken Mann opposed, Bill Knutzen abstained.

144. Approve recommendations for the expenditures of national forest-related federal funds? Federal law requires that counties spend 80 percent of the federal funds received under Public Laws 106-393 and 110-343 for public schools and roads. This vote suggests how the other twenty percent should be spent: search, rescue and emergency services, staffing of community services work camps, the purchase of easements, forest related education, fire prevention, county planning, and forestry. A committee appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture makes the final decision for Whatcom and Skagit counties. The county also further advocates expenditures after 2012 on title 11 projects of 100 percent of the funds. AB2012-276 (Resolution 2012-024) Approved 7-0

145. Consider a petition to vacate a portion of Bridgewater Street (Shipyard Road) and Dearborn Avenue? Jayme Gilday and Jean Allen submitted a petition to vacate approximately 5,950 square feet of right-of-way. This vote initiates a county engineering report on the proposed vacation. AB2012-272 (Resolution 2012-025) Approved 7-0

146. Amend the Whatcom County Zoning Map and the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan and maps to implement changes relating to rural land use planning? (Public hearing held) On 1/12/2012, the Washington State Growth Management Hearings Board determined that the rural element of the County’s comprehensive plan that protects rural character by controlling or containing rural development was not in compliance with state law. The amendments approved at the 7/24/2012 council meeting are aimed at bringing the county into compliance with the Washington Growth Management Act. AB2012-193 (Ordinance 2012-032) Adopted 4-3, Barbara Brenner,2 Bill Knutzen and Carl Weimer opposed.

147. Amend the 2012 budget (request #11) in the amount of $153,186? Appropriate: $23,305 to the sheriff’s office to improve homeland security projects, such as radio communication within the courthouse, travel and education training for the Special Response Team,  and tuition and equipment outlay; $5,000 to sheriff for location and eradication of marijuana plants; $35,385 to sheriff to conduct water patrols to improve and enforce water safety; $20,000 to fund purchase and training of two patrol/drug detection dogs; $69,496 to the Division of Emergency Management, the sheriff’s office, cities of Everson, Ferndale, and Sumas, the Lummi Nation, and the Nooksack tribe to enhance capability to respond to catastrophic and terrorist events. AB2012-258 (Ordinance 2012-033) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at September 11, 2012 Meeting

Shall the council:

148. Authorize the executive to sign an agreement with the City of Bellingham to complete a comprehensive inventory of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Lake Whatcom? The city of Bellingham received a state grant for $164,000 to fund the inventory. Whatcom County will contribute $16,000 to the study. Specifically, the money will purchase plankton tow nets, artificial substrates, a multi-parameter water quality meter, a phase contrast microscope, and miscellaneous other supplies, and pay for conducting an inventory of AIS, mapping their locations, and educating the public about them. Six circulation models will be designed to track AIS development and transport, and also phosphorus movement from tributaries. A study will be conducted on Asian Clam influence on phosphorus release from sediments. (AB2012-279) Approved 7-0

149. Authorize the executive to sign a joint funding agreement with the federal government for annual operation and maintenance of six stream gages network on the Nooksack River? (Council acting as flood control district board of supervisors) The county’s share (flood district funds) of the flood warning system will be $63,240 and the federal government’s will be $14,640. The agreement runs from 10/1/2012 to 9/30/2013. (AB2012-282) Approved 7-0

150. Authorize the executive to sign a joint funding agreement with the federal government for the installation of a stream gage station on the Nooksack River in Everson? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The stream gage station is needed to predict the impacts of an overflow along the Johnson Creek Valley to Sumas where they cross the Canadian border. The United States Geological Survey will install, operate, and maintain the gage but cannot legally enter into agreements with foreign governments. See the following vote for financing of the gage. (AB2012-283) Approved 7-0

151. Authorize the executive to sign a memorandum of understanding with the city of Abbotsford, B.C. for $17,580 in funding for the stream gage station listed in the previous vote? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The city of Abbotsford will prove funding to install, operate, and maintain the gage in Everson. (AB2012-284) Approved 7-0

152. Authorize the executive to sign a $392,890 contract (amendment #2) with Brown and Caldwell of Seattle to complete design work for the Deming levee upstream improvement project? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) This project reduces risks of flooding of the Mount Baker School District facilities, including the sewage lagoon, bus barn and maintenance facilities, the Nooksack Casino drain field, and structures in Deming. This includes levee extension tying into railways and realigning Marshall Hill drainage to the river. This amendment completes permitting, final design, and preparation of bid ready documents for the selected project alternative. The original contract was approved at the 12/6/2011 meeting, vote #200, and amended at the 4/26/2012 meeting, vote #56. This amendment brings the total contract to $468,490. The contract expires on 12/31/2013. (AB2012-285) Approved 7-0

153. Authorize the executive to sign a $32,500 contract (amendment #3) with NW Communications & Cellular of Bellingham for maintenance and repair of the county’s two-way radio systems? Compulsory FCC changes to narrowband communications by 12/31/2012 requires this amendment. This amendment brings the total contract to $140,000 and it expires on 7/14/2013. (AB2012-290) Approved 7-0

154. Authorize the executive to sign a $9,076 contract (amendment #2) with Trimaxx Construction of Sedro Woolley for costs associated with work on South Pass Road? The work includes clearing, stabilizing, guard rails, repaving, and drainage improvements for a 200 foot section of the road that settled due to flooding in January 2009. This amendment covers crushed surfacing top course and hot mix asphalt. Federal funds cover 86.5 percent of the road construction costs. The estimated total cost of the project is $238,403. This amendment brings the total contract to $123,473. (AB2012-292) Approved 7-0

155. Authorize the executive to accept a $217,500 federal grant for a conservation easement? The easement protects farms from conversion to non-agricultural uses under the purchase of development rights program on farmland easements are required to prevent conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses. This vote also authorizes the executive to proceed with the acquisition of the conservation easements of the Holz, Funk, and Eldridge properties approved by the council at the 4/12/2012 meeting, vote #73. (AB2012-293) Approved 4-3 Barbara Brenner,3 Kathy Kershner and Bill Knutzen opposed.

156. Authorize the executive to award the only bid of $40,000 to Western Industrial of Mukilteo to resurface the ferry apron? The project consists of sandblasting the dock aprons on Gooseberry Point and Lummi Island and installing a thermoplastic non-skid film over each apron. Preliminary and construction engineering, testing, and contingency fee bring the total cost of the project to $50,000. AB2012-291 (Resolution 2012-026) Approved 7-0


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