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Past Issues

Whatcom Watch Online
Bellingham City Council

January 2013

Watching Government

Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at November 5, 2012 Meeting

Shall the council:

206. Ratify the AFSCME, Local 114 three-year labor contract? The 2011 – 2013 Bellingham Police Guild contract contains the following terms: Wages: a 1 percent increase on 1/1/2011; 3 percent on 1/1/2012; and 3 percent on 1/1/2013. Additional Items: increase to education Incentive, and SWAT, K9 and HDU premiums. Benefits: Increase to employee premium-sharing for Regence HealthFirst plan. Addition of High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account as a choice for 2013. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

207. Spend $2.63 million to purchase 320 acres in the Lake Whatcom watershed? The acreage is located on the west side of Lake Whatcom, roughly two miles from the lake. 150 acres of rural forestry land is located above Strawberry Point in the Lake Louise area and is abutted on the east side by property the city already owns. Another 160 acres of rural forestry is located a little to the north and west in the Lost Creek area and is abutted on the west by other property the city already owns. The last 10 acres, on the north border of the Lost Creek area, are zoned for residential five acre units. All this property will become part of the city’s Lake Whatcom Watershed Land Acquisition Program. The seller is Polygon Financial 05, LLC. A vote to delay the purchase for two weeks to allow staff to conduct a cost study analysis failed. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 4-3, Michael Lllliquist, Seth Feetwood, Jack Weiss opposed.

208. Spend $489,600 to purchase two adjacent parcels of property on Northwest Drive? The city will use the property as wetland mitigation property for an eventual Horton Road extension. The parcels are located on the west side of Northwest Dr., north of W. Horton Rd., about half way between W. Horton Rd and Waldron Rd. The combined total acreage of the two parcels is 14.31 acres. Sellers of one parcel (8.98 acre) are Ron Thorpe and Jackie Sorel, and the seller of the other parcel (5.33 acre on the north side of the Thorpe-Sorel parcel) is the Bellingham United Reformed church. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

209. Extend the city sewer service to a residence on Mt. Baker Highway? The septic system at 1175 Mt. Baker Highway failed and the county is requiring the property to be hooked up to a public sewer system. In order to comply, the property owners want to purchase city sewer services. The house is already using city water services and is located in the urban growth area. A sewer main is already in existence within 200 feet from the building. Since the area is outside the city limits, the sewer connection is based on environmental, public health and safety concerns. The property owners will be required to meet city requirements and fees for the hookup. (AB19723) Approved 7-0

210. Appropriate $3,924,841 for goods and services checks issued from October 5 through October 27, 2012? (AB19726/19727/19728) Approved 7-0

211. Appropriate $2,541,620 for payroll checks issued from October 11 through October 25, 2012? (AB19729) Approved 7-0

212. Amend Resolution 2012-28? The resolution to declare certain shorefront properties as surplus was adopted at the 10/22/2012 meeting, vote #204, but a tideland parcel (#380330 004215) was left out. The surplus properties are to be transferred to the Port of Bellingham as part of a land swap agreement, see 10/22/2012 meeting, vote #196. A map of the properties involved is available at: AB19710 (Resolution 2012-28) Amended and approved 6-1, Seth Fleetwood opposed.

213. Adopt the 2013 action plan of the 2013-2017 consolidated plan? The action plan designates city use of federal funds for low- and moderate-income households? The consolidated plan identifies the most immediately needs in these areas and outlines a distribution plan for the funds and the action plan identifies $2,431,347 in expenditures the city will undertake during the coming year. The mayor will submit the approved plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The consolidated plans are posted on the city’s website: under services: community planning. AB19724 (Resolution 2012-30) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at November 19, 2012 Meeting

Shall the council:

214. Authorize the mayor to award the second lowest bid of $157,941 to Pape Machinery of Mount Vernon to purchase a used front-end loader? The current front-end loader (a 1978 Catepillar), has hydraulic leaks, the front bucket is wearing out and parts are no longer available. The bid notice was for a used (under 2,000 hrs) loader. The low bid of $129,158 by Case Power and Equipment of Marysville did not fit the height requirement. There were 45 solicitations viewed and three bids were received. (AB19725) Approved 7-0

215. Pay for retroactive retirement credits for City Council members? Council members are not required to join the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), but may apply for membership by paying the employee share of the fees retroactively back to the date of assuming office. The city would have to pay the employer share of contributions and interest for retroactive service credits for City Council members who apply for membership in PERS. The cost to the city will depend upon how many council members apply. The City Council authorized these employer share payments for previous council members in 2001 and again in 2006. (AB19734) Approved 5-1-1, Jack Weiss abstained, Terry Bornemann recused.

216. Authorize the mayor to sign a countywide agreement for a 20-year population and employment growth forecast? The parties to the agreement are Whatcom County and the cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack and Sumas. The 20-year projection is one of the first steps required in order to update the Comprehensive Plan. All the parties to this agreement will share the cost of consultant services to study and update the projections of population and employment growth for the county and each of the cities. The city of Bellingham’s share will be $55,972. (AB19736) Approved 7-0

217. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Ted Rosen to the Greenway Advisory Committee? The Greenway committee provides citizen recommendations to the City Council and the Parks and Recreation Department about Greenway levy expenditures, parkland acquisitions and parks/trails/open space development projects. Mr. Rosen is a part-time writer and 19 year resident of Bellingham. This is his first term, it will end on 11/19/2015. (AB19740) Approved 7-0

218. Authorize the mayor to accept a $843,750 state grant for the Padden Creek Estuary? The project will install stormwater treatment for the Harris Street system that has been has been receiving pollution from about 90 acres in the Fairhaven and South Hill area and emptying directly into the Padden Creek Estuary. The city will receive $108,000 in 2013 and $735,750 in 2014. The city is required to contribute one-third ($281,250) in matching funds for a project total of $1,125,000. (AB19741) Approved 7-0

219. Authorize the mayor to accept a $134,250 state grant to create water re-use systems at the Public Works operation complex? This project will install a rooftop rain capture system that will provide enough water for the bathrooms, landscape irrigation and for using with vectors, jet rodders and other equipment that requires high water volumes. The site currently uses about 1.5 million gallons per year of tap water. The rainwater system is expected to provide 1.6 million gallons per year of rainwater. This is a water conservation demonstration project. The city is required to contribute one-third ($44,750) in matching funds for a project total of $179,000. (AB19742) Approved 7-0

220. Authorize the mayor to accept a $375,000 state grant to reduce stormwater runoff into Lake Whatcom from Northshore Drive? This project will provide stormwater treatment for a 15 acre area by installing a sand filtration and infiltration system along Northshore Drive from Britton Road to Donald Avenue. This will be similar to systems installed during a 2008 Northshore Road project, and is expected to reduce phosphorus loading by 90 percent or about 16 pounds per year. The city is required to contribute one-third ($125,000) in matching funds for a project total of $500,000. (AB19743) Approved 7-0

221. Authorize the mayor to accept a $185,550 state grant to expand the waste treatment facility on Division Road? This project will increase the sludge holding capacity of the city’s vector waste site on Division Road, west of Hannegan by constructing an additional sludge dewatering building. Dewatering reduces the weight of the waste materials and allows for better separation from wastes from other sources. The city is required to contribute one-third ($61,850) in matching funds for a project total of $247,400. (AB19744) Approved 7-0

222. Authorize the mayor to accept a $384,000 state grant to provide stormwater treatment for Bloedel Donovan Park? This project will install sand filtration, infiltration and more trees to reduce the amount of phosphorus and fecal coliform bacteria entering Lake Whatcom from the main park, a 3.5 acre area. It is expected to reduce phosphorus 90 percent or approximately four pounds per year. The city is required to contribute one-third ($128,000) in matching funds for a project total of $512,000. (AB19745) Approved 7-0

223. Authorize the mayor to accept a $450,000 state grant to create rain gardens downtown? This project will construct about 40 rain gardens in the Central Business District to provide treatment for areas that drain into Whatcom Creek. The city will work with local business owners to maintain the aesthetic appearance of the rain gardens. The city is required to contribute one-third ($175,000) in matching funds for a project total of $600,000. (AB19746) Approved 7-0

224, Appropriate $2,100,889 for goods and services checks issued from October 28 through November 3, 2012? (AB19747) Approved 7-0

225. Appropriate $2,754,656 for payroll checks issued from October 26 through November 9, 2012? (AB19748) Approved 7-0

226. Adopt an administrative and financial plan to implement the voter approved low-income housing levy? At the 6/18/2012 meeting, vote #128, the City Council voted to place a property tax levy on the general election ballot. Voters approved the tax levy at the 11/6/2012 election. The tax will provide $21 million over the next seven years for affordable housing and low-income housing assistance. Under the terms of the plan, the housing levy will fund four programs: production and preservation of homes; rental assistance and support services; low-income homebuyer assistance; acquisition and opportunity loans. The money collected from the levy will be administered from the low-income housing fund account and sub-accounts which will be created by the finance director. The plan outlines a set of criteria that will be used to select which projects will receive the funds. Rents will be based upon the number of bedrooms, regardless of the number of people living there, and on the income level assigned to the unit instead of the income of the household. The city will update the rents annually based on the area median income as defined by HUD. The Planning Commission will give the mayor and City Council an annual progress report on the program. The council amended the reporting section of the plan. AB19701 (Resolution 2012-31) Amended and Approved 7-0.

227. Set the 2013 property tax levy? Property taxes increases will be as follows: the annual increase will be .71502 percent over the 2012 rate which during the 2nd half of 2012 had increased to 1.295 percent. The city is allowed up to a 1 percent increase per year. The low-income and very-low-income housing increases will add 36 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The total projected city property tax revenue in 2013, including the tax increases and new construction values, is estimated at $22,740,234. AB19731 (Resolution 2012-32) Approved 7-0

228. Extend the permanently affordable home ownership program for two additional years? (Public hearing held at 11/5 meeting.) The program was established at the 11/22/2004 meeting, vote #257, and extended at the 12/5/2005, 12/4/2006, 12/8/2008 and 12/6/2010 meetings. The program provides assistance and funding from the city to create affordable housing. So far, Matthei Place, 14 homes constructed at 15th and Harris by the Kulshan Community Land Trust is the only project completed under the program. City assistance included help with property sales and right of way acquisitions as well as funding. All 14 homes were sold at around $191,000 and remain occupied by the buyers. Projects may receive up to a 50 percent density increase and modification of development standards. This vote will extend the program until. AB19721 (Ordinance 2012-11-049) Approved 7-0

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