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Past Issues

Whatcom Watch Online
Whatcom County Council

January 2013

Watching Government

Whatcom County Council

Action Taken at November 7, 2012 Meeting

Shall the council:

178. Authorize the executive to sign a $20,000 contract (amendment #1) with Aquatechnex of Bellingham for the treatment and monitoring of the Silver Lake flowering rush? The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board classifies flowering rush a Class “A” noxious weed. Silver Lake (Maple Falls) is currently one of two locations in the state where the plant is found. The work began on 8/11/2010, with follow-up treatments, mapping and monitoring. This amendment brings the total contract to $70,000, it expires on 12/31/2013. (AB2012-335) Approved 6-0, Carl Weimer absent.

179. Authorize the executive to accept a $527,639 state grant for design and construction of stormwater improvements in the Coronado Avenue/Fremont Street area of Lake Whatcom? This area of the Geneva neighborhood drains into the lake. The project will improve water quality with installation of stormwater vaults and channel restoration. This will slow velocity to reduce sediment transport, reduce flooding and stabilize an eroded creek. The county is required to provide a 25 percent match ($175,880) bringing the total to $703,519. The project cost is estimated at $892,154. (AB2012-336) Approved 6-0, Carl Weimer absent.

180. Authorize the executive to sign a $123,727 contract with Pictometry International Corporation of Rochester, N.Y, to provide digital aerial imagery of Western Whatcom County? An option of two additional flights for $247,454 for a total of $371,183 will depend on available funding. A cost-shared partnership with 15 jurisdictions is being finalized. The spring 2013 flight will provide updated images for 972 square miles. (AB2012-339) Approved 6-0, Carl Weimer absent.

181. Order the cancellation of uncollected money for parking violations? Tickets that are $5 or less are not sent collection notices. There are 36 parking tickets issued from 9/1/2010 through 8/31/2011 with unpaid violations; the uncollectible fines total $180. AB2012-333 (Resolution 2012-031) Approved 6-0, Carl Weimer absent.

182. Order the cancellation of uncashed checks issued before 8/1/2011? There are 149 uncashed checks totaling $6,727. Whatcom County has 124 uncashed checks totaling $3,242 and the rural library, northwest regional council, fire and water districts have 25 uncashed checks totaling $3,484. The money will be held for one year and then transferred to the state of Washington as abandoned property where it will be available to the payee indefinitely. AB2012-334 (Resolution 2012-032) Approved 6-0, Carl Weimer absent.

183. Approve Water District #13 Comprehensive Sewer Plan? The district submitted the plan to the county for review and approval as required. The County Health Department and the County Public Works Engineering Division have reviewed the plan and submitted letters of approval to the council. The plan is dated August 2012 and requesting approval by the council as presented. AB2012-318 (Resolution 2012-033) Approved 6-0, Carl Weimer absent.

184. Amend the wind energy systems ordinance regulating the installation and operation for private landowners? (Public hearing held.) The ordinance establishing procedures for the installation of wind energy systems was passed at the 10/21/2008 meeting, vote #211. A limitation on zoning was passed on large and multiple systems at the 2/23/2010 meeting, vote # 43, because of complaints about sound levels, height and abandonment issues. A wind energy work group was formed and two ordinances were proposed. The amendments allow large systems only in the industrial zone and prohibit systems within l,000 feet of the boundaries of the Lake Whatcom watershed except roof mounted systems with output of no more than 50kw. An operation should not have adverse impact on endangered wildlife including migratory birds, raptors and bats. AB2011-223D (Ordinance 2012-041) Adopted 5-1, Ken Mann opposed, Carl Weimer absent.

185. Replace the ordinance for Combined Treatment Services with a Behavioral Health Program? The new ordinance replaces the Mental Health Advisory Board and Substance Abuse Advisory Board with a single Behavioral Health Advisory Board. The idea of integrating substance abuse treatment and mental health services is consistent with health reform direction and increasing organizational efficiencies. AB2012-330 (Ordinance 2012-042) Approved 6-0, Carl Weimer absent.

Action Taken at November 20, 2012 Meeting

Shall the council:

186. Authorize the executive to sign a contract for $293,703 with Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada to protect the county’s financial assets in the self-insured medical plan? The county is required by law to protect its financial assets using reserves and excess insurance coverage to support the self-insured medical plan. This coverage is triggered if an individual’s medical costs are in excess of $250,000 in a plan year or if the plan’s aggregated costs exceed $11,847,592. The rates for 2013 increased 32 percent, the same percentage increase as 2012. (AB 2012-362) Approved 7-0

187. Authorize the executive to award the low bid of $176,833 to CLK Construction of Bellingham for electrical modifications to the Courthouse data center? A contingency fee of $35,367 brings the total contract to $212,200. The work was advertised and two bids were received. (AB2012-367) Approved 7-0

188. Authorize the executive to approve the purchase of 50 laptop computers for $101,241 from Datec, Inc. of Seattle? The computers and accessories will be purchased for the sheriff’s office. A Department of Homeland Security/Operation Stonegarden grant will fund the purchase. (AB2012-366) Approved 7-0

189. Adopt the 2013 flood control zone district tax levy? (Public hearing held. Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The board of supervisors decided to limit the tax levy to 2012 level. AB2012-348 ( Resolution 2012-034) Approved 7-0

190. Adopt the 2013 budget for the flood control district and subzones? (Public hearing held. Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) Appropriations totaling $677,809 will fund the six flood control districts for flood control, storm water management and other water resource work. AB2012-349 (Resolution 2012-035)Approved 7-0

191. Clarify accessory uses in the rural general commercial and rural industrial manufacturing zones? At the 1/10/2012 meeting, vote #10, Ordinance 2012-001, established battery charging stations for electric vehicle use. At the 8/7/2012 meeting, vote # 146, electric vehicle rapid charging station was left out of the list of accessory uses in rural general commercial and rural industrial manufacturing zones. This resolution corrects the error in the August vote. AB2012-373 (Resolution 2012-036) Approved 7-0

192. Adopt the 2013 unified fee schedule? (Public Hearing held.) The fee schedule is for services provided by the county, such as building permits, parking, filing and licensing, animal control, park equipment and facilities. The executive may add or adjust fees with sufficient justification. AB2012-343 (Ordinance 2012-043) Substitute amended and adopted 6-1, Barbara Brenner1 opposed.

193. Adopt the 2013 taxes for county and state purposes? (Public hearing held.) Council has determined it is not necessary to increase the levy to fund county services and limits it to the amount of 2012 taxes; only new construction, improvements and property assessment will be additions. AB2012-344 (Ordinance 2012-044) Adopted 7-0

194. Limit the 2013 general fund property tax levy? (Public hearing held.) The amount collected shall be limited to amount collected in 2012 plus new construction, improvements to property and value of state assessed property. AB2012-345 (Ordinance 2012-045) Adopted 7-0

195. Adopt the 2013 property taxes for county road purposes? (Public hearing held.) Except for new construction and improvements, the taxes remain the same as 2012. AB2012-346 (Ordinance 2012-046) Adopted 7-0

196. Adopt the Conservation Futures Fund tax levy for 2013? (Public hearing held.) The levy will be the same as last year, 6.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation on real property. The funds can only be used to acquire land or development rights for conservation purposes. AB2012-347 (Ordinance 2012-047) Adopted 7-0

197. Adopt 2013-2014 budget and place restrictions on certain expenditures? (Public hearing held.) There is no increase in taxes over 2012 except for new construction.The amendment transferred up to $100,000 from Conservation Futures Fund to PDR program. AB2012-332A (Ordinance 2012-048) Amended and adopted 6-1, Barbara Brenner2 opposed.

198. Adopt the six-year (2013-2018) capital improvement program? (Public hearing held.) This ordinance replaces the 2011-2016 program that was approved at the 11/23/2010 meeting, vote #219. The program includes plans for county parks, trails, activity centers, correction facilities, government buildings, transportation and stormwater facilities and flood protection. It eliminates the level of service standard for government office space listed in the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan. AB22012-327 (Ordinance 2012-049) Adopted 6-1, Barbara Brenner3 opposed.

199. Establish the Birch Bay Drive and pedestrian facility project fund? (Public hearing held.) A project based budget will be set up for the two mile improvement project. It will include a berm/trail to encourage walking and bicycling, improve non-motorized transportation and will mitigate beach erosion and roadway storm damage. The initial project budget is $1,072,324, with $745,000 in local funds and $327,324 in federal funds. AB2012-340 (Ordinance 2012-050) Adopted 7-0

200. Establish the Birch Bay-Lynden Road/Portal Way signalization/improvements project fund? (Public hearing held.) A project based budget will be set up for the signalization improvements. The project will improve traffic flow and illumination of the intersection located south of Blaine and west of I-5. Stormwater treatment and detention will also be implemented. The initial project funding is $4,300,000, with $3,250,000 in federal funds and $750,000 in state funds. AB2012-341 (Ordinance 2012-051) Adopted 7-0

201. Establish the Potter Road/South Fork Bridge No. 148 replacement project fund? (Public hearing held.) A project based budget will be set up for Bridge No. 148. The 360’ two-span concrete girder bridge will be replaced. The initial project funding for the three-year project is $9,600,000, with $7,700,000 in federal funds and the county roads funds. AB2012-350 (Ordinance 2012-052) Amended and adopted 6-1, Ken Mann opposed.

202. Establish a rural road safety program project fund? (Public hearing held.) A project based budget will be set up for the “safety program?” The program focuses on the installation of centerline and rumble strips, bridge freeze indicators, bridge approach guardrail improvement and selected intersection upgrades. The initial project funding for the two-year program is $1,046,000 with $1,299,000 in federal funds. AB2012-351 (Ordinance 2012-053) Adopted 7-0

203. Establish a sheriff’s record management system project fund? (Public hearing held.) A project based budget will be set up for phase 1 of the record management system. The two phase system will improve operations and comply with federally mandated criminal offense reporting standards. Funding for phase 1 is set at $1,200,000. AB2012-352 (Ordinance 2012-054) Adopted 7-0

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