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Past Issues

Whatcom Watch Online
Whatcom County Council

March 2015

Watching Government

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale

Action Take at January 13, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

1. Fill three vacancies on the Noxious Weed Control Board? District 2 incumbent L. Alan Yoder was the only applicant. Confirmed 7-0 There were no applications for District 3 and District 5. (AB2015-035)

2. Fill one vacancy on the Portage Bay Shellfish Protection District Advisory Committee? Wendy Scherrer was the only applicant. (AB2015-035) Confirmed 7-0

3. Fill four vacancies on the Open Space Advisory Committee? There were no applications for the vacancies. (AB2015-035)

4. Fill three vacancies on the Solid Waste Advisory Committee? Incumbents Mark Peterson (representing a public interest group) and Martin Kuljis, Jr. (representing the waste recycling industry) applied and were confirmed 7-0. There were no applications for the waste collection industry. (AB2015-035)

5. Fill nine vacancies on the Surface Mining Advisory Committee? Incumbents Steve Cowden, Brad Davis (member of the surface mining industry), Leslie Dempsey (citizen who lives in close proximity to active mining), Dan McShane (environmental consultant), Scott E. Hulse (civil or geo-technical engineer with no direct or indirect financial business) and Christopher Secrist (representative of forestry) applied. Confirmed 7-0 There were no applications for surface mining material use, geologist and representative of a potable domestic groundwater supply. (AB2015-035)

6. Authorize the executive to sign a $50,000 contract with Foster Pepper of Seattle to provide legal services related to phosphorus and bacteria in Lake Whatcom? The state Department of Ecology recently released a Water Quality Improvement Report and Implementation Strategy for Lake Whatcom. The report contains conditions which are of concern to Whatcom County, the County Council has voted to request dispute resolution with the state. Foster Pepper will provide legal services to the county during the dispute resolution process. The contract commences on 1/14/2015 and expires on 12/31/2015. (AB2015-037) Appointed 7-0

7. Authorize the executive to accept a $1,061,946 state/federal grant for public health programs? The money is a major source of funding for the Whatcom County Health Department; Funds go to programs targeting emergency preparedness and response, infectious disease prevention, and assistance to women, infants, and children, and other programs. The three year contract expires on 12/31/2017. (AB2015-038) Approved 7-0

8. Confirm the executive’s appointments to fill vacancies on various boards, commissions, and committees? (AB2015-039) Confirmed 7-0

9. Rezone five acres at the intersection of Slater Road and Elder Road from neighborhood commercial to rural general commercial? (Public Hearing held on 10/28/2014) The County Council finds that the proposed rezone is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and is in the public interest. New uses will be limited to automobile sales and the siting of a single-family dwelling. Automobile sales would be permitted after county approval of a development site compliance plan, and after the installation of required improvements. AB2014-331 (Ordinance 2015-001) Adopted 6-0-1, Rud Browne abstained.

Action Taken at January 27, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

10. Uphold the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner’s decision denying the installation of five radio towers in Point Roberts? On October 21, 2014, the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner Michael Bobbink denied BBC Broadcasting’s application for a conditional use permit to build five radio towers in Point Roberts, citing height restrictions in county zoning ordinances. BBC Broadcasting, Inc. appealed that decision to the Whatcom County Council. (AB2014-343) Approved 7-0

11. Fill two vacancies on the Whatcom County Planning Commission? David Onkels (incumbent), Matthew Burk, Justin Clary, Michael Knapp, Nicholas Kunkel, Kane Hall, Christina Maginnis and Nicole Oliver applied for two vacancies in District 1. Michael Knapp and Nicole Oliver were approved for four year terms. (AB2015-035)

12. Affirm a budget allocation of $40,000 for the Water Resources Inventory Area 1 Planning Unit? Whatcom County, Whatcom PUD, city of Bellingham, Lummi Nation, and the Nooksack Tribe established the Water Resources Inventory Area 1 Planning Unit in 1999, for the purposes of watershed management planning. Activity has continued intermittently to the present. The budget allocation is for facilitation and caucus support services for the current round of planning unit work. The County Council acting as the flood control board of supervisors approved the allocation at the 11/252/014 meeting. (AB2015-046) Approved 7-0

13. Authorize the executive to sign a $154,147 per year contract with CompuCom Systems of Broadview, IL, for three years of software maintenance? The total contract comes to $462,440. This vote is a revision to the contract approved at the 12/9/2015 meeting, vote #248. CompuCom notified the county that the contract for $134,449 per year contained a pricing error. The new contract contains a $29,659 per year increase over the original; the original and new contract reflect the addition of Microsoft Exchange Online e-mail software, providing services such as instant messaging, document sharing, and storage to the existing software. The contract expires on 12/31/2017. (AB2015-049) Approved, 5-2, Barbara Brenner1 and Pete Kremen opposed.

14. Authorize the executive to sign four contracts — totaling $235,000 — with the operators of senior centers in Whatcom County? The contracts involve activities, operations, programming, safety, scheduling and rental coordination, and volunteer management, among other activities. The contracts are for $58,750 each and they are with: the Jet Oldsters Association of Ferndale for the Ferndale Senior Activity Center; the Council on Aging for the Bellingham Senior Activity Center; the city of Lynden for the Lynden Senior Center and the city of Blaine for the Blaine Senior Activity Center. (AB2015-052/053/054/055) Approved 7-0

15. Designate the public works director as the administrator of the Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit? The National Pollution and Discharge Elimination System requires stormwater runoff to be addressed. Whatcom County is required to implement various stormwater management strategies to comply. The Director of Public Works is designated as the individual responsible for implementation of the strategies, with other departments assisting with enforcement provisions. AB2015-036 (Ordinance 2015-002) Adopted 7-0

16. Amend the 2015 budget (request #1) in the amount of $868,662? Appropriate: $58,662 to fund emergency management and $30,000 to demolish the Birch Bay Community Park building. Re-appropriate: $780,000 to upgrade the Nooksack Water Treatment Plant. AB2015-040 (Ordinance 2015-003) Adopted 7-0

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