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Past Issues


Whatcom Watch Online
Bellingham City Council


April 2015

Watching Government

Bellingham City Council

Compiled by Boris Schleinkofer

Action taken at February 9, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

22. Authorize the mayor to sign a settlement agreement with Fred Meyer and Costco? Fred Meyer appealed a mitigated determination of nonsignificance and a consolidated permit allowing Costco to construct a new store on West Bakerview Road. The agreement provides for: Fred Meyer to dismiss its appeal; the city to construct a new east-west arterial to be called Mahogany Avenue just north of the Costco site which will connect Pacific Highway to Northwest Avenue; Costco to construct a north-south arterial called Arctic Avenue just east of the Costco site which will connect West Bakerview Road to Mahogany Avenue; and Costco to construct an additional turn lane on West Bakerview Road at its intersection with Arctic Avenue and the Fred Meyer parking lot. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

23. Authorize the sale of city-owned property to Costco for wetlands mitigation? The 14.3 acres is located on Northwest Avenue; it will be sold to Costco for $497,606. A new 162,000 square foot store will be constructed by Costco on West Bakerview Road; it will have 800 parking spaces and 24 fuel pumps. The city will maintain the wetlands. The purchase price will reimburse the city for all its costs in acquiring the property. Costco still has to obtain a building permit from the city of Bellingham and wetlands permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state of Washington. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

24. Spend $10,500 to purchase property for a trail easement? The property is located on the south side of Telegraph Road between 773 and 775 Telegraph Road and north of the Palakika Apartments property. A trail will be constructed from the Palakika Apartments to Telegraph Road. Greenway III Levy funds will be used for the purchase. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

25. Authorize the mayor to sign the 2015-2017 bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police (Lieutenants)? Wages will increase by 1.25 percent on 1/1/2016 and 1.75 percent on 1/1/2017. Longevity pay will increase up to 4 percent, based on the years of service. The city’s contribution towards health insurance premiums will be calculated as a flat dollar amount rather than a percentage. The amount of the city’s contribution will increase no more than six percent over the prior year. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 6-0, Roxanne Murphy was out of the room.

26. Amend the fee schedule for the rental registration and inspection program? Rental units of 1-20 will be charged $10.00 each and 21+ units will be charged $8.00 each.This program will require all non-exempt rental housing to be registered by 8/1/2015. Inspections are planned to be initiated on or before 2/1/2016. All costs for the program must be recovered by fees for registration and inspection. (AB20382) Approved 7-0

27. Authorize the removal of parking on Ohio Street? In order to accommodate bike lanes, it is necessary to remove parallel parking from one side of street. Eight of the existing 35 parking spaces will be removed. Bicycle lanes will be added to both sides of Ohio Street from Cornwall Avenue to Grant Street. (AB20721) Approved 7-0

28. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Jasmine Fast to a partial-term on the Greenway Advisory Committee? The committee provides recommendations to the City Council and the Parks and Recreation Department about Greenway levy expenditures, parkland acquisitions and parks/trails/open space development projects. Ms. Fast has been a city resident for 4 years, is a board member of the Cordata Home Owner’s Association and has studied an array of courses including environmental stewardship, biodiversity, pollution prevention and environmental law. The term will expire on 12/3/2015. (AB20725) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas was out of the room.

29. Appropriate $2,673,716 for payroll checks issued from January 10 through January 23, 2015? (AB20731) Approved 7-0

30. Renew the mutual use of facilities agreement with the Port of Bellingham? The agreement allows up to three free uses per year of each other’s facilities to be booked on an “availability basis.” The city of Bellingham can use the following port facilities: Bellingham Cruise Terminal, Squalicum Boathouse, Blaine Boating Center, and Technology Development Center. This agreement expires on 12/31/2015. (AB20732) Approved 7-0

31. Appropriate $1,121,268 for city goods and services checks issued from January 23 through January 29, 2015? (AB20733) Approved 7-0

32. Amend the 2014 action plan of the 2013-2017 consolidated plan? The action plan designates city use of federal funds for low and moderate-income households. An additional $84,938 in federal funds was received from additional payments in 2013-14. These funds are allocated to the rental vouchers as part of the homeless outreach team proposal approved by the council at the 11/10/2014 meeting, vote #229. This amendment adds a new activity, which will fund a feasibility study for a new housing project for young adults, allocate federal funds to tenant-based rental assistance, and amend funding and outcomes for homebuyer program activities. AB20723 (Resolution 2015-02) Approved 7-0

33. Appropriate $165,658 to fund phase I of the Rental Registration and Inspection Program? Start-up funding will provide staffing to ensure a successful implementation of the registration and inspection program. Council approved first and second reading of the Rental Registration and Inspection Program at the 12/15/2014 meeting. All start-up costs will be recovered though program fees. AB20709 (Ordinance 2015-02-002) Approved 7-0

34. Extend an emergency ordinance establishing interim zoning for facilities producing, processing and retailing recreational marijuana? (Public hearing held) At the 7/1/2013 meeting, vote #142, the council voted to pass emergency ordinance to impose a moratorium on the establishment of facilities producing, processing and retailing recreational marijuana. At the 8/12/2013 meeting, vote #176, the council adopted an emergency interim zoning ordinance to allow staff time to study the issues concerning recreational marijuana and for the state to adopt final rules. This renewal will allow time for the State Legislature to resolve conflicting rules. AB20722 (Ordinance 2015-02-003) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at February 23, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

35. Authorize the mayor to sign a $25,000 agreement with the Whatcom Council of Governments to fund the Whatcom Smart Trips program? The Smart Trips program is designed to reduce automobile trips and carbon dioxide emissions resulting in enhanced air quality. The agreement terminates on 12/31/2015. (AB20736) Approved 4-2, Jack Weiss and Gene Knutson opposed, Terry Bornemann excused.

36. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $587,918 to Ram 36. Construction of Bellingham for Boulevard Park sewer improvement project? Boulevard Park currently has two sewer pumps serving the public restrooms and the building leased to Woods Coffee. The pump stations fail on a regular basis leading to closure of the facilities. This project will replace the pump stations with a gravity line and a new pump station at the north end of the park. There were 113 bid solicitations viewed and five bids were received. (AB20739) Approved 6-0, Terry Bornemann excused.

37. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $418.49 per ton to Univar USA of Kent for soda ash? Soda ash is used at the water treatment plant for pH adjustment and corrosion control. The one-year contract will include the option of two one-year extensions. The city uses approximately 200 tons a year at an estimated cost of $83,698. The low bid for soda ash in 2012 was $411 per ton, in 2009 it was $349 per ton and in 2008 it was $278 per ton. There were 28 bid solicitations viewed and four bids were received. (AB20741) Approved 6-0, Terry Bornemann excused.

38. Authorize the mayor to sign a $26,896 agreement with Whatcom County for the use of the rifle range for police training? The agreement is for the exclusive use of the range in the year 2015 by the Bellingham Police Department for the purpose of providing firearms qualifications for commissioned and non-commissioned personnel. (AB20742) Approved 6-0, Terry Bornemann excused.

39. Appropriate $2,991,818 for city goods and services 39. checks issued from January 30 through February 12, 2015? (AB20743/20744) Approved 6-0, Terry Bornemann excused.

40. Appropriate $2,768,860 for payroll checks issued from January 24 through February 10, 2015? (AB20745) Approved 6-0, Terry Bornemann excused.

41. Amendment the Bellingham Municipal Code to include property cleanup as an intended use of the solid waste fund? The use of solid waste funds will be used for cleanup when routine code enforcement does not achieve compliance. Property cleanup actions are not routine, and the cost is not known before the process is complete. On average, it is anticipated that less than $30,000 will be spent annually from the solid waste fund for nuisance abatement purposes. AB20724 (Ordinance 2015-02-004) Approved 6-0, Terry Bornemann excused.


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