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Past Issues

Whatcom Watch Online
Whatcom County Council

April 2015

Watching Government

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale

Action Taken at February 10, 2014 Meeting

Shall the council:

17. Approve the recommendations of the Economic Development Investment Board1 for a supplemental grant/loan of $180,000 to the city of Nooksack? The city of Nooksack is working with the city of Everson to complete a major upgrade of a wastewater treatment plant that serves both cities. The supplemental request will cover increased construction costs for the upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant. The loan will be $120,000 and the grant $60,000. At the 7/9/2013 meeting, vote #112, the council approved a loan of $520,000 and a grant of $260,000 for a total of $780,000 for the plant. (AB2015-063) Approved 6-1, Ken Mann opposed.

18. Accept the Whatcom County Treasurer’s list of petitions for 2014 property tax refunds? The refunds total $1,014,401, they reflect senior exemptions; taxes paid in error; changes in tax status; destroyed property; court orders and miscellaneous exemptions. The 2013 refunds totaled $1,152,311. AB2015-058 (Resolution 2015-001) Approved 7-0

19. Cancel 2014 uncollectible personal property taxes totaling $23,252? The Whatcom County treasurer has been unable to collect taxes of $20,605 on 14 businesses and $2,647 on 14 individuals. The uncollectible property taxes for 2013 totaled $8,833. and in 2012 totaled $4,407. AB2015-059 (Resolution 2015-002) Approved 7-0

20. Approve an amended agreement for participation in the Whatcom Council of Governments? The Whatcom Council of Governments is a collaborative body consisting of various governing entities within Whatcom County to aid in planning-related decisions. The original agreement was approved in 1977. This agreement would mean that Whatcom County Council will be a voting member. AB2015-062 (Resolution 2015-003) Approved 5-2, Barbara Brenner2 and Ken Mann opposed.

Action Taken at March 3, 2015 Meeting

2nd District Representative Sam Crawford resigned from the County Council, effective March 1. The council will fill the vacancy at the March 17 meeting.

Shall the council:

21. Fill a vacancy on the Surface Mining Advisory Committee? Kyle Strengholt applied for the surface mining material user vacancy. Mr. Strengholt is an employee and officer at Strengholt Construction Company, which is currently contracted by Whatcom County for construction services on the Central Plaza Building project. The two-year term ends 1/31/2017. (AB2015-044A) Appointed 6-0

22. Authorize the executive to sign a $3 million loan/grant agreement with the Port of Bellingham for the C Street terminal infrastructure rehabilitation project? At the 10/8/2013 meeting, vote #168, the County Council adopted the recommendations of the Economic Development Investment Board and approved a $3 million loan/grant for the “C” Street terminal infrastructure rehabilitation project. The loan will be $2 million and the grant $1,000,000. Repayment on the loan would begin one year from the disbursement date. (AB2015-083) Approved 6-0

23. Authorize the executive to spend $147,979 to purchase a front loader from Pape Machinery of Mount Vernon? The 2015 John Deere 444k front loader will replace a 1991 Caterpillar Loader with approximately 3,961 hours. A Washington State Contract will be used to purchase the loader. The front loader is used on county road maintenance and road projects. (AB2015-084) Approved 4-2 Barbara Brenner3 and Ken Mann opposed.

24. Provide guidance to the Water Resource Inventory Area 1 Planning Unit? At the 7/23/2013 meeting, vote #132, the council restored the planning unit for the purposes of assisting the council regarding Whatcom County water resources. The council is requesting information on the operation of stakeholder caucuses within the planning unit, the selection processes for forming those caucuses, and an inventory of water resource issues for the planning unit to advise upon. AB2015-081 (Resolution 2015-004) Amended and approved 6-0

25. Amend the 2015 budget (request #2) in the amount of $2,364,947? Appropriate: $209,563 for the sheriff’s office to fund border security; $14,016 for the sheriff’s office to reimburse overtime; $500,000 to fund the Opportunity Council housing rehab program; $4,500 to fund Secure Pharmaceutical Take Back project; $65,000 to fund mental health promotion programs: $70,000 to fund Triage Center renovations; $1 million to fund a grant for the Port of Bellingham’s “C” Street terminal infrastructure rehabilitation project. Re-appropriate: $421,474 for the sheriff’s office to fund a records management software maintenance agreement; $37,500 to fund completion of the Bellingham Food Bank expansion project; $9,247 to purchase ammunition; $21,147 for the kitchen floor project at the jail; and $12,500 to fund updates to the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. AB2015-067 (Ordinance 2015-004) Adopted 6-0

26. Appropriate an additional $400,00 for the the State Street building acquisition and improvement fund? At the 11/12/2013 meeting, vote #203/205, the county approved funding for the remodeling of the county-owned building 1500 N. State Street, and at the 10/14/2014 meeting, vote #188, the council approved the remodeling of the property. Contaminated soils were discovered at the property, as well as at the associated parking lot at 211 Champion Street, which require remediation to conform to state standards. This vote increases the project budget to $5,458,884. AB2015-068 (Ordinance 2015-005) Adopted 5-1, Barbara Brenner opposed.4

27. Initiate amendments to the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance? Under state and local law, proposed comprehensive plan and zoning amendments are submitted annually for review by the County Council. Current proposed amendments include: dog kennels in the Agricultural Zone, broadcast tower height limits in Point Roberts, code enforcement, and Point Roberts Character Plan amendments. AB2015-085 (Resolution 2015-005) Substitute amended and approved 6-0.

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