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Past Issues

Whatcom Watch Online
Bellingham City Council

July 2015

Watching Government

Bellingham City Council

Compiled by Boris Schleinkofer

Action Taken at May 4, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

76. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County regarding division of Whatcom Medic One assets and liabilities? The county provided notice in December 2010 of its intent to terminate the agreement for Emergency Medical Services between the city and Whatcom County, executed in December 2006. The county has decided upon a new contract structure under which the city will provide advanced life support services within and outside of city limits. Per the 2006 agreement, a final accounting for Whatcom Medic One assets and liabilities has been conducted, to be divided equally between the city and the county. A $363,245 payment will go to the Whatcom County and will come from the Medic One fund. (AB20815) Approved 7-0

77. Approve the mayor’s appointment of James York and Megan Lee to 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. James York has a B.A. in urban planning and sustainable design, has volunteered with N.S.E.A. planting parties and salmon surveys, and has worked as an assistant supervisor for the Washington Conservation Corps. Megan Lee has a degree in environmental planning and sustainable development from Huxley College and worked for EverybodyBike in 2013. Both terms end on 5/4/2018. (AB20823) Approved 7-0

78. Appropriate $3,973,709 for city goods and services checks issued from April 10 through April 23, 2015? (AB20827/20828) Approved 7-0

79. Appropriate $2,711,195 for payroll checks issued from April 11 through April 24, 2015? (AB20829) Approved 7-0

80. Adopt the 2015-2019 Lake Whatcom Management Program work plan? This is a joint resolution of the Whatcom County Council, the Bellingham City Council and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District. In 1998, Whatcom County, the city of Bellingham and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District formalized their commitment to protect and manage the lake with the Lake Whatcom Management Program. On 4/22/2015, the joint councils and district held a public meeting on the next five-year work plan. The 2015-2019 work plan defines construction and maintenance of capital facilities, enforcement of standards for new development, retrofitting of existing residential properties, preservation of land and restoration of its ecological function, and continuation of the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program. AB2015-137 (Resolution 2015-005) Approved 7-0

81. Declare certain Whatcom Medic One property surplus to the city of Bellingham? (Public hearing held) The property includes a 2003 double-wide manufactured home located at 1886 Grandview Road, Ferndale; a 2007 Ford E450 ambulance; a LifePak 15 defibrillator; and a hydraulic rescue unit, which will be transferred to Whatcom County and are intended to be used in the county-wide provision of emergency medical services. Previous City Council action included adopting a business model for county-wide emergency medical services, at the 6/5/2012 meetings, vote #95, and the approval of the agreement for advanced life support services with Whatcom County at the 12/16/2013 meeting, vote #287. AB20813 (Resolution 2015-06) Approved 7-0

82. Support the city’s application for a $3,500,000 state loan to pay for the retrofitting of LED street lights? The application is for approximately 3,600 street lights, it will be paid off through energy savings and reduced maintenance expenses as well as street funds. See vote # at the 5/18/2015 meeting for more details. AB20816 (Resolution 2015-07) Approved 7-0

83. Adopt the 2015 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 immediate needs in these areas and outlines a distribution plan for the funds, and the action plan identifies expenditures the city will undertake during the coming year. Total revenue that is being allocated is $12,297,353. This revenue includes new federal entitlement allocations, program income from loan paybacks, unexpended prior-year HUD and Housing Levy funds, and anticipated Housing Levy funds through 2016. The action plan allocates federal funding ($2,900,330), city levy funds ($9,137,019) and city general funds ($471,945) to homebuyer, public facilities, housing preservation and production, rental assistance and services. AB20820 (Resolution 2015-08) Approved 6-0, Jack Weiss was out of room.

84. Adjust the beginning balances for the 2015 budget by $45,574,784 to account for differences between the estimated and actual year-end balance? The budget is drawn up before the end of the year and estimates are used. The 2015 beginning reserves budget will increase from estimated reserves of $123,061,372 to actual reserves of $168,636,156. Reserves at the end of 2015 are estimated at $122,641,012. The city budget is available at City Hall or online at AB20801 (Ordinance 2015-05-014) Approved 7-0

85. Reauthorize $11,751,064.84 for goods and services ordered in 2014, but unpaid at year end? At the end of each year there are contracts and purchase orders that are not completed or processed until the following year. AB20802 (Ordinance 2015-05-015) Approved 7-0

86. Reauthorize $53,115,961 for goods and services budgeted in 2014, but without purchase orders or contracts by the end of the year? Each year the city has a number of goods, services and projects that are authorized but no action has been taken in the form of a contract or purchase order by year end. Phasing of large projects, permitting, or other unanticipated changes in the project schedule necessitates requesting that funds be carried over into the 2015 budget. This ordinance will reappropriate the funds for these commitments and payment in 2015. AB20803 (Ordinance 2015-05-016) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at May 18, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

87. Spend $1,500,000 to purchase approximately 34.43 acres east of James Street and north of Sunset Pond? The property, owned by Talbot Real Estate, LLC and TIC Holdings, Inc., will be used for a flood control berm, the Squalicum Creek re-route project to enhance a salmon stream, and the Bay to Baker Trail, along with other greenways activities. The purchase will be made with Greenway funds. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 5-2, Jack Weiss and Michael Lilliquist opposed.

88. Spend $975,000 to purchase approximately 12.22 acres located west of James Street and east of I-5? The property will be purchased from Bellingham Cold Storage. It will be used for a flood control berm and a connector road with bicycle lanes between Birchwood and James Streets, the Squalicum Creek re-route project to enhance a salmon stream, and the Bay to Baker Trail, along with other greenways activities. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 5-2, Jack Weiss and Michael Lilliquist opposed.

89. Spend $488,000 to purchase an approximate 1.97 acres of property and an .60 acre road and trail easements located west of I-5 and north of Birchwood Avenue? The property will be purchased from Bellingham Cold Storage; it will be used for a flood control berm and a connector road with bicycle lanes between Birchwood and James Streets, the Squalicum Creek re-route project to enhance a salmon stream, and the Bay to Baker Trail, along with other greenways activities. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 6-1, Jack Weiss opposed.

90. Settle a lawsuit filed by New Cingular Wireless for a $238,493 utility tax refund? The city will issue a utility tax credit in the sum of $36,687 and dismiss the lawsuit and administrative appeal with prejudice. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

91. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $697,311 to Award Construction of Ferndale for a scum concentrator? The Post Point Wastewater Treatment Plant project will consist of the purchase and installation of a new scum concentrator (it removes fats, oils and grease from the water), thickened scum pump, and related items, as well as the demolition and removal of the existing scum concentrator equipment, piping, and appurtenances. The engineer’s estimated cost was $700,000. There were 103 solicitations viewed and two bids were received. (AB20831)Approved 7-0

92. Authorize the mayor to award three bids totaling $153,908 for the water distribution system? The components are no-lead brass service and threaded fittings that are used on water main connections and maintenance projects. The fittings were divided into three groups. Group 1 will be purchased from HD Supply Waterworks of Bellingham for $127,753. Group 2 will be purchased from HD Fowler of Bellingham, WA for $21,247. Group 3 will be purchased from Ferguson Waterworks of Burlington for $4,908. The city received four bids for the components. (AB20842) Approved 7-0

93. Appropriate $2,794,084 for payroll checks issued from April 25 through May 8, 2015? (AB20843) Approved 7-0

94. Appropriate $2,672,388 for city goods and services checks issued from April 24 through May 7, 2015? (AB20844/20845) Approved 7-0

95. Establish a “One Percent for the Arts” program? This program requires city projects adopted in the capital facilities plan with an estimated cost of over two million dollars to set aside 1 percent of eligible funds for the incorporation or purchase of public artwork. AB20772 (Ordinance 2015-05-017) Approved 7-0

96. Authorize voluntary compliance agreements with property owners? The city may at its sole discretion enter into a voluntary compliance agreement with the property owner responsible for a nuisance or other code violation, if the violation does not create an imminent risk of harm to public health or safety. A voluntary compliance agreement is a written contract between the city and the property owner where a property owner agrees to remove or abate a nuisance or other code violation within a specified time. The municipal code does not currently provide explicit authority for code enforcement officers to negotiate voluntary compliance agreements with property owners. AB20789 (Ordinance 2015-05-018) Approved 7-0

97. Replace the existing full-time environmental monitoring coordinator position with two part-time positions? The position is intended to combine stream and riparian monitoring with development of a city mitigation program. Interviews for the position demonstrated that the city’s needs are best met by replacing the currently-existing full-time position with two part-time positions. No additional funding is required. AB20804 (Ordinance 2015-05-019) Approved 7-0

98. Authorize the mayor to accept a $3,500,000 state loan for the acquisition of approximately 3,600 LED street lights? Benefits of LED technology include lower fixture costs, longer warranties, improved nighttime visibility, and energy savings. A pre-qualified energy service company will perform the work. The $3,500,000 loan will be paid back over twelve years through annual utility savings, operational savings, and the street fund. AB20817 (Ordinance 2015-05-020) Approved 7-0

99. Close the Park Site Acquisition Fund? The Park Site Acquisition Fund was created in 1975 for revenues collected as payment in lieu of dedication of land, to be used for the acquisition of parks, playgrounds, open space or greenbelts. A Park Impact Fee was established at the 2/27/2006 meeting, vote #48, levied on residential land development in Bellingham for new parks and related facilities. It is used solely for acquiring and/or making capital improvements, not maintenance or operations. The Park Impact Fee replaced the Park Site Acquisition Fund. The remaining fund balance of $84,868 will be appropriated along with the budgeted amount of $59,000 to acquire parkland in Cordata. AB20826 (Ordinance 2015-05-021) Approved 7-0

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