FERNDALE, Wash. — Mayor Jon Mutchler began the Ferndale City Council regular meeting Monday, November 18th, with a moment of silence for former Ferndale Chief of Police Michael Knapp.
City Council Members voted 5 to 2, to use 33% of the City’s $1.4 million banked capacity to increase property taxes during 2020. The decision needed to be made during this meeting to meet the Whatcom County Assessor’s November 30th deadline.
Council Member Carol Bersch made the motion to use 33%. Council Member Xczar’s moved to amend that to use 50% of the banked capacity. Council Member Olsen moved to to include language ensuring the police departments received first priority regarding how the tax revenue was spent. Council Member Hansen moved to designate a specific amount for the Police department instead. All amendments failed.
The vote on the initial motion to use 33% of the City’s banked capacity passed 5 to 2 with Xzcar, Bersch, Bishop, Taylor and Hansen voting to approve and Jensen and Olsen opposed.
The first of 2 Public Hearings on the City’s 2020 budget was held but no one from the public spoke. A 2nd public comment hearing will be held during the next regular City Council meeting on Monday, December 2nd.
Citizens will be able to talk to staff about the budget and other topics during a City Community Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 19th, at 6:30pm at the Pioneer Pavilion Community Center.
Ferndale Council members voted unanimously to enter into 3-year $1.9-million contract with Reichardt and Ebe Engineering for construction engineering services associated with the Thornton Street overpass project.
Lastly, the City Council voted 5 to 2 to enter into an interlocal agreement with Whatcom County for a wayfinding signage program. Council Members Bersch and Olson opposed. The wayfinding program’s purpose is to create uniform traffic signs to direct drivers to public parks and facilities. As per the terms of the agreement, the City of Ferndale would be compensated 50% by the County for vehicular signage. The city will include $100,000 into the 2020 budget for this purpose. City Administrator Jori Burnett emphasized the City was under no obligation to spend anything under this agreement.
This was the last council meeting for Jensen and Bersch. They were appointed in June to fill seats vacated on the council until voters could elect replacements. Certification of the General Election results is expected to happen on November 26th. Council Members Elect Ramon Llanos and Ryan O’Larey are expected to be sworn in during the next council meeting on December 2nd and assume those seats at the council.