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October 17, 2019 | 4:33pm
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Here’s what is on the Ferndale City Council agenda for Monday’s meeting

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The following letter to members of the Ferndale City Council is provided courtesy of Ferndale City Administrator Jori Burnett. It is regarding the Ferndale City Council meeting agenda for the regular meeting scheduled for 6pm, Monday, September 16th. The public is welcome to attend.

Councilmembers –

Your agenda for Monday night is as follows:

Item A: Public Comment

Item B: Consent Agenda, including approval of September 3, 2019 Council Meeting Minutes, September 5th payroll, August 2019 Claims. The consent agenda also includes a resolution to surplus certain computer and recording equipment, an ordinance to modify the Unified Fee Schedule related to water meters, and non-profit organizations grant awards.

– The Finance and Administration Committee has placed a resolution to surplus computer and recording equipment on the consent agenda. The items include computer monitors, a sound mixer, timer clock, printer, and a scanner. These items have reached a point of obsolescence and are no longer utilized by the City; a surplus resolution allows the City to sell or otherwise dispose of these items.

– The City stocks water meters that are purchased from the City for private installation. The existing Unified Fee Schedule calls for a charge of $151 for ¾” water meters, but this charge is no longer reflective of the current market price. The proposed change would establish the current market price as the new charge for these meters. The City derives no profit from this charge.

– The City annually disperses grants to organizations and community groups that submit applications. The process is competitive, and does not/cannot anticipate that the same funding, or the same organizations, that have been funded in past years will be funded in present years. The Finance and Administration Committee has placed the Staff recommendation to disperse $27,170 to six organizations on the consent agenda.

Item C: Proclamation, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each year in the United States, it is estimated that nearly 16,000 children aged 0-19 are diagnosed with cancer. This means that approximately 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. Worldwide, over 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.

Item D: Capital Projects Update – Public Works Project Manager Katy Radder will give her monthly presentation on ongoing and upcoming capital projects to the City Council.

Item E: Discussion: HB 1406 – Tyler Schroeder, Whatcom County Deputy Executive, is expected to attend the City Council meeting to discuss the implications of a countywide proposal to utilized HB 1406. HB 1406 was recently adopted at the state level, allowing local jurisdictions (or counties) to impose a local sales and use tax for the purposes of establishing funding for affordable housing and/or affordable 3 housing-related activities. The bill is somewhat unique, in that while local jurisdictions would receive additional tax revenues, the process would not increase in additional tax to consumers. Instead, the state would give up an equivalent share of revenues that it would otherwise collect.

In Whatcom County, the County and Bellingham are the two most significant revenue generators. In total, all county jurisdictions are anticipated to collect approximately $660,000 per year, if HB 1406 were to be adopted. Ferndale would be anticipated to collect approximately $35,000. As proposed, each of the cities would forego their ability to collect, allowing Whatcom County to collect and disperse the full amount.

Mr. Schroeder has worked to identify any questions or concerns from local municipalities, in an effort to determine if and how a regional approach could work. No final action is requested from the City Council at this time. The Council should note that at the time of the posting of this agenda it had not yet been determined if Mr. Schroeder had a conflict with other County-related business for Monday night. Should Mr. Schroeder not be able to attend, the Council will be asked to provide questions that could be asked of him and the process overall.

Item F: 2019 Recreation Program Overview – Communications Officer/ Recreation Coordinator Riley Sweeney will provide his annual wrap-up of Ferndale’s “Summer of Fun” recreation program.

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The City concluded its mandatory water conservation efforts on September 15th. We have calculated that the community saved approximately 60,000 gallons of water, compared to 2018, even with the additional growth that has occurred over the last twelve months.

As with anything, there may be debates as to whether this is significant or not. The fact is, whenever conservation efforts result in a net reduction in the use of a resource (even in a period of growth and high demand) – that is a trend in the right direction. And the fact that the use reduction is equivalent to each citizen saving four gallons of water over a multi-month period demonstrates that, for most people, water conservation can and should be more of a practical habit than a transformative change. After all, the average flow rate of a faucet is 2.2 gallons per minute – so simply turning off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving could mean the savings of four gallons per person, each week.

But beyond water – these initiatives, where each member of the community contributes in a small way, have dramatic impacts to Ferndale as a whole. Think of Star Park, the Community Clean Up Day, and other volunteer initiatives. “Many hands make light work” is a good mantra for local government, and for local communities. The task may still be ‘work,’ and may still be less enticing than doing no work/ making no contribution to the greater good at all – but these small, timely, and proportional tasks are really part of being a community member, and being a citizen.

See you Monday – Jori

The public is encouraged to attend City Council meetings. They are held on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month (on the following Tuesday in event of a national holiday) at 6pm in Council Chambers at the City Hall Annex at 5694 2nd Avenue.

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