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, October 7th. The public is welcome to attend.
Councilmembers – Your agenda for Monday night is as follows:
Budget Study Session: The first 2020 budget session is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.; Finance Director Sirke Salminen will present an overview of the 2020 budget; City Administrator Jori Burnett and Mayor Jon Mutchler will present the 2020 budget message.
Item A: Public Comment
Item B: Consent Agenda, including approval of September 16, 2019 Council Meeting Minutes, September 20th payroll, and several other items, described in more detail below:
– The Planning and Land Use Committee has recommended the re-appointment of the five previous EAGLE Board members. Eric Weden, Sam Boulos, Tim Cornwell, Sean Hegstead, and Robert Tull have served on the board for many years and have expressed a desire to continue serving. The board does not hold regular meetings; instead, the board meets when it is necessary to review an eligible development application. At this time the City anticipates that the next development application that will be reviewed will be plans for the new Ferndale High School. The Mayor is authorized to appoint the board, subject to Council confirmation. At the request of the committee, the application forms have been provided.
– The Planning and Land Use Committee has recommended that Greg Crim and Sean Hegstead act as the representatives to the Catalyst Review Committee from the Planning Commission and the EAGLE Board, respectively. The Catalyst Review Committee will be tasked with reviewing the five catalyst projects that have been submitted and making a recommendation to the full Council for consideration by December 31, 2019. Agenda Item D on the Council’s regular agenda will involve the Council identifying the three councilmembers who will round out the five-member Catalyst Review Committee.
– The Finance and Administration Committee has recommended that the City approve a lease agreement with the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS). The draft agreement, which the committee first reviewed in September, has now been approved by the WCLS Board without changes. The agreement is for a five-year term.
– The Finance and Administration Committee has recommended that the City approve a contract extension with Domestic Violence Specialist Caryl Dunavan, for a three-year term. The scope of services remains consistent with previous contracts with Ms. Dunavan, and the contract includes a moderate salary escalation (3% per year), matching previous one-year contract modifications. Additional changes to insurance requirements and indemnification language have been added.
– The Finance and Administration Committee has recommended that the City approve a contract extension with Coast Building Maintenance for janitorial work associated with City facilities. The contract is for three years and includes a one-time increase in compensation by $100 per month that will remain stable through the term. Additional changes to insurance requirements, indemnification language, and the inclusion of the City’s recycling program have also been added.
– The Finance and Administration Committee has recommended that the Parks, Recreation, and Trails Advisory Board (PRTAB) membership be amended, via ordinance. The modification would add a student member and would increase the overall membership to ten members. Provisions to require that at least half of the membership be Ferndale residents have also been made.
– The Finance and Administration Committee has recommended that a budget amendment be approved via ordinance, transferring funds associated with a Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) grant to the current expense fund, for wayfinding purposes.
Item C: Private Developments Update – Community Development Director Haylie Miller will provide the monthly private developments update to Council.
Item D: FCS Presentation – Martin Chaw of FCS will return on Monday to present utility cost of service results to the full council and the general public. No Council action is requested; FCS has reviewed the City’s capital improvement requirements and has gained an excellent understanding of the customer classes (broadly, the types of users) in Ferndale, and will now present options for design rates.
Item E: Council Selection of 3 Catalyst Review Committee Members – The City Council is expected to finish filling the roster for the Catalyst Review Committee. The Committee is expected to recommend approval of up to three catalyst projects, for full Council consideration by the end of 2019. Per the Ferndale Municipal Code, the five-member committee will include one representative from the EAGLE Board and one from the Planning Commission; these roster spots are anticipated to be filled during the consent agenda. The other three members are to consist of councilmembers. Since two councilmembers – Jensen and Bersch – will not serve on Council beyond the last meeting in November, it is understood that the three members will come from the five remaining seats.
Item F-I: Mayor, Council, and Department Reports, Committee Minutes.
Item J: An Executive Session held pursuant to RCW 42.30.110 (i),(f):
Monday represents the official start of the 2020 Budget process. Throughout 2019, Finance Director Sirke Salminen has sought to provide additional resources and background on the budget and budgetrelated information.
This is my first year as your City Administrator, and I have learned a lot (and, God-willing and Mayor-willing, will continue to learn more). As the Council knows, I arrived at this position from a planning background, where the concept of long-range thinking was drilled deep into my understanding and expectations for local government. To a certain degree, this concept means, at times, foregoing small, short-term gains in exchange for larger, long-term benefits.
It also means, at times, that in order to achieve long-term benefits and even long-term cost reductions, it is necessary to make difficult short-term decisions, even in a good economy. We have asked our departments to identify ways to moderate increases. This means a careful assessment of our operations, and our departments have responded – and will continue to respond.
But these assessments need to be made beyond just 2020, because the choices that this council makes over the next three months have the potential to achieve many of the goals that this council and previous councils have identified but have not always been able to fund.
In part, our role as professional staff is to inform Council of opportunities, and the costs and benefits of those opportunities. It is not necessarily our role to find the path of least resistance (especially when other options may yield better, long-term results). This year we have identified a number of long-range issues that have slowly grown from a casual concern to a higher priority.
This is the start of the 2020 Budget process, and that means that it is time to again determine how, to what extent, and if, these priorities are funded.
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.