FERNDALE, Wash. — The agenda for the October 21st Ferndale City Council meeting was relatively light.
There were several citizens who spoke during the public comment segment of the agenda.
- 2 residents from the Correll Drive neighborhood expressed concern about the city’s maintenance of trees along Correll Drive. Mayor and candidate for re-election Jon Mutchler said that would be placed on the agenda of the next Public Works and Utilities Committee meeting.
- Yvonne Goldsmith suggested the council reconsider its Ethics Handbook in that it does not address citizen complaints. She suggested they look at the Whatcom County Ethics Commission as an alternative method of dealing with ethics complaints.
- Gene Goldsmith said that in his time in the military and government he had taken oaths multiple times. He reminded the council they should be taken seriously and that they do not have expiration dates.
- Perry Eskridge said he was speaking as a representative of the Whatcom County Association of Realtors (WCAR) and that he was disappointed to see entire paragraphs from a report he submitted to the Mayor published verbatim in “Mayor Mutchler’s Affordable Housing Survey” without crediting him or WCAR as the source.
- Ramon Llanos, candidate for city council, got a few laughs after beginning by saying, “I promise this is going to be the last time I will talk about toilets.” Llanos suggested doing a study to determine effective methods for reducing toilet water use. He also volunteered to be a guinea pig for an experiment to plumb his house so that the only water used in the toilets would come from captured rainwater.
Councilmember Kate Bishop read the mayor’s mental health awareness month proclamation (PDF).
The City’s legislative lobbyist Brian Enslow provided a pre-legislative session presentation. He detailed the new political make-up of the legislature, economic uncertainties and expected progressive agenda items. He encouraged city staff to continue to work with legislators for an estimated $175k matching funding for a Star Park shelter.
Capital Projects Manager Katy Radder presented where they were at on a number of different projects around the city.
- Ferndale Terrace Stormwater Improvement Project – Wrapping up design elements and will be pursuing permitting next.
- Nordic to Scout Water Line Extension Project – At the 90% design stage. Hoping to receive BNSF permitting complete soon.
- Pump Station 19 Decommissioning – Easements have been set and they are moving forward with design. Work will likely coincide with some of the Thornton Street project.
- Complete streets – Rapid Flashing Beacon crossing at Vista Drive and Thornton Street. Working to come up with a design contract.
- Thornton Street between Vista Drive and Malloy Avenue Project – Solicited statements of qualifications from engineering firms. Will select a design firm from responses.
- 1st Avenue and Main Street Pedestrian Safety Project – This project is complete except for the installation of a Rapid Flashing Beacon system. Puget Sound Energy will be doing that and they have been told by PSE to expect to wait 22 weeks for the work to be done.
- Thornton Street Overpass – All right-of-way acquisitions have been completed. Received construction funding approval through Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). This authorizes going out to bid for construction. BNSF completed their review for construction. Still a lot of work to do but things are moving ahead. Ads for bids will go out Wednesday, October 23rd, and be out for about 4 weeks.
City Administrator Jori Burnett presented to the council a request from the LaBounty family whose predecessors were local pioneers and for whom LaBounty Drive is thought to be named after. The family has asked the city to correct the street signs that read “Labounty” instead of “LaBounty.” While most of the signs have all upper-case lettering, two over Main Street are in mixed-case and use a lower-case “b.” It was recommended that up to $2,000 be set aside to make the changes and that could either be done this year or next year. Council approved the recommendation by unanimous vote.
Burnett also presented a recommendation to council about foregoing direct collection of a .0073% tax rebate for affordable housing purposes. Instead, he said, they should allow Whatcom County to act as the regional collector and distributor of .0146% of the local sales and use tax rebate. This revenue is earmarked to be used for affordable housing purposes. Burnett estimated the city would collect twice as much revenue as long as the County applies an equitable distribution among all the cities involved. The resolution was approved by an unanimous vote.
Community Development Director Haylie Miller announced interviews had been held and they have hired a new code enforcement officer. The new hire, Mike Catrain, has most recently been an officer for 16 years with the Ferndale Police Department. Police Chief Kevin Turner then said he was very sorry to announce Catrain was leaving his department.