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Final 2019 City Council meeting sets new utility rates, overpass contractor and 2 new downtown projects

Mayor Jon Mutchler poses with a plaque recognizing his 4-year term with City Administrator Jori Burnett (December 16, 2019). Photo: Ben O'Brine

FERNDALE, Wash. — The Ferndale City Council held its final meeting for 2019 last night, December 16th. It was the final meeting for Mayor Jon Mutchler and Councilmembers Rebecca Xczar, Greg Hansen (Mayor Elect), Keith Olsen, and Teresa Taylor.

The Council made 3 long-term decisions during the meeting. The first was to award the Thornton Road Over Pass Construction Project Construction Contract, second to increase Utility rates, and lastly, approve 2 new Catalyst Project developments.

Council Member Greg Hansen (Mayor Elect) attended the meeting remotely.

Strider Construction has been awarded the contract to construct the Thornton Street Overpass. Strider Construction’s submitted bid of $15,077,000.40 met the city requirements. Council agreed to a 10% contingency fund of less than $1,512,999.60. “Thus the total amount of the contract and contingency will be $16,590,000.00,” Jori Burnett said his report to the council. This was approved unanimously.

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Council then voted to select a utility rate plan using information and recommendations from an independent utility rate review. Staff reported the objectives of the utility rates ordinance changes were to cover the costs of service, provide predictable billing and equitable cost distribution and encourage conservation. Council Member Kate Bishop made the motion to accept City staff’s recommendation for revised water and sewer rates, Ryan O’Larey seconded. The motion passed 5 to 2 with Keith Olsen and O’Larey opposed.

The final 2 qualified Downtown Catalyst Program projects were brought before the Council for approval and both were approved. Another project was presented to Council at the prior meeting and was approved. All three Catalyst Projects have further permits and obstacles ahead and, should all be met, these buildings will be open by the summer of 2022.

The first of the 2 projects discussed was The Alder Plaza, situated at the corner of 4th Avenue and Alder Street, is a mixed use 27 residential condominium units above 7,869 square feet of commercial space. The roof’s top deck will be open to the public during business hours. The developer will also improve the road on the south side, adding sidewalks, public parking, and public space.

The second project discussed was The Boulos Towers, located on the west side of the library and it includes two buildings. 1 is a 3-story commercial building along Main Street and the other a 5-story residential condominium, tucked behind, with two floors of parking and 3 floors with 41 3- and 2-bedroom condominium units. This project adds usable public space to enhance the library, including a large gazebo.

In recognition of outgoing Mayor Jon Mutchler, the public was invited to share their thanks for his service. Mutchler was thanked by many, including Linda Quinn, Superintendent of the Ferndale School District, and 42nd Legislative District Representative Luanne Van Werven.

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