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Here is what’s on Monday’s City Council meeting agenda

Ferndale City Council meeting audience (September 17, 2018). Photo: My Ferndale News

The following letter to Ferndale City Councilmembers is provided courtesy of Ferndale City Administrator Jori Burnett. It provides summaries, and background in some cases, of the items on the meeting agenda for the regular City Council meeting scheduled for 6pm, Monday, May 20th.

As Burnett points out, a council workshop will precede the regular meeting. This will begin at 5:30pm.

Councilmembers –

Your agenda for Monday night is as follows:

Study Session: Finance Director Sirke Salminen will present the first of several Financial Workshops to the City Council and the general public. The first workshop will focus on debt. These workshops are intended to provide the opportunity to learn more about financial concepts involving the City in an informal setting, separate from specific decision items. These workshops will lead into the budget process this fall, and council and the general public will be invited to ask questions.
Staff intends to make these optional workshops a regular or semi-regular feature, with the potential to expand into other departments. Councilmembers and the general public may request additional subjects, and may contact the Mayor or City Administrator with suggestions. If power points or handouts are created for the workshops, the City will also store these resources on the City website for future use and review.

Item B: Consent Agenda. – Approval of Council minutes, authorization of payroll, approval of April 2019 claims. – Budget Amendment Ordinance – the Finance and Administration Committee has placed a budget amendment on the consent agenda. The amendment would allow the City to spend $130,000 ($52,000 each from Water and Sewer; $26,000 from Storm and Flood Control), for the FCS utility rate study. The study has been previously authorized by Council, and this amendment reflects that approval.

Item C: Selection of Mayor Pro Tempore. Former councilmember Cathy Watson served the City as Mayor Pro Tempore, and her resignation leaves that position open. Pursuant to Ferndale Municipal Code 2.07.040, the Mayor Pro Tempore shall temporarily assume the duties of the mayor in cases of the absence, death, or incapacitation of the mayor. The Council is responsible for identifying one of its members to fill that role. Candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by another councilmember, and a majority vote of those present is required.

Item D: Presentation by Susan Marks, Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence. Ms. Marks will provide the City’s annual update on regional efforts to combat sexual and domestic violence, including information on Ferndale.

Item E: Introduction of new SCOPE Officer. Chief Kevin Turner will introduce Judee Leppala as the City’s newest SCOPE officer.

Item F: Kope Road Vacation Request (Public Hearing). The Lummi Nation has requested that the City of Ferndale vacate Kope Road, a City of Ferndale roadway, west of Rural Avenue. As documented in the accompanying staff report the Lummi Nation has satisfied or is close to satisfying the procedural requirements of the vacation, and both parties continue to work closely on the associated project. Per code, following the public hearing the City shall complete an appraisal on the property. Once this appraisal is completed, the matter would return to the Council as soon as the June 3rd meeting for a final decision.

Item G: Thornton Street Overpass Project Eminent Domain Ordinance (Public Hearing). The City continues to negotiate with property owners in order to acquire property rights necessary for the construction of the Thornton Street Overpass Project. The adoption of the Eminent Domain Ordinance will provide the City with the ability to obtain possession and use of the property needed for the project and will better-ensure that the City meets the timelines that have been established for bidding and construction. The adoption of the ordinance will not suspend the negotiations currently underway between the City and these property owners, and the ordinance will preserve the owner’s rights for just compensation. Similar ordinances were approved for the City’s Main Street and Church Street projects.

Item H: RMH (Residential Multifamily – High) Adoption (Public Hearing). The City proposes the adoption of a new multifamily zone that is intended to replace parts of the Residential Office (RO) and Residential Multifamily (RM 1.5) zones that have been in place for several decades. The zone would be applied to areas around the Downtown Core and in Griffintown, and while the uses and overall goal of the zones do not depart significantly from the existing zones, it is the belief of Staff and the Planning Commission that the new zone addresses many of the real or perceived shortcomings that prevented the realization of the existing zones. The zone follows on the 2018 adoption of the RMM (Residential Multifamily – Medium) zone, and includes several of the same principles, specifically an emphasis on minimum and maximum densities as well as design standards – as opposed to the existing zones, which emphasized the separation of uses and more-rigid dimensional requirements.

Items I-L: Mayor, Council, and Department Reports; Committee Minutes

Item M: Executive Session – RCW 42.30.110(i). An Executive Session to discuss with legal counsel representing the agency in litigation or potential litigation. Action may be taken following the Executive Session.


Lastly, by 5pm on Monday, the community will know the slate of candidates who have stepped forward to represent their friends and neighbors, and to lead Ferndale into the future. These individuals will be asked to define what it means to combine those two, sometimes-contradictory traits: representation and leadership.

There are few individuals that are better examples of citizen leaders than Cathy Watson. Ms. Watson, at all times, wished for the best for the City of Ferndale and strived to represent those whose voices were not always heard or who did not or could not speak loudly enough to be heard. Councilmember Watson also provided much-needed leadership not only as a councilmember but as a volunteer in the community, a role that will continue in the future. Cathy was instrumental in finding solutions to a variety of community problems, and put every ounce of her being into these efforts.

And still the City’s business continues. The City Council and Staff Department Heads held a retreat on May 6th. At this retreat we collectively resolved to improve our communication efforts, between Council and Staff, and between the City and the larger community. Further, the group set a number of goals in order to make the remainder of 2019 as successful as possible.

These changes will not occur overnight, but increased outreach such as Monday’s Financial Workshop, utility rate study webpages, informational videos, quarterly newsletters, quarterly “committees of the whole,” and more are intended to make the City more transparent, more efficient, and better.

See you Monday!

– Jori

Documents related to the agenda items are available by clicking here.

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

One Comment

  1. Aron Thompson May 19, 2019

    Wow, how do the homeowners of Thornton feel about the threat of Eminent Domain during negotiations? Folks, this is the type of Soviet style elected leadership you can change if you run for office, campaign for others, and absolutely vote…

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