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 21st. The public is welcome to attend.
Your agenda for Monday night is as follows:
Item A: Public Comment
Item B: Consent Agenda, including approval of October 7, 2019 Council Meeting Minutes, October 4, 2019, September 2019 claims, Surplus of Cedar Creek Playground Equipment.
– Surplus Resolution, Cedar Creek Playground Equipment: Earlier this month, the community celebrated the installation of new playground equipment at Cedar Creek Park. The Council is asked to adopt a resolution to surplus the original equipment which has passed its useful life. The resolution provides for the possibility of a third party acquiring the equipment for its scrap value or potential re-use. Should a third party not be interested, the City would properly dispose of the materials.
Item C: Proclamation, Mental Health Awareness Month – The North County Poverty Task Force has requested that Ferndale proclaim October 2019 to be Mental Health Awareness Month. It is estimated that nearly twenty percent of Americans suffer from depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; this does not include the millions of Americans who struggle with mental wellness on a consistent or periodic basis.
Item D: Presentation, Brian Enslow, City Lobbyist – Brian Enslow will provide the City Council with a preview of the upcoming legislative session and will request feedback from the City Council on initiatives that he should pursue in Olympia. City Staff will also meet with Mr. Enslow prior to the meeting to discuss opportunities for engagement with elected officials and career staff in Olympia.
Item E: Capital Projects Update – Capital Projects Manager Katy Radder will provide her monthly update on the City’s ongoing and future capital projects.
Item F: Discussion, LaBounty Signs/ 2020 Budget – The Public Works Committee forwarded a discussion of potential City funding to replace several street signs that misspell the LaBounty family name. Staff has estimated that the signs could be replaced by the City for approximately $2,000 or less, funded most likely as part of the 2020 budget. The Public Works Committee expressed a desire to resolve the issue as cost-effectively as possible, with a cost not to exceed $2,000, and wished to further discuss the matter with the full Council present.
Item G: Resolution, Affordable Housing – The Finance and Administration Committee forwarded a resolution that would indicate the City’s desire to forego the collection of a .0073% tax rebate for affordable housing purposes, allowing Whatcom County to act as the regional collector and distributor of .0146% of the local sales and use tax, for affordable housing purposes. The collection does not represent a new tax; rather, it is a rebate from Washington State to the local jurisdiction (as proposed, Whatcom County). Whatcom County has the ability to effectively double the collection rate as 3 compared to Ferndale; the authorizing statute (Substitute House Bill 1406) allows the higher .0146 percent rebate for a “Participating county within the unincorporated areas of the county and any city that declares they will not levy the sales and use tax authorized under this section or does not adopt a resolution in accordance with this section.”
Council committee members expressed concern that the small cities would not have a meaningful say in the distribution of the rebate. Language has been added to the City’s ordinance expressing the City’s expectation for meaningful representation and/or the opportunity to advocate for Ferndale-specific projects. County Staff have responded favorably to this request and have also indicated that the membership of the Housing Advisory Committee will be modified in the near future, which will provide an opportunity for potential modification, including membership considerations.
Item H-K: Mayor, Council, and Department Reports, Committee Minutes.
While there is one more council meeting before the General Election on November 4th, the October 21st meeting is in many ways the last meeting for the annual end-of-the-year push. There will be a series of decisions that this council will be asked to make that will shape the City for the next generation.
Very few councils have had the opportunity or responsibility that this council will have.
And we as Staff believe that it is a good thing that it is this council that is asked to make these consequential decisions. As has been noted, this council has not always seen things the same way – 7-0 votes have been somewhat rare. And again, that is often a good thing. This council has not been afraid to debate issues or to advocate for positions.
These fierce conversations, between councilmembers and between councilmembers and Staff, represent the fact that Ferndale is changing, rapidly. A fierce but respectful conversation on an issue of great import to the community is what our citizens expect and demand of both Staff and their elected representatives – provided that the conversation is followed by the right decision, no matter how difficult it may be.
We look forward to the next two months, and the discussions that will help decide important issues such as the City’s 2020 budget, utility rate modifications, the City’s catalyst program, the City’s re-investment plan, and more. And we as Staff wish to thank this council for always remembering their duty to the taxpayer to manage the public’s money in a manner that addresses not only short-term needs, but increasingly manages and sustainably plans for the long-term needs of the community.
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.