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City of Ferndale Public Works Directory Kevin Renz addresses the City Council (June 3, 2019). Photo: My Ferndale News

Here’s what is on the Ferndale City Council agenda for Tuesday’s meeting

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, Tuesday, September 3rd. The public is welcome to attend.

As noted, a City Council workshop is scheduled for 5pm, before the regular meeting.

Councilmembers –

Your agenda for TUESDAY night is as follows:


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5:00pm Workshop (one hour): Finance Director Sirke Salminen and City Administrator Jori Burnett will provide a background and potential options on funding for new or expanded City facilities (City Hall, Municipal Court, Council Chambers). In August, the City Council determined that relocation to the Old Main building at Ferndale High School was not appropriate, but made clear that new facilities were needed in the near future, including interim improvements to one or both facilities. Although specific funding requirements will clearly be tied to individual location(s) and design, Staff believes it is appropriate to discuss funding at a high level at this point. The workshop is intended to explore funding possibilities and strategies, and to provide Staff and the Council with direction on a financing plan for these facilities moving forward. No final decision is anticipated.

Item A: Public Comment

Item B: Consent Agenda, including approval of August 19th Council Meeting Minutes, August 20th payroll, an ordinance approving modifications to Ferndale Municipal Code 12.26 (Park Rules), and the renewal of a contract with City Lobbyist Brian Enslow (Arbutus Consulting), for three years.

– The Park Rules were last amended in 2009, and the proposed changes seek to update, rather than to substantially change, these regulations. These rules apply to all public parks within the City, with additional regulations, allowances, or restrictions that may be specific to individual parks. At the request of the Finance and Administration Committee, the chapter has been modified to reflect State law pre-empting local jurisdictions from prohibiting the licensed carry of a firearm in public parks.

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– The City’s contract with Arbutus Consulting is due to expire in September 2019. The draft contract would extend the relationship through the end of 2022, and includes compensation escalators. The City has asked Brian Enslow to provide Ferndale with a larger presence in Olympia, and Mr. Enslow has responded well, successfully advocating for the Ferndale community on legislative and financial issues. The draft contract reflects the expectation that Mr. Enslow will continue to work to see that elected and non-elected decisionmakers in Olympia are not only aware of Ferndale’s needs and goals, but are well-informed and are even advocates for this community.

Item C: 2019 Permits Update: Community Development Director Haylie Miller and Assistant Planner Jesse Ashbaugh will update Council on private development applications in 2019. 2019 has been a busy year both in terms of the number of permits that have been applied for as well as the nature of the applications that have been received. Private development is and will continue to be a primary driver of City activities for the foreseeable future, and Ferndale continues to experience a higher growth rate than nearly any city in Northwest Washington, consistent with growth projections associated with the Growth Management Act.

Item D: Resolution Denouncing White Supremacy (Amended) – on August 19th the Ferndale City Council approved a resolution denouncing white supremacy. This earlier resolution included a “hidden message” that implied a profanity. The Council has requested that the resolution be amended to remove this hidden message.

Item E: Declaration of Admonishment – In response to a grievance filed against Councilmember Olson by a City staff member, the Ferndale City Council has determined that Councilmember Keith Olson has engaged in conduct of a discriminatory and harassing nature. The Council has asked that a declaration of admonishment be read into the record, and that any such acts must cease.

Item F-I: Mayor, Council, and Department Reports; Committee Minutes


Finally, September 2nd is Labor Day, which places our Council meeting on Tuesday. Labor Day is often viewed as the unofficial end of summer, but its origins date back to 1887, when Oregon became the first state to make the day a public holiday in celebration of workers. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894.

On Thursday August 29th, City department heads treated all City staff to an employee picnic at Pioneer Village, the first such all-staff celebration in several years. Employees were recognized for their service, collectively (it is estimated that the collective City staff represents nearly 1,000 years of service to Ferndale), and individually (staff anniversaries were celebrated).

The staff of a small city is a fascinating microcosm of society in general, representing a variety of different disciplines, work styles, career paths, and personalities. For the most part, the jobs within a small city are good jobs: stable, and fairly compensated. They are also challenging jobs, not only due to the nature of the work itself, but because the work that is performed is for the benefit (and is paid for) by the community. We are a microcosm of society, and we are – as we should be – sometimes under a microscope.

Some staff have sought their position with the goal of public service in mind; others have taken their jobs for other reasons and have grown to understand their responsibility to the community. And while some have found that public service is not their career path and have moved on, in my experience at the City, each of our staff takes their role as a public employee (not a public doormat) seriously.

Can we improve?
And we will.

Council, you and this community are well-served by your professional City staff.

See you Tuesday – 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.

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