Mark your calendar and be sure to join like minded citizens for an enlightening session at the Whatcom County Council meeting at 7:00 pm this coming Tuesday evening, December 5 at the County Courthouse, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, 1st floor in the Council Chambers. Come early for a good seat. During “Open Session”, let Council know share your thoughts on their recent attempt to eliminate district voting for your County Council representatives before the system has completed the transition to five new districts. Or simply be there to show support and to let Council know that “business as usual” is a thing of the past.
PROPOSED NEW LANGUAGE THEY WANT TO ADD TO THE COUNTY CODE :
Whatcom County Council Agenda Bill # 2017-352, an ordinance which would significantly change the way County Council conducts its business. Ordinances may also be scheduled for council consideration without committee assignment or public hearing, if appropriate, editor’s emphasis here. Following committee report or public hearing closure, if applicable, an ordinance that has been properly introduced and scheduled on the agenda may be considered by the full council.
Special Committee of the Whole Meeting – Beginning at 2:15 pm Tuesday, December 5, in the County Council Chambers, Council has scheduled a special Committee of the Whole meeting, where all seven Council members are required to be present. Two potentially significant items are scheduled for discussion at that meeting:
- The timeline for filling the vacant position created by Todd Donovan’s recent election (see AB2017-389)
- A “discussion”, now public, with Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Civil Affairs, Dan Gibson about interpretations of the County Charter, and voter intent.
- What will Councilmember Browne ask of County Attorney, Dan Gibson? Councilman Browne was not pleased with the results of last Tuesday;s public comments when you showed up.
Critical Areas Ordinance Update – Public Hearing – The long-awaited public hearing concerning the proposed CAO Update, AB2016-276L, will take place during Tuesday’s evening meeting.
A requirement stemming from our state’s Growth Management Act, the county’s Critical Areas Ordinances (CAO). They are a shining example of where public controls are needed to restrain a sometimes over-zealous local version of an “administrative state.” To date, Council’s draft ordinance appears to fall short in several areas and will significantly impact rural property owners and farmers.
Editors Note: Why did they wait so long to take public comment and why now during the holiday season when most of the community is focused on holiday events, not public policy changes?
Other Topics of High Interest –
There will be a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to establish a new special taxing district covering all properties located within the Lake Whatcom watershed. AB2017-215C proposes to establish the entirely new “Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility District”, aka a property tax increase. Critics are questioning the need for this new layer of taxing authority, the amount of public scrutiny the proposal has yet to receive, and how money raised will get used. This solution seeks to tax the properties over the next 50 years to the tune of $100 Million dollars and maybe will achieve the benchmark set by the Department of Ecology. There are other ideas out there that have a greater probability of success and will cost far less than to the local taxpayers and greatly benefit the economy.
Link to article: Low DO Solution for Lake Whatcom, by EJ Ledet and Richard Bauman
Retiring Councilmember Carl Weimer has proposed an ordinance to establish a new “Whatcom County Climate Impact Advisory Committee” (AB2017-351). In his list of “Whereas” findings to justify why he thinks this proposed new law is needed, Mr. Weimer repeatedly cites the 2015 United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change, an international treaty from which the United States has withdrawn its participation. Is this yet another example of our current County Council bending to the wishes of outspoken special interest groups, many located far away from Whatcom County?
“Does County government really need such an advisory committee to fulfill its many local responsibilities?”
We ask, you decide #wakeupwhatcom . CTNW Email Blast – Please Share