Citizen Journalism: Port of Bellingham Meeting Report for Nov. 20, 2018
The public meeting was called to order at 2:30 pm and immediately recessed to a closed executive session so board members could discuss pending litigation and potential real estate transactions pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(c). The meeting reconvened at 4:30 pm. Board President Ken Bell, Vice President Bobby Briscoe and Secretary Michael Shepard were all present. No action was taken during the closed executive session.
Video of the full November 20, 2018 Port Commission Meeting
Nine items were on the consent agenda. Approvals on a 3-0 vote were the following:
- Approve the minutes of the November 6, 2018 regular Commission meeting.
- Approve modifications to the Bellingham International Airport Tariff Schedule for fiscal year 2019.
- Authorize the Executive Director to execute a one year extension and modification of the janitorial maintenance service agreement with SP Plus Corporation for the Bellingham International Airport (BLI).
- Approve the Renewal & Modification of Lease(s) between the Port of Bellingham and NW Explorations LLC for premises in the Squalicum Esplanade Building at Squalicum Harbor and premises in the Marina Square Building at Squalicum Harbor.
- Authorize the Executive Director to execute an Interlocal Agreement between the Port of Bellingham and the City of Bellingham for the installation, maintenance and repairs of communication equipment as requested.
- Authorize the Executive Director to execute a Consultant Agreement with PH Consulting, LLC for the Harris Avenue railroad crossing modifications project.
- For notification purposes only, Small Works Roster pursuant to Resolution No. 1358A- Airport Electrical Improvements- Henden Electric, Squalicum Storage Yard- Carman’s Construction.
- Approve the Consent to Assignment of Airport Industrial Park Lease from The Puget Hound LLC to Royal Paw Resort LLC for Binding Site Plan No. 3A, Airport Industrial Park.
- Authorize the Executive Director to approve payment of invoices to the Department of Natural Resources for two Aquatic Lands Harbor Leases for the period December 1, 2018 through November 30, 2019.
Blaine Tax Exemption Update- Michael Jones, City Manager for the City of Blaine
Blaine City Manager Michael Jones told the commission about the multifamily housing development tax exemption that the city is considering. Changes in state law allow cities to designate target areas where they wish to incentivize multifamily housing development. The city hopes to encourage building multifamily housing units in the underdeveloped and undeveloped properties in downtown Blaine. It could establish an 8-year property tax exemption for multifamily housing units. The Port would also not be collecting taxes on those multifamily units during that 8-year period, although Jones said the tax impact would be small.
Alan Birdsall, Manager of Marinas, said staff are moving forward with the Commission’s directions to boot out weblocker users that are not active commercial fishers to make room those who are active. There are a total of 66 lockers in Blaine Harbor and 186 in Squalicum Harbor that are subsidized by the Port. Birdsall says 75-80 percent of current locker tenants have not provided proof of ACF license for 2 years and may not be active commercial fishers. They have sent out a first round of notices and have received some responses, and they will send out a second round of notices soon.
Public Hearing –
The Commission then held a public hearing on the 2019 Port’s Strategic Budget. Jim Kyle, Vice President of the Working Waterfront Coalition, said he supports the 2019 draft budget as written, and that it “contains objectives that strongly support commercial fishing and the marine trades alongside other Port responsibilities.” He says it will ensure that the port doesn’t switch over to condos as other port’s did before the Great Recession.
Action Items –
First Item: Adopt Resolution No. 1377 approving the Port of Bellingham 2019 Strategic Budget and Resolution No. 1378 authorizing the regular property tax levy and maintaining the maximum levy capacity. Passed 3-0.
Second Item: Establish the Dates, Times and Location of Regular Port Commission
Meetings for 2019. One meeting date was changed. Passed 3-0.
Third Item: Authorize the Executive Director to execute the necessary contracts and employment practices for the Renewal of Port of Bellingham 2019 Employee Benefits Program. Elizabeth Monahan, Human Resources Director, gave a presentation on the program and said small changes to the 2019 Medical Plan Design will increase benefits for employees and result in a 0.23% rate increase. Passed 3-0.
Fourth Item: Authorize the Executive Director to execute a Settlement and Mutual Release Agreement with the estate of Carl Westman for remediation costs at the Westman Marine Cleanup Site. Ben Howard, Environmental Project Manager for the Port, gave a presentation on the history of the site. Attorney Holly Stafford said they have struck a deal with the estate’s insurance company, and they are now drafting the Cleanup Action Plan. Passed 3-0.
Fifth Item: Authorize the Executive Director to execute an Energy Services Authorization under the Interagency Agreement with the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services Energy Program for a solar panel installation at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. Port Environmental Specialist Adrienne Hegedus said the next step in the project will be an investment grade audit. Passed 3-0.
Sixth Item: Authorize the Executive Director to execute an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Bellingham for installation, operation and maintenance of Port fiber conduit for Roeder Avenue and C Street. Adam Fulton, Director of Facilities, said this Interlocal Agreement would reimburse the City for installing conduit for high-speed fiber optic cables along a section of Roeder Avenue when it replaces the street and sidewalks next year. This will bridge other areas where the Port has fiber conduit installed. Fulton said the high-speed fiber network will help attract high-tech companies to the Port. Passed 3-0.
Seventh Item: Authorize the Executive Director to execute a 2018-2020 Interlocal Agreement between the Port of Bellingham and the Public Utility District Interlocal (PUD) for the purpose of developing strategic plans on infrastructure needs and rural broadband. Gina Stark, Communications and Research Coordinator, said this agreement would include an updated study for a strategic master plan for Cherry Point. Passed 3-0.
Other Business –
Commissioner Bobby Briscoe asked for updates about the Whatcom Waterway Cleanup Project and a possible barge terminal project. Commissioner Ken Bell talked about a possible new fish hatchery program.
Meeting was adjourned at 6:23 pm.
– Submitted by a Citizen Journalist for Common Threads NW