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Ferndale Receives Association of Washington Cities WellCity Award for the 6th Year


For the sixth consecutive year, the City of Ferndale is recognized by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) for their commitment to employee health. The WellCity Award is given to cities that meet the AWC’s stringent WellCity standards that include investing in employee health through training, conducting annual wellness evaluations and sponsoring programs that promote healthy lifestyles.

Because of this recognition, the city receives a two percent discount on their medical premiums, that will be applied to the 2020 premiums for active employees, spouses and dependents.

City Clerk Susan Duncan spearheaded these efforts for the City, in collaboration with the City’s Wellness Committee. “This saves the city money and help us live better, healthier lives. We’re extremely proud to continue to receive this award for the sixth year running.” said Duncan.

Summary of March 4th, 2019 Council Meeting

Meeting Materials can be found by clicking here

 City Council Agenda Follow-Up March 4, 2019  
CALL TO ORDER/FLAG SALUTE/ROLL CALL    
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember G. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   APPROVED
ORDINANCE: Development Standards Modification/Land Disturbance As currently written, Chapter 19.65 of the Ferndale Municipal Code requires a permit for the removal of vegetation greater than six inches in diameter that cannot be completed exclusively with hand tools. The proposed revisions remove this language and allow an exemption for the removal of up to four trees per year on private, residential lots. Removal of trees and/or vegetation in or near probable critical areas will still require permitting. Additional proposed changes include updating the definitions of “clearing” and “land disturbing activities”, updating activity thresholds, amending fill placement and testing requirements, and updating setbacks language.  Councilmember Kennedy moved, and Councilmember Watson seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
APPROVAL: Shop Well #2 Pilot Study In 2013 a Reverse Osmosis (RO) Pilot test was completed at the City’s Water Treatment Plant to obtain approval from the Washington Department of Health for the City’s current treatment system. The City’s current well water treatment system provides a blended mix of about 40% water treated to removed manganese and 60% treated by RO to remove hardness. The new treatment system will be revised to 100% RO treatment. Because the treated product is far too soft to be usable, a remineralization step will be added. This consists of injecting carbon dioxide to temporarily acidify the water. The RO finished water is then percolated through a calcite filter to dissolve calcium and carbonate to achieve a proper balance between softness and hardness. The pilot study will be at the Shop Well #2 location. The primary objective of the pilot study is to evaluate the performance of the treatment system for removing TDS, optimizing the RO system recovery rate, re-mineralizing finished water and to refine full scale treatment design criteria. Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.               APPROVED
RESOLUTION: Department of Ecology State Revolving Fund Loan/WWTP The City is required to expand the capacity of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, (WWTP) and construction is anticipated to begin in 2019. The total cost of the project is currently estimated at $25 million. The $14,542,784 State Revolving Fund Loan with the Washington State Department of Ecology would partially fund the project. It provides a very low interest rate of 2%. Approval of the authorizing resolution will formalize the loan. Project design, administration, and management work that has occurred thus far can be billed against the loan. The loan has a funding expiration date of April 30, 2023, and repayment is not required to begin until one year after project completion or initiation of operation. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.           APPROVED
DISCUSSION: Public Notification Procedures A recent zoning text amendment included a proposed change to the Mixed-Use Commercial zone, proposing a density limit of twenty dwelling units per gross acre. A property owner with a pending application in that zone expressed concern about not having received a mailed notice related to the Public Hearing held by the Planning Commission on this matter. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the text change and forwarded it to the City Council for consideration. Because the property owner was concerned with the noticing procedure that took place, staff brought the proposed text amendment to the Planning and Land Use committee as a discussion item only. The committee placed the Mixed-Use Commercial text amendment on hold and directed staff to bring forward a summary of noticing procedures for review. After discussion with the full Council about the different types of notifications, the item was referred back to the Planning & Land Use Committee. The committee recommended that direct mailings be provided to property owners if the text change is considered substantial or material. Examples of substantial or material changes are included related to changes in uses and/or densities. The committee also recommended property owners within 300 feet be notified for rezones or substantial text amendments during the Notice of Application phase only. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.           APPROVED
RESOLUTION: Council Rules of Procedure Occasional review and/or revision to the Council Rules of Procedure provides an opportunity for Council and staff to become more familiar with the rules to ensure that the established procedures are being followed, and also to ensure compliance with state law. Careful review and revision of the rules has eliminated the areas in which there were contradictions as well as eliminating out-of-date language. The rules as proposed rely heavily on the Revised Code of Washington, Roberts Rules of Order, and best practices as recommended by registered Parliamentarian Ann MacFarlane. Councilmember K. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m.    

Notice Traffic Revisions and Possible Delays: Continuing on Thursday, February 28, 2019 until further notice

Notice Traffic Revisions and Possible Delays: Continuing on Thursday, February 28, 2019 until further notice

Intersection of Main Street and Hovander Road

Drivers should expect delays as traffic is temporarily stopped on Main Street at the intersection of Main Street and Hovander Road to safely assist trucks moving from Main Street to Hovander Road and/or Hovander Road to Main Street. This work is to complete improvements associated with a private development project. Road will remain open, and traffic only stopped when trucks are present.

Pete and Nita Harksell Receive the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Citizenship

 Pete and Nita Harksell Receive the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Citizenship

In recognition for their years of devotion to the Ferndale community, Pete and Nita Harksell were awarded the 2019 Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Citizenship at last night’s council meeting. Lifelong residents of Ferndale, the Harksells own and operate Pete’s Auto Repair which has been in business for fifty years.

But their devotion to Ferndale extends beyond their business. Pete and Nita can be found volunteering with the local Kiwanis chapter, the Old Settlers Association, the Heritage Society and serving three terms on the board of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce. Currently, Pete shares his wealth of experience with our community as a member of the Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board.

“Always kind, generous and willing to jump in and get their hands dirty to help, the Harksells exemplify what is best about Ferndale,” said Mayor Jon Mutchler.

The Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Citizenship, also called the “Fernies”, is an annual tradition from the City to recognize members of the community for their extraordinary commitment to the betterment of our city.

Summary of Feb. 19th, 2019 Council Meeting

Click here for Council Meeting Materials and Agenda

 City Council Agenda Follow-Up February 19, 2019  
CALL TO ORDER/FLAG SALUTE/ROLL CALL    
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember moved, and Councilmember seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   APPROVED
PRESENTATION: Mayor’s Citizenship Award Mayor Mutchler presented Pete and Nita Harksell with the award and highlighted some of their volunteer service, including: Kiwanis, Old Settlers Association, Ferndale Heritage Society. Pete also serves on the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a member of the Park, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board.     INFO ONLY
APPROVAL: Emergency Declaration The emergency declaration enabled each City department to enter contracts and incur obligations necessary to combat emergency situations during the snow storm to protect the public safety and to prevent further damage to property. This declaration is in addition to those filed by the State and County. Ferndale, Lynden and Blaine all filed such declarations with Whatcom County Emergency Management.  All three cities joining together increases the chance of recouping some of the expenses incurred as a result of the snow. Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the emergency declaration, removing the phrase, “pursuant to the emergency management plan.” MOTION CARRIED 6-0, Councilmember Olson abstaining.           APPROVED
DISCUSSION: Thornton Street Overpass Public Works Project Manager Katy Radder presented the different options for the retaining wall and slope wall for the Thornton Street Overpass. There are three different main options: Gabion Basket, Precast Panel, and Shotcrete. Each option comes with different price points and different provisions for settlement of the wall. By general consensus, when the project goes out to bid, bidders will be requested to submit a bid for each of the different options.       INFO ON LY
PRESENTATION OF 2019 WORK PLANS:  Finance, Public Works Finance Director Sirke Salminen presented the 2019 work plan for the Finance Department, which includes: Water/Sewer Rate StudyFunding for the Water/Wastewater Treatment Plant UpgradesComputer Capital PlanFinalize Utility Billing AuditProperty Inventory ProcessSoftware Data Cleanup   Public Works Director Kevin Renz presented the 2019 work plan for the Public Works Department, which includes: Streets: Thornton Overpass, Ferndale Terrace Design, First & Main Intersection, Crack Sealing, and Complete Streets Work PlanWater: Shop Well #2 Wellhouse Construction, Treatment Plant Upgrades, and Nordic to Scout LoopSewer: WWTP Upgrades, Pump Station #19 Decommissioning, Eber Lane Sewer, and Grandview Sewer ExtensionStormwater: Decant Facility DesignParks: Star Park Shelter, Equipment Replacement   INFO ONLY
DISCUSSION: Public Notification Procedures A recent zoning text amendment included a proposed change to the Mixed-Use Commercial zone, proposing a density limit of twenty dwelling units per gross acres. A property owner with a pending application who is located in that zone expressed concern about not having received a mailed notice related to the Public Hearing held by the Planning Commission on this matter. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the text change and forwarded it to the City Council for consideration. Because the property owner was concerned with the noticing procedure that took place, staff brought the proposed text amendment to the Planning and Land Use committee as a discussion item only. The committee placed the Mixed-Use Commercial text amendment on hold and directed staff to bring forward a summary of noticing procedures for review. After discussion with the full Council about the different types of notifications, direction was provided to staff, and this item will be placed on the next Planning and Land Use Committee meeting agenda for further discussion.           DISCUSSION ONLY
ORDINANCE: North Whatcom Poverty Task Force The City of Ferndale continues to feel the impacts of rising house prices, income inequality, homelessness and food insecurity. Since Ferndale has not made a unified effort to confront the impacts of poverty in recent memory, it is time to conduct a comprehensive study and compile a list of recommendations to prepare our community for this growing challenge. This ordinance would create a two-year task force to examine the impact of poverty on our community and identify concrete steps the City can take towards addressing these issues. The preliminary needs assessment will be completed by September 30, 2019. The task force will then develop a set of recommendations to be presented to the City Council before December 31. 2020. Councilmember K. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
RESOLUTION: Credit Card Policy The credit card policy was first adopted as one the City’s financial policies in 2008 and amended in 2016. The Finance & Administration Committee recently requested an amendment to ensure that City purchases are sent to City facilities, rather than private homes. Administration and the Mayor agree that with the changes in online purchasing, this amendment to the existing policy is prudent. As proposed, all purchases on the City’s credit card should be sent to City facilities, unless prior authorization for a home delivery is given by the department head, City Administrator, or mayor for each purchase. Councilmember Kennedy moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 5-2, Councilmembers Olson and Watson opposed.         APPROVED
SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: City of Ferndale & Early Pioneer Property Management The City acquired by eminent domain a portion of Washington Street (Parcel #390219 511062 0000) necessary to complete the Washington Street, Main to Vista project. The proposed settlement agreement provides for the City of Ferndale to pay Early Pioneer $20,000 for the property and to waive encroachment permit fees for construction o f a staircase. Councilmember Kennedy moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the settlement agreement with Early Pioneer Property Management. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.       APPROVED

Ways to Help after the Winter Storm

With the weather finally getting a little warmer and the snow on pause, it is time to begin cleaning up after the winter weather. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Roads are still slick. Whether it is slush or refrozen ice, the roads will continue to be hazardous for the next several days. Go slow, give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go and give everyone generous space, especially when turning.
  2. Clear Your Sidewalks. Per Ferndale Municipal Code, everyone is responsible for the sidewalks in front of their house and business. The snow on the sidewalks are a serious safety hazard and impede first responders trying to access homes and businesses. With the weather giving us a temporary break, now is the time to get out there with a shovel and clear those spaces for everyone’s safety.
  3. Clear your Storm Drains. As the snow melts, it is going to need to go somewhere, and that somewhere is down the storm drain. Make sure that your local storm drain is free from debris so that the melted snow can safely leave your neighborhood. Here’s a quick video to remind you what a storm drain looks like.
  4. Move Your Car. Public Works crews are plowing side streets now that our priority routes are secure. If possible, please park off the street. This allows our plows to access some of the narrower streets.
  5. No Private Plows on City Streets/Right of Way. Public Works takes every precaution possible not to damage our utilities, signs, fire hydrants and other structures. Private companies do not know where these things are and can cause serious damage to City infrastructure. If you do hire a private plow to clear your business parking lot or private street, do not stack the snow on sidewalks – see #2.
  6. Check in on your neighbors. We are small town and we shine best when we act like it. Check in on your neighbors, make sure they’ve got heat, groceries and can get in and out of their houses. This is a perfect opportunity to help each other clear sidewalks and get to know those around you.

We continue to work around the clock to deal with the aftermath of the snow storm. There may be some more snowfall in the forecast so if everyone can take this opportunity and pitch in, it will make it easier for the whole community.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our snow response, please call Communications Officer Riley Sweeney at (360) 685-2353.

February 4th, 2019 Council Meeting Summary

Meeting Materials can be found here

 City Council Agenda Follow-Up February 4, 2019  
CALL TO ORDER/FLAG SALUTE/ROLL CALL   Councilmember G. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Watson seconded, to excuse Councilmember Olson. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.  
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 6-0.   APPROVED
DESIGN/ENGINEERING CONTRACT: Ferndale Terrace  The City has received grand funding for this project from the Department of Ecology for eligible expenditures up to $250,000. At this time, the contract calls for DOE eligible expenditures of approximately $177,000. The remainder of the design work will be funded via the City’s Transportation Benefit District, stormwater, water, and sanitary sewer funds. The proposed contract amount for design for this project is $510,202. Work to acquire the necessary right-of-way will not occur until the City secures additional funding for the construction portion of this project. Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.         APPROVED
PRESENTATION OF 2019 WORK PLANS
Chief of Police Kevin Turner presented information on 2018 statistics, and provided the police department goals for 2019, including:
Department Accreditation
City Emergency Plan
Department Strategic Plan/Asset Management
Crime Mapping
Improve web page and social media presence
Body Worn Cameras  

City Clerk Susan Duncan presented the 2019 work plan for the City Clerk’s office, including the following:
Records Management and Human Resources items:
Records Inventory/Records Destruction
Scan & Toss Policy Development & Implementation
Personnel Policy Updates
Performance Evaluation Policy Development & Implementation
Union Negotiations for 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreements  

Communications Officer Riley Sweeney presented the work plan for Communications/Recreation, including:
Expand Communication Channels
Utility Rates & Infrastructure Communication
Recreation Events
Coordination of Star Park Picnic Shelter Construction
Certified Parks & Rec Professional Exam  
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
                        INFO ONLY