4 Ways to Submit Public Comments at Council Meetings During COVID-19

During this pandemic, it is more important than ever for the public to be able to share their thoughts and perspective with their elected officials. This input in an essential component of public decision-making and the City has provided several opportunities for public comment.

Tips for an Effective Public Comment:

Please include your Name and Address. This makes it easier to put your comment in the public record.
Be Brief and Specific. Share exactly what you are speaking in favor or against and why. It is better to offer 2-3 compelling points than 6-7 rambling items.
Avoid Speculation, Profanity, Slander and Accusations. This is a public proceeding and we ask all participants to be professional in their participation.

Below are the four ways in which the public can submit comments to their elected officials. The City encourage all who reside in the City of Ferndale to participate in the City’s decision-making process.

  1. Email Your Elected Officials. By far, the quickest and most direct way to provide input is to email the City Council and Mayor. Send an email to council@cityofferndale.org for the City Council or GregHansen@cityofferndale.org for the Mayor.
  2. Submit a Written Comment to be included in the Council Record. Email City Clerk Susan Duncan (susanduncan@cityofferndale.org) a statement to be included in the council minutes as public comment. Please state in your email to the City Clerk that it should be included in the written record. It must be received by 4pm on the Monday of a Council meeting at the latest to be included in that meeting’s minutes.
  3. Submit a Comment to be read aloud at a City Council Meeting. Email City Clerk Susan Duncan (susanduncan@cityofferndale.org) a statement to be read aloud as public comment. The statement must be shorter than 3 minutes when read aloud at a normal pace, this usually means a statement of 400 words or less. Please state in your email to the City Clerk that you would like the comment read aloud. It must be received by 4pm on the Monday of a Council meeting at the latest to be included in that meeting’s minutes. Public Comments submitted without a preference for inclusion in the written record or being read aloud will be included in the written record.
  4. Provide a Comment In Person During a Council Meeting with a Public Hearing. When City Council has a public hearing on the agenda (see agendas here), the City Annex will be open to visitors to provide an in-person public comment. Those who wish to offer the comment in person will be required to wear a mask and observe social distancing requirements while in the City Annex. The public comment must be shorter than 3 minutes.

For more information or questions on how to best participate in the City Council decision-making process, please contact City Clerk Susan Duncan at susanduncan@cityofferndale.org or 360-685-2354.

City Statement about Upcoming Black Lives Matter Rally on July 31st

city hall sign

The City is aware of the upcoming youth-led Black Lives Matters rally scheduled for July 31st. The City has not issued a permit for the event as Whatcom County is still in Phase 2 and gatherings over five people are not allowed, however the City has been in communication with the organizers.

For all who choose to participate, whether in support or opposition, the City strongly urges residents to practice social distancing, wear masks, obey all laws and most importantly, peacefully assemble.

“Our students have a civic right, and in my opinion, a responsibility to peacefully raise their voices and advocate for what they believe. As do all of our residents, no matter their beliefs or concerns. Wherever you stand, we are a community of neighbors. Ferndale can all agree to a respectful discourse without ugliness, intimidation or threats,” said Mayor Greg Hansen.

Ferndale Police will be on site to monitor the situation and will take action as necessary to protect the safety of the community and our residents.

Countywide partnership launches grant program for businesses impacted by COVID-19

Countywide partnership launches grant program for businesses impacted by COVID-19

CARES Act funds pooled by County and cities to boost economic recovery

Applications are being accepted beginning this week for a competitive grant program – called Whatcom ReStart – designed to support businesses and non-profits throughout Whatcom County that have been affected by COVID-19.

Whatcom ReStart will issue up to $2.6 million in general grants and another $800,000 for licensed childcare operators. For-profit and non-profit businesses and organizations impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to apply for general grants of up to $15,000 each. There is no cap on grants to support childcare.

Whatcom County and the cities of Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Sumas, Everson, Nooksack and Blaine have teamed up and combined their federal CARES Act allocations to offer this competitive grant program to assist businesses that have experienced revenue losses and expenses due to COVID-19-related closures or impacts.

The purpose of this program is to collaborate in support of local businesses and drive economic recovery. More information, including eligibility guidelines, criteria, and applications can be found on the Whatcom ReStart page of the Port of Bellingham website. Grant applications will be accepted July 16 through July 31, 2020. Funding decisions are anticipated in August and funding is expected to be disbursed in September.

“By joining forces, combining County and cities’ CARES Act funding, we are able to increase the reach and efficiencies of our response effort,” said Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu. “I am very pleased with the level of cooperation and willingness of each jurisdiction to work collaboratively for the benefit of all our communities.”

The grant program, funded by $2.6 million of federal CARES Act allocations, provides up to $15,000 to businesses employing up to 25 people prior to the pandemic to cover expenses related to losses caused by COVID-19 related closures. A portion of these funds are set aside for ground-floor, front-facing businesses in the City Center and Fairhaven Districts of Bellingham. A separate pool of $800,000 is dedicated to grants for licensed childcare businesses.

“Economic recovery is a priority throughout our COVID-19 response,” Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood said. “These grants will help businesses stabilize as they work to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. We are working together to get more of our community members back to work and to revive local businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions, so we can see our local economies thriving once again.”

“Many businesses are really struggling today, particularly our childcare industry, and need quick access to this aid,” said Ferndale Mayor Greg Hansen. “All partners recognized the time-

sensitive nature of the need and agreed that the grant application and administration should be as simple, inclusive and streamlined as possible.”

“Whatcom ReStart is designed to give a meaningful boost to local small businesses and their employees. We want these grants to have the greatest possible impact on our economy and community to foster resilience as we move forward. Both the eligibility requirements and the application scoring guidelines were developed with this in mind,” said Don Goldberg, Director of Regional Economic Partnership, which is playing a key role in the administration of the grant program.

In addition to these business and economic response efforts, CARES Act funding has also been dedicated to support the public emergency response, food and housing security, and services and facilities to those living unsheltered.

For more information about Whatcom ReStart, visit https://www.portofbellingham.com/933/Whatcom-Restart

Ferndale Celebrates 125th Old Settlers Picnic Anniversary with Original Video Production

Whatcom Old Settlers Variety Show Available Online July 22nd

With the Old Settlers Weekend cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the City of Ferndale and the Whatcom Old Settlers Association are releasing a video celebration of Ferndale’s history and culture. Dubbed the Whatcom Old Settlers Variety Show, this production includes a video tour of the historic Pioneer Village cabins, a concert from High Mountain String Band, interviews about Old Settlers Picnics of yesteryear, an inside look at the historic 2019 Paddle to Lummi event and an original radio drama set in 1932 Ferndale.

“We couldn’t let this historic landmark, the 125th anniversary of the Old Settlers Picnic, pass us by,” said Mayor Greg Hansen. “This is our opportunity to tell our story about the history of our community and celebrate the things that make Ferndale our special place by the river.”

“We are looking forward to next year when we can bring back the Old Settlers Weekend,” said Lynda Lucas, President of the Whatcom Old Settlers Association. “But in the meantime, we wanted to do something special to tide us over.”

The Whatcom Old Settlers Variety Show will be available to stream online at www.cityofferndale.org starting Weds. July 22nd.

For questions and more information, please contact Communications Officer Riley Sweeney at 360-685-2353 or rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org.

Seeking Grant Applications for 2021 Tourism Activities

Do you have a good idea for some tourism-related activities? We are now accepting applications for our Hotel-Motel Grant Program!

This program uses funds collected when people stay at local hotels, motels or RV parks to help encourage additional tourism in Ferndale.

Funding from the program may be used, directly by local jurisdictions, or indirectly through a convention and visitors bureau or destination marketing organization, for the marketing and operations of special events and festivals and to support the operations and capital expenditures of tourism-related facilities owned by nonprofit organizations described under section 501(c)(3) and section 501(c)(6) of the internal revenue code of 1986, as amended.

The Hotel-Motel Grant Program is managed by the Deputy City Clerk, and recommendations on funding are made by the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee to the City Council, which has final say over allocation of funding.

DEADLINE IS JULY 31st, 2020. No exceptions. You can find the application here.

Please send all completed applications and any questions to Deputy City Clerk Sherry DeJong by email here.

Note – the application has been updated from previous years to reduce the paperwork burden, please read through the new requirements if you are a returning applicant.

Community Organized Parade for 2020 Seniors Set for this Friday

This Friday starting at 7:45pm, graduating Seniors will parade through downtown Ferndale on their way to the graduation celebration at Ferndale High School. This parade is organized by the Senior Class Parent group in consultation with the City of Ferndale, the Ferndale Police Department and the Ferndale School District.

Participants will line up in the Pioneer Parking lot, and overflowing to the Phillip 66 ballfields, at 7:30pm before making their way to Main Street and continuing on through to Ferndale High School.

All participants are advised to practice social distancing during this time and should remain in their vehicles. Practice 6’ separation from other families, and wear masks when such distancing is impractical. Volunteers will be there to help facilitate. Students may drive themselves, have a parent or other driver, and/or may ride together with no more than four people to a car, as per Washington State Phase II requirements.

All vehicles and occupants must follow existing traffic regulations, including observing traffic signals and lights, yielding to pedestrians, wearing seatbelts, observing posted speed limits, and avoiding stoppage during the parade route. Be aware that businesses will still be operating including pick up services for restaurants.

Family and community members are invited to come out and cheer our Seniors on along the parade route. Spectators will need to stay on the sidewalks, not enter the roadway to greet the participants, and should not stop traffic for photos.

Prior to the parade, graduates and their families are encouraged to grab a bite to eat from one of Ferndale’s great restaurants downtown, either dine in or take out.

For those traveling through the City during this time, please utilize alternative routes if possible and obey all traffic direction provided.

Recreate Safely in Ferndale’s Parks

Everyone knows it is going to be beautiful this weekend but remember to give your friends and neighbors plenty of space. Gatherings are not permitted at this time. Explore our parks, take in the fresh air but save the picnics, frisbee and toddler playdates for later. Thank you for your patience and enjoy the sunshine!

Summer Activities Cancelled in Ferndale

Yesterday, the Whatcom Unified Command, which includes the Whatcom County Health Department, issued a recommendation to cancel all summer activities to limit the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, the City is cancelling Old Settlers’ Weekend, the Ferndale Street Festival, the Parks and Recreation activities and all other large gatherings and events through August 31st, 2020. This was done in consultation with the organizing committees of these events.

Press release from Whatcom Unified Command included below:

Whatcom Unified Command (WUC), which includes the Whatcom County Health Department as a lead partner, is working to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 locally. Consistent with that key objective, and in line with recent simulation models, the Health Department recommends cancellation of summer events throughout Whatcom County.

In a letter to community leaders today, April 14, Erika Lautenbach, Whatcom County Health Department director, noted that work already underway to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has been showing results.

“We see positive effects of the efforts to contain the virus, in large part due to the social distancing measures put into place in March,” said Lautenbach. Governor Jay Inslee initially announced his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order on March 23; on April 2, he extended the order through May 4.
Modeling presented by the Health Department on April 13 indicate Whatcom County is “on the downside of the first wave of COVID-19 spread locally. Scenarios suggest that with continued social distancing, the next wave could be mitigated as well. However, if group gatherings resume too soon, the virus’ spread could be deadlier.

Lautenbach said that’s why she recommends that all summer events – including parades, community festivals and fireworks displays – should be cancelled.

“I recognize that this recommendation creates considerable disappointment,” said Lautenbach. “However, the long-term health of our community and our economy could be further damaged if we move too quickly to resume the activities that we know will put us at risk.”

For more information on COVID-related recommendations, visit the Whatcom County Health Department COVID-19​ webpage. For updates on WUC work to prevent the spread of the novel virus, visit WhatcomCOVID.com or the Whatcom Unified Command: COVID-19 Facebook page​.

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