Councilmember Greg Hansen Receives Certificate of Municipal Leadership

Councilmember Greg Hansen

This month, the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) awarded Councilmember Greg Hansen a Certificate of Municipal Leadership in recognition of his service, leadership and educational achievements. The program recognizes,  “Mayors and councilmembers who continue to strive for excellence by attending conferences and trainings, serving their community, and further developing leadership skills.”

Hansen, who has been on the City Council since 2016, serves as the council liaison to the Chamber of Commerce, Ferndale Community Coalition, represents the council on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. For his day job, he teaches Hospitality and Tourism Management and Business Administration at Whatcom Community College.

“This program provides a fantastic grounding in the best practices for any city, large or small. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from some of the best people in the state.” said Hansen. “That said, interacting with my peers across the state reinforced my belief that we are well ahead of the curve here in Ferndale on so many issues.”

City officials receive the Certificate of Municipal Leadership after earning 30 credits  AWC trainings and demonstrating community service.

Seeking Grant Applications for 2020 Tourism Activities

Seeking Grant Applications for 2020 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 Communications Officer, 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 29th, 2019. No exceptions. You can find the application here.

If you have questions, please contact Communications Officer Riley Sweeney at (360) 685-2353 or by e-mail.

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.

Ferndale Police Department Debuts Online Crime Map

Using the latest digital tools available, the Ferndale Police Department and the City have launched an interactive online crime map of Ferndale. For the public, this provides even greater transparency, allowing residents to explore 911 calls in their area. For the Ferndale Police Department, this provides them with a critical tool to identify hot spots for Patrol activities, and for detectives to explore a sudden crime trend and work to prevent future criminal activity.

 “This gives our officers a bird’s-eye-view of recent incidents to compliment our boots on the ground experience,” said Police Chief Kevin Turner. “If we see a sudden rash of break-ins in one specific area, we can put extra officers in that neighborhood.”

The City of Ferndale continues to set the standard for transparency and access to public information. Currently, the public can access everything from employee contracts to city credit card reports online through their public documents page. The crime map provides a fresh way for residents to access information about their community.

According to FBI statistics, in 2018 Ferndale became the 21st safest city in Washington. In the last twelve years, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Ferndale Police Department, crime has been cut by 65%.

The crime map can be accessed online by clicking here.

Finance Workshop May 20th, 5:30pm at Council Chambers

Curious about the city finances? City Finance Director Sirke Salminen will be hosting a series of finance workshops before city council meetings starting May 20th, at 5:30pm at the City Annex (5694 Second Avenue). These meetings will be open to the public and intended to help everyone better understand how your city manages public funds.

The workshop May 20th will focus on debt – how it is used to facilitate public projects.

The next workshop will be June 17th at 5:30pm at the City Annex and will be focused on the city budget calendar.

City Council and Staff Meet to Set Goals and Improve Communication

Goals by the end of 2019

In lieu of their usual meeting, City Council, staff, and the Mayor met for a facilitated retreat to set goals and improve communication between each other and the public.

With big decisions approaching this year concerning the new Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion and selecting a downtown catalyst project, the participants worked with facilitator Laura Todd to improve coordination between staff and council. They concluded with goal setting for the rest of the year.

“At the end of 2019, when you look back on this year, what will you have done?” asked Todd. Council and staff agreed on the above list, including laying the groundwork for a new downtown, involving the public in the decision-making process and establishing a fair and equitable rate structure system.

Ferndale Celebrates Government Transparency with Sunshine Week

March 11th-16th is Sunshine Week, where journalists celebrate the public’s access to government information. Here at the City of Ferndale, we embrace the spirit of transparency because we believe that the public has every right to see and understand the work we do on their behalf.

That’s why we upload as many public documents as possible to our website so that you can access them when and where you need them. This week, we will be featuring a different type of public record or information available from the City of Ferndale on our social media pages. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to join in.

If there is a type of public document that you would like to see on the City website but can’t find it, please give Communications Officer Riley Sweeney a call (360-685-2353) or an email at

Summary of Feb. 19th, 2019 Council Meeting

Click here for Council Meeting Materials and Agenda

 City Council Agenda Follow-Up February 19, 2019  
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

Explore Ferndale with our Online Map Viewer

Curious what lies beneath your neighborhood? Explore our city with our Online Map Viewer. Our Graphic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist Brenna Sterling-Borgognoni works full-time to update and expand the information available the public through this resource.

Click Here to Access Online Map Viewer

Using our Online Map Viewer, you can explore where the water lines are located in your neighborhood, what upcoming public works projects are planned in your area and where exactly that property line is located.

These sort of tools allow the city to identify crime hot spots, locate neighborhood needs and plan for the future.

Toggle through the layers using the checkboxes on the right to discover new features. For more information on our Online Map Viewer, please call Brenna at (360) 685-2371 or email her by clicking here.

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