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.

Town Meeting: Planning Ferndale’s Downtown Future

Town Meeting

A Visioning Workshop for a Ferndale City Center Plan

Pioneer Pavilion
2007 Cherry Street
Wednesday, Jan. 23rd, 2019 at 6pm

Western Washington University (in collaboration with the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ferndale) is holding a Visioning Workshop for the Downtown area. A town meeting will be held on January 23rd at 6PM in the Pioneer Pavilion. and we want your input!

We want the public’s thoughts on problems and opportunities in the Ferndale Downtown. Everything from transportation, character, habitat, parking, flood risk, parks and trails, the whole spread of options. There will be Children’s activities to bring the little ones.

WWU’s planning classes will use this feedback to propose solutions for the Downtown. The findings will be presented to the City Council and the Planning Commission later this year.

For more information, please contact Riley Sweeney, Communications Officer with the City of Ferndale at (360) 685-2353 or email him by clicking here.

Host an Event in Ferndale!

Whether you are planning a concert at our historic Pioneer Village, renting a park shelter for a family reunion or requesting to close Main Street for a festival with thousands of attendees, we are ready and excited to help you host your event in Ferndale.

We have recently updated our Parks Rentals and Special Events forms, merging them into one easy document and updating our park rental fees to make it easier than ever for your event team.

You can find the updated form and fees here. If you have any questions about the process, please contact Toni Segerman via email (click here) or phone at (360) 685-2369 with any questions.

Vacancies on Parks, Arts, and Planning Commissions

There are numerous ways residents of the City of Ferndale can participate to help enhance the community they live in. One such way is volunteering to serve on city advisory bodies that help forum public policy and make Ferndale a prosperous place to be.

We currently have an opening on the Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board (PRTAB), the Arts Commission and there is anticipated to be an opening on the Planning Commission. If you are interested in serving on one of these bodies, please fill out the Boards and Commissions application and submit it to City Clerk Susan Duncan. You can find the application here.

All these meetings are open to the public. Appointments to these advisory bodies are made by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.

For more information contact the City Clerk Susan Duncan
Phone: (360) 685-2354
Fax: (360) 384-1163

Ferndale Begins Search for New City Administrator

Ferndale Begins Search for New City Administrator

Greg Young

After fourteen years as City Administrator, Greg Young is concluding his service for Ferndale at the end of 2018. Mayor Jon Mutchler has decided not to renew his contract and has tapped Community Development Director Jori Burnett as an interim City Administrator while the City begins the search for a replacement.

“Mr. Young’s service has been exceptional, and he has served the city, including the last three mayors, faithfully and professionally,” said Mutchler. “It is time for a changing of the guard as we move our city forward to the next great chapter of Ferndale’s story.”

Young was hired in 2004 as City Administrator, under Mayor Jerry Landcastle and during his tenure has overseen the construction of a new police station, a new Ferndale library, and the drilling of a new deep well. He helped the city navigate both the Great Recession and the addition of over 5,000 new residents.

“I’m proud of the work I’ve done on behalf of the people of Ferndale,” said Young. “It was an honor and a privilege.”

“Greg and I had already begun the process of preparing Mr. Burnett for the move from planning to administration,” said Mutchler. “I have every confidence in Mr. Burnett’s abilities to manage this transition.”

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