Government for the people: Whatcom, Bellingham and Port of Bellingham news for the week of May 29

The Squalicum Harbor marina is one of the Port of Bellingham’s well-used properties. (Amy Nelson photo © 2020)

By Mike Sato

— Economic recovery, a shrinking budget and the Cherry Point fossil-fuel shipping moratorium were among topics discussed by Whatcom County and City of Bellingham councils this week. Coming up, the Port of Bellingham is scheduled to accept $333,508 in Washington Working Small Business Grant funding.


Whatcom Safe Start Phase 2 Reopening Delayed
Whatcom County this week had 16.9 reported cases per 100,000 population, falling short of the required 10 new cases per 100,000 needed to apply for Phase 2 reopening. (Bellingham Herald)  After considerable discussion at the May 18 county council meeting, the Whatcom County Council passed a resolution “establishing a process for the development of a COVID-19 interim economic recovery plan to respond to the economic crisis within Whatcom County caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” (County Council minutes) 

Cherry Point Fuel Export Interim Ordinance Goes To Public Hearing
The Whatcom County Council voted 4-3 on May 18 in favor of an ordinance “imposing an interim moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications and permits for new or expanded facilities in the Cherry Point urban growth area, the primary purpose of which would be the shipment of unrefined fossil fuels not to be processed at Cherry Point.” The ordinance is scheduled for a virtual public hearing on June 2 at 6 p.m. and can be accessed remotely and commented on here

Kenney Creek Fish Passage Barrier Removal Project To Be Discussed
The county council is scheduled to discuss at its June 2 meeting at 1 p.m. an ordinance to apply for grant funding to restore full fish passage at an existing poorly functioning fishway and culvert where Kenney Creek crosses under North Fork Road. The total construction cost would be $3.5 million and the county’s local match 15%. (Whatcom County legislation) 

Port To Pass Through Washington Working Small Business Grant Funding
Port of Bellingham commissioners are scheduled at their June 2 meeting to authorize its Economic Development division to pass through $333,508 in Washington Working Small Business Grant funding to Whatcom businesses. Funding will be provided to businesses on a reimbursement basis for operating costs such as rent and utilities, marketing and advertising, and purchase of inventory and supplies.  The port’s public meeting begins at 4 p.m.; access the agency and how to comment here.  

Bellingham General Fund Budget Reduced by $2 Million Due To COVID-19 Impact
The Bellingham City Council at its May18 meeting unanimously approved an ordinance reducing the amount of unspent 2019 budget appropriations that will be available to city departments in the second year of the biennium, resulting in a $2,179,000 General Fund budget reduction. (City Council Summary

Public Hearing Scheduled For Bellingham Emergency Moratorium On Mobil Home Park Redevelopment
The Bellingham City Council will hold a public hearing on June 8 regarding an emergency ordinance extending the moratorium on development applications and permits relating to the redevelopment of existing mobile home or manufactured home parks. 

Bellingham’s Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan Public Hearing Held
The Bellingham City Council at its May 18 meeting held a public hearing on adoption of the city’s 2021-2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The hearing was held to facilitate the transfer of funds from state and federal grants to the City of Bellingham. The council will schedule approval of the resolution at its June 8 meeting. (City Council summary)