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Mayor's Board Room
Thursday, September 22, 2011, 11:00 AM
Book: 65, Page: 1

Special Meeting

Called To Order The meeting was called to order by Committee Chair, Michael Lilliquist

Roll Call
    Michael Lilliquist, Council Member, Sixth Ward
    Seth Fleetwood, Council Member, At Large
    Barry Buchanan, Council Member, Third Ward
    Jack Weiss, Council Member, First Ward



Finance & Personnel
Members: Chair, Michael Lilliquist; Barry Buchanan; Seth Fleetwood

AB19329 1. A discussion of repayment options for recent interfund loan to help purchase Greenways property acquisition

Presented by: Michael Lilliquist, Committee Chair

Following discussion among the Finance Committee Members, the Chair opened the floor to public comment.

Public Comment:

John Watts spoke in support of sale of sufficient property to keep the most valuable lands as parks, the use of TDR’s and private fundraising. He entered a stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh bear into the record and offered it for auction pledging $100 toward private fundraising.

Joe Yaver presented a resolution of the group Responsible Development in opposition to the sale of any of the property. He noted that had been difficult to raise private funds when the final disposition of the property was yet unknown.

Joan Casey spoke in opposition to the commitment of any future Greenways levy funds for this purchase.

Christopher Grannis spoke in opposition to any public commitment to sell the land as harmful to private efforts to raise funds for the purchase and offered $200 for the Pooh bear.

Richard Maneval expressed frustration with a lack of public process and stated this purchase should have gone through the Greenways Advisory Committee and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Dominique Zervas spoke in support of collateralizing the purchase with the land. She noted that private fundraising efforts would be more motivated if there were the possibility of selling properties to pay the interfund loan back. She expressed concern about using further Greenways funds and the impact of that on the ability to make other critical acquisitions.

Cathy Lehman noted the TDR program - though it has not been viable in the past - should remain as one of the options. She noted there is a Fairhaven Urban Village plan and some planned rezoning that will provide some density to support it.

Clayton Petree spoke in opposition of using future Greenways levy’s fund. He urged the committee to have a financing plan which identifies which parts of the properties would be sold and what the value of those properties are. The dollars should be identified before voting on 3rd & Final. If selling property as a fall back is the plan, it should be made clear.

Sue Taylor spoke in opposition to using any remaining present funds or committing any future Greenways funds to finance the purchase. She noted a shortfall of current funds of $1M and this shortfall may increase due to the economy. Acquisition of properties that protect Lake Whatcom should be a higher priority. She spoke in support of using sale of Fairhaven Highlands property to fund the purchase.

Public Comment period was closed.

The committee discussed making the following recommendations to the full Council:
    1) The status of the property as collateral should be made clear by amending the recital language of the financing ordinance. CAO David Webster agreed to work with Finance Director John Carter to develop proposed language to make it clear that the real property is collateral for the interfund loan and indicating this fact is not the same as an intention to sell.
      2) The use of a future Greenways levy to retire a portion of the current interfund debt should be off the table, as possibly harmful to the public support for the present and future Greenways program.
        3) The current allocation scheme for Greenways funds should be respected, and no further changes in the allocations be made to help retire the principal of the loan.

        4) No further Parks acquisitions monies should be used to help retire the loan.
        5) The City should expand public outreach and post descriptions of financing options on the COB website and collect public input on those as well as other ideas for financing the purchase

      The Finance Committee will meet again during the next City Council Meeting on September 26, to further define these recommendations and report to the full Council.

      Michael Lilliquist closed the meeting by noting this was an unusual meeting for an unusual process. He expressed confidence that the City and the public working together could get it done and succeed with a process that is open.


      There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 12:42 PM

      Michael Lilliquist, Finance & Personel Committee Chair

      ATTEST: J. Lynne Walker, Executive Assistant to the Bellingham City Council

      This is a digital copy of an original document located at Bellingham's City Hall. The City of Bellingham specifically disclaims any responsibility or liability for the contents of this document. The City of Bellingham does not verify the correctness, accuracy, or validity of the information appearing in this document.