2014 Year in Review: Whatcom County Council

By Barbara Brenner

 

I admit strong feelings for those who face hard times. I also believe we need to be careful with the public’s money.

In this biannual budget process the council heard from virtually no one. Usually lots of organizations and agencies are told by the administration to come in to update us, but not this year.

Because we were nearing the public hearing, I called around. I heard some organizations/agencies were never told to contact the council, and some felt intimidated into silence for fear of reprisals.

I brought forward a motion to allocate $10,000 for each senior center for food, including Blaine, distributed according to population. Not only did I get no support, I was told “charity is not government’s job,” and that I was just being “political.”

To correct those inaccurate comments, many assistance programs, including senior centers, are for public health and well-being. County government’s highest priority is public health and safety.

I also supported more funding for the food banks, which passed. How is that different? Food is a necessity, not a luxury.

I recommended ways to save enough money to support my motions. For example, I believe the parks department could be folded into three other departments: senior centers could go to public health; parks planning to planning; and parks maintenance to public works. The public would notice no difference, but consolidation would save money. I could go on but don’t have space. Contact me at bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us or 360/384-2762 for much more.

On a positive note, Whatcom County is improving roads and park projects in the Blaine/Birch Bay area to benefit locals and tourists alike.

I wish you a joyous holiday season. Gifts of hugs spread love and we never have enough.

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