Council OKs Blaine I-5 billboard

Published on Thu, Sep 11, 2008 by ara Nelson

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Council OKs Blaine I-5 billboard

By Tara Nelson

Blaine business owners may be able to anticipate a surge in vehicle traffic this October, as the city will begin advertising Blaine on a south-facing billboard on northbound I-5.

In their regular meeting Monday, Blaine City Council approved an amendment to the Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee (BTAC) budget that would authorize a lease between the city and Clear Channel media group to advertise the city of Blaine on a south-facing billboard sign just north of Birch Bay Square on I-5 as early as October.

Councilmember Jason Overstreet, who proposed the amendment, said the committee had also identified another billboard space approximately one mile north of Birch Bay-Lynden Road on the east side of the freeway, but that it was partially covered by trees.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the amendment after a long debate about whether council should review the committee’s overall budget, or if that would be considered micromanaging, as Overstreet and councilmember Scott Dodd argued.

Councilmember Paul Greenough said he wanted to look at the proposed budget as a whole rather than vote on items, piece by piece.

“I have no desire to cast away aspersions, nor do we want to micromanage,” he said. “What I do want is to see a request within the context of the overall picture.”

Councilmember Harry Robinson said he also had not seen the 2008 budget because he had not been elected to city council before it was approved last year.

Blaine resident Pam Christianson, a member of BTAC, told council members it was not unusual for unplanned expenses to come up during the budget year. She added that groups often apply for funding that goes unused.

Overstreet said the annual cost to lease the 8-by-19-foot billboard is $5,850 and would be paid out of the city’s hotel and motel fund. The city would also be required to pay an additional $300 for artwork and installation.

If additional artwork and design is required, there will be an additional charge of $150 per hour, he said.

Domestic violence programs

City council also approved an ordinance that would allow the city to impose an additional $100 fine on individuals convicted of domestic violence in order to help pay for domestic violence victims advocacy, prevention, and prosecution programs.

Public hearing scheduled

City council also voted 6-0 to schedule a public hearing regarding a proposed right-of-way vacation on a project by Ken Imus at 458 Peace Portal Drive. The hearing is scheduled for October 13 and will provide the public a chance to comment on the proposal. For more information on the project, call 332-8311.