2010 in review: Whatcom County Council

Published on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 by By Barbara Brenner

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Following were my main issues for this year’s budget:

Consolidate some departments so the public can retain as much front line service as possible. Examples, executive department with administrative services; parks with health and public works (contact me for details, I only have 300 words. Either e-mail bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us, call me at 360/384-2762 or write me at the Whatcom County Council office, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham). Consolidate management positions instead of just eliminating more front line providers. The public deserves to have more consolidation at management level in order to provide as much front line service as possible.

Return to an annual budget process. The biannual process is not in the public interest. Over half the council is new. This was the most complicated draft budget according to the administration. We only had about a month from receipt to passage. We need an annual budget process to allow us to more effectively think outside the box on many budget items. This is not a criticism of the administration. It is a criticism of the process.

The fact it takes as long as it does for the administration to put together the draft should caution why we need more opportunities (annual budget) to make direct changes. Without that we will fail at our other charter missions. We are not a team with the administration. The council was created to be a check and balance. It is our most important function.

I didn’t get my amendments. I didn’t vote for the budget. But I represent you. Thank you for the opportunity to keep trying next year.