Blaine City Council news ...


The latest news from the June 27 Blaine City Council meeting. 

Emergency electric 

feeder project authorized

In a 7-0 vote, Blaine City Council approved an emergency $220,000 purchase of electrical equipment that the city’s public works department will use to add an electrical feeder for the upcoming McDonald’s and Taco Bell restaurants. 

Blaine Retail, the developer behind the fast food restaurants, recently started construction on the Gateway property near the Cost Cutter plaza. Public works had been planning for an express feeder from the Blaine substation to H Street, west of Burger King, but was not under a deadline because the city was also working on a Boblett Circle construction project, according to a memo from public works director Bernie Ziemianek. “Unfortunately, the retail construction does not coincide with the feeder construction, even though it makes good sense to use a portion of the feeder,” he said. 

Material costs are already budgeted and approved but the construction timeline does not allow the city two months to solicit bids, requiring council to authorize an emergency purchase. The city also lost time with public works employees being sick with Covid-19 and unable to prepare documents for the bidding process. 

“I’m not sure if I can pull a rabbit out of my hat with the time schedules,” Ziemianek said. “We get some acceleration on time but we’re also against every other utility in the United States on this stuff.” 

Six-year transportation 

improvement project approved

Council unanimously approved the city’s 2023-2028 six-year transportation improvement plan. The plan includes 19 projects, six of which are funded and four of which are partially funded.

“It’s a living document so we can change it,” councilmember Eric Davidson said. “We just need to send it to Olympia.”

Planning commission changes

Council unanimously approved to change the planning commission’s meeting schedule to once per month and allow the commission to hold remote meetings. Planning commission’s purview was changed to focus on legislative amendments after the city established a hearing examiner as the hearing body on quasi-judicial land use matters last year. Legislative amendments are more complex and require more community development services staff time to prepare materials for planning commission to review, according to a city memo on the planning commission changes. 

Firm hired for 

city manager search

Council unanimously approved hiring Strategic Government Resources (SGR) to recruit a permanent city manager. The recruitment will cost $25,000 plus about $5,000 more for candidate travel expenses, former city manager Michael Jones said. SGR was one of nine recruitment firms that city staff considered and is the same firm that was used to hire finance director Daniel Heverling last year. Jones said a new city manager probably wouldn’t be hired until next January. 

Garth Baldwin 

appointed to parks and cemetery 

Councilmember Garth Baldwin nominated himself to serve as the nonvoting council member on the parks and cemetery board. The nonvoting councilmember position was added to the board along with other changes that city council approved in May. 

Planned electrical 

outage in August 

The public works department is planning for electrical outages in the eastern part of Blaine during the evenings of Monday, August 8 and Tuesday, August 9, Ziemianek said. Dates and times could change, he said, but public works was looking at the outage starting at 10 p.m. both nights and lasting four to six hours on August 8 and four hours on August 9. Public works will announce more specifics as the dates get closer, including an outage map. Ziemianek said public works has taken into account weather and planned the hours to minimize impact on businesses. 


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