SCOWS Decision to Leave Whatcom County in Shambles…Does and Will the Whatcom County Council Represent You?

Good Morning Friends,

As you awoke this morning some of you may have heard on the news that the Supreme Court of Washington State found in favor of the litigants for Futurewise. The “Futurewise, Hirst, Stalheim, Brakke, and Harris vs. Whatcom County,” is a court decision that will decimate property values throughout Whatcom County and dims the future for many Whatcom County families and businesses, forever. In a nutshell, the SCOWS have agreed that you must prove that your exempt-well will-not negatively affect the in-stream water flow to your watershed streams and rivers. This is a “you are guilty unless you can prove you are innocent demand, that cannot be proven ‘and’ at what cost to you?

I received an email with some informative information and links for you, so you can post your thoughts on the recent Supreme Court of Washington State (SCOWS) decision against private well-owners and the current EMS levy, and I’ve shared some of my own questions about these important issues before us all.

  • The EMS levy asks to take emergency services off the County’s budget and give it a “special levy” to fund it outside of the County’s budget process, why?
  • Is it possible they know that the future budgets of Whatcom County are in flux because of litigation like Futurewise and the actions of “not-for-profit” groups such as RE Sources is having on the County and want to insure they get their nest feathered, free from the fears of a shrinking economy?
  • Who have the Firefighters Unions supported over the past decades to lead Whatcom County?
  • How have has the political leadership in place today led us to where we are today?
  • Why should the voters approve putting the EMS out of the budget process and leave the County with more money to spend on more anti-industrial and growth policies?

The SCOWS decision leaves a lot of unanswered questions:

  • Will the Whatcom County Council push this issue to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), in representation and protection of the tax paying residents of this County?
  • How has this already affected the property values of well-dependent properties?
  • How will it affect them in the future if the WC Council fails to appeal this to SCOTUS?
  • How does this decision affect wells that are in place, but have not been perfected (used for beneficial use of the property) prior to this lawsuits origins?
  • How does this decision affect wells that have failed, are failing, or will fail in the future; requiring a permit to replace them?
  • How does this affect every well-dependent in regards to their loan compliance? If there is not a certainty of access to potable water, are all of those loans deemed to be “out of compliance,” with regards to the loan and “what if” you have leveraged your business or other financial obligations to the value of your property? Does your property continue to have the value needed to secure the loan?
  • How much will the SCOWS decision shift property values and property taxes in Whatcom County?

I’m sure you can come up with many more questions than I’ve listed here…but all of these questions must be answered with clarity to the tax payers, and currently they’re asking for more property tax obligations to be attached to your property ‘and’ the “Greenways 4” levy will not only tax you more on your property, but use those funds to buy up more private properties for parks and give them money to develop and maintain all those parks. Currently the County Parks development and maintenance funds are submitted to the budget by the County Executive and approved by the WC Council. This is yet another attempt to move these items out of the budget process…again giving them additional funds in the general fund for what?

Please take a moment to voice your thoughts to the local news media, including print media, before the ballots are mailed out mid-October.

Regards ~

Kris Halterman

In case you don’t follow Perry Eskridge of WCAR on Facebook, here’s his commentary on an important Washington Supreme Court ruling Thursday on exempt wells that likely will make it difficult if not impossible for some rural landowners to develop their property for housing.

Also, the Committee of Public Safety, which opposes the EMS levy, can be found on Facebook at @COPSWhatcom — a good source of information if you would like to write letters to the editor.

Write your letters ASAP — ballots will be sent to voters in about a week. Even if you don’t live in a paper’s area, send letters to as many as possible, including:

To submit letters to the Northern Light (Blaine/Birch Bay) paste them into the form at the following link


The Bellingham Herald wants letters posted through Facebook comments at the bottom of the following link:

Remember, you typically get published only one letter per month, so choose the issue or candidates of most importance to you. Letters are still well read and also can be leveraged with links to them.

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