As many of our readers are aware water is a big issue for Whatcom County. A lot of money continues to be spent, as the County works towards final resolution of this issue. County residents have expressed concern about the process, because it directly affects their private and business property rights.
In a nutshell our County derives it powers from the County Charter. The County Council is the legal authority that levies property taxes, such as the Flood Control Zone levy. The County Council has the legal authority to decide how the money levied for the Flood Control Zone District Fund (FCZDF) is spent. The County Council passed a resolution in 1999 and funded it in the year 2000. Their resolution placed 50% of the revenues received from the flood control fund in the Water Resource Program (WRP). The Joint Administrative Board (JAB), which is made up of local government agencies spent the money. The Whatcom County Council approval of the allocation of Flood Control funds for water resource planning was for the years 2000 through 2003.
How much money are we talking about here? $5.7M tax payer dollars. In the year 2003 the left over balance in this fund was $1.6M. What is the problem here? The Joint Advisory Board has continued to spend the money under the assumption the left over money belongs to them. The Water District Coalition states that Washington State law and the County Charter says otherwise.The following documents recap the Whatcom County Council’s original intent, and why the Water District Coalition claims that the County Executive and the JAB do not have the legal authority to direct appropriation of the leftover monies received from the County’s flood funds. The Water District Coalition states that the funds were alienated, and thus these funds should go back to the flood fund, and Whatcom County Council as the legal authority should determine any future expenditure(s).
It’s techy stuff but it’s worth reading through it to understand that; what was approved from 1999 through 2003 has come and gone, the money belongs to the people and in alienation of those funds they must come back to the County flood control fund.
~ Kris HaltermanWater Dist Coalition Ltr to Gibson Supporting Documentation to Gibson Ltr (All)