One final time the Bellingham City Council agreed to not sign the Interlocal Agreement that would, in one move and by inference, approve the building of a bigger jail in the County, and consume all the available sales tax funds available to the municipalities. Instead they prudently continued to stand up for wanting better solutions first…to address crisis issues, mental health, prevention, and other intervention alternatives before agreeing to a large sales tax initiatives, before agreeing to support financial agreements that did not address any of this. They did not buy in to the “fast track” tactics of Executive Jack Louws to force the building of the jail without due diligence.
The mayor reported that the County did accept some of their amendments on the non-binding resolution they send to the County Council regarding changes to the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force. She reported that it was the last day to sign on to the Interlocal on Jack’s terms. Mayor Linville talked about the various credits, and said that they would not be enough. She asked Jack if the sales tax did not pass, would he consider renegotiating the Interlocal Agreement then? Kelli said he was unbending on that matter – the terms would not be negotiable. Kelli said that there are financial consequences the City will have to deal with as a result. Terry Borneman said, “We wanted to negotiate…to get questions answered…this was not the right deal. This was a take it or leave it deal…. when it came to our Council, it was a take it or leave it deal. I wish it was different.” Terry was speaking for many who know we need a new jail: just not that one, that big, that way. Alternatives and mental health issues must be addressed first, and there is no plan in the sales tax proposal to fund anything but the building and operating of a new jail – at extraordinary costs.