January 19, 2020 Dena Jensen
At the January 14, 2020 Whatcom County Council Special Committee of the Whole Meeting, there was “Discussion regarding Whatcom County public health, safety, and justice needs assessment.” The discussion takes place during the first hour of the meeting. Here is a link to the audio: http://whatcom.granicus.com/player/clip/256?view_id=1
Folks should listen in order to get an understanding of the process that has been sketched out, and which Council Members are refining, regarding this needs assessment related to facilities and services for behavioral and mental health, and which includes an assessment of needs for a County jail facility. HOK is the firm that will be performing the needs assessment.
Currently this needs assessment is being given a very prompt timeline, with the County Council looking at attempting, with the help of HOK and interactions with the community, to come to a conclusion about those needs so that a conceptual design can be presented, based on those needs, sometime around June or July. The intention seems to be that this would allow, if determined necessary, a decision to be made by government agencies by early August 2020 in order that a measure could be potentially placed on the ballot for a vote in November to fund the facilities and services.
To that end, a Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the needs assessment is being put together. At the time of that January 14 Special Committee of the Whole meeting I believe it was stated by one of the Council Members that they had only received 3 applications for the committee thus far. Therefore they decided to extend the deadline for applications around two weeks, to February 4, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
There’s a screenshot here with all the details about the nature of the committee, what kinds of representation are being sought, and when and where to apply, but also, here’s a link to the page on the Whatcom County website where people can access the links that are provided on that page.