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A multiple title document is a single document that contains more than one transaction, where each transaction could stand on its own and requires separate entries in our index. Per RCW 36.18.010 each transaction in a single document that meets this definition requires a separate recording fee. The fee is calculated for each type of transaction/title listed on your document. You can help minimize the confusion of multiple title documents by being very clear about what the intent of your document is, and how many actions it contains. A complete explanation of how recording fees are calculated for multiple title documents can be found here.
Images begin January 1976 with the exception of veterans discharge papers and marriage records. Images that are not available through the records search can be requested in person, on the phone or by mail. Information on how to request a copy can be found here: Copy Request
The website is made available in order for the public to obtain information regarding the documents that are on file in the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office. You can request a certified copy by mail or come into the Whatcom County Auditor's Office.
The only way to appeal an Assessor’s valuation of your property is by timely filing a completed appeal petition with the Whatcom County Board of Equalization. There is no fee charged for filing an appeal. The appeal petition form must be used. A letter or phone call is not acceptable as a substitute for the petition form. Please file an original plus a copy of the completed petition forms to the Board. You must submit separate petitions for each parcel. Petition forms are available from the Clerk of the Board, by phoning and requesting one at 360-778-5018, or the Assessor’s Office at 360-778-5050. You can also download a petition.
The petition form has clear directions attached. Your properly completed petition must include specific reasons why you believe that the Assessor's valuation is not correct. The amount of tax, the percentage of assessment increase, personal hardship, and other matters unrelated to market value cannot, by law, be considered by the board. Include the parcel number of the property you are appealing. A separate petition must be completed for every individual parcel. Also include the Assessor's determination of value, other appraisal information, your estimate of value, recent sales of comparable properties, or other supporting information for your appeal. Be sure to indicate if you intend to submit additional evidence prior to the hearing. You must submit additional information at least 21 business days prior to your hearing.
For the purposes of filing a complete appeal, as long as your petition includes sufficient information or statements to apprise the Board and the Assessor of the reasons why you believe the Assessor’s determination is incorrect, it is not necessary to include all the evidence you intend to use at the filing time. While it is recommended that you provide the evidence you will use as early as possible, additional evidence may be submitted up to 21 business days before your hearing.
Documentary evidence (comparable sales, appraisals, estimates, photos, etc.) must be submitted to the Board in duplicate at least 21 business days before the hearing.
You can contact individual Councilmembers or all of them at the same time. Individual contact information can be found on the page Council Terms and Contact Information
The Council meeting agenda is usually on the website by the end of the day on the Wednesday before the Council meeting. It can be found on the Linked Agenda for Current Regular Meeting page or in the Agenda Center under County Council.
Regular Council meetings generally start at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Whatcom County Courthouse at 311 Grand Avenue in Bellingham. Check the Linked Agenda for Current Regular Meeting for information on each upcoming meeting.
You can access information about a Council meeting by:
You may make partial or full payments with debit/credit cards online through our website, at http://whatcomcounty.us/districtcourt and select "Tickets/Payments." You may also mail in a check or money order referencing your ticket/infraction number for partial or full payment to: Whatcom County District Court 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 401 Bellingham, WA 98225 You may also come in to District Court in person between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday at the address listed above to pay with cash, check, debit or credit card.
We do NOT take payments over the phone. You can pay with your credit or debit card by going online to the District Court website at http://whatcomcounty.us/districtcourt and select "Tickets/Payments."
Call Whatcom County District Court at (360)778-5400 and provide your ticket/citation/infraction/case number if you have it. We can also look up your case when you provide us some identifying information.
Temporary food service is defined as a food establishment operating at a fixed location, with a fixed menu, for not more than 21 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration, such as a fair or festival.
Contact Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Advancement at 360-778-6594 to find out which programs and services you are eligible for.
If you believe your friend would benefit from speaking to a therapist, please ask them to call Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Advancement at 360-778-6594.
If your friend is experiencing a crisis or their condition is getting worse, please call the Volunteers of American Crisis line at 1-800-584-3578 for free support. More information can be found at https://www.voaww.org/behavioralhealth.
There are many therapists offering services in Whatcom County. An updated list can be found at this website: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/county/WA/Whatcom.html, and you can choose to narrow down the field by focus issues (from the sidebar on the left).
If your child is a student attending public school you can reach out to the school counselor who may provide you with advice regarding your son or daughter and offer recommendations.
The health department works very closely with North Sound Behavioral Health Organization to ensure high quality mental health services, as well as with many partners in other departments of Whatcom County government, the City of Bellingham, and numerous non-profit agency partners.
There is currently a shortage of providers, but there are several things you can do. First, have a look at the list maintained by Psychology Today. Be persistent and get yourself on some waiting lists to be called. The openings often come and go quickly. You can also make an appointment with the Western Washington University Counseling Center; they can be reached at 360-650-3164.
Your property was assessed a fee based on information in our database that indicates there is an OSS on your property. We understand that some information in our database may be incorrect, and will review the fee if you believe it was incorrectly assessed. We have generated a form to process these requests to ensure that our database is accurately and efficiently updated, and the updated information forwarded to the Treasurer’s Office. Please complete the On-Site Sewage System Request for Fee Review form, and submit it to our office.
Veterans need their DD214 to access all veteran benefits.
A Veteran can apply for a lost DD214 by submitting an SF180. The form and instructions are below:
Some veterans may qualify for VA Healthcare. Click the link below for more information.
Some low income veterans may qualify for burial assistance through the Whatcom County Veterans Assistance Program, please call the office at (360)778-6050 to inquire.
The Worksource Whatcom Veteran Employment Representative is a great place to start. Their number is (360)676-3202.
The Whatcom Homeless Service Center offers several programs to help low income veterans with housing.
Please check out the Whatcom County Veterans Calendar to see a comprehensive list of veteran event in the area.
Veteran Service Officers can help veterans both understand and apply for their earned VA benefits. Please call (360) 778-6050 to set up an appointment.
1) use accrued vacation leave, personal holiday, compensatory time, and/or PTO, as applicable;
2) go on an unpaid leave of absence without first using paid leaves; or
3) request contributions of vacation leave from other employees through the County’s leave sharing program (you must use your accrued vacation, PTO, and compensatory time before qualifying for shared leave).
If your unpaid military leave is thirty days or less, your medical coverage will remain in place.
If your unpaid military leave is longer than thirty days:
For employees covered by the County’s self-insured medical plan (HMA), the County will continue to provide coverage for you, your spouse, and your dependents for up to 18 months of unpaid military leave. This coverage will be provided under the terms of your collective bargaining agreement or the Unrepresented Resolution, whichever applies to you. The County’s medical plan excludes coverage for treatment while serving in the armed forces or treatment made necessary as a result of war, but for all other covered medical needs, and for your family, your coverage will be intact.
If military leave is longer than 18 months, you may elect to self-pay COBRA premiums to extend your HMA coverage. If you choose to discontinue County coverage during military leave, your coverage will be reinstated the month you return to active employment, with no waiting period.
For employees covered by the Teamsters medical plan, the terms of this plan do not permit employer-paid coverage while the employee is on unpaid military leave. You may elect to self-pay COBRA premiums, and, as with HMA, if you choose to discontinue County coverage, you will have coverage reinstated the month you return to active employment, with no waiting period.
If you are in unpaid status, you may continue coverage as follows:
1) dental and vision insurance through COBRA;
2) life insurance coverage by converting to an individual policy;
3) long-term disability insurance coverage, if applicable, via billing from the County’s Finance division.
Employees may take leave leading up to a spouse’s deployment or during a spouse’s leave from deployment: The Washington State Military Family Leave Law provides that spouses of military personnel can take up to 15 days unpaid leave per deployment before and up to deployment, or while their spouse is on leave from deployment, during times of military conflict declared by the President or Congress. You may use vacation, PTO, sick leave, personal holiday, or compensatory time if available; otherwise, the time is taken as leave without pay. To take leave under this provision, you must work an average of 20 or more hours per workweek, and must notify your supervisor within five business days of receiving the official notice of a spouse’s leave or impending call to active duty.
Family members may take “qualifying exigency” leave, related to deployment or active duty:The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) contains provisions for “Qualifying Exigency Leave.” This allows an eligible employee to take unpaid time off to handle urgent matters arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty, in support of a contingency operation.
“Qualifying exigencies” include: issues arising from a covered military member’s short notice deployment; military events and related activities; certain childcare and related activities; making or updating financial and legal arrangements to address a covered military member’s absence; attending counseling related to the call to active duty; spending time with a covered military member during short-term R & R leave during deployment; and attending to certain post-deployment activities. An eligible employee is entitled to take up to 12 workweeks of leave during a “single 12-month period” to handle qualifying exigencies. You are an “eligible employee” under the FMLA if you have worked for Whatcom County for at least 12 months, and if you have at least 1,250 work hours in the past 12 months. See the County’s FMLA Policy for additional information about the FMLA.
Family members may take “military caregiver leave” leave to care for an ill or injured military member:The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) contains provisions for Military Caregiver Leave. This allows an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness to take job-protected FMLA leave to provide care to the servicemember.
You are an “eligible employee” under the FMLA if you have worked for Whatcom County for at least 12 months, and if you have at least 1,250 work hours in the past 12 months. See the County’s FMLA Policy for additional information about the FMLA.
A “covered servicemember” is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty.
An eligible employee is entitled to take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a “single 12-month period” to care for a seriously injured or ill covered servicemember. The “single 12-month period” begins on the first day the eligible employee takes military caregiver leave, and ends 12 months after that date. Employees taking military caregiver leave are entitled to a combined total of 26 weeks of all types of FMLA leave in the single 12-month period.
To help you select the best plan option for your individual situation, please make an appointment (360) 778-5300 or stop by Human Resources in the Whatcom County Courthouse, Suite 107, anytime Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Your Human Resource Representative will be available to answer any questions.
The Medical Plan Election form must be returned to Human Resources by 4:30 pm on November 30, 2017. You MUST complete and submit a 2018 Medical Election Form, even if you are making no changes. You will be defaulted into the 2000 Plan for 2018 if we do not receive an election form from you.
The month of November is the “open enrollment” period. During this time you can make changes to your plan election. This is the only time during the year (without a qualifying event) you can change your plan election or change dependent enrollments.
Yes, open enrollment will occur each November for the next year’s benefits.
The total 2018 contribution limit is $3,450 for an individual or $6,900 for a family which is inclusive of any Whatcom County contribution. For those age 55 and over, there is an additional annual $1,000 per participant catch-up contribution.
Information about the 2018 Flexible Spending Account is online.
Deputy Sheriff’s continue to patrol and Corrections and Detention staff keep offenders secure on a 24 hours / 7 days a week basis.
Facilities staff arrive early to take care of buildings and walkways.
The courts remain open whenever possible. Other Courthouse and county offices open their doors as soon as enough staff is available to provide public service.
If you were pre-scheduled for vacation, comp time, or personal holiday, or were sick, put down earned accruals for the full workday.
Jail overcrowding is defined as housing more inmates than the building was designed to hold. In 1984, Whatcom County opened the current downtown jail, originally designed to hold 148 people. As jail population has grown, some limited remodeling helped to increase the operational capacity of the main jail to 212. However, the infrastructure (kitchen, laundry, visiting booths, medical clinic areas, etc.) was not able to grow along with the additional beds. With jail population outgrowing the expanded capacity the County, with taxpayer support, constructed a temporary work center in 2006 with an additional 150 beds and an operational capacity of about 127. Today, the combined operational capacity is 339. The maximum reported occupancy of the existing jail over the last two years occurred on May 11th, 2015. On that date, it was reported that a total of 389 offenders were under supervision.
In addition to design capacity, overcrowding is caused by several factors. Population increases, legislative changes related to mandated arrests, and the Sentencing Reform Act which pushed sentences that were once served in prisons to county jails, have all contributed to overcrowding. Overcrowding accelerates erosion to the building, has detrimental effects on the jail population, and escalates staffing needs.
National best practice recommends that jails should operate at 85% capacity to allow for separating incompatible groups of offenders that don't get along. Currently the jail consistently operates either at absolute capacity or over capacity. The existing jail was originally built to hold 148 offenders. With some limited remodeling, the operational capacity of the main jail should be 212. The absolute capacity of the Work Center is 150 beds and the operational capacity is about 127, depending on the offender mix. The combined operational capacity is 339. The maximum reported occupancy of the existing jail over the last two years occurred on May 11th, 2015. It was reported that a total of 389 offenders were under supervision. Of the total number of offenders 253 were in the main jail, 94 were housed at the work center and 29 were monitored on Electronic Home Detention.
A facility with 440 regular beds and 36 health facility beds is intended to house about 404 inmates (374 regular inmates and 30 inmates with medical issues). This means that if the 476 bed facility is operated at 85% it will have a design capacity that is 19% (404/339) larger than our current facilities.
Working in coordination with all Cities, the County crafted a Jail Facility Financing and Use Agreement (JFFUA) which was approved by all of the city and county councils in June and July of 2017.
The JFFUA sets the housing size at 440 regular beds, +/- 3%, with 36 medical/behavioral health beds.
The County has spent millions, and provided an open and transparent process (EIS, public meetings, Council decisions) in evaluating, deciding and purchasing the Labounty Road property over the last 5-7 years.
Slater Road is the northern boundary of Bellingham. From many locations in Bellingham the actual drive time to the Labounty site is equal to or less than driving to the downtown jail. For other county cities, and other law enforcement agencies such as the Washington State Patrol, it is easier and faster to get to the Labounty road site than working their way through downtown Bellingham. As an added benefit, the design and configuration of the New Jail, with appropriate booking and holding cells, will likely reduce the actual time that officers will need to be at the facility when booking inmates.
As part of the JFFUA, "The County agrees to provide jail services to facilitate the needs of inmates for Courts appearances at the Courthouse sally port and holding space for all parties during the hours that the facility is staffed and operational for the Courts, unless otherwise agreed upon."
In 2015, DLR architects projected the total project cost and construction cost of a new jail to be $91 Million, with a construction cost of $70 Million.
In comparison, the Skagit County jail costs for the total project and construction cost is $62 Million, with the construction cost at $48 Million. Skagit County built a 400 bed facility with 4 medical beds.
The 2017 projection of $110 Millions includes construction cost for a new jail, project costs, land acquisition costs, a 15-20% inflation increase from original projection, a sally port and holding facility in the courthouse, removal of the old jail, and about $3 Million in immediate repairs to the existing jail.
The County and all cities agreed to pay an equitable contribution for the construction costs, 78% of the construction costs are to be paid by the County and the remaining 22% are to be paid from the combined cities. The breakdown of the 22% paid by the cities is as follows:
The Public Safety Tax is projected to collect $7.97 Million in 2019, to pay the annual bond payment projected at $6.75 Million.
Starting in 2019, the cities are projected to have additional public safety tax revenue above their portion of the capital payment.
The excess sales tax can be used for public safety issues (police), including facilities and programs for medical and behavioral health services and incarceration prevention programs.
The JFFUA allocates a percentage of revenue back to the cities after the capital payment to the County. Any revenue the city keeps from the public safety tax can be used for public safety, behavioral health, and jail alternative purposes.
The JFFUA specifically indicates that "all parties agree to implement the recommendations of the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force (IPRTF) upon their final recommendation, where possible. This includes increasing the availability of alternative jail programs, including Electronic Home Detention, Work Release and Work Crew programs, and the establishment of a County pretrial supervision program."
The JFFUA indicates "to ensure the continued commitment to reducing incarceration and recidivism, the IPRTF will have a task force member on the ....Advisory Board."
In coordination with the approval of the JFFUA, Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham crafted and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to ensure the continued support of incarceration prevention and reduction programs. The Parties agreed to recognize and fully support the goals of the IPRTF and commit over $30 Million dollars over 30 years to incarceration prevention and reduction programs.
The hydrogeological report and/or mitigation shall be submitted to the Whatcom County Health Department with a Water Availability Notification form.
Rainwater catchment cannot be utilized for commercial uses or for the subdivision of lots.
In general, the Department of Ecology has indicated that most groundwater in the Nooksack Basin is in “continuity” with affected surface waters. In most Rural areas a proposed well would be likely to be found in continuity with an affected instream flow and therefore require mitigation.
Per recent Washington State Supreme Court decisions, mitigation must be “drop-per-drop” of water “impaired,” and “in kind, in time and in place” for proposed impairment (Postema; Foster).
WAC 246-290-220 (Group A) requires that a water system’s total daily source capacity shall be sufficient to provide a reliable supply of water equal to or exceeding the MDD (maximum day demand). WAC 246-291-125 (Group B) requires groundwater source approval.
DOH’s position is consistent with federal (CDC) policy, which states: “Bulk water hauling may be acceptable as a temporary solution to a water shortage; however, it is not an acceptable long-term solution for system infrastructure deficiencies such as inadequate sources of supply.” DOH acknowledges that trucked water may be used as a temporary source in emergency situations. The water must come from an approved public water system, and a purveyor is expected to notify DOH or local health in this type of emergency before trucked water is made available to the public.
Trucked water is not accepted as a permanent, uninterruptable water source because it is not reliable or sustainable; there is increased vulnerability to contamination, and financial considerations. Also, terms of a public water system’s water rights may restrict the end use of the hauled water.
Please contact our Natural Resources Department to see if a wetlands study has been conducted on a property. In most cases, a Natural Resources Assessment may need to be applied for to determine by staff if wetlands and/or other critical areas exist on a property. For general inquiry about a property that you are interested in possibly buying, our predevelopment site inspection may be more applicable.
A bench warrant is issued by a judge when a person with a pending criminal case violates the rules of the court. Sometimes a warrant is issued for violating pre-trial release conditions. Most often, people with bench warrants simply have failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance. Once a bench warrant is issued, the police can treat it like any other warrant and use it to arrest people and keep them in jail, until the appear back in front of a judge.
• Make sure that your lawyer has an accurate address and phone number for you. Immediately notify the office if this information changes. Contact your lawyer as soon as you get a letter from the office advising you to do so and show up for your scheduled appointments.
• When you are in jail, avoid discussing the facts of your case with others, visitors, and people you call on the phone (other than Whatcom County Public Defender employees). Remember: All non-law-office calls from the Whatcom County Jail are recorded and may be used against you in trial or as the basis for additional criminal charges against you.
• When you are in jail, do not send letters discussing your case to anyone, as letters may be intercepted by law enforcement and used against you at trial. Avoid discussing the facts of your case in postal mail and emails.
• Provide your lawyer with a list of potential witnesses as soon as possible, with accurate telephone numbers where they may be reached at least and addresses where they can receive mail if possible.
• Come to all your court dates. Unless your lawyer has told you personally that you are excused, you must come to court when the court order says. If you miss court, even if you might have a good excuse, there can be serious consequences, including being arrested and charged with a new crime. You may be inconvenienced by missing work or changing a medical appointment, but your boss or your doctor can’t have you arrested if you don’t show up. A judge can, and will put you in jail and possibly keep you there, if you don’t appear in court as ordered.
• Be on time for court.
• Dress for court as seriously as you would for a job interview or for any other appointment that could affect your future.
There are three criteria that must be met to be eligible for the septic system rebate.
At Whatcom County Public Works- Natural Resources, 322 N. Commercial, Suite 110, Bellingham, WA 98225. The office is located in the tall gray and blue building across the street from the Bellingham Public Library.
This depends upon whether this is your first or second rebate for this property.
If this is your first rebate for this property, you will receive the rebate application at your class. You will need to submit:
If this is your second rebate for this property, you will be required to complete a refresher quiz to receive the rebate. You will need to submit:
Upcoming classes are listed on the Whatcom County Health Department’s website at http://wa-whatcomcounty.civicplus.com/1745/Homeowner-Training-OM . Pre-registration is required. Please contact the Health Department at (360) 778-6000 to register or if you have any questions.
Your rebate level will depend on the activity you complete.
Rebate applications are typically processed within 4-6 weeks. You will receive a check at the mailing address you indicated on your rebate application.
Funding is limited, so participants are encouraged to submit materials as early as possible. If additional funding remains past the deadline, rebates will be rewarded in the order they were received.
Nope! You should be all set. We will contact you if we need any additional information.
No, you may complete all three activities. However, each parcel* is eligible for one rebate. Your rebate will be processed for the highest rebate level from your mix of activities. For example, if you completed both an evaluation and septic system pumping, your rebate will be processed for the septic system pumping.
* If there are multiple septic systems on one parcel, you may be eligible for multiple rebates. Contact Kate Kimber at KKimber@co.whatcom.wa.us to determine if you have more than one eligible system.
Yes, as long as the work was completed in the last year, you complete a septic system training, and you can obtain a copy of your receipt or paid invoice.
Yes, the Whatcom County Health Department keeps records of landowners that have completed septic system classes. Contact Kate Kimber at KKimber@co.whatcom.wa.us to request confirmation that you have completed a class. Be prepared to provide your name, address, and approximate time and location that you completed the class. Once Public Works has received confirmation, you will be notified and can submit your application.
Please note: Your evaluation, pumping, or equipment installation must have been completed in the last year to be eligible for the rebate.
Processing time ranges anywhere from 4-6 weeks; if you have not received a rebate within two months of submitting your materials, please contact Kate Kimber at KKimber@co.whatcom.wa.us .
This is a grant funded program with a goal of increasing homeowners’ knowledge of septic systems, how they work, and how to identify potential problems before a system fails. Thus, the training is a requirement to be eligible for the rebate program.
You can apply for a second rebate for your property if:
You will find links to the refresher quiz and rebate application on the Public Works website at: http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/2257/Septic-Maintenance-Rebate-Program or contact Kate Kimber at KKimber@co.whatcom.wa.us .
To review information before completing your refresher quiz or your septic system inspection, visit http://wa-whatcomcounty.civicplus.com/1745/Homeowner-Training-OM to sign up for a workshop or access the homeowner training materials.
A farm planner at the Whatcom Conservation District will help review your eligibility for the rebate program. Call 360.526.2381 for more information.
There are four criteria that must be met to be eligible for the small farm improvements rebate.
At Whatcom County Public Works- Natural Resources Department. The office is located in the tall gray and blue building across the street from the Bellingham Public Library.
You can also mail to:
Attn: Small Farm Rebate Program
322 N. Commercial, Suite 110
Bellingham, WA 98225.
You will receive the rebate application at your workshop. You will need to submit:
Upcoming classes are listed on the Whatcom Conservation District’s website at: http://www.whatcomcd.org/speaker-series. Please contact the Conservation District at 360.526.2381 to register or if you have any questions.
Rebates are available to reimburse up to $200 of eligible costs, based upon actual expenses.
People that are leasing land for farm animals can be eligible for the rebate with the landowner’s permission. You will need to have a letter from the landowner approving the installation of the BMP or have the landowner sign the rebate application with you.
Rebate applications are typically processed within 4-6 weeks. You will receive a check at the mailing address you indicated on your rebate application. If you have not received a rebate within two months of submitting your application, please contact Erika Douglas at EDouglas@co.whatcom.wa.us.
Funding is limited, so participants are encouraged to submit materials as early as possible. Rebates will be rewarded in the order they were received until funding is exhausted or June 2019 (grant funds expire at this time).
No, each “farm area” * is eligible for one rebate (one BMP).
*“Farm areas” are defined for this program as adjoining parcels with farm animals under the same land ownership. Each “farm area” is eligible for one rebate (one BMP). If a landowner has more than one separate “farm areas”, each “farm area” is eligible for a rebate. Separate rebate applications must be submitted for each “farm area”.
Processing time ranges anywhere from 4-6 weeks; if you have not received a rebate within two months of submitting your materials, please contact Erika Douglas at EDouglas@co.whatcom.wa.us.
In rural residential and agricultural areas, sources of fecal pollution may include human waste (poop) from improperly functioning septic systems and animal waste from farms, pets, and wildlife. In more urbanized areas, human waste sources can include leaking sewer pipes, sanitary sewer pipes cross- connected with storm sewer pipes, and homeless encampments. In urban settings, animal waste pollution sources include dog poop left on trails, sidewalks and lawns, and un-naturally high concentrations of urban wildlife (e.g. raccoons, rats, etc.) attracted by human-sourced food.
As rainfall or snowmelt moves over the ground, the runoff picks up and carries with it human-made and natural pollutants. Fecal bacteria washes from the land into catch basins or into ditches and creeks that flow through our communities. The pollution flows to bigger streams and rivers, and eventually empties into our bays and harbors where people work, play and harvest shellfish.
Water carries many kinds of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Each type of bacterium, virus or protozoan requires a different test. Many of these tests are expensive because they require special materials, equipment and/or are time-consuming. It is difficult to monitor water for every pathogen on a routine basis.
In the Nooksack River, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are not a likely source contributing to increased fecal coliform levels.
WWTPs at Everson, Lynden and Ferndale have Individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to discharge to the Nooksack River. Permits require that WWTPs regularly monitor effluent for several parameters, including fecal coliform and specify a monthly geometric mean limit (28 CFU/100mL) for the treated water that empties to the Nooksack River. The WWTPs all comply with their permits.
Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) accredits the WWTP labs that analyze samples. An Ecology permit manager monitors required monthly reporting, annually inspects facilities, and verifies sampling results through duplicate samples analyzed elsewhere.
Several factors support that pollution sources originating in the Nooksack River watershed are the primary cause of high fecal coliform bacteria levels in Portage Bay. About 5.26 square miles of Lummi Reservation land area drains to Portage Bay. The Nooksack River watershed is about 786 square miles and produces substantially more storm water. The prevailing wind direction from the east southeast and low salinity levels often measured in the marine water of Portage Bay indicate that Portage Bay is heavily influenced by the freshwater flowing from the Nooksack River. Studies summarizing data include http://lnnr.lummi-nsn.gov/LummiWebsite/userfiles/1_2000_to_2001_Final_DWIF.pdf and the Nooksack River Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load documents accessed from http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/tmdl/NooksackTMDL.html.
Approximately 400 residences are located on the Lummi Nation land area that drains to Portage Bay. The Lummi Tribal Water and Sewer District provides sewer services to 380 homes; 20 homes have on-site sewage systems (OSS). The Northwest Indian Health Board regulates the 20 OSS. The Lummi Gooseberry Point WWTP discharges effluent to an outfall located in Hale Passage. Washington Department of Health studies have confirmed that Gooseberry Point WWTP discharges do not reach Portage Bay.
Wildlife, including birds, can contribute fecal coliform bacteria to our waterways. Examples may include waterfowl that seasonally visit agricultural fields in Whatcom County and potentially contribute fecal coliform bacteria pollution to water that drains from the fields. Wildlife such as raccoons or rats can be a pollution problem when animals become concentrated in unnaturally high numbers in an area due to food sources made readily available by people (e.g. pet food outdoors or uncontained garbage).
Several misconceptions exist about using DNA testing, or Microbial Source Tracking (MST), to find the source of fecal pollution. One mistaken belief is that a single water sample can point out which specific person or animal is causing the pollution.
Current science is not capable of identifying all sources of fecal bacteria in a water sample. Analysis looks for genetic markers for certain species, but we do not have markers for all species. Even if a lab develops a marker for a certain species, not all individuals of that species may carry the marker. MST strategies rely on establishing patterns based on multiple samples taken over time from specific sampling locations. A limited number of labs are qualified to conduct MST analysis and costs are high.
Past MST studies in Whatcom County’s Drayton Harbor watershed and in Skagit County’s Samish watershed confirmed already suspected fecal pollution from humans and from ruminants (cows, horses, and sheep) among other unidentified sources. Fecal pollution to water from human, livestock, and pet sources is preventable. Finding and fixing those sources provide the opportunity for improving water quality to healthy conditions.
•The US Environmental Protection Agency and Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) have authority to enforce rules related to water quality protection through the federal Clean Water Act. ECY enforces Washington’s Water Pollution Control Act. •The Washington State Department of Agriculture has authority related to water quality protection for licensed cow dairies. •Washington Department of Health (DOH) and Whatcom County Health Department have authority to enforce health and safety regulations related to on-site sewage systems and drinking water. DOH administers the National Shellfish Sanitation Program and regulates shellfish harvest in Washington. •Whatcom County Planning & Development Services regulates land use, such as enforcing the Critical Areas Ordinance and approving farm plan applications submitted for compliance.
Agencies such as Whatcom County Public Works Department (Public Works), Whatcom Conservation District (WCD), and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) do not have authority to enforce regulations. Public Works gathers and analyzes data to prioritize pollution reduction efforts and coordinates landowner contact in the County’s Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) program focus areas. Related to reducing bacteria pollution from livestock and manure, WCD and NRCS serve important roles in providing no-cost, expert advice and planning services for residents who want to benefit from the free help.
Other federal, state and local permits may be needed. Check with the local jurisdictions/districts for water and sanitary sewer hookup information. A good resource for checking what federal or state permits you may need for your development is a handbook titled “Commonly Required Environmental Permits for Washington State.”
Drug Court is a special court charged with the responsibility of handling cases involving drug-addicted offenders. This is accomplished through an extensive supervision and treatment program. Drug Court has the power to offer an individual an alternative to traditional court if they successfully complete a Drug Court supervised treatment. For "graduates" of the program, the court may dismiss the original charge, lessen the sentence, or offer a lesser penalty.
Drug Courts are based on negative reinforcement; the withdrawal of negative or unwanted factors to reward positive behavior. In these cases this is the removal of incarceration and/or fines for positive performance in treatment programs.
Sadly, people who are in need of treatment programs are not identified in the traditional court system. With the continuing increase in incarceration costs and the need for room in overcrowded jails, only 10% of persons who need treatment receive it in the traditional court system.
Studies regarding the use of drugs also suggest that some drug offenders utilize drugs in an attempt to self-medicate themselves for a psychiatric disorder. Individuals with mental illnesses are 2.7 times more likely to have substance abuse problems than individuals in the general populace. Individuals with substance abuse problems, particularly problems involving drugs other then alcohol, demonstrate almost a five–fold greater incidence of mental illness then the rest of the population.
The U.S. Department of Justice reported that incarceration alone does little to break the cycle of drugs and crime. One study, completed in 1993, found that a full 60% of police chiefs believe that police and other law enforcement agencies have been unsuccessful in reducing the drug problem in the United States.
You may use the single copy PDF version, rather than the Excel version, of the Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit (REETA), and all other REET forms, including Mobile Home, and Supplemental Statements. Please be careful that you don't reduce the print and/or form size when printing these documents from the Department of Revenue website. We will only accept one original legal size (8.5" x 14") signed document, if not submitting the 4-part legal size carbonized form. Once reviewed and receipted, we will make the necessary photo copies. Please provide 1 copy of all attachments, on standard letter size paper (8.5" x 11"). Including, but not limited to, legal description, and any attachments required by the WAC rules. Washington State Department of Revenue Forms
There is a Real Estate Gift Supplemental form that must be signed by both parties, and must accompany a completed Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit. These documents are filed in the Treasurer's Office and are subject to a minimum filing fee if there are no taxes due. Follow the link below, then look for Real estate excise tax supplemental statement.
If the mobile home is going to be moved, as a condition of sale, obtain a tax certificate (moving permit) from the Assessor's Office. There is no charge for the tax certificate. Take the tax certificate to the Treasurer's Office to be certified that any property taxes due on the mobile home have been paid, and receive an orange decal which must be displayed on the mobile home while it is being moved. It is a violation of Washington state law to move a mobile home without a validated tax certificate and orange decal. When all property taxes have been paid, the Treasurer's Office will issue a tax verification form (half sheet). The tax verification form, and the current mobile home title, can be taken to the Licensing Department in the Auditor's Office to pay sales tax and transfer the title into the new owner's name.
If the mobile home is not going to be moved, go to the Treasurer's Office to complete a Mobile Home Excise Tax Affidavit and pay any excise tax that may be due. This affidavit must be signed by the buyer and the seller, and is required along with the current title, to transfer title in the Licensing Department of the Auditor's Office. Please be careful that you don't reduce the print and/or form size when printing these documents from the Department of Revenue website.
Follow the link below, then look for Real estate excise tax mobile home affidavit.
Example: $100,000 has an assessed value of $1,000. $1,000 x 15.4223 levy rate = $1,542.23 tax
There are several different special assessments possibly showing on your tax statement.
Birch Bay Watershed & Aquatic Resources Management (Birch Bay WARM) - contact Public Works/Stormwater at 360.778.6210.
Foreclosure Warning Notice - contact the Treasurer's office at 360.778.5173.
On-Site Sewage Fee - contact the Health Department at 360.778.6000.
Various Watershed Districts - contact Henry Bierlink at 360.354.1337.
All others are managed by Public Works River & Flood Division at 360.778.6230.