Council approves TBD expenditures

Whatcom County Council has unanimously approved another $20,000 annual budget for the expenditure funds in the Point Roberts Transportation Benefit District (TBD) account, but several council members want to review how much of a slice the county keeps for administration.

“I think you guys are getting cheated,” said county council member Barbara Brenner at a public hearing on November 19 to authorize the 2020 budget for the TBD.

Several community members spoke during the public hearing and expressed concern that the public works department’s fees to administer a contract maintaining plantings along Tyee Drive represented 41 percent of the total expenditures for that purpose.

An accounting summary from the county shows that from June 2018 through October 2019 there had been $11,859 paid to the landscaper maintaining plantings on Tyee Drive while the county had charged $8,557 in fees.

Voters’ association president Allison Calder called the administration fees “insane” and pointed out that the interest earned by the almost million dollars held in the TBD fund did not go into the fund but into the county general fund, ostensibly to support its administration. If that is the case, she said, no further administration fees should be charged. “If we are planning on spending that million on a larger project we need to know up front how much of a cut the county is going to take!”

Council member Tyler Byrd said there had been ongoing conversations about the fees being charged. “None of us really like seeing that and I think we’ll see some resolution moving forward,” he said.

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