Proposed county ordinance would expand PRCAC membership

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An ordinance that would up the number of members on the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) as well as specify public notice requirements was introduced at Whatcom County Council’s regular meeting on November 24. The ordinance was sponsored by council member Rud Browne.

The proposed amendment to Whatcom County Code 2.98, which governs PRCAC, states that council has “recently received communications from residents of Point Roberts in which an overwhelming majority have expressed concern” that PRCAC is not communicating the wishes of the community on a key local issue; has not provided adequate notice of agendas in order to permit sufficient public comment and is not maintaining detailed minutes to reflect the debate and public comments within the meetings, nor who voted and how.

The amendment calls for a total of seven members, up from the current five, four of whom would be appointed by county executive Satpal Sidhu and one representative each from the chamber of commerce and the voters’ and taxpayers’ associations.

In addition, the committee must 'provide at least two weeks’ notice of all meetings and include the agenda. Any item intended for a vote must be clearly and unambiguously defined on the agenda. The date of any meeting along with the agenda shall published on the county website a minimum of two weeks prior.

“At every meeting, the committee will schedule an open session to take public comment on issues consistent with the charge of the committee. Written and audio records of meetings, resolutions, findings and recommendations shall be kept and such records shall be public. Minutes must be sufficiently detailed to enable a reader to understand the topic discussed and the key points of any debate. All external communications made by the committee shall be in writing, approved by a majority vote with the names of the committee members and their votes attached.”

The amendment will come before council again at its December 8 meeting.

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