City recognized for supporting employees part of military reserve duty

U.S. Department of Defense representative John Patterson, right, presented the City of Lynden with three plaques Oct. 7 for supporting employees who also do military reserve duty. Police officer Matt Thompson, left, recently served two months of Coast Guard duty on the southern border. Russ Martin, center, is the Lynden Police Department’s new administrative lieutenant. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

And city is thanked for allowing officers to do military duty

LYNDEN ­— First, the promotion of 16-year officer Russ Martin to administrative lieutenant within the Lynden Police Department was announced to the City Council Monday, Oct. 7, by interim police chief Michael Knapp.

Then outside recognition was given for the city’s support of its police officers taking time off for military service. In a series of presentations, that honor was conveyed by John Patterson, of Snohomish, representing the U.S. Department of Defense office of Employee Support of the Military Guard and Reserve.

It all took place as first items of business and drew extra family and co-worker attendance to the council’s regular meeting in City Hall Annex.

Knapp said Martin’s experience, devotion to the department, and skill-set suit him well for the promotion, which also was vetted by a qualifying exam by an outside agency. Martin, already patrol sergeant, becomes the second LPD lieutenant, in addition to Jeremy Bos for operations, in a number of changes being made by Knapp, a veteran of law enforcement, as Lynden looks toward hiring a new permanent police chief.

Then Patterson presented three plaques — one each to the Police Department, City Council, and Mayor Scott Korthuis — in recognition of the city’s allowing police officers to do military duty, whether that be regular reserve training, or activation to longer duty, with time off from their regular jobs.

Officer Matt Thompson, a Coast Guard reserve, recently was deployed for two months of active duty along the U.S. southern border. Thompson also puts in a weekend a month and two weeks of training per year.  He made the nominations of the City of Lynden.

In other action:

Angela Anderson, a former chief public defender for Whatcom County, is hired as the city’s new public defender, for representing defendants in court when they cannot pay for the cost themselves.

The city will get its insurance through a new entity, Washington Cities Insurance Authority, instead of Cities Insurance Association of Washington, in 2020. The change, researched and pursued by Finance Director Anthony Burrows, will save the city more than $321,000 in premiums per year. 

The council awarded a $431,096 bid to Faber Construction Co. of Lynden to do a stormwater and industrial condensate line project from the Darigold plant area about 600 feet north to Fishtrap Creek. 

All but one set of railroad tracks, the southernmost ones owned by Burlington Northern-Santa Fe, can come out, said Public Works Director Steve Banham.

Within 45 days, also new curb, gutter and sidewalks will be built after the underground work is done.

Mayor Korthuis gave an update on the 2019 city budget, at this point three-fourths completed, in preparation for his release of a 2020 preliminary budget soon. He said most revenue accounts will end up close to what was projected a year ago.

Premium Services  Inc. of Bellingham was chosen, as lowest responsible bidder at $179,965, to do the job of digging a 2,600-foot extension of the city intercept ditch that is generally in the track —midway between Double Ditch and Benson roads —where a future Pepin Creek new channel may be built.

This is expenditure of dollars that were given to the city in 2008 as emergency funding to address flooding concerns back then in the area. The thinking for now is that the intercept ditch will carry any floodwater onto Main Street, from there to flow toward Fishtrap Creek.

The city will go through Whatcom County to claim a rebate of its gross sales tax, as allowed by a new state law, that can be used for affordable housing programs.

Letting the county take the lead doubles the amount coming to the city to $46,000.

City leaders heard from Ken Stap, president of the Downtown Business Association, about its various efforts in recent years to “get the downtown vibrant again.”

Winning America’s Main Streets contest in 2016 earned $25,000 that was used primarily for the tractor and apparatus to keep all of downtown’s hanging baskets watered and beautiful. A set of promotional posters made by Corey Jamison for the downtown will become more visible now.

In committee reports, councilor Brent Lenssen noted that the Fire Department is looking into adding a second floor to the office portion of the existing Fourth Street station.

Also, a new ambulance should arrive in Lynden by November.