Schugt chosen new Blaine mayor

Published on Thu, Apr 12, 2001 by Soren Velice

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Schugt chosen new Blaine mayor

By Soren Velice

To fill part of the hole left by Florida-bound John Hobberlin, Blaine’s City Council appointed Richard “Mike” Myers to the vacant seat.

“The difficult part is you have to say yes to one and no to four,” council member Dieter Schugt said. “Mike’s a good candidate, a classic guy,” said Martin Conyac, a fellow candidate. “I’m happy for him; of course, I’d be happier for me ...”

Myers’ first act after swearing to “faithfully and impartially perform the duty of Blaine at large to the best of (his) ability” was to vote for a new mayor to fill Hobberlin’s other shoe. “If you don’t pick the right one, we’ll have to vote again,” Schugt said jokingly just before getting the nod from council. “I’m just one of seven,” he said after the vote. “My job is just to act as chair and keep meetings going; I think John Hobberlin did a good job, as we’ll see as time goes on.” Myers was then appointed to the administration and finance committee.

Following a presentation by fire district #13 chief David England about the 1997 Uniform Fire Code and his recommendations for a few more stringent regulations, such as requiring sprinklers in buildings 5,000 square feet or bigger. “Rather than continue to take tax dollars to build our reactive firefighting force, it begins to make sense to put some of the cost of growth on the people causing that growth and creating that risk,” England said. “That’s the question you as a council have to decide – is it contrary to growth and development? It’s a tough choice, but that’s why we’re in this venue.”

“If Blaine adopts this ordinance and it’s not universal throughout district 13 and Whatcom County in general, this is one more reason not to come to Blaine to build,” chamber of commerce president Pam Christianson said.

Councilman Frank Bresnan also thought such an ordinance might stifle economic growth in Blaine. “I deal with codes and regulations every day,”he said. “I appreciate what chief England is doing here, but I have to ask the council – are we going to go above and beyond the fire code adopted by the knowledgeable and experienced committee members on a national commission level, and if we choose to, are we going to go above and beyond the uniform plumbing code, the uniform building code, the uniform mechanical code, and even the national electrical code?

“I think there’s a reason the uniform fire code does not require sprinkler systems in all buildings 4,999 square feet or greater, because they have made the determination that it’s the best balance between the health and safety of the public and the cost that is a burden placed on the individual property owner.”

“We can’t just keep adding requirements for businesses,” councilwoman Bonnie Onyon agreed. “This is one we don’t need legally.” After more discussion, the council tabled the issue so England could change the amendment to reflect council’s wishes and bring it up for review.

The next issue under consideration was a proposed contract with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) that would lessen the blow of rising power rates. “The rates that come with it are only good for two years,” public works director Grant Stewart said. “The good news is that the rate increase is down from 30 percent more than what we’re paying to 21 percent. We sent a letter to BPA saying we want to be a customer and they responded with this contract.”.

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