Whatcom County Council introduced an ordinance on Monday, June 26 that, if approved, will send a ballot proposition to voters for collection of a two-tenths of one percent sales tax to fund public health, safety, and justice services and facilities detailed in the Justice Project Needs Assessment Implementation Plan. A public hearing and Council consideration on the ordinance are scheduled for the meeting on July 11, 2023, at 6 p.m. Members of the public can participate in person in Council Chambers at 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, or by joining the meeting online via Zoom. Visit www.whatcomcounty.us/joinvirtualcouncil for more information on how to join the meeting. Submit your comments directly to the County Council in advance of the meeting at [email protected].
The Justice Project Needs Assessment Implementation Plan provides a roadmap for improving public health, safety, and justice facilities and services in Whatcom County. The Plan was developed through workshops with the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force, key stakeholders, and councilmembers. Focus groups with impacted communities such as people with lived experience in the criminal legal system informed the Plan. The Plan’s 15 projects will expand essential health and support services, provide safe and humane facilities and treatment centers, and ensure accountability and oversight throughout the implementation process. Initial projects to be funded from the proposed sales tax include construction of a new jail and behavioral health treatment center, a 23-hour crisis relief center providing behavioral health urgent care, as well as behavioral health, diversion, supportive housing, and re-entry support services.
For more information, please visit www.whatcomcounty.us/justice or contact the County Council Office at 360-778-5010.
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