Article 1 Powers of the County

Section 1.10 General Powers.

The County shall have all powers possible that a home rule county may have under the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Washington. The enumeration of this Charter of certain rights shall not be construed to deny others retained by the people. (Amended by referendum 1986; Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A).

Section 1.11 Citizens’ Rights.

The rights of the individual citizen shall be guaranteed under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Washington. No regulation or ordinance shall be drafted and adopted without consideration of and provisions for compensation to those unduly burdened. (Added by referendum 1995; Amended by referendum 2005).

Section 1.20 Intergovernmental Relations.

The County may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its duties, functions, projects, or activities jointly or in cooperation with any one or more governments, governmental agencies, municipal corporations, or any private agency or corporation, in any manner permitted by law and participate in the financing thereof.

It shall be the policy of the County to enhance, in every way possible, intergovernmental cooperation. (Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A).

Section 1.30 Construction.

The power of the County shall be liberally construed; it is intended that this Charter confer the greatest power of local self-government consistent with the Constitution of the State. Specific mention of a particular power or authority shall not be construed as a limitation on general power of the County, but shall be considered as an addition to and supplementary to or explanatory of the powers conferred in general terms by this Charter. References to adoption of ordinances by the County Council shall not be construed as impairing the right of the people to initiate or refer ordinances. The word “law” shall mean the Constitution and laws of the State of Washington unless context indicates otherwise. (Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A).

Section 1.40 Name, Boundaries, County Seat, and Classification.

The corporate name of this County shall remain Whatcom County, and it shall have those boundaries provided by the legislature.

The County seat shall be Bellingham, Washington. Branch offices of the County are authorized, and branches hereafter established shall be by ordinance.

Wherever “classification” is significant, this County shall be considered equivalent to a classified county of the class having the population of this county at the time of the last official census. (Amended by Ord. 2005-075 Exh. A).

Section 1.50 Separation of Powers and Cooperation of Branches.

There shall be separation of powers into two branches of government: executive and legislative. Both branches are to dutifully fulfill their responsibilities and refrain from overextending their authority, as defined in this Charter.

Though powers are distributed to the respective branches, each branch shall strive to work with the other branch for a unified government for the people of Whatcom County. (Added by referendum 1995).

Section 1.51 Performance and Strategic Planning.

The executive and legislative branches shall engage in long-term strategic planning to establish organizational structure, priorities, and performance measurements. The County Executive shall present an annual report during the first week of May. (Added by referendum 1995).