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Whatcom County City of Lynden Council Position 4

The City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.

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    Brent Lenssen

  • Jen Marion

Biographical Information

What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position?

How would you describe your vision for your city?

What are the obstacles in the path of achieving your vision?

What do you think is your city/town’s role in dealing with issues surrounding the environment?

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastructure?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

How would you propose the council communicate with the citizens of your city or town?

Phone (360) 815-4191
Town where you live Lynden
Experience (300 characters max) 10 years as Lynden City Councilor 6 years on the Lynden City Planning Commission. Long term management team member of local business- Vander Griend Lumber. Served on committee which designed, planned, built and fund raised for Million Smiles Playground at City Park.
This is year 10 of my service to you as a Lynden City Councilor. Prior to that, I spent 6 years on the planning commission. This experience has given me a foundation and knowledge base to effectively advocate for Lynden and its citizens. I have lived and worked in this community most of my life. I bring an innate and deep understanding of the community, its values, and how it functions to the table. I know many of you and always welcome the many opportunities I have had to discuss items important to you concerning our great city. I have interacted with many of your at my place of employment, Vander Griend Lumber, where I have actively and successfully managed sales, material purchasing programs, IT systems, and operations at the successful local, community minded business for more than 2 decades. I am also was intimately involved with the planning and construction of the Million Smiles Playground at City Park and met many of you through that experience.
My vision for Lynden revolves around smart growth. Our town continues to be a desirable place to live and more people continue to move here to enjoy the quality of life. As we continue to grow, we need to keep our sense of community and our community pride. Our responsibility as Councilors is to prioritize what our citizens feel is important as we grow. As we grow smartly, we need to make sure that we able to provide public safety services for our growing community. Smart growth involves making informed and wise decisions on how to proceed with development in the Pepin Creek corridor. Smart growth involves developing connectivity throughout town utilizing roads and trails. It ensures that we have enough park property especially as housing becomes denser. It creates a government that is open and accessible to its citizens.
Two significant issues can get in the way of the implementation of vision. The first are financial limitations and the second revolve around developing a shared vision. Residential growth has a difficult time paying for the ongoing costs it creates. These costs include the need for more public safety personnel, maintaining park space, and maintaining road systems among others. Smart growth must encourage industrial and commercial growth to help sustain the long term costs associated with residential growth. If we can come to a consensus on what smart growth looks like, our community can decide how to prioritize what is most important to everyone and then deploy our financial resources to the community’s most important items first. Working smart and working together, we can make our community stronger.

All of us are responsible for the protection of the beautiful area where we live. This includes the city. The city has successfully reduced its water consumption per capita and built a new water treatment plant. It also has strengthened its rules concerning storm runoff to comply with state and federal rules for new developments and building projects while encouraging property owners to upgrade their properties. In order to try to reduce storm water runoff and improve fish and wildlife habitat, the city has been doing studies and making plans to reroute Pepin Creek into the middle of the Benson and Double Ditch Road corridor and repair Pepin Creek south of Main St. If economically feasible, this completed project will be a significant contribution to enhancing fish habitat, providing land for homes, and repairing human impacts in our local community. Through these projects and other avenues, the city will lessen its impact on the environment and sustain it for the future.
Years of foresight and planning have created great infrastructure here in Lynden. Our sewer plant has been updated since it has been built and our new water treatment plant, which should serve us for 80 years, was brought on line in 2015. We have upgraded our water distribution and collection systems and have provided for other utility providers to provide services. We do have some large projects that we need to plan and complete. One would be to design and upgrade roads like Bradley, Line, Northwood and Kamm to city standards including safe sidewalks. Likewise, Benson and Double Ditch Road can be brought up to city standards if the Pepin Creek project comes to fruition. Increasing trails will help improve our pedestrian connectivity and our infrastructure. We also need to continue to offer incentives to residents still using septic systems to hook up to our city sewer system.
Homelessness is all around us. You see it in Seattle, you see it in Bellingham, and you see it here in Lynden. Our city has an effective partnership with Project Hope, a local non-profit. They have helped us reunite homeless individuals with their families. They operate a local food bank. This is treating the visual symptoms of homeless and poverty. Our society and our local government jurisdictions, Lynden included, also need to look at the causes of homelessness. How can we work for better mental health treatment? What can we do to make housing more affordable for working people? Lynden is not able to provide mental health treatment but is able to work through our zoning codes to find creative ways to make some lower cost housing options for those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. Our city also needs to make sure it is helpful to other groups in our community that wish to help the homeless.
Immigration policy and enforcement decisions belong to the federal government. Our immigration system is in need of improvement and all of us should work together to pressure our federal legislators to work together to make positive changes to our immigration laws/rules. Being four miles from an international boundary, the City of Lynden is in a unique situation compared to most other local jurisdictions. Our city has had an excellent working relationship in the past with federal law enforcement organizations and we should continue to assist them as needed as they are more than willing to assist us when necessary.
The city needs to improve its methods to reach our citizens. We have rapidly moved past the days where everyone reads a local newspaper or listens to a local radio station for information. Our new Lynden Watch program which utilizes Facebook to reach our citizens about public safety issues has worked exceedingly well in reaching our citizens and even helping law enforcement solve crimes. As state law allows, we need to develop similar methods to deliver information to our citizens and other stakeholders. Similarly, when asked for information by our citizens and constituents, we need to react quickly and provide the appropriate information we can legally give. Currently our city does well with being responsive. But, there is always room for improvement.
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