City Manager's Report
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
As I write this, our region is continuing to cope with more than a week straight of unhealthy air quality due to smoke from West Coast wildfires. The impact on our public health, local business, and daily activities has compounded the “regular” challenges and stresses from COVID closures and restrictions. Hopefully, improved air quality will arrive this weekend as forecast. If so, I hope everyone will take the opportunity to return to Bainbridge Island’s usual swirl of fall hiking, biking, and other outdoor connections. It is important to do so and to make the most of our outside opportunities as much as possible in these coming weeks, before rainy weather and shorter days also creep forward.

Next week, I will complete one of the most important tasks for a City Manager: the presentation of a balanced “proposed” biennial budget to the City Council. This is the first step in our work to finalize a City budget for the next two-year cycle (2021-2022). City administration is required by State law to deliver this Proposed Budget to City Council before the end of September.

The economic impacts from COVID closures means that this next City biennial budget will need to reflect the reduction in City revenues. For the current year, 2020, we expect the City will experience roughly a 10% revenue loss. Looking ahead to 2021-2022, we anticipate some degree of recovery, but that still means planning for less funding for City services than we had to draw from in our last budget cycle. This makes the work to prioritize services and projects even more complex than usual.

Beginning in October, the City Council will take up the Proposed Budget and work together to make adjustments to create a final Approved Budget. Since 2010, the City has succeeded in passing an Approved Budget before the end of the year, usually by the end of November. The Council will use time during October and November to consider spending options, receive community input, and establish consensus on priorities. This is important work, as the 2021-22 Biennial Budget will guide the City’s service delivery, capital projects, and community partnerships for the coming years. Please plan to help us with these budget choices, and do your part to stay informed and involved. The decisions that we make in these next few weeks will impact island residents, businesses and visitors for years to come.

The next City Council meeting is a business meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22. Please see below for more information on some of the topics that are scheduled for discussion at that time, and other items of community interest.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
Wildfire Safety Updates
Air quality forecast update from Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency expects the smoke to begin clearing with the arrival of rain starting early today (Sept. 18) and continuing into Saturday. At this time, the agency does not expect more smoke through the middle of next week.

Fire marshals in our four-county area of Kitsap, King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties have issued fire safety burn bans prohibiting outdoor burning, including recreational fires.

Current air quality conditions are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS to UNHEALTHY.

When air quality is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens should reduce exposure. When air quality is UNHEALTHY, everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

Right now, everyone should take precautions, especially infants, children, and people over 65, or those that are pregnant, have heart or lung diseases (such as asthma or COPD), respiratory infections, diabetes, stroke survivors, and those suffering from COVID-19.

Learn more about wildfire smoke here.
Emergency officials discuss wildfire response, preparedness
Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage joined Bainbridge Island Fire Department Deputy Chief Jared Moravec and Bainbridge Prepares Executive Director Loren Bast this week on the Senior Community Center’s “Something to Talk About” online discussion to share information on the recent wildfire response and preparedness. 

During the discussion, Moravec shared an update on last week’s brush fire near Fletcher Bay Road. Fire investigators determined the fire started on private property due to a campfire that was not properly extinguished. There was no damage to structures, or any injuries reported. “When it’s this dry just make sure that what you’re doing outside that you’re being really, really careful,” Moravec said during the online chat.

LeSage shared information about the “Know Your Zone” wildfire response and evacuation plan that was developed in partnership by the City and Bainbridge Island Fire Department. In the event of an emergency, neighborhoods would be evacuated by zone. Don’t know your zone? Learn more here

Watch the "Something to Talk About" wildfire discussion here.

In addition, there are resources on the Bainbridge Island Fire Department website with steps you can take around your home to mitigate the wildfire risks.
COVID-19 Updates
Bloodworks Northwest testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies
Bloodworks Northwest is now testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies through Sept. 30 as the demand for antibody rich convalescent plasma continues to grow in the Pacific Northwest.

The antibody test will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to coronavirus, regardless of whether the person ever showed symptoms. The donor will receive their test result by mail within two weeks of donation. Plasma from blood donations that tests positive for antibodies will likely be designated for COVID-19 patients. Donors with positive test results will also receive follow up contact from Bloodworks to determine if they can make a convalescent plasma donation to further help patients. Information for donors about the antibody testing is available at

Appointments are required and many same-day appointments are available. Please click here for a list of the nearest donor centers.
Governor updates guidance for weddings and funerals
Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week updated guidance for weddings and funerals as part of Washington's Safe Start phased reopening plan.

The update allows wedding and funeral receptions to resume, as long as they meet specific requirements.

  • Receptions and ceremonies must be capped at 30 people, or 25% of venue occupancy, whichever is less
  • All tables at the reception must be seated by household, with table sizes capped at 5 people
  • Facial coverings are required, and social distancing must be maintained

Read the full guidance document here, and associated memo here.
Need help managing stress due to COVID-19? Call Washington Listens
If you or anyone you know is having difficulties managing stress and anxiety because of COVID-19, call the Washington Listens support line at 1-833-681-0211.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

TTY and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or your preferred method.

Resources and self-help tips are available on
Police Update
Police Chief to host virtual Town Hall to discuss public safety, listen to community feedback
Bainbridge Island Chief of Police Joe Clark will host a virtual Town Hall at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30 to have an open dialogue with the community about public safety topics, and to provide an opportunity for Islanders to ask questions and offer ideas on how the Bainbridge Island Police Department can best serve the community.

The event, which will be facilitated by Mayor Leslie Schneider, will begin with a presentation by Chief Clark to share his philosophy of policing, and to provide data on police services, recent changes to department policy, and plans for 2021. The presentation will be followed by a listening session for the community to ask questions, express concerns, and share ideas.

Questions may be submitted in advance of the Town Hall to Chief Clark by sending an email to Questions will be accepted until 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 25. In addition to emailed questions, Chief Clark will also answer questions from participants during the live Zoom event.

Ways to watch and/or participate:
  • Zoom (Webinar ID: 976 9151 5838):
  • To join the Town Hall on Zoom and participate in the discussion, please click the link below (no registration is required):
  • Join by telephone
  • Dial +1 (253) 215-8782 
  • Bremerton Kitsap Access Television (BKAT):
  • The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 12 on Comcast & Channel 3 on WAVE.
  • City website livestream
  • Visit the Agendas & Minutes page, then click on "In Progress" when the meeting starts (similar to City Council meetings).

A recording of the event will be available on the Police website following the event.

The event will be noticed as a special meeting to allow all members of the City Council to participate.

We hope to see you there!
Project Updates
Update on Wyatt Way reconstruction project
The City’s contractor is continuing to make progress on the Wyatt Way Reconstruction project. 

The majority of work is still primarily focused on the west side of the project limits between Grow Avenue and Nicholson Place, where pressure tests on the new water main will occur next week. Also within this zone of the project, the contractor has poured concrete for the lower retaining walls on the south side of Wyatt, and is preparing to pour the concrete for the upper walls next week. Along this western side of the project, road and sidewalk subgrade will begin being prepped for curb, gutter and sidewalk construction.

Within the work zone, east of the Grow Avenue intersection, the contractor has completed installing a majority of the storm drainage improvements. 

The current project schedule still has the majority of the work being completed by the end of November, weather permitting. The City is considering modifications to the asphalt pavement section that could ease installation if weather conditions deteriorate, and also increase the infrastructure lifespan.
Sustainable Transportation Plan update
The Sustainable Transportation Plan project team presented an update this week to City Council on the status of the project.

The project has completed the first phase of community outreach and engagement, which included an Aug. 20 virtual community meeting. Respondents selected the following top mobility values:
  • safety;
  • sustainability;
  • having good options; and a
  • well-maintained system.
The results also showed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents are doing more walking, rolling or bicycling, and less carpooling, driving alone and public transportation use (including the bus and ferry).

The project team is now beginning the next phase: gap analysis. They're looking at the City's mobility system and identifying physical gaps in infrastructure and gaps in programs or policies to encourage more sustainable modes of transportation. The results of the gap analysis will identify where potential projects will occur and which policies and programs should be changed and/or added.

Get more information through the online open house. While on the website, please also provide your input on the future of island transportation and share your transportation priorities and experiences, including how COVID-19 has changed the way you travel.

On Sept. 25 at 9:30 a.m., the Sustainable Transportation Task Force and Technical Advisory Team will meet in a virtual joint meeting. The Sustainable Transportation Task Force is composed of community members, and the Technical Advisory Team is composed of City staff and partner agencies, including Washington State Ferries, Washington State Department of Transportation, Kitsap Transit, Puget Sound Energy, Park District and School District. We invite community members to watch that meeting live via the City's YouTube channel. A link to view the meeting will be provided on the City website.

The Sustainable Transportation Plan will help us reach the City Council’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2045 and improve safety and mobility for all. The core areas of focus for the plan include:
  • The integration of land use and transportation;
  • Using equity framework and analysis tools; and 
  • Focusing on feasibility and implementation.
Green building ordinance review extended
The City Council this week agreed to temporarily delay the adoption process for an interim green building ordinance pending the imminent publication and staff review of an updated standard for the Zero Carbon Certification from the International Living Futures Institute.

The Zero Carbon Certification was recommended by the City’s Green Building Task Force as the core element of a mandatory green building program on Bainbridge Island. Staff will continue to draft an ordinance based on Council guidance and the conclusions of the staff review.
City Council Updates
Council to consider expanding speed restrictions in Blakely Harbor
City Council will begin discussion next week to consider expanding the speed restrictions in Blakely Harbor following concerns from residents about speed and wakes from boating traffic in the harbor.

Uses within the harbor include swimmers, non-motorized boaters, anchored vessels, water skiing, and other motorized activities.

Currently, Blakely Harbor falls under the island-wide limits of five nautical miles per hour when operating a vessel within 150 feet of any shoreline, dock, breakwater, or nonmotorized boating class, group, or event. Residents have proposed expanding the speed restrictions throughout the harbor. Similar restrictions exist for Eagle Harbor, Port Madison Bay, and Manzanita Bay.

Learn more about the current Municipal Code water restrictions here.
Upcoming City Council agenda
Below are some of the topics scheduled for the Sept. 22 City Council meeting.

  • 2021-2022 Proposed Budget presentation
  • Proclamation declaring Oct. 7, 2020 as "Energy Efficiency Day"
  • Public hearing on Shoreline Master Program amendment to integrate the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO)
  • Public hearing to consider extending the moratorium on certain development activities
  • Update on AT&T discussions related to cell coverage and service gaps
  • Update on the City's Public Art Program, including the "Something New" annual rotation of Winslow area artwork
  • Discussion on Blakely Harbor speed restrictions
  • Update on Wyatt Way project
  • Expectations for City Council liaisons
  • City Council support for the Race Equity Task Force workplan items

If you would like to receive the City Council agenda by email when it's published, sign up on the Council Agendas webpage.

Ways to Watch
  • Zoom
  • City website livestream (visit the Agendas & Minutes page, then click on "In Progress" when the meeting starts).
  • You can also watch the meetings on BKAT (Channel 12 on Comcast & Channel 3 on WAVE).
City Advisory Group Updates
Volunteer to serve on the Planning Commission
The City of Bainbridge Island is seeking a volunteer to serve on the Planning Commission to complete a term ending in June 2021.

The City is committed to promoting diversity on the commission. The commission shall reflect the diverse perspectives, work experiences and backgrounds represented in the community. Women, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, younger persons, senior citizens, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply to serve on the commission. Each commissioner shall endeavor to understand and agree to uphold the City’s adopted Comprehensive Plan.

The commission meets twice monthly from 6 to 8 p.m. (second and fourth Thursday). Other duties may in include attendance at subcommittee meetings to study topics more in depth.

Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9. Interviews will be held in October.

To complete the online application, please visit:
Other Updates
WSF to close upper parking lot at ferry terminal next week for paving work
Starting Monday, Sept. 21, the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal's upper parking lot will be closed to commuter parking for asphalt and repaving working.

The lot will remain open for ADA parking and passenger pickup and drop-off during the project.

The work will be performed during the day, and is expected to last through Oct. 30.

You can view all travel alerts at the WSF Travel Bulletins page.
Puget Sound Sound Starts Here Month: Septic Systems
The information below was provided by Water Resources Technician Christian Berg as part of Puget Sound Starts Here Month.

As an all-island city, Bainbridge Island is unique in that we have houses served by both a municipal sewer system and many homes on private septic systems.

While septic systems are an important way to get more water back into the aquifer for future use, septic systems need to be properly used and maintained to function properly. There is only one thing that should go down the drain (other than human waste) -- toilet paper! Other items such as grease, wipes, pharmaceuticals, or excess cosmetics can potentially cause damage to the system and add contaminates to the system that may not be filtered out during treatment.

When you flush the toilet or run a load of laundry do you think to yourself ‘The Puget Sound starts in my house?' Some of the water in the Puget sound started by moving through your house, out of the faucet and down the drain. All the wastewater generated in your home ultimately ends up in the Puget Sound, either through the City’s wastewater treatment plant or through the Kitsap county wastewater treatment plant via a septic hauler. We all have to do our part to keep that water as clean as possible.

Click here to learn more about how your septic system works.

Do you want to know how to inspect your septic system and make sure it is not adversely impacting the Puget Sound? Sign up here for a webinar to learn how!
Help secure funding for our region - take the U.S. Census
Time is running out to fill out the 2020 Census. You can respond online, by phone, or by mail.

Your response helps direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services. Results from the 2020 Census will be used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government.

Only 79.4% of households on Bainbridge Island have responded -- please encourage your friends and neighbors to participate!

Click here to respond to the Census. The deadline is Sept. 30.
Important Dates
Thursday, Sept. 24: Planning Commission meeting
Saturday, Sept. 26: Day of Preparedness; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Zoom
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Virtual Police Town Hall; 6 p.m. on Zoom
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Deadline to submit responses in Comcast cable TV franchise renewal survey. Learn more here.
Thursday, Oct. 1: Race Equity Task Force meeting; 6 p.m. on Zoom
Friday, Oct. 9: Deadline to apply for Planning Commission vacancy
Stay Connected
Contact Information

280 Madison Avenue North
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Phone: 206-842-7633