City Manager's Report
Bainbridge Islanders,
Next week, our new City Manager Blair King joins the City team. While I’m certainly looking forward to his arrival, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to serve a short stint as the interim city manager since late last year. I now have a new view of the City organization after a decade in other roles, and have developed a deeper appreciation for the diversity of topics of community interest and organizational priority. At the City, we think about road striping, closed captioning options for public meetings, inquiries about particular trees, eligibility for City grant funding cycles, the installation of new buoys in the harbor and ways to inform the community -- all on the same day. The wide variety of community, Council and City topics in my email and voicemail inboxes means that no two days are the same. At the same time, I will be glad to return to my role as deputy city manager and pick up some projects I’ve deferred for the past several months. As always, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work for you - the community that the whole City organization is here to support.

The vaccine distribution partnership is now serving a new group of Islanders, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccines in 12- to 15-year-olds. Vaccination appointments at the Commodore site are available today (Friday, May 14) and Saturday, May 15; a parent or guardian must accompany anyone younger than 15 years old to the appointment.

Today is the deadline for applications for some of the City Advisory Groups. Please consider applying to serve on a short-term task force - we have openings on both the Cultural Funding and Human Services task forces, which will meet this fall – or on a standing committee, such as the Historic Preservation Commission or Utility Advisory Committee.

The May 11 business meeting included Council taking the next step related to the multifamily housing tax exemption (MFTE) program, previously discussed May 4, by scheduling a public hearing. This public hearing will be held June 8 and will focus on what is known as the designation areas, or where the program can be used. Council also reviewed an ordinance which modifies the municipal code sections related to City advisory committees, and an ordinance that updates the City’s policies related to speech at public meetings.

Next week’s study session will include a discussion on the City’s work plan. The work plan projects are topics of special focus this year, representing just a small portion of the City’s overall programs and services.

Best wishes,

Ellen Schroer
Interim City Manager
City of Bainbridge Island maintains Aaa credit rating
A municipal credit-rating agency, Moody's Investors Service, reaffirmed the City of Bainbridge Island's Aaa credit rating this week for its exceptionally strong financial position, robust economy and tax base, low debt and affordable pension liabilities.

This is the highest credit rating issued to a municipal government, and indicates that the City has a healthy financial profile relative to other municipalities, both locally and nationwide.

The Moody’s rating affirms its previous Aaa rating issued to the City in November 2019.

“Bainbridge is proud to have maintained the Aaa rating from Moody’s despite the worldwide pandemic and economic recession,” said Finance Director DeWayne Pitts. “I hope community members are pleased that the City’s fiscal health remains in such a solid position during these uncertain economic times.”

Bainbridge is one of five other Washington cites, joining Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland and Mercer Island with the distinguished rating. The Aaa rating is significantly above the median rating of Aa3 for U.S. cities and means the City can borrow and pay much lower interest rates on City-issued debt.
Share your thoughts on the future of electrical service on Bainbridge Island
The City will host a virtual open house from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 19 to provide updates on the Puget Sound Energy franchise agreement negotiation and to gather community input.

Washington State provides municipalities, such as Bainbridge Island, the opportunity to engage electric and other utility providers in a franchise agreement that outlines the relationship between City and provider facilities – particularly as they relate to use of the City’s rights of way. The City has an active franchise agreement with Puget Sound Energy that expires in April 2022. City staff, City Council, and a joint subcommittee of the City’s Utility Advisory Committee and the Climate Change Advisory Committee are working together to prepare an update to the franchise that would be approved prior to the expiration date.

The updated franchise agreement would address administrative issues, such as pavement restoration and relocation of PSE utility poles in coordination with City projects.

The joint subcommittee has also recommended to the Council and staff that a concurrent “partnership agreement” should also be negotiated, which would address issues such as equitable access to green power and assistance with prioritizing power undergrounding to improve reliability and safety.

For more information and a link to the open house, please visit the City’s project page at
City seeks to hire climate mitigation/adaptation officer
The City is seeking applicants for a climate mitigation/adaptation officer position.

This new position, approved during the 2021-2022 budget deliberations, will lead the development and implementation of the climate change-related programs across all City departments, the community and with regional partners. This individual will develop strategic partnerships to meet the overall goals of the City's Climate Action Plan (CAP).

The CAP, approved by the Council in November 2020, outlines how we can reach the Council's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on Bainbridge Island by 90% in the next 25 years.

"The Climate Change Advisory Committee is excited to start working with the Climate Mitigation/Adaptation Officer to implement our Climate Action Plan," said Climate Change Advisory Committee Chair Michael Cox. "We believe hiring this person really shows the city is committed about doing our part to address climate change."

COVID-19 Updates
Everyone 12 and older now eligible for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 and older following recommendations that the Pfizer vaccine is safe for people 12 to 15 years old.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer vaccine for people 12 to 15 years old and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP), which is the gold standard for clinical guidance, voted to recommend Pfizer to the younger age group for immediate use.

Commodore Clinic
The COVID-19 Response Team is offering first-dose appointments today (Friday, May 14) and tomorrow at the Commodore clinic. Register for an appointment at

Patients who are 12 to 15 years old MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian. If a parent or guardian is not present, the patient will be sent away.

Patients who are 16 and 17 years old should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. If a parent or guardian is not available to come in person, they MUST have their screening form signed by their parent or guardian ahead of time and have a phone number where they can be reached if needed.

Anyone who receives a first-dose vaccine this weekend will return Saturday, June 5 for the second dose. June 5 will be the clinic's final day in operation.

Inslee announces statewide reopening date of June 30
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the state is moving toward a statewide June 30 reopening date.

The full reopening could happen earlier than June 30 if 70% or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination. Washington has administered over six million doses of vaccine, and 56 percent of Washingtonians have initiated vaccination.

Inslee also announced that Washington will fully adopt masking guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control. He stressed that this guidance is for fully vaccinated people — meaning people who are two weeks removed from their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The guidance does not apply to health care settings like hospitals, long-term care, or doctor’s offices; correctional facilities, homeless shelters, or schools. And the federal order requiring masks on public transportation remains in place (this includes Washington State Ferries facilities).

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.
Project Updates
Goats begin clearing way for Sound to Olympics Trail extension
A 100-goat herd from Vashon-based "Rent-a-Ruminant" is now munching away the weeds along a fenced area at the northwest corner of High School Road and SR 305 to clear the way for the next leg of the Sound To Olympics Trail, from High School Road to Sakai Park.

Visitors are invited to watch the goats, but please remember:
  • The fence inside is electric.
  • Please keep your dogs leashed (they frighten the goats). 
  • Please don't try to feed the goats through the fence. 

Once the goats have done their work, the City can begin construction of the STO Sakai Pond Connector, a new non-motorized trail linking High School Road with Sakai Park to the north. The paved, 10-foot-wide shared-used trail will be the STO Trail’s first new segment on Bainbridge Island since the Winslow Connector opened in 2018 between Winslow Way and High School Road.

The goats are funded through the Parks Foundation's Friends of the Sound to Olympics Trail Fund.

Learn more about the project efforts at
City Council Updates
Council sets public hearing for affordable housing tax relief program designation areas
The City Council this week scheduled a public hearing for the June 8 business meeting to gather input from the community on the proposed designation areas for the Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) program. The program would encourage developers to build multifamily and affordable housing in Winslow and Lynwood Center in exchange for a partial property tax relief for 12 or 20 years.

The Council is considering the following areas as MFTE eligibility locations, as recommended by the Planning Commission:

The MFTE program is a financial incentive to encourage development and redevelopment of multifamily and affordable housing. The program provides a partial property tax exemption for qualifying projects for either 12 or 20 years, on the value of residential improvements for qualifying MFTE housing developments and does not apply to the value of land or any non-residential development. The exempted amounts shift to other taxpayers, in a manner similar to other property tax exemptions.

The program does not modify or reduce any development standards or permitting requirements, such as setbacks, density or building heights.

On May 4, the Council chose to begin development of 12-year and 20-year MFTE programs.
  • 12-year program
  • The 12-year MFTE program requires that, for rental projects, a minimum of 20% of housing units rent to low- or moderate-income households or below and, for home-ownership projects (e.g., condominiums), 100% of housing units are sold to moderate-income households or below.
  • 20-year program
  • The 20-year exemption, adopted in late April by the Washington State Legislature (SB 5287) requires at least 25% of the units to be sold to a qualified nonprofit or local government partner and requires those units to provide permanent affordability. Permanent affordable homeownership units or rental units must be sold or rented to low-income households. Under the MFTE state law, Chapter 84.14 RCW, a household with income up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) qualifies as a low-income household, and a household with income up to 115% of AMI qualifies as a moderate-income household.

Learn more about the proposed program at
Upcoming City Council agenda
The May 18 City Council meeting will include the following items:

  • Welcome to new City Manager Blair King
  • Discussion on the City work plan
  • Resolution No. 2021-10 updating the Ethics Program related to appointments
  • Discussion of electric shuttle proposal
  • Plastics ordinance

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)

  • BKAT (Channel 12 on Comcast & Channel 3 on WAVE)
City Advisory Group Updates
Last call: Volunteer to serve on a City Advisory Group
Today at 4 p.m. is the deadline to submit an application to serve on a City committee. Please consider volunteering your time to serve on one of the following committees (listed below) that assist and advise the City Council:

Learn more about the committee openings and apply at

Applicants must be available in May for interviews. Terms begin July 1, 2021.

Questions? Contact Executive Assistant Roz Lassoff at 206-580-6735 or
Other Updates
Bremerton and Bainbridge sailings swap loading lanes at Colman Dock
Vessels departing Seattle for Bremerton and Bainbridge have swapped loading lanes at Colman Dock for about seven weeks.

Due to service changes following an engine fire putting the Wenatchee out of operation, the Salish will sail the Seattle/Bremerton route starting Friday, May 14.
Therefore, all customers traveling through Colman Dock need to be prepared for the following temporary changes to accommodate the vessel:

  • Seattle/Bremerton: All departures from Seattle will be out of Slip 1. There will also be slight schedule changes that eliminate an early afternoon roundtrip to allow the Salish to better maintain its schedule.

  • Seattle/Bainbridge: All departures from Seattle will be out of Slip 3.

Bicycle passengers should also be aware of staging changes due to the swap. Bainbridge travelers will now be staged to the north in Lane 21, while Bremerton customers will be staged to the south in Lane 1. Terminal staff will be available to answer questions and help passengers.

Customers can check the schedules online for specific sailing information.

Sign up to receive WSF rider alerts to stay informed on route changes.
WSF to host virtual community meetings
Washington State Ferries is hosting virtual community meetings later this month to answer questions and give an update on what’s happening at the Washington State Ferries. Topics include service updates, proposed tariff changes and the agency’s continued response to COVID-19.

The meetings are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 25 and and 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 26. Registration is required. A video recording of each meeting will be available online.

Learn more about the meetings.
Candidate filing begins next week
Candidate filing week is May 17-21. A link to file online will be available on the Kitsap County Auditor's website beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, May 17 and ending at 4 p.m. Friday, May 21.

There are four Bainbridge Island City Council positions open for filing:
  • Council District 2, North Ward
  • Council District 3, South Ward
  • Council District 5, Central Ward
  • Council District 7, North Ward

Candidates running for a Council position on Bainbridge will pay a fee of $360.

Read the 2021 Candidate and Measure Guidelines book for information about running for office.
Important Dates
Monday, May 17: Design Review Board meeting; 2 p.m. on Zoom
Monday, May 17: Ethics Board meeting; 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 19: Climate Change Advisory Committee meeting; 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 20: Planning & Community Development Department closed for process improvement day.
Wednesday, May 26: Joint City Council & Ethics Board meeting; 6 p.m.
Stay Connected
Contact Information

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