City Manager's Report
Bainbridge Islanders,
As in communities across the United States, the upcoming election is a major point of focus for Bainbridge Islanders as we head into the coming weekend. Voter turnout so far is higher than average, and I hope all eligible Bainbridge voters take the opportunity to cast their ballot and share their voice on key state and national issues.

In some respects, it feels as if next week’s election will be a capstone to all of 2020 – a year which has brought an unprecedented series of collective and individual challenges. Throughout these past months, our community worked together to understand and mitigate our public health risks, to articulate and learn from the ongoing damage wrought by systemic racism, and to adapt as best as possible to the day-to-day impacts from closures that affect our schools, businesses, and social connections. In a year filled with the unknown, and the never-before, Bainbridge Islanders have managed to help one another to adjust, to solve problems, and to make connections. And, as a result, we have been able to move forward – together – in ways that reflect the strength of our fundamental community commitments to one another.

I am confident that our time after Tuesday’s election will be another example of how our island works together on the problems we care most about. We can – and should – care deeply about the issues being decided in the 2020 state and national elections. But we live together here on Bainbridge Island. And our local success will depend on our ability to learn from, and lean on, our connections to one another. I hope the coming weeks, and the remaining challenges ahead during this winter and beyond, are the next chance to demonstrate the ways in which Bainbridge Island distinguishes itself as a community that thrives because we build our response to challenges on the strength of our community connections.

This week, the City Council meeting covered a number of significant topics, including sustainable transportation, non-motorized levels of service, an update on the Ethics Board, options to regulate self-service storage facilities, and an additional narrowing of the development moratorium.

Next week, due to the election, the Council meeting has been moved to Wednesday, Nov. 4. The meeting will be a dedicated workshop on budget issues, as the Council works to complete the City’s Biennial Budget for 2021-2022.

For more information about some of these topics and other items of interest, please see below.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
City's drive-thru COVID-19 testing site opens next week
The City of Bainbridge Island will open a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Town Square next Wednesday, Nov. 4 to support public health goals and the reopening of schools and businesses in our community.

The testing site, located next to City Hall at 280 Madison Ave N, will be open by appointment only 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, has been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case, has recently traveled, and/or needs a test to return to work. The testing site will not be open on Saturdays, as initially planned, to avoid any impacts to the Farmers Market schedule.

The effort is expected to increase testing capacity on the island by approximately 80 tests per week. The schedule may be adjusted based on the demand for testing.

“The community-based testing site is an important part of our community’s ability to ensure everyone has access to testing,” Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage said. “We are extremely grateful for the support of City Council and our emergency management volunteers who make operating the testing site possible.

Volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Bainbridge Prepares, and other emergency management volunteers will oversee the testing process with support from LeSage and COVID-19 Safety Officer Chris Rubin.

Testing site participants must make an appointment online. Learn more and register for a test here.
Plan safe ways to participate in Halloween activities this year
The Bainbridge Island Downtown Association's annual Trick or Treat Downtown event is canceled this year to be in accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee's guidelines to not encourage crowds.

For other safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween, please see suggestions here from the Washington State Department of Health.

Learn more about lower, moderate and higher risk activities and other holiday celebration tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.
Biennial Budget
Budget discussion
The City Council continued discussion this week on the 2021-2022 biennial budget, but did not approve any new motions as potential changes to the proposed 2021-22 budget. See the list of approved motions made during Oct. 20 meeting here.

The Council will hold a meeting Wednesday, Nov. 4 dedicated to the budget. At that meeting, staff will discuss the impacts of the Council's proposed budget motions that were made Oct. 20.

The proposed 2021-2022 budget can be viewed here.
Council considers 1% property tax increase
The City Council considered a 1% property tax levy increase at the Oct. 27 meeting.

As part of the annual budget process, Cities must first establish the total dollar amount of property tax revenue they wish to generate for the upcoming year. The increase in revenue is used to pay for increases in ongoing costs supported by the General Fund, such as personnel and repair and maintenance, which typically increase by more than 1% each year. Property tax is the City's single largest revenue source and is an important part of the City's budget.

The 1% property tax levy increase is the maximum amount allowed by state law. The owner of a median-priced home of $787,000 will pay roughly an additional $4 in property tax to the City if the Council approves the 1% increase.

The City of Bainbridge Island property tax, shown in light green in the pie chart above, represents about 9% of the total tax bill paid by Bainbridge Island property owners each year.

Final consideration of the property tax ordinance is scheduled for the Council's Nov. 10 meeting.
Project Updates
City seeks funding options for Winslow Water Tank Replacement Project
The City Council this week authorized City staff to proceed with exploring alternative funding and financing options for the Winslow Water Tank Replacement Project to cover the complete cost of the project, which is included in the 2021-26 Capital Improvement Plan at an estimated cost of $11.5 million.

The tank, one of two located near the Commodore neighborhood (shown in black circle), was built in 1973 and needs to be replaced due to structural and capacity issues.

The two options reviewed by the Council were a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant and a low interest loan from the Washington State Drinking Water Revolving Fund.

The Council and the City’s Utility Advisory Committee will have an opportunity in the future to discuss and make decisions on accepting any funding or financing offers that are received as a result of this exploration.
Update on Eagle Harbor Drive Phase II Non-motorized Improvements Project
A construction project to widen shoulders and create a separated bike lane along Eagle Harbor Drive is now postponed to 2021.

The City Council in June 2020 authorized the Public Works Department to proceed with accepting federal grant funds and design of the Eagle Harbor Phase II Non-Motorized Improvements that would add a widened shoulder and separated bicycle lane along Eagle Harbor Drive between McDonald Avenue and the shoreline segment of the roadway. The Council's authorization allowed staff to “secure” the grant funds for the project ($700,000) ahead of the July 15, 2020 deadline.

Initially, Public Works was considering that the project could begin construction in the summer of 2020. However, with the required reviews from the federal grant agency just beginning, City staff is now proposing to start the project in the spring of 2021. This delay does come with some good news-- staff expects to receive more competitive bids for the project when advertised later this year.
Sustainable Transportation Plan update
The City Council this week reviewed the Final Plan Goals and Objectives for the Sustainable Transportation Plan. The six goals include:
  • Climate Action and Resilience
  • Natural Systems and Rural Character
  • Safety and Comfort
  • Equity and Accessibility
  • Connected and Convenient
  • Implementation and Funding

Objectives are the measurable tasks that will be employed to accomplish the goals, and there are several objectives for each goal. Detailed information may be found under the “Task Force” tab on the project website here.

During the Oct. 27 meeting, the Council proposed emphasizing the overarching objective of reducing transportation-related emissions to help achieve the island-wide goal of 90% greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions reduction by 2045, and will consider approving the Goals and Objectives at their next business meeting on Nov. 10.

The next Sustainable Transportation Task Force meeting is scheduled for Dec. 18 at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom. The Task Force is currently looking at the existing transportation infrastructure to identify gaps in connections and beginning to identify potential new projects.
Council continues discussion on future transportation system
The City Council this week continued its discussion on potential changes to three program tools the City uses to measure the quality of the island’s transportation system and plan for future impacts to the system:
  • transportation levels of service;
  • transportation concurrency program; and
  • traffic impact fees. 

The discussion, which did not conclude with a formal motion for direction on the issue, was focused on how to best integrate updating and revising how the City uses the three tools with the ongoing Sustainable Transportation Plan (STP), particularly the use of a multi-modal levels of service standard. The STP will already include consideration of multi-modal levels of service, and will set up a foundation for non-motorized project decision-making that can be enhanced and engaged using a levels of service tool.

The staff committed to continuing the conversation with the Council regarding multi-modal levels of of service throughout the STP process, with the goal of identifying how and when to best incorporate any changes into the project. Watch the Oct. 27 discussion here.
City Council Updates
City Council seeking applicants to fill north ward vacancy
The City of Bainbridge Island is now accepting applications from Bainbridge Island residents in the north ward to fill a vacancy on the City Council following the resignation of Councilmember Kol Medina.

Residents interested in applying for the Council vacancy must have lived in the City of Bainbridge Island for at least one year prior to Council appointment, must currently live in the north ward, and be registered to vote. Click here to view the ward map on the City’s website to confirm your residence is in the north ward.

The term of the vacated position will begin once a qualified candidate is appointed by a majority vote of the Council. The appointed Councilmember will hold office until a person is elected to the position at the next general municipal election, in November 2021, and after the results of that election have been certified.

Applications are due to the City Clerk by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Application forms are available on the City’s website at

Click here for more information about the vacancy.
Council narrows scope of development moratorium
The City Council this week narrowed the scope of the development moratorium on Major Site Plan and Design Reviews and Major Conditions Use permit proposals to apply only to shoreline properties in the Winslow Master Plan Study Area. Shoreline regulations apply within 200 feet of the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM), which is generally described as the place where shoreline vegetation changes from salt tolerant to upland plant.

On Sept. 22, the Council approved a six-month extension of the development moratorium to allow staff time to complete integration of the updated critical areas ordinance (CAO) into the Shoreline Master Program (SMP). This is the final workplan item for the moratorium, which has been in place since January 2018.

If the CAO integration work is completed prior to six months, then the Council will consider terminating the moratorium.

The CAO item is expected to return to the Council to be integrated into the SMP in November, then will be sent to the Washington State Department of Ecology for final approval.
Council participates in parliamentary procedure training
Ann G. Macfarlane, a professional registered parliamentarian from Jurassic Parliament, a company that offers training and resources to help people run effective and fair meetings, recently conducted a training session for the City Council on the essentials of Robert's Rules of Order.

Robert's Rules of Order is a manual of parliamentary procedure that is commonly used by the Council and City Advisory Groups. 

You can watch the training and access the materials here.
Upcoming City Council agenda
The City Council meeting next Tuesday, Nov. 3 is canceled due to the election. The Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday, Nov. 4 to continue discussion on the biennial budget.

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
Planning Commission recommends prohibiting new self-service storage facilities
The Planning Commission held a public hearing on Thursday, Oct. 29 on draft Ordinance 2020-34 to prohibit new self-service storage facilities and to allow expansion of existing facilities.

The Commission received a few written public comments prior to the meeting, and heard from one person during the public hearing. After closing the public hearing and discussing the ordinance, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of Ordinance 2020-34 to the City Council.

The ordinance now moves forward to the Council for consideration of approval on Nov. 10. 

Learn more about the self-service storage facilities moratorium here
Island Center Subarea Planning Committee discusses land uses
The Island Center Subarea Planning Process Steering Committee this week completed its preliminary discussion on what kind of land uses to recommend for a future Island Center zone.

The City’s current Use Table, which outlines what types of land uses can occur in zoning districts, can be viewed here. Types of land uses include residential, entertainment, food and beverage, recreation and many more.

The committee’s discussion on land uses, which began during the Sept. 30 meeting, focused on uses that would be compatible with the existing and future Island Center. To learn more about the land use discussion, agenda materials and recordings of the Sept. 30 and Oct. 28 meetings can be found here.

During the Oct. 28 meeting, the committee also discussed potential development standards, such as maximum building footprint, setbacks, parking, and options to improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The committee will continue the discussion on development standards for the future Island Center zone at its next meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom.

The committee is working to complete a draft Island Center Subarea Plan in the next few months. The draft Subarea Plan will then be forwarded to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation, then forwarded to the City Council for approval.

Additional information on the Island Center Subarea Planning effort can be found on the project webpage.

You can sign up to get notifications about the Island Center Subarea Planning effort by email or text message at
Other Updates
Ballot drop box closes at 8 p.m. on Election Day
The ballot drop box will close at 8 p.m. on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 3).

The ballot drop box on Bainbridge Island is in the Bainbridge Island School District office parking lot (between the district office and the aquatic center), located at 8489 Madison Ave NE.
Washington State Ferries update
See the message below from Washington State Ferries.

Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. The full sailing day of Saturday, Oct. 31, will start and end on Pacific Daylight Time. Terminals and vessels will turn their clocks back one hour after the end of the full Saturday sailing schedule. The sailing day starting on Sunday, Nov. 1 will be under Pacific Standard Time.
Important Dates
Tuesday, Nov. 3: Election Day (no City Council meeting)
Wednesday, Nov. 4: Special City Council meeting (budget workshop); 6 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 5: Race Equity Task Force meeting; 6 p.m.; Zoom
Wednesday, Nov. 11: City offices are closed for Veterans Day.
Wednesday, Nov. 18: Comcast Franchise Agreement Community Meeting; 6 p.m. Zoom
Stay Connected
Contact Information

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