City Manager's Report
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
On Tuesday, I provided the City Council with a Proposed Budget for the 2021-2022 operating and capital programs. The Council will spend the next several weeks reviewing these spending plans and discussing adjustments, with a goal to approve the City’s final budget in late November, as is our custom.

In order to respond to lower revenues, the Proposed Budget includes the elimination of five staff positions (all currently vacant) and other reductions in discretionary spending. The Proposed Budget keeps City spending on community support programs at the current levels, in recognition of the fact that the coming two-year cycle will be a time of increased community need. 

While the proposed staff reductions are necessary, it is important to acknowledge that this will result in reduced capacity going forward. At the proposed staffing level of 127 full-time employees (FTE,) the City’s workforce will be 17% smaller than in 2008, despite the fact that our community population has grown roughly 10% since that time. In recent budget cycles, the City had begun to restore staffing capacity from the significant reductions put in place following the last recession. Because the City’s financial policies require that ongoing expenses (like staffing) are fully supported by ongoing revenues, we are required to reduce these costs to match our lower revenue levels. We have identified reductions that we believe can be managed while still meeting core service delivery goals, and maintaining focus on our highest priority projects. 

I hope interested community members will take the time to engage in the budget development process, and to provide feedback on the important choices about how to prioritize and allocate City resources, both staff and funding.

There is no City Council meeting scheduled for next week. The next City Council meeting is a study session on Tuesday, October 6.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
Biennial Budget
City Manager presents 2021-2022 Proposed Budget
City Manager Morgan Smith presented the proposed 2021-2022 Biennial Budget at the Sept. 22 City Council meeting. The Biennial Budget is the financial plan for the upcoming two years and expresses the City’s identified priorities and planned service delivery to the community.

The $39 million Proposed Budget projects an annual reduction in overall tax-supported revenues of approximately 9% (or $2 million) compared to forecasts before the economic fallout of COVID-19. The budget was developed to adjust to the City’s reduced revenue while still maintaining the City’s ongoing commitment to its highest priority goals and core services. The revenue loss derives from lower collections for sales tax and other taxes, as well as the elimination of approximately $400,000 per year due to the passage of Initiative 976 (described as the “$30 car-tab initiative”). Revenues from motor vehicle license fees have historically been used to pay for street maintenance.

“This Proposed Budget makes the required adjustments to acknowledge our revenue contraction, but in a way that also aims to maintain support for our highest priorities ,” City Manager Morgan Smith said. “The choices made in this budget, although difficult, attempt to balance our identified community goals with the need to maintain stewardship of our public infrastructure and provide core City services.”

In accordance with the City’s financial policies and objectives, the Proposed Budget presents ongoing expenses that are lower than ongoing revenues and maintains minimum fund balance reserve levels. Fund balance is the accumulation of revenues minus expenditures, which can be used in future years for purposes determined by the Council. Fund balance is a measure of fiscal health and future capacity. These monies are typically used for one-time spending on capital projects or Council-related initiatives. The Proposed Budget balances current discretionary City spending against financial capacity for future planning and decision-making, such as implementation of the forthcoming Climate Action Plan and the work in progress to identify Sustainable Transportation projects.

Key highlights in the Proposed Budget:
  • Adds a Behavioral Health Navigator position in the Police Department. This position will allow a more integrated approach between law enforcement and social services.
  • Provides $300,000 to support the City’s implementation of the Climate Action Plan; the Council’s highest priority for the 2021-2022 City budget.
  • Includes $100,000 to support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives.
  • Maintains the current funding levels of $2.0 million to support community partners and programs for human services, cultural element funding, and other support including economic development. The decision to maintain this funding level reflects the expectation of increased community needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Maintains the City emphasis on effective stewardship of existing and planned infrastructure. The Proposed Budget funds new capital projects of about $5.3 million for utility projects and $3.8 million for tax-supported projects. This amount does not include support from state and federal grants. Tax-supported major projects include Madison Avenue sidewalk reconstruction, Country Club bulkhead reconstruction, and the Visconsi Trail. Major utility projects include Winslow fire flow improvements, Winslow water tank replacement, and Village Basin sewer improvements.
  • Eliminates three regular positions (Police Officer, Senior Judicial Specialist, Senior Plan Check Engineer) and two term-limited positions (Public Records Analyst, Senior Planner); all of which are currently vacant.

Public participation in budget process
The proposed 2021-2022 budget can be viewed online at

Discussions on the proposed budget will be held during all virtual City Council meetings in October and November. See the timeline for discussion topics and opportunities for public comment on the budget webpage.

In addition to attending the virtual Council meetings, members of the community can submit questions and comments to [email protected]. All “budget queries” will be posted on the City website at the link provided above. Community input on the budget is welcome and encouraged until the Council approves the budget later this year.
COVID-19 Updates
City to explore creation of COVID-19 community based testing site
The City is researching the feasibility of launching a COVID-19 community-based testing site on Bainbridge Island for later this fall.

Based on feedback from community partners and residents, it is evident that testing is still not widely available unless an individual is symptomatic. There are other reasons why individuals may need to be tested (asymptomatic but had contact with a COVID positive individual, needing a negative test to return to work, required for travel, etc.).

Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage is assessing the costs and necessary staffing requirements to operate the site and will present a full proposal to Council on Oct. 13.

Click here for a list of current community testing sites in Kitsap County.
St. Michael Medical Center outbreak response update
Please see information below that was included in the daily Kitsap County COVID-19 update on Sept. 23.

No new cases of COVID-19 associated with an outbreak at St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton have been identified since August, the Kitsap Public Health District reported today.

However, Kitsap Public Health is responding to a small number of COVID-19 cases identified among CHI Franciscan employees in Kitsap, including employees who worked at St. Michael Medical Center. These cases are not linked to the earlier outbreak.
CHI Franciscan is notifying and testing all staff and patients who may be affected by these cases. Kitsap Public Health is coordinating with the state Department of Health and working closely with CHI Franciscan to ensure all necessary steps are taken to prevent additional illness. CHI Franciscan has released additional information.

See the news release from the Kitsap Public Health District for more details.
Governor Inslee announces new standards for airports in Washington
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sept. 24 that Washington is setting new requirements for commercial airports and recommendations for airlines.

The new Commercial Service Airport Requirements are a statewide approach to the COVID pandemic to ensure the health and safety of employees, passengers and crewmembers working and traveling in the state’s aviation sector. This approach encompasses setting baseline requirements at each commercial passenger service airport and encourages airlines to adopt certain health screening questionnaires.

The guidance will require face coverings in the airport; signage and spacing for physical distancing; protective barriers between travelers and workers; sanitizer and disinfectant protocols; and that airport vendors and businesses follow state and county health agency requirements.

Inslee has called for a uniform national standard around air travel in his letter to HHS and DOT. Although states’ authority is more limited than the federal government’s, Washington state's new guidance sets a baseline standard for airports throughout the state.

Read the full update here.
Project Updates
Join Us: Sustainable Transportation meeting
The Sustainable Transportation Task Force and Technical Advisory Team will meet in a virtual joint meeting at 9:30 this morning (Friday, Sept. 25). 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 the meeting live via the City's YouTube channel. A link to view the meeting will be provided on the City website.

During the meeting, participants will discuss the outcome of the first phase of community outreach and engagement, and look ahead to the next phase of the project, which will include a review of the City's current infrastructure.

The Sustainable Transportation Plan is a priority of the City Council to reach the goal of the upcoming Climate Action Plan: to reduce carbon emissions on Bainbridge Island by 90% by 2045.
Share your thoughts on Comcast Cable TV services
We’re seeking input on the Cable TV services provided by Comcast on Bainbridge Island, as part of a franchise agreement renewal process. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts in a brief survey.

In June 2016, the City granted Comcast a franchise for its cable television system located within the City. The 2016 franchise agreement is set to expire in June 2021.

The purpose of the survey is to gather information about residents’ views on the Cable TV service they receive from Comcast to help the City understand the needs of the community as the City reviews Comcast’s franchise agreement.

Please respond to the survey by next Wednesday, Sept. 30 and only if you are a City resident or the owner of a business located on Bainbridge Island. Start the survey here:

For more information on the franchise agreement and the renewal process, please visit the City’s Comcast Cable TV Franchise Agreement webpage, which contains key dates, resources, and answers to frequently asked questions.
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 [email protected]. Questions will be accepted until 10 a.m. today (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!
City Council Updates
City begins search for new City Manager
The City of Bainbridge Island has started its formal search for the next City Manager. 

The cutoff for the first review of applications is Oct. 20, and the City Council seeks to complete the hiring process by the end of the year.

As a Council-Manager form of government, the City Council appoints a professional City Manager who is responsible for the daily operations of the organization.

“The effort to hire a new City Manager will undoubtedly be some of the most important work that Council does for, hopefully, many years to come,” Mayor Leslie Schneider said. “This moment provides our City the opportunity to find a partner to lead our community on new priorities, such as climate change and race equity. We will do everything in our power to 'get this right.'”

The City hired Strategic Government Resources (SGR) to lead the nationwide search. SGR specializes in public sector executive recruitment. 

Candidate qualifications will be reviewed by SGR and the City Council to determine semi-finalists, followed by a more intensive review of a smaller number of finalists. The finalists often participate in a range of assessments, including public presentations and interview panels with community members, City Council members, City leadership staff, and other stakeholders. The final selection is made by Council members who will negotiate an employment agreement to conclude the hiring process.

Ideally, the City Manager search process will happen on a timeline that allows the new manager to be in place by Jan. 1, 2021. If the recruitment timeline extends longer than planned, the City Council will work with SGR on options for City leadership during the interim period.

The next City Manager will succeed Morgan Smith, whose contract expires at the end of the year. Smith was hired in 2010 as Deputy City Manager and promoted to City Manager in 2018. 

“I extend immense gratitude to City Manager Morgan Smith, who stepped in as a seasoned professional with a love for our island and the COBI staff, and offered us two years of transition. As we deal with the COVID crisis, we are in much better shape than many other cities due to her leadership on disciplined spending and responsible preparations for such emergencies,” Schneider said.

For more information about the opening and to apply, please visit: 

Stay informed on the search process and learn more about the City Manager’s duties and responsibilities at

Council holds public hearing on Shoreline Master Program amendment
The City Council this week held a public hearing on Ordinance No. 2020-17, amending the City’s Shoreline Master Program related to critical areas regulations and nonconforming structures, uses, and lots.

Final action by the City Council will be taken at a meeting in October or November once the environmental review is complete. The review is required by the State Environmental Policy Act.

The Washington State Department of Ecology must give final approval for the amendment to take effect.
Council extends development moratorium for six months, requests to narrow scope
The City Council this week approved a six-month extension of the development moratorium, and directed staff to narrow the scope of the moratorium to apply only within the shoreline areas of Winslow.

Council extended the moratorium, which has been in place since January 2018, to allow staff time to complete integration of the updated critical area regulations (CAO) into the Shoreline Master Program (SMP); this is the final workplan item for the moratorium (see update in message above). If the CAO integration work is completed prior to six months, then the Council will consider terminating the moratorium.

The moratorium currently applies only within the Winslow Master Plan Study Area (excluding projects in the Central Core Overlay District, and projects that provide 10% of the total residential units as affordable housing), but the Council requested that the moratorium be narrowed to apply only within the shoreline areas of Winslow, based upon the work left to do integrating the CAO into the SMP. Shoreline regulations apply within 200 feet of the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM). An ordinance to narrow the moratorium to apply only within the shoreline areas of Winslow is scheduled to be brought back to the City Council on Oct. 27.

Additional information and history about the development moratorium can be found here.
New ideas proposed for public art projects
Arts and Humanities Bainbridge (AHB) and members of the Public Art Committee (PAC) updated the City Council this week on the Something New program and some potential new ideas for public art programming.

The public art committee is proposing the following new projects:

  • Open Call for Art: This is a proposed call to the local cultural community to enlist suggestions for new types of public art projects and possible locations on Bainbridge Island.
  • Art Wall: Conceptually, this would be an art wall/structure, with juried artwork that represents local, island artists and their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ferry Terminal Tunnel: Update hanging panels with new local art hanging panels. PAC will explore the potential of replacing the hanging panels with public art history.

The Council also reviewed and approved a request for ongoing payment of $12,000 annually for AHB’s administrative support of PAC. Learn more about the public art program here.
Council seeking to expand speed restrictions in Blakely Harbor
The City Council this week directed the City Manager to proceed with an ordinance to expand the speed restrictions in Blakely Harbor following concerns from residents about speed and wakes from boating traffic in the harbor. Residents are concerned about the safety of people swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding due to the increased use of the harbor.

“These users, including many children, are all vulnerable to boats at higher speeds – water skiers and wakes – and increasingly at harm because they are utilizing a greater percentage of the expanding congested area of the harbor,” Bainbridge Island resident Jack Sutherland said during public comment.

The restrictions being proposed for Blakely Harbor exist for Eagle Harbor, Port Madison Bay, and Manzanita Bay.

Learn more about the current Municipal Code water restrictions here.
Upcoming City Council agenda
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6.

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
Race Equity Task Force Update
The City Council this week appointed Councilmember Kirsten Hytopoulos as a liaison to the Race Equity Task Force.

Councilmember Hytopoulos and Councilmember Rasham Nassar, who also serves as a liaison to the task force, will discuss a potential Council ad hoc committee with the Race Equity Task Force.

The next meeting for the task force is Thursday, Oct. 1.
Lodging Tax Advisory Committee seeking proposals for 2021 award cycle
The City is currently accepting proposals for the 2021 LTAC award cycle. Those interested in applying can find the RFP and additional information on the City’s website here.

For 2021, the City intends to provide approximately $225,000 in funding for eligible projects. Proposals are due to the City by 4:00 pm on Thursday, Oct. 1.
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
Concerned about disasters? Join us for 'Day of Preparedness'
Please join us this Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a series of virtual presentations about the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, earthquakes, power outages, and more.

There will be keynote speakers on emotional resilience in the face of natural disasters, and a history of earthquakes on Bainbridge Island, followed by live Q&A sessions.

Learn more about the agenda and speakers here.
Puget Sound Sound Starts Here Month: Report on sediment quality finds improvements
Please see information below from Water Resources Technician Christian Berg as part of the ongoing series on Puget Sound Starts Here month.

A recent report by the City’s Water Resources Team on sediment quality found that our island’s streams and beaches almost always meet state standards and seem to be getting cleaner.

The report analyzed the sediment data collected by staff and volunteer scientists during the summers of 2008, 2013 and 2019. By comparing data to state standards, the freshwater and intertidal marine areas were assessed and ranked to understand which watersheds may need extra attention in the way of cleanup efforts, education and outreach, or increased stormwater maintenance.

While not statistically significant, the report found that chemical concentration is trending down and some exceedances of standards in 2013 were not observed in 2019.

Though staff cannot directly correlate stormwater upgrades on the island to the improvement in sediment quality, they are hopeful that through our work as a region -- installing stormwater treatment infrastructure in conjunction with other coordinated cleanup efforts -- we are holding the line and occasionally moving the needle in the right direction on sediment quality.

In the future, the staff analysis may be used to prioritize areas of the island that are in need of restoration and/or stormwater retrofits, which will help to improve the overall health of the Puget Sound and greater Salish Sea. If we want more healthy salmon returning to the island, we first need clean sediments that house healthy insects which in turn feed healthy fish. The Suquamish people have harvested shellfish in these waters since time immemorial; we have a responsibility to maintain clean sediments so all peoples can have access to healthy seafood.

You can read the full sediment analysis report and look at the data here.

If you’re interested to learn how marine sediment quality is used regionally to assess our ecosystem restoration progress, please visit the Puget Sound Partnership’s webpage here.
Safety Stop law goes into effect Oct. 1
The information below was included in the Washington State Department of Transportation Active Transportation Update e-newsletter on Sept. 24. Subscribe here.

Beginning on October 1, 2020, the new "Safety Stop" law enacted in the 2020 legislature (SSB 6208) gives people bicycling the option to treat a stop sign as a yield after confirming that it is safe to enter the intersection.

The yield protocol entails slowing down to a speed reasonable for road conditions that enables the rider to be able to safely come to a stop if required. It also requires that the person operating a bicycle yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway that is close enough to present an immediate hazard. Stop sign signals on school buses and at railroad crossings will still require riders to come to a complete stop.

Washington becomes the fifth state in the nation to legalize the Safety Stop, following Idaho, Delaware, Arkansas, and Oregon.

The law continues to require people operating a motor vehicle to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs.
Important Dates
Saturday, Sept. 26: Day of Preparedness; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Zoom
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Deadline to take the U.S. Census. Start here.
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