City News You Can Use. 

News from City Hall 
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,

Next week (May 19 - 25) is National Public Works Week, and it is a great opportunity to think a bit about the interesting and important parts of our community infrastructure that we all use. The City (and by extension, all Islanders) owns and is responsible for nearly $207 million in physical assets. Our infrastructure portfolio includes these selected highlights:
  • Approximately 140 miles of paved roadway and 20 miles of unpaved roads, which also brings the need for regular pothole repairing, sweeping, mowing, and tree trimming.
  • Almost 63,000 square feet of space in key buildings like City Hall, the Police Station, and other facilities.
  • 2 pedestrian bridges.
  • Waterfront Park and the City Dock.
  • 164 vehicles in our fleet of police cars and other vehicles.
  • 11 water wells at five separate well sites.
  • 47 miles of water pipes.
  • 2 water storage tanks with over 1 million gallons in each.
  • 37 miles of sewer pipes and 17 sewage pump stations.
  • 1 award-winning Wastewater Treatment Plant.
In this respect, our community is very much like a small county. Taking care of these assets in a way that, first, meets our standards for safety and, second, manages the realities of our small City staffing requires a great deal of commitment, organization, and attention to detail.  All of the "things" listed above are necessary to support the people who live, work and visit on our island. The City's Operations and Maintenance Division is only 23 staff, but they manage to coordinate and complete all this good work island-wide throughout the year. 

The other part of the Public Works function is our Engineering Division.  This is the team that plans City capital projects for transportation and utilities. This group of 19 City staff works on projects that may take years to plan and build - like Waterfront Park or the new City Dock.  But they are also working every day to review new private development, ensure our compliance with State stormwater rules, and stepping in to problem-solve when parts of our infrastructure need immediate repair.

The City's Public Works Department is our largest department, in terms of both staffing and share of the budget. The department is currently doing the work needed to achieve accreditation through the American Public Works Association (APWA). Receiving this designation will signify that the City is following best practices in managing our assets and will clearly establish benchmarks for levels of service delivery and maintenance for our public infrastructure.  We expect to apply for APWA accreditation in 2020 and to use those standards to guide our operations going forward.

Thanks again to our whole Public Works team, for everything that you do across our community.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
Traffic alert: Expect delays next week on north end of SR 305

Drivers on Bainbridge Island's north end of State Route 305 should expect daytime delays of 15 minutes or more on Monday, May 20 & Tuesday, May 21.

Crews for Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will be removing downed trees and brush 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. near SR 305 and Reitan Road.

The highway will be reduced to one-way alternating traffic with occasional traffic stops.

Get WSDOT traffic notifications here
Construction alert: sidewalk closure on Winslow Way begins Monday

On Monday, May 20 the sidewalk on the south side of Winslow Way between Olympic Drive and Bjune Drive will close for construction related to the Olympic Drive non-motorized improvements project. People who walk or use wheelchairs should use the sidewalk on the north side of Winslow Way.
The sidewalk on the west side of Olympic Drive (near Waypoint Park) is also closed during this phase of the project.

The Olympic Drive non-motorized improvements project is designed to improve safety for all users and to improve efficiency for loading and unloading of all ferry passengers. Construction is expected to be completed in August 2019. If you'd like to get updates on the project, please sign up for the Notify Me list. 
City Council continues sandwich board discussion

During the May 14 business meeting, City Council requested additional information about sandwich boards, or A-frame signs, and decided to continue the discussion to May 28 to allow staff more time to gather information regarding the sign code update. The Council did not set a public hearing. 

Council is considering a ban on sandwich boards. If the proposed ordinance is adopted, then people would be given a grace-period to comply with the new sign code.The amount of time and details would be determined later by Council. It's still unclear how the update would apply to temporary signs (i.e. signs for events, fundraisers, youth athletics, etc.)
The City Council chose to address the growing issue of sandwich boards on Bainbridge Island in conjunction with a sign code update required by a United States Supreme Court ruling.
Update: Council approves utility rate changes

The City Council  approved changes to water and sewer utility rates following a public hearing at Tuesday night's meeting. 

The City's utility rates vary with size of water meter, type of customer (residential, commercial or multi-family), and, in some cases, location. The difference in rates reflect the differences in cost in providing services to the various customer classes. 

The new 2019 rate update includes the following:

Water rates:
  • Rates for irrigation and commercial customers in Winslow will decrease.
  • Rates for single-family customers in Winslow and Rockaway Beach areas will increase (approximately 7-15% over the next three years).
Sewer rates:
  • There will be no changes for single-family and multi-family sewer rates for users of both water and sewer.
  • Customers on the City's sewer system in Lynwood Center, Point White, and Rockaway Beach will see a rate increase (approximately 20% over the next three years).
  • Commercial accounts in the Winslow sewer system (e.g. restaurants, businesses, churches, schools) will see an increase in rates (approximately 24% over the next three years).
Specific details of the rate changes are included on the City's website.

The rate update started in March 2018 when the City hired a financial consultant to work with City staff and the Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) to evaluate the finances of the water and sewer utilities.  The consultant presented findings detailing the analysis and recommendations to Council in March and April 2019. The increased rates will pay for rising operating costs, maintenance of facilities, and capital projects.

Final approval of the rate changes is scheduled for May 28 with implementation of new rates applying to water and sewer use after mid-July.
Council approves speed limit reduction on section of Fletcher Bay Rd

The City Council approved lowering the speed limit to  25 miles per hour along Fletcher Bay Road from New Brooklyn Road to High School Road.

The change comes after a group of residents submitted a petition to lower the speed limit.
The residents, who live near the area,  attended the April 9 City Council meeting and shared personal experiences and concerns about the traffic in this section of Fletcher Bay Road and requested a reduction from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.

The final approval of the speed limit reduction is scheduled for the May 28 meeting then new signs will be placed in the area. 

Watch the May 14 discussion here.
Boaters: New pay station at Waterfront Park City Dock

If you know any boaters who use the Waterfront Park City dock or trailer parking, please spread the word that our pay station is now automated. We are accepting credit and debit cards only - cash can be paid to City Hall during business hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

The new pay station is located behind the kiosk and will have signage directing boaters to it.   

The new system will allow the Finance Department to track every transaction made to the pay station through a software portal. The Harbormaster will have access to develop reports to check that boaters have paid for moorage or trailer parking.  

Learn more here
Share your thoughts: one-year review of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) update

What sections of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) are the most challenging to read, understand, and use? Trees and vegetation? Wetlands? Existing development? Staff is doing a one-year review of the CAO update - and we'd like your feedback in a brief survey. Details here.

Results will be summarized in an assessment report provided to the Planning Commission and City Council.

If you have any questions about the survey, please send an  email to Senior Planner Christy Carr.
Staff hosts design guidelines update meeting next week

The City is hosting a design guidelines update meeting on Wednesday, May 22 to get feedback from the public. The meeting will be held 6:30-8 p.m. in the Council Chamber.

The meeting will include a presentation from the City's consultant, Framework, and information about draft guidelines, recommendations, and opportunities for input. 

Draft guidelines were developed based on an existing conditions assessment and input from the City's Design Review Board, focus groups, and the first public meeting in January.

It's expected the update will be finalized this summer.    Learn more  here.
Apply now: Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) 

The Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) is looking for two applicants. 

The UAC serves as an  advisory body to the City Council on issues related to the operation and management policies of the City's water, sewer, stormwater and other utilities. 

The UAC most recently worked on the water and sewer rate adjustments with City staff and a consultant.

The group meets the second and fourth Wednesday of each month 5-7 p.m. at City Hall. 

The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. Friday, May 31.  Apply here.  
Looking ahead: City Council agenda

The City Council study session on May 21 has been canceled. Below are some of the topics to be discussed during the May 28 City Council business meeting.

  • A Proclamation declaring June 2019 as LGBTQ Pride Month
  • Discussion on the sign code (sandwich boards)
  • Discussion on the Ethics program
  • A discussion on the subdivision update
You can  receive the Council agenda every week when it's published -- sign up for  Notify Me on the City's website-- select "City Council Meeting Notifications" from the list. You can get the updates by text or email.

The meetings are livestreamed on the City website. Visit the Agendas & Minutes section, then click on "In Progress" when the meeting starts. You can also watch the meetings on BKAT (Ch. 12 on Comcast & Ch. 3 on WAVE).
Job Openings

Upcoming Events & Meetings
  • Monday, May 27: City Hall closed in observance of Memorial Day
See the full calendar list here.
City of Bainbridge Island