City News You Can Use. 

News from City Hall 
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,

As we near the end of the year, I am taking stock of what we have accomplished in 2019, what key projects are still in progress, and what new initiatives are planned. Just to highlight a few items from a long list: after years of design, the Olympic Drive project has significantly changed access to the ferry terminal; the City has adopted new design guidelines; the Police Station-Municipal Court Replacement Project is launched, and the City continues to expand our efforts on emergency preparedness.

Annually, the City Manager reports to the City Council on the status of citywide workplan priorities (over 100 items for 2019). In January, I will provide those reports for the new Council to review and assess. In 2020, this information will also be used to inform the City's work to develop our next biennial, two-year budget, which will cover activities in 2021-2022.

All the City's work relies on the contributions from staff, and the pace and quality of our progress depends on the capacity of our team. During the last City budget (2019-2020), the City added 9 new positions, 3 of which were term limited. This brings us to a current total of 131 positions, which is still roughly 15% fewer City staff than were in place ten years ago, pre-recession.

Alongside staffing levels, another way we improve the City's performance is to take steps to ensure that our City workforce has a high level of skills and training. The City has an explicit emphasis on professionalism as part of our internal team values. In 2019, City staff spent roughly 4,500 hours on training and professional development, in addition to almost 500 hours on emergency preparedness training and activities.

As with other public agencies, the City is in the midst of a generational change in the workforce. The result is a high level of staffing turnover due to workforce demographic trends. This is coupled with a challenging hiring environment due to low unemployment levels in our region. In 2019, the City had 7 retirements, nearly all of whom had been with the City for more than 15 years.

Please join me in expressing appreciation for the hard work and engagement shown by City employees throughout the year. It is truly remarkable what is accomplished by a relatively small organization, and in 2020 we will continue to reach for our best results.
I'd like to also acknowledge the significant community partnerships that help the City provide service to our residents. The collaboration between island public agencies is particularly strong, and we work nearly every day with excellent partners from the Bainbridge Island School District, Bainbridge Island Fire District, and the Bainbridge Metropolitan Park and Recreation District. In addition, the City engages with more than 30 (!) local nonprofits through our annual funding programs. These organizations are then able to deploy City funds to deliver a wide range of human services, cultural programs, and community events to the benefit of all islanders.

Best wishes to all of you for a happy holiday break. The next Council meeting will be a study session on Jan. 7, 2020. Please see below for information on events and topics that may be of interest in the meantime.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
Bag fee increase begins Jan. 1

On Jan. 1, retailers on Bainbridge Island will begin charging 8 cents for a bag at checkout if you don't bring your own while shopping. City Council increased the fee for large paper and thick plastic bags from 5 cents to 8 cents during the Nov. 12 business meeting to be consistent with similar fees in Kitsap County, Bremerton and Port Orchard. 

Kitsap County recently passed an ordinance to limit the distribution of single-use plastic carryout bags to reduce pollution created by the product. In 2012, the City of Bainbridge Island passed a similar plastic bag ban ordinance.

The fee is retained by the retailer and is meant to offset the cost of bags and other costs related to the pass-through charge.

The 8-cent fee in Kitsap County also begins Jan. 1, 2020. 
Apply Now: Serve on the Design Review Board

The City is seeking to fill one vacancy on the Design Review Board (DRB) to complete an existing term through June 30, 2021.
The  DRB  serves as an advisory body to the Planning and Community Development Director, Hearing Examiner and Planning Commission, as applicable, regarding site plan and design reviews and conditional use permits. 
The applicant should have expertise in  landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, art or real estate development.

The DRB meets the first and third Monday of every month 2 to 5 p.m. at City Hall.
Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.

Interviews will be held in early January.
Click here to complete the online application.

Questions? Please contact Executive Assistant Roz Lassoff at 780-8624 or
Get your 2020  boat trailer parking pass

The 2020 boat trailer parking permits are now available for purchase at City Hall.
 A permit is required to park your trailer at Waterfront Park and Bjune Drive to access City dock and launch ramps. T he annual placard costs $80. The daily boat trailer parking rate is $8. 
To purchase a placard, stop by City Hall Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except Dec. 24, Dec. 25 & Jan. 1). Please bring your driver and vehicle license information.
The placard is good Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020.
The trailer must be left attached to the vehicle. Stays are limited to 48 hours in any 7-day period. Launching is free. Placards are not used for moorage.

The chinook fishing season opens Jan. 1 -- another reason to get your pass early.
Utility rate increases begin in January

Utility rate increases for some water and sewer customers will begin in January. The City Council approved changes to utility rates in May 2019 to pay for rising operating costs, maintenance of facilities, and capital projects.

The City's utility rates vary with size of water meter, type of customer (residential, commercial or multi-family), and, in some cases, location. 
Some of the changes for 2020 include:
  • Overall average water rate increase of 3.5%
  • Overall average commercial sewer rate increase of 7.5%
  • Storm and Surface Water utility fee for most properties will increase on average 2%
  • Overall average South Island sewer rate increase of 6.3%
    • The South Island increases were, in part, due to a Sewer District #7 fee increase  

Click here for specific details of the rate changes.

Ferry schedule changes at Colman Dock begin Jan. 4, 2020

Please see the message below from the Washington State Ferries (WSF) regarding a two-week temporary sailing schedule for the Bainbridge and Bremerton routes.

All trips between Colman Dock, Bainbridge Island and Bremerton will follow a  temporary sailing schedule  beginning Jan. 4, 2020, as construction to replace the state's seismically vulnerable flagship ferry terminal moves forward.

During the temporary sailing schedule, which will be in effect until Jan. 20, all Bainbridge Island and Bremerton sailings will operate out of a single slip, and some crossings may take longer to prevent more than one ferry from arriving or departing the slip at the same time. Most departure times will shift between five and 30 minutes, but sailings later in the evening may shift as much as one hour.

WSF is working with Kitsap Transit to maintain as many bus connections as possible that work with the temporary sailing schedule for ferry customers.

Operating from one slip provides more space for WSF's contractor to efficiently complete critical work on the north side of the dock. This work includes removing the remainder of the old terminal, removing the old wooden piles and driving in new steel piles that will support the deck for the new passenger terminal.

"We know that schedule changes have an effect on our customers' daily lives and we do not make these decisions lightly," said WSF Terminal Engineering Director David Sowers. "As with any construction project, sometimes work takes a little longer. Operating from one slip for this period provides more space for the contractor to efficiently finish critical work on the north side of the dock."

Tips to prepare for Jan. 4, 2020, schedule changes for Bainbridge Island and Bremerton routes:
  • Check the schedule: Departure times will be different, beginning with the first sailing on Jan. 4, 2020. Check the temporary sailing schedule in advance.
  • Plan ahead: There are changes throughout the temporary schedule, and these changes may result in heavier traffic at ferry terminals.
  • Know before you go: Check Vessel Watchsubscribe to route alerts, and download the WSDOT app to get real-time status of your ferry's location on the route.
  • Add extra travel time: Crossing times could be longer for certain sailings as both routes share the single slip.
  • Consider alternative work schedules: Customers may want to look into teleworking during this period or, if transit connections are an issue, looking at different Ride Share opportunities.
Colman Dock is Washington state's largest ferry terminal and supports transportation across Puget Sound between downtown Seattle and communities in Kitsap County and the Olympic Peninsula. In 2018, more than 10 million people used the terminal, which is aging and vulnerable to earthquake damage. Construction to replace the terminal began in August 2017 and will continue until 2023.

Upcoming Events & Meetings  
  • Tuesday, Dec. 24 & Wednesday, Dec. 25: City Hall closed for Christmas holiday
  • Saturday, Dec. 28: Kitsap Solid Waste Styrofoam Recycling Collection Event at Kitsap County Fairgrounds; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Details here.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 1: City Hall closed for New Year's Day
  • Thursday, Jan. 9: PCD & Public Works-Engineering counters closed for process improvements
  • Saturday, Jan. 11 & Sunday, Jan. 12: BI Zero Waste Styrofoam & CD/DVD Recycling Collection at Bay Hay and Feed barn; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Details here
  • Tuesday, Jan. 14: Public hearing on self-service storage facilities; City Council business meeting
Click here  for the full calendar list.
City of Bainbridge Island