Bainbridge to take up island car tab fee once again

Bainbridge Island will reconvene its Transportation Benefit District Board on Wednesday in yet another attempt to establish a new car tab fee for vehicles on the island.

It will be the first time the board will discuss the tax since it abruptly halted discussion on the new progress in December.

The tax has lingered through the past four months ever since the Bainbridge Island City Council formed the district in August with plans to adopt a car tab fee. The city council also acts as the district's board, but is a separate governing entity.

The car tab effort was spearheaded by Councilwoman Anne Blair, the main proponent behind the formation of a transportation benefit district and the proposed $20 car tax.

Blair asked her fellow council members to create the district in light of the notion that Kitsap County could soon institute its own similar car tax. But if the city beat Kitsap County to the punch, then the county could not impose its own tax on island vehicles. The city would also get control of the tax funds raised by car tab fees on Bainbridge.

But ever since the district was formed, the issue has been punted to future meetings and remains unresolved.

Some board members came away frustrated from a Dec. 5 meeting expecting to pass the fee. The meeting was scheduled specifically because all board members would be present to vote on the matter.

Instead, the issue was met with caution, and some board members said they wanted to wait for the outcome of the council's biennial budget deliberations before adding in funds from the car tax.

Much to the chagrin of some board members, the issue was put off once more.

"The longer we wait, the longer it’s going to take for revenue to come in,” said Board Member Bob Scales at the Dec. 5 meeting. “We are wasting time and we are wasting money."

The board of the Transportation Benefit District will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 at city hall.


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