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UAC report: Kitsap Public Utility District should take over Bainbridge water utility

The city's water utility will take center stage once more as the Bainbridge Island City Council discusses the possible outsourcing of the utility's management.

The city council will consider a recommendation drafted by the Utility Advisory Committee at its meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

After looking at three proposals to manage the city's water utility, the committee is recommending that the Kitsap Public Utility District (KPUD) be the preferred manager.

City council members asked the Utility Advisory Committee in November to review the three takeover proposals that had been submitted to the city.

The committee compared KPUD to the Washington Water Service Co., one of three entities that expressed interest in managing the water utility, and forwarded a 45-page recommendation on the proposed outsourcing to city officials earlier this week.

A third party, Northwest Water Systems, Inc., also submitted a management proposal. It was not considered by the committee, it said, because it was a "cost-plus contract" where Northwest Water Systems would not take over operations and management responsibilities of the utility.

KPUD, committee members said in their report, would provide the best deal for city ratepayers.

"We believe that the utility customers/ratepayers will be best served by the KPUD management option," the report said. "The KPUD proposal provides the most comprehensive, price competitive option, with minimal oversight required of the city. The KPUD proposal also invites considerable opportunities for collaboration and cooperation with the city, and will in the end provide the best-possible service at the lowest possible cost to the ratepayers."

The council is revisiting the issue of the water utility after years of debate over its divesture. Handing the city's water utility to the district was previously preferred by some members of the community.

Such community members included David Ward, Steve Bonkowski and Sarah Blossom, who came onto the council in early 2012. Since then, the council members have tried to bring the issue back to the dais for more discussion.

 

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