Park board stuck with levy -- News Roundup

Park board stuck with levy

Even as it asks voters for a change to “metropolitan” park district status, the Bainbridge Island Park and Recreation District must pass one more short-term levy.

That’s thanks to an obscure law recently brought to light by county officials, which says that any new taxing district not formed by June 1 of one year can’t collect taxes the next year.

That means that a Bainbridge metropolitan park district, which could be formed by island voters Sept. 14, would not be able to operate until 2006. So the September ballot will also include a one-year maintenance and operations levy to bridge that gap, until the new, stable tax collection kicks in.

Park board members reluctantly opted to go for a one-year levy at Thursday’s meeting.

The levy amount has not been determined; a one-year levy budget will be presented at a special board meeting at 7 p.m. July 14 at the Strawberry Hill mini-gym, director Terry Lande said.

Kingston foot ferry OK’d

State regulators Friday granted permanent authority to a private ferry company to offer passenger-only service between Kingston and Seattle.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission ap­proved a request for a permanent permit by Aqua Express to provide passenger-only service between Kitsap and King counties.

“There is a substantial need for the proposed passenger-only ferry service between Kingston and Seattle, and a strong desire by the public for such a service,” said the three-member WUTC panel.

The commission is the state agency in charge of regulating commercial ferries operating within Washington state.

The commission received more than 50 comments from members of the public, which have been overwhelmingly in favor of the company’s permit.

Bainbridge interests have generally supported the measure as a way to cut down on cross-island automobile traffic to the Winslow terminal.

The Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific withdrew its initial protest to Aqua Express’s application on June 30. The commission did, however, consider the issues raised by the union.

In deciding to grant the Aqua Express permit, the WUTC must determine whether a need exists, whether the company has sufficient resources to operate the proposed service and evaluate how it affects public agencies, such as the Washington State Ferries.

The WUTC also recently granted Kitsap Ferry Co. a temporary permit to operate passenger-only service between Bremerton and Seattle.

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