News

Council pares, adds to budget

New spending includes another $750K for open space purchases.

A balanced city budget and a slate of new environmental regulations are nearing the finish line.

The City Council will consider approval tonight of both its proposed 2006 budget and Critical Areas Ordinance update.

“We’re $13,000 in the black,” Councilman Bob Scales announced to Mayor Darlene Kordonowy at the end of the council’s final budget workshop Monday.

The council added about $10 million to the mayor’s $40.5 million preliminary budget proposal. Much of these additional funds were drawn from about $9 million in carry-overs from 2005.

The 2006 budget now stands at $51 million after substantial council additions, including $750,000 for open space purchases, $200,000 more for road improvements and an extra $330,000 for non-motorized transportation projects.

The council deferred about $2 million for Winslow Tomorrow until the project has a more detailed finance plan. The council also cut the city’s human resources administrator and denied an executive department request for a new ferry project administrator.

The ferry administrator would have drawn an $83,000 salary for up to two years for service as a liaison between the city and Washington State Ferries.

The council also cut an investigative assistant position from the Bainbridge Island Police Department, but added a part-time court security officer.

Final changes on Monday included the deferment of $128,000 in council chamber upgrades, including improvements to quiet the room’s air circulation and heating system and a dais rebuild project.

The upgrades, $73,000 of which would be paid with cable subscriber fees, had been supported by Bainbridge Island Television to improve broadcasts of council meetings and other events.

“I don’t, for a moment, see (chamber upgrades) as a high priority,” said Councilman Nezam Tooloee.

The council also set aside improvements for Public Works’ Hidden Cove maintenance facility. The $77,000 project has long been delayed in past budget processes, protested some councilors, but most agreed that the project took lower priority than other budget items.

With the 2006 budget nearly wrapped up, the council is also looking forward to the end of a long and contentious Critical Areas Ordinance update process.

The CAO regulates land use near wetlands, streams, wildlife habitats and other sensitive areas. Major proposed changes to the city’s CAO include new buffer sizes for sensitive areas, a greater emphasis on water quality, more human-use options within wetlands and new requirements for construction on steep slopes.

The council will consider final approval of the city’s 2006 preliminary budget and Critical Areas Ordinance tonight starting at 8:10 p.m. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. with other business.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 22 edition online now. Browse the archives.