Battle over city’s water utility comes to a head in April

Bainbridge Island City Councilman tried to press his fellow council members for a vote to determine the fate of the city’s water utility this week.

The pushback was immediate, however.

Councilman David Ward hoped to have both a discussion and a vote on the issue of transferring management of the utility by bundling it all up in one quick package on April 10.

But the idea didn’t sit well with all on the dais.

Some said the move was premature, given that the council only heard from the city manager just a week earlier on the idea of outsourcing the utility, and council members had yet to discuss the suggestion that the utility should be kept in-house.

“I would definitely oppose that,” Councilwoman Hytopoulos said of a potential April 10 vote.

“We don’t have time, and it feels extremely irresponsible not to spend any time discussing what our city manager has brought forth,” she said.

Councilman Bob Scales agreed, noting that the council is also currently discussing the city’s update to the Shoreline Master Program, another highly controversial topic.

“It may be too much with the SMP. The last thing we want is to schedule two major things and be here until midnight,” Scales said.

“I would like time to digest the policy discussion that we will have, and take in public comment, before we vote,” he added.

It was agreed upon that the council will discuss the future of the water utility at its April 3 meeting. A public hearing will then be held on April 10.

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