Bainbridge Island City Council slashes water rates

The Bainbridge Island City Council approved a 30-percent rate reduction to its water utility Wednesday evening.

The rate cut was approved by a 5-2 vote.

Councilman Bob Scales and Councilwoman Kirsten Hytopoulos voted against the move. The two have held reservations on the cut as it has moved through the council over the past couple months, and they repeated their concerns at Wednesday's council meeting.

"I continue to be concerned that this reduction is premature," Hytopoulos said.

"The responsible thing to do, because we are not in an urgent situation, is to complete the water study. Our ratepayers are paying, at most, median rates and will now pay very low rates for the region," she said.

Hytopoulos said the council will likely be in a position to raise rates in the future because of the lack of preparation for the rate cut.

But Mayor Steve Bonkowski, who spearheaded the rate-cut effort, maintained course and received enough support on the dais to get his rate cut.

"I think there is an argument for running the utility at a break even point," said Councilman David Ward. "This is a good business decision."

Water utility bills will reflect the new rates beginning in the October and November billing cycle.

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