Bainbridge council considers renewed lease for municipal courthouse

An oversight by the city of Bainbridge Island may mean the city has to pay more than twice as much rent under a renewed lease agreement for its courthouse in Rolling Bay than it does now.

According to city documents, the city could have renewed its lease at the current rent rate if it had confirmed renewal six months in advance.

The city, however, did not actively monitor the lease condition and failed to provide renewal notice in time.

The Bainbridge Island City Council will consider renewing the city's courthouse lease at its meeting Monday to keep the Bainbridge Island Municipal Court in Rolling Bay.

The current rent is $2,349 per month, or $28,185 annually.

The proposed lease will raise rent by 60 percent to $3,727 per month, or $44,729 annually.

The reduced rent in the current lease agreement was offered to encourage the city to keep the court in Rolling Bay in 2011. Since the city did not confirm its contract renewal by Jan. 31, the new lease agreement will mean rent will rise to its pre-2011 rates.

From 2009 to 2011, the city paid the same $3,727 per month and similar prices dating back to 2004.

By comparison, properties in downtown Winslow offer annual rent ranging from $20 to $25 per square foot.

The Rolling Bay property costs roughly $17 per square foot.

The city has been considering moving its municipal court to a new location, which would also require about $100,000 in additional safety provisions.

Time is running out to get a new lease in place.

The city's lease agreement with Rolling Bay Commercial Properties, Inc. is scheduled to expire Aug. 1.

The city council will decide Monday whether to forward a new lease agreement to next week's agenda that could keep the courthouse in Rolling Bay for another three years.

Under the terms of the proposed lease, though, a new provision would also allow for early termination without penalty — given six months' written notice.

The provision will give the city flexibility to relocate the courthouse to a Winslow-area site.

The city council will discuss the lease agreement during the staff intensive portion of the agenda.

The Bainbridge Island City Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday, July 21 in city hall.


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