City hires consultant for bicycle levy

Bainbridge Island has hired the consultant firm of EnviroIssues to assist the city with strategic planning and communications outreach for its November ballot measure.

The city is asking voters to approve a property tax increase to pay for roadside improvements for bicyclists and walkers.

The $15 million property tax levy has been named the “Connecting Bainbridge: SAFE Mobility Levy.” If approved by voters in the Nov. 6 General Election, the ballot measure will raise property taxes by 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, according to a city estimate. For the owner of a $660,000 (the median home value on Bainbridge), the property tax bill will rise by $185.

The city inked a contract with EnviroIssues — a public involvement consultant firm with offices in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California — to assist with the Bainbridge levy on Aug. 21.

EnviroIssues has done work for cities and counties across Washington and the Northwest, as well as Washington State Ferries, the Port of Seattle and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

According to the professional services agreement between the city and the consultant, EnviroIssues will be paid up to $20,000 for its work. The city’s general fund will cover the costs of the consultant.

EnviroIssues notes that the company is not a public relations firm or a lobbyist, and any work it does with the city will comply with state campaign laws.

The company is expected to do most of its work in September and October. Its activities include a project kick-off meeting, development of a graphic identity, or brand, for the levy that will be used in public communication efforts and outreach about the levy, and the creation of a logo for the ballot measure.

According to the consultant’s contract, it will provide three draft concepts for a logo.

EnviroIssues will also develop a communications and outreach plan for the ballot measure, and produce “deliverables” that could include a fact sheet, website and/or mailer.

The contract sets the pay for the consultants at $170 an hour for the project manager, $100 an hour for project staff, and $130 an hour for a graphic designer. The city will also be responsible for covering consultant expenses for mileage, ferry fares and other costs.

The city will pay directly for any printing and mailing costs associated with the campaign, and the city will serve as the spokesperson for media inquiries about the levy.

If approved by voters, the levy will be in place for seven years.

The ballot measure does not identify specific projects that will actually be completed, though the council did pass a resolution that said 45 percent of the money raised would be used on shoulder improvements, 30 percent would be spent on safe routes to schools and trails, 15 percent would be devoted to projects in the Winslow core, and 10 percent would be used for other projects as well as the costs of consultants and contractors.

City officials will host three workshops to offer details on the ballot measure in September and October.

The meetings are 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 at city hall; 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 22 at Seabold Hall; and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 at Island Center Hall.

The meetings will include an open house, a brief presentation, and a question-and-answer session.

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