Opinion

It’s time for a public vote | IN OUR OPINION

With Wednesday’s selection of Doug Schulze as the next manager for the city of Bainbridge Island, the city council has a prime opportunity to take the lead in rebuilding trust inside and outside of city government.

It’s a tall order.

Trust must be restored between those we’ve elected to serve Bainbridge citizens and those who provide essential government services to residents day in and day out.

Trust must also be restored between our citizens and our elected leaders. This is truly the tougher job of the two.

A major and meaningful way to restore trust would be for our elected leaders to actually listen, and abide by, the wishes and wisdom of our island citizenry.

As contentious issues of recent weeks appear to be reaching their overdue end — the turmoil in the police department and the Shoreline Management Program come to mind — the city council should turn to the last remaining issue of great divisiveness and resolve it once and for all.

The issue: the outsourcing of the city’s water utility.

Opinions are starkly divided on the proposal. We suggest that city leaders turn to the best consultants they have — Bainbridge Islanders — to resolve the issue.

The fate of the water utility has budget implications that stretch far beyond the utility and its Winslow-area customers. Council members should respect that, and put an advisory question on the November ballot that would allow citizens to fully consider the pros and cons of outsourcing the water utility.

Some on the council may mistakenly believe the last election provided a mandate for any decision they might make on the utility. It didn’t, and they don’t.

Let’s put the water utility question up for a public vote, and let Bainbridge residents decide what’s best for Bainbridge.

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