Leave it to the Bainbridge Island City Council. In yet another example of what’s becoming a hallmark of the new council, they have once again followed up a great idea with inaction and unnecessary delay and foot-dragging.
The great idea, of course, was the council vote in August to create a Transportation Benefit District that would lay the groundwork for a new $20 car tab fee.
City officials said that the new fee would bring in roughly $540,000 over the next two years — money that would be spent on maintaining and improving roads across the island.
But since the Transportation Benefit District was created, a majority of the council — which also sits as the governing board for the transportation district — has hemmed and hawed and delayed a vote to approve the new car tab fee.
At a special meeting Nov. 14, the board held a public hearing on the car tab fee and pushed it off until Dec. 5 to vote on it.
This week, another delay. Board members David Ward, Steve Bonkowski, Debbi Lester and Sarah Blossom voted to postpone consideration of the car tab fee until next year.
The reason? They wanted the city council to finish its budget work first.
What nonsense. Whatever additional funds for road projects that can be squeezed from next year’s spending plan will pale in comparison to the funding stream that can be created by a car tab fee. Anyone who has been paying attention knows the substantial investment needed by the city — $3 million annually over the next 20 years — to improve Bainbridge roads to average/fair conditions. We need city funding and revenues from car tab fees to help fix this mess.
Delaying the approval of the car tab fee means more wasted time and a longer wait for essential road funding. Bainbridge Islanders deserve better from this council.