Speaking out is everyone's right | Letters | Oct. 16
October 22, 2009 · Updated 4:49 PM
The Bainbridge Rate-payers Alliance (BRA) gives information and opinions at bainbridgeratepayersalliance.com. I agree with BRA that the city should have created a Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) immediately after passing the 1999 ordinance instead of waiting until 2009.
The BRA Web site claims that the city has overcharged Winslow ratepayers; however, the audit performed by the Washington State Auditors in 2008 found that the city’s cost allocation to the utilities was reasonable.
BRA notes that the Bainbridge Island School District is getting big discounts on their water bills. The city purchased water wells from the school district in 1994 by giving water discounts for 20 years. This has turned out to be a bad deal for the city.
In her letter to the Review (“Winslow Way is not lawsuit’s focus,” Oct. 2), Sally Adams said the BRA lawsuit is not about Winslow Way; however, four bullet items in the information section of the BRA site mention the Winslow Way upgrade.
I agree that BRA should “have their day in court.” When they did, Superior Court Judge M. Karlynn Haberly ruled on Sept. 4 that the city has done everything properly, so that the city can issue bonds for the Waste Water Sewer Plant project. BRA has appealed this court ruling.
Council member Barry Peters posts articles with useful information at his public Web site http://bainbridgevoter.wordpress.com.
I disagree with the Review editorial (“Stakes continue to climb for ‘Duel at Winslow Way,’” Oct. 2), which criticized Mr. Peters for urging his readers to speak their opinions publicly about the BRA lawsuit. All opinions are welcome on important public issues.
Councilman Peters explained the financial crisis for city projects in his Sept. 24 article. But he did not tell us that when the $7.5 million bond for the sewer plant project ran out earlier this year, the city then used the $1.5 million in the sewer reserve fund, and has now borrowed about $2 million from the $3 million in the water reserve fund.
The city will use money from the new $6 million sewer plant bond to repay the sewer and water funds. BRA is concerned that the city might then use these reserve funds to finance the sewer and water parts of the Winslow Way project.
Hopefully, BRA and the city can work together to reach a reasonable settlement.