Property taxes, budget increases on BI council agenda Oct. 24

The Bainbridge Island City Council will have public hearings Oct. 24 that will affect your pocketbook.

It will be looking on changes to property taxes and the budget. It will also look a hiring a state lobbyist, repealing a moratorium on inns, and increasing budgets for the Comprehensive and Winslow Subarea plans.

Regarding, property taxes, BI says its levy last year was almost $8.32 million. It plans to keep the increase at 1% or less as allowed by state law without a public vote.

City Finance director DeWayne Pitts will explain that property taxes are the city’s largest revenue source, making up roughly 40% of the general fund reserve, but it’s only about 9% of taxpayers’ overall property tax bill.

As for the budget, increases of almost $8.448 million are proposed, with $7.98 million one-time expenses. The revised overall budget is over $71.578 million. Grants and other revenue would pay $2.564 million, for a net increase of $5.883 million.

As a result of the changes, Pitts will explain the net of reserves is expected to drop $2.3 million to $13.4 million. He will add that this rate of spending cannot continue as revenues will need to increase or spending will need to drop.

The biggest changes come from: Winslow Subarea professional services, $201,200; water and sewer operation changes, $350,000; Seattle to Olympic Trail grant, $1.7 million; Ted Spearman carbon offset program, $780,000; electric charging station, $160,000; Springbrook fish passage, $959,000; Country Club bulkhead, $250,000; Winslow supply well, $208,000; sewer treatment plan upgrades, $1.423 million; sewer treatment outfall extension, $700,000; Wing Point pump station, $648,000; previously approved changes, $492,000; and transfer to building, development and services fund, $561,500.

Also, the city is asking for budget increases of $201,200 and $48,859 for the Winslow Subarea and Comprehensive plans. Without the first increase, city staff fears substantial public confusion and heightened risk of appeal due to environmental impact statement issues. It could also negatively impact public involvement, a city memo says. Concerns are similar with the Comp Plan, with the addition of a recent state law that was not part of the original contract.

Meanwhile, BI expects to hire Briahna Murray to lobby the state. Priorities will be land use, affordable housing and public safety. It plans to focus on three to five issues as it’s a short 60-day session since it’s an election year – with all members of the House and half the Senate up for election.

The new law for inns would limit them to three in Lynwood Center and one in both Rolling Bay and Island Center. They cannot be on adjacent property, and they have to be separately owned and operated. Inns are defined as “a building or group of buildings containing 15 guest rooms…”

City manager Blair King will report on climate action plan deliverables in the third quarter, including: hiring the city’s first sustainable transportation coordinator Hannah Boettcher; posting greenhouse gas information on the city website; and eliminating the 25-cent disposable cup fee and other changes to the disposable food service ware and waste reduction law.

He will also give a third-quarter update on the sustainable transportation plan, including: installing crosswalk and signage at Point White Road at Schel Chelb Park; installing drop-off area at Sportsman Club Road in support of Sakai Intermediate School; and initiating a grant to expand electric vehicle carshare program.

Finally, he will provide third-quarter updates on the city’s work plan, including: alternatives for Winslow Subarea Plan; remove Suyematsu Historic District from Friends of the Farms lease; and construction of Yeomalt Drive drainage improvement project.

Items on the consent agenda include:

•Authorize solicitation for design and implementation for community heat pump installation pilot program for $200,000. The program for single-family homes will replace or supplement inefficient electric heat systems with high-efficient heat pumps and potentially convert propane, fuel oil or wood stove systems. Heat pumps reduce reliance on fossil fuels and provide cooling. Building energy produced 55% of 2018 greenhouse gas emissions on BI, primarily for electricity. BI hopes to help climate change with 15 conversions in 2024, focusing on low- and moderate-income households.

•More than $337,000 more for the wastewater treatment plant outfall extension project. Now costing over $1.24 million, it will upgrade capacity to handle future wastewater flows.

•Add one sewer connection at 4301 Point White Drive NE.

•Amend budget $125,000 to replace the Harborview Drive sewer pump station generator for $53,000 and other costs.

•The city and Housing Resources Bainbridge will apply for a state grant for $480,000 for the Ericksen Community, an 18-unit affordable housing building on BI. The funds would help pay for water, irrigation and sewer infrastructure and connection fees.