Daily Archives: June 18, 2009

New city manager assesses Bainbridge’s challenges

dombroskimugThe new City Manager (and old City Administrator) Mark Dombroski gave a detailed assessment of the city’s financial challenges at a Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday.

You can read my coverage of Dombroski’s talk here. My story focuses on Dombroski’s assessment of the city’s limited revenue base and how greater economic diversity – particularly through a tourism industry boost – may put the city on more stable financial footing.

Dombroski covered a lot more ground in his talk. To get a sense of it, you can download his PowerPoint presentation at the city’s Website. Look under “News and Announcements.”

Here’s some highlights:

The limited revenue base (which relies heavily on growth and development) was only one problem the city faced as it entered the the recession. According to Dombroski, the city had in recent years grown beyond the reach of its relatively volatile revenue sources, had increased its staffing levels, taken on a greater role in providing community services since 2000.

He said the city’s geography is particular challenge. Bainbridge is the state’s eighth largest city in terms of land size but ranks 40th in populationf. That makes for a thinly populated city. Bainbridge’s density, according to Dombroski, is ranked 223 out of 281 Washington cities. The city has 32 square miles for police to patrol (vs. 23 sq. miles for Bremerton), 53 miles of shoreline to protect and 132 miles of roads to maintain. The small population generates low levels of revenue in proportion to the size of the area under the city’s care.

“We have very little density and don’t have the tax base or retail sales, but we police the area, protect the shorelines and maintain the roads,” Dombroski said. “That’s a lot to take care of.”

Continue reading

An old story under a new light

While doing a little Google research on Stephen C. Buitenveld, the teachers aide charged with indecent liberties with one of his students, I came across a quote attributed to him in a 2003 Bainbridge Island Review article about the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center. That’s the place he’s now accused of inappropriately touching a developmentally disabled female student in a swimming pool and hot tub.

In the six-year-old story, Buitenveld is giving swimming lessons to a student, and mentions how he and his students visit the center frequently.

Here’s the section that mentions Buitenveld:

“We love it,” said Steve Buitenveld, a high school paraeducator at the pool last week to work with [name redacted], a special-needs student. “Last year we swam three days (a week). [Name redacted] and I really like the hot tub. Don’t we, [name redacted]?”

…Buitenveld added, “It’s accessible, (and) you can come anytime you want.”

According to police, the accusations and video tape footage indicating sexual misconduct with a minor under Buitenveld’s care has put his six or more years as a teacher’s aid on Bainbridge in question. Police are investigating other possible incidents involving Buitenveld and his current and former students, and the mentally challenged females who live in his home. Police police are asking anyone with information about possible past inappropriate incidents involving Buitenveld to contact them at (206) 842-5211.

Teacher’s aide charged with indecent liberties

The 62-year-old Bainbridge High School classroom aid was charged with one count of felony indecent liberties Wednesday in Kitsap County Superior Court, according to the Kitsap County Prosecutors Office.

Stephen C. Buitenveld is suspected of sexual misconduct with one of his students.

He was arrested Friday. Bainbridge Police said a witness and security camera footage indicated he had inappropriately touched a 17-year-old developmentally disabled girl at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center’s swimming pool and hot tub.

He was released from jail on $15,000 bail on Monday night.

Bainbridge police are continuing their investigation and are seeking information about other possible incidents involving Buitenveld.

Bainbridge police can be reached at (206) 842-5211.