Tuesday’s big cuts will mean big changes

On Tuesday night, city funding for arts and cultural organizations, community access television and a key human service organization was cut to zero.

A total of $763,000 was cut community service organizations by a sharply divided City Council.

The cuts mean no funding for public art, no more BITV-televised city meetings and possibly no more Health, Housing and Human Services Council.

No doubt there larger repercussions. It’s a sure thing that jobs in these and possibly other organizations will be lost, and that popular and important programs will be reduced or disappear completely.

Funding for the various organizations that provide assistance to disadvantaged residents, including Helpline House, the Boys & Girls Club, Bainbridge Youth Services and the Bainbridge Island Special Needs Foundation, was reduced from $320,000 to approximately $240,000.

Read more about the cuts HERE.

I’ve put in some calls to the affected organizations and hope to follow up with stories this week.

A few arts groups and their supporters have sent out messages today urging islanders to boost their contributions to One Call for All to help fill the funding gap.

One community service spending element that actually came out of Tuesday’s meeting with more money than expected was a “communication” fund to help downtown businesses affected by the planned Winslow Way reconstruction project. The fund rose from $35,000 to $40,000. How the fund will be spent will be decided by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association (which had its entire $29,500 funding request denied on Tuesday). Mayor Bob Scales said BIDA may spend the Winslow Way fund on signs, temporary parking and various other strategies that encourage shoppers to patronize Winslow shops during the project.

“We’re imposing a vary worrisome event next year,” Councilman Barry Peters said of the Winslow Way project. “We need to communicate to our island to support our downtown in a year of great stress.”

7 thoughts on “Tuesday’s big cuts will mean big changes

  1. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. I have been calling for this for years during which COBI was not taking care of their roads yet they had lavish funding for BITV and the arts. Amazing !!!

  2. As I have said over and over again, COBI staff already voice records the COBI hearings. If we don’t have the money — and we don’t — for the full Hollywood production ($$$) just broadcast the voice. Ask the speakers to identify themselves. Also talk to Port Orchard which recently started using web-broadcast for airing the meetings.

  3. Big changes in the works at COBI, but some things don’t change. Not James Olsen, a “still point in the turning world.”
    Tristan’s link to more information (see HERE) is worth following. I understand that Tuesday’s meeting attracted very few members of the public; presumably we’ll hear more from citizens before all is said and done. Wednesday night’s meeting certainly got a large turnout of people concerned, for many good reasons, about the plan to move the municipal court to Poulsbo’s spacious quarters. At the end I didn’t see how a majority of the Council could go through with that plan, which doesn’t look much like a cost-saver — but I was advised not to relax yet.
    Deep budget cuts are necessary. We’ll have to do without — but I hope those with the greatest needs won’t be left out in the cold and the rain. Charitable giving, in large and small amounts, will be called for; organizations will have to rely more on volunteers, and on fund-raising efforts. Matching grants and challenge grants, anyone?
    Council members and the administration — what’s left of it — are in a tight spot, and I hope they won’t be seen as adversaries. The service-oriented organizations, like the merchants and property-owners along Winslow Way, need to help and not hinder the necessary problem-solving, trying to find the most equitable and pragmatic arrangements.

  4. I don’t understand why there’s so much ruckus about moving the court to Poulsbo. Could someone enlighten me?

  5. SMB,
    I suggest you use the search option on this website or go to the Bainbriodge Review website and look at the articles and comments posted there. Either way you will see why the overwhelming majority thinks it a bad idea, both financially and otherwise. Bob Scales (assisted by Bill Knobloch and possibly Kim Brackett) are trying to ramrod this thing down the throat of the island governement and against the wishes of the citizens.

  6. I already read everything and saw the public comment on Wednesday and I still don’t get it. I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Maybe that’s because anytime I’ve had to go to court (for work) I’ve had to drive all the way to Port Orchard.

    I’d be curious to know how many of those 11,000 visits to the court are from repeat visitors. Plus I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone who has to travel an extra nine miles to get a passport. Woe is them. Wouldn’t I like a reason to need a passport.

    I completely disagree with the argument that people seeking protective orders would be less likely to do that if the Court isn’t in their community. There are certain times that people appreciate a little more anonymity than our small community allows. I would think someone in that situation may be more likely to seek a PO if the Court were in Poulsbo. Similar to why people from BI attend Weight Watchers meetings off island (I’m not at all trying to make light of situations involving POs when I make that comparison). But the fact is for some things people would rather go off Island because they feel more anonymous.

    I do, however, think createing one more vacant commercial space on BI would be unfortunate.

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