Tag Archives: city finance

Bainbridge isn’t trading police for sheriff’s deputies any time soon

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There’s been some rumors circulating that the city may eliminate the Bainbridge Island Police Department and contract with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office for routine patrols and all other law enforcement matters.

According to Interim Police Chief Jon Fehlman, the rumors are just that.

“That’s just the rumor mill,” he said today. “I don’t want to add credence to a rumor so I’m not going to address it.”

Fehlman said there has been no talk between the BIPD, the city or the county on the possibility of swapping police for deputies.

The idea has been floated by some residents and a few City Council members who are trying to find ways to make big cuts to fit a rapidly shrinking budget.

The sheriff’s office confirmed this week that they’ve received a few calls from island residents who’d like to explore the possibility of having deputies patrol the island again (as they did before the island incorporated in the early 1990s).

“There have been some inquiries made, by a number of citizens of (Bainbridge), to determine if the sheriff would be available to discuss law enforcement issues,” sheriff’s office spokesman Scott Wilson told Kitsap Sun crime reporter Josh Farley.

While the sheriff is open to talk, his deputies have plenty to keep them busy without patrolling the island’s 28 square miles and serving its 24,000 residents.

“A challenge would certainly be presented to us if KCSO was asked to assist Bainbridge Island with law enforcement responsibilities,” Sheriff Steve Boyer wrote in an email sent by Wilson. “It is not, as some might perceive, empire building… we’ve got enough on our plate as it is. But if it would result in a beneficial change for the citizens of the county, then I would be enthusiastic about undertaking such a challenge.”

Fehlman said the BIPD has one of the fastest emergency response times in the county. He declined to speculate how response times or other matters might be affected if the department his replaced.

What do you think? Would you rather cut costs and depend on deputies, or keep the island’s own force intact? Vote on the Bainbridge Conversation’s new blog poll over to the right.

City’s unexpected budget drop will lead to “dramatic cuts”

UPDATED: The city is starting the year with about a third less money than it expected, spurring talk of substantial cuts to nearly every part of city government.

“There’s going to be dramatic cuts,” city Finance Director Elray Konkel said. “Nothing’s sacred. Not staff. Not community services.”

The city had predicted late last year that the city would start 2009 with $3.3 million. But the downward spiral of city revenues has only quickened, leaving the city with just $2.1 million to work with at the start of January.

In response, the administration is planning to slash about 15 percent of the operations budget, which funds staff and most city services.

“We’re looking at everything, and changing the way we do business,” Konkel said.

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Crashing a closed-door city finance meeting

The City Council plans to crash a city finance meeting they weren’t invited to. And they’re bringing the public with them.

“People are really upset about how money is being spent, and there’s a general feeling that the city is mismanaging taxpayer dollars,” said Council Chairman Bill Knobloch, who invited his colleagues to a meeting on Monday intended as a closed-door discussion between the city administration and representatives from the state auditor’s office, who will present a draft of the city’s 2007 audit.

Knobloch and at least three other council members, who were not invited by the administration, plan to attend.

Having four of the city’s seven council members present constitutes a quorum, making the proceedings a public record and open to public attendance.

“Why wouldn’t we want this to be a public meeting?” said Councilwoman Kim Brackett, who plans to attend. “It’s about taxpayer money, after all.”

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