Daily Archives: January 14, 2010

Council approves settlement with ratepayers alliance

The City Council on Wednesday accepted a partial settlement with the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance that will allow the city to acquire a loan to complete the Winslow sewer plant.

The settlement, which puts to rest the most contentious element of a suit filed by the alliance, will also lead to the cancellation of a surcharge that would have more than doubled sewer rates, city officials said.

“This is that rare thing – a win all the way around,” Interim City Manager Lee Walton said in a statement.

The alliance’s lawsuit, which challenges the city’s use of utility funds, deterred loan providers from working with the city.

In the settlement, the alliance agrees to not challenge a $1.9 million loan provided by Cashmere Valley Bank. The city, for its part, agrees to use the loan only for the sewer project, pay the alliance’s legal fees and repeal the surcharge.

A hearing on repealing the surcharge is scheduled for Jan. 27.

Scientists slam BI man’s controversial shoreline report

Fourteen marine scientists jointly criticized a report by a retired forest researcher who says bulkheads aren’t as harmful to marine life as many think.

The Kitsap Sun highlighted the report last fall. In it, Bainbridge resident Don Flora outlined an analysis on data he culled from two inventories of shoreline structures and habitats along Bainbridge and east Kitsap. Flora’s analysis found no statistical relationship between “stressors” caused by human construction and “ecological function.”

As reported today by Christopher Dunagan, the 14 scientists say Flora’s analysis was “methodologically flawed,” ignored relevant research and was factually incorrect in many places, “especially in its use and interpretation of studies.”

Bainbridge shorelines biologist Jim Brennan said Flora’s report was a “misrepresentation of the science.”

In response, Flora said more shoreline research is needed in the region and the data should be made readily available.

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