Tag Archives: city budget

Finance director leaving city amid budget controversy

The Bainbridge city finance director is leaving his post after it was revealed last week that the city’s savings account is nearly empty.

Elray Konkel, who has worked as the city’s finance director for six years, said he and the city manager determined on Monday that it would be best for the city that he leave. His last day will be Friday.

Konkel drew the City Council’s ire last week when it was disclosed that the $1 million in cuts the council made earlier this year was not put into a savings reserve as the council had ordered. Instead, most of the money was spent on the city’s day-to-day operations.

Konkel promptly accepted responsibility for the mistake, which he attributed to miscommunication between himself and the council.

“I’m still trying to ascertain what (the council) believed was to be the affect of the million dollar change,” he said. “But what difference does it make? If (the savings reserve) is what the council believed was happening, that’s what should have happened.”

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City turned down for a car loan

City officials got a jolt when the city was turned down for an auto loan that would have purchased three new police vehicles.

“It was a really small loan we were looking for, but the fact we were turned down should be a red flag for our finances,” Mayor Bob Scales said.

Acccording to a post on Readies.co.uk, the city’s low fund balance and the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance lawsuit make Bainbridge “a bad credit risk” in the eyes of the state, which administers the low-interest loan the city was applying for.

Read more HERE.

New poll: Where would you have made budget cuts?

Head over to the right column to cast your vote on where the City Council should have larger cuts to the 2010 budget.

You can see the latest list of cuts here. The council is scheduled to approve the reduced budget at tonight’s meeting.

As for the Bainbridge Conversation’s last poll, results showed strong opposition to the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance lawsuit. Fifty-eight percent of the 178 votes cast were against it, and 42 percent were for it.

City looking to save money by keeping key positions open

The City Council may keep five positions open during the coming year as part of an effort to cut $1 million from the 2010 budget.

The public works director and city engineer are among the jobs that could remain unfilled.

Some council members want to go further.

“I’d like to make staffing cuts rather than holding positions vacant,” said Mayor Bob Scales during a Monday budget meeting. He’s proposing that the deputy planning director and the city engineer positions be combined, and that the deputy police chief job be eliminated.

For more, click here.

Details on city budget cuts will have to wait

Details on how the City Council plans to make an estimated $1 million worth of budget cuts will have to wait until the end of the month.

The council, which was scheduled on Wednesday to delve into the specifics of where reductions would be made, opted to wait until more information is available.

Mayor Bob Scales said several department heads were on vacation, making it difficult to get answers about how proposed cuts to the 2010 budget would impact city services.

The council indicated they’d like to explore cuts to the police and information technology departments, and that trimming support for community groups won’t come easy.

For more, head over here.

City vows to put money in the bank

The City Council agreed to fill the city’s reserves with $3 million by the end of next year.

They’ll do it by making substantial cuts and selling city property.

The details about those cuts will come this week, when the council is expected to start slashing at staff levels and city services.

The council last week has hinted that some city support for local nonprofits may get the ax.

Mayor Bob Scales called out the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council, the police vehicle fund, the Kitsap Humane Society and the downtown association for likely cuts.

For more about the council’s decision to build up the city’s reserves, click here.

City gearing up for “rummage sale” of surplus properties


The 14-acre Suzuki property on New Brooklyn is one of eight properties the city is aiming to sell in the coming months.

Councilman Bill Knobloch calls it a “rummage sale” of sorts, where the city cleans out its large inventory of under-used properties.

Valued at $5.4 million, the Suzuki property’s sale could mean a lot for the city’s beleaguered budget.

The city’s in negotiations to sell parts of three smaller properties near the head of Eagle Harbor and Vincent Road.

For more, read my story here.

City groundskeeping cutbacks making for a shaggy, weedy summer

BI police are fighting weeds with rocks
BI police are fighting weeds with rocks

Here’s my weekend story on the impact of the city’s drastic groundskeeping and roadside mowing cutbacks.

Bainbridge police are trained to weed out crime.

But weeding out weeds? Not so much.

The city has slashed funding for landscape maintenance, forcing police, groups of senior citizens and others to get their hands dirty as volunteer gardeners and landscapers.

Officers and police support staff spent much of Saturday planting new shrubs and replacing their station’s front yard with a lower-maintenance rock garden.

“We’re growing rocks now,” joked an officer as she walked past white stones where green grass had been last week.

Where volunteers aren’t picking up the slack, city officials say islanders can expect a shaggier look this summer on the generally well-groomed island.

“We have less hours and less people to do these activities,” city public works assistant director Lance Newkirk said. “Things may look different this year.”

The biggest difference may be seen along roadsides. In the past, the city crews mowed the sides of all paved public roadways during the summer. This year, the city will mow once and do a few spot mowings at intersections where grass and weeds block visibility.

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City to cut another $3.6 million from budget

A marathon nine-hour City Council meeting ended with the decision to cut another $3.55 million from an ever-slimming budget.

Most of the cost savings will come from surplus property sales and staffing reductions.

Another $1 million in cuts have yet to be decided. The council put off a decision on possible reduced support for community organizations.

Read my story here.