City to ask WSF for Wi-Fi at BI terminal, on boat

It’s hard to believe, but Washington State Ferries does not have Wi-Fi at the terminal or on the boat in Bainbridge Island.

The city of BI, along with Poulsbo, is asking WSF to remedy that.

Both cities are writing letters to WSF asking for the change. The BI letter says, in part, that: Internet access has become an essential requirement in today’s society. For many individuals, internet access is crucial for carrying out their daily tasks efficiently. The absence of internet access on ferries or the BI terminal decreases productivity. Providing internet access will greatly enhance customer service and increase customer satisfaction.

The council also will discuss the budget at its meeting May 14.

City Finance director DeWayne Pitts in a Powerpoint says operating costs will be paid with current revenues; water, sewer and storm funds will be self-supporting through ratepayers; overhead costs will be fairly distributed among funds; and automatic price indexes are used for most fee-based revenues. Economic drivers include higher-than-normal inflation, which affects labor and construction costs. Interest rates will likely decrease as inflation decreases, which will impact investment revenue. Revenue will be flat while expenses increase up to 4%, the Powerpoint says.

Also, the council will receive a Planning Commission recommendation to delay a discussion on hotels in Winslow until a preferred alternative is presented in the Winslow Subarea Plan. Hotels have been banned since April of 2021 downtown after a controversial one was rejected, but they are still allowed along High School Road.

The council will discuss priorities for 2025-26. There are over 100 projects called “higher profile,” and the council will pick seven to focus on. It will appoint a councilmember to the Winslow Way Affordable Housing Project Developer Selection Committee. It will review Human Services funding. A chart shows BI ranks No. 1 in percentage of budget that are grant funded, ahead of cities like Redmond, Kirkland and Issaquah.

In city manager Blair King’s report he will compare staffing levels. Tom Bullock of BI’s Kitsap Public Facilities District will give a presentation. The new BI Senior/Community Center will be OK’d. A public hearing on a moratorium on crematoriums will take place.

On the consent agenda, demolition of the former police building at 625 Winslow Way will be OK’d; Phil Olbrechts will be named hearing examiner; work plans for various city committees will be OK’d; and a summer recess of council meetings Aug. 20 and Aug. 27 will be approved;

Proclamations will be passed for: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Month; Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; May 19-25 National Public Works Week; May 12-18 BI Police Week; Building Safety Month; and Memorial Day May 27.