The City of Bainbridge Island (COBI) has a groundwater monitoring program. That program monitors some 45 public and private wells to assess the water supply (aquifers) lying beneath the island.
Aspect Consulting is the paid consultant to assist COBI in the groundwater monitoring effort.
It’s not a terribly expensive program, and it provides informative data that is useful to all island citizens.
So why is this program appearing on this money blog?
It appears here because the 75% of island citizens who are not connected to the COBI water utility are getting a civic gift from those ratepayers.
The City pays for this program from the Water Utility Fund.
Is that proper?
Every citizen and business benefits equally from this program.
The groundwater monitoring should be funded from the General Fund, not the COBI Water Fund.
But for years our professional City staff (Finance Department) has continued to rip off COBI water ratepayers by funding this program from approximately 25% of the island who are water utility ratepayers. Add to that we have a Utility Advisory Committee, and they have turned a blind eye on groundwater monitoring funding from the Water Fund … any not just once, but a number of times. Looking out for utility ratepayer interests? Not happening.
Why is the City funding the groundwater monitoring from the Water Fund? Because there are millions of excess dollars sitting idle in the Water Fund … collected over the years by inflated COBI water rates far in excess of either operational or capital improvement needs. Not polite to call it fleecing of COBI water ratepayers, but it was fleecing of COBI water ratepayers.
What is also amazing is that no COBI water ratepayer is complaining, and the Central Ward Council members, where most the COBI water ratepayers live and/or have businesses, continue to remain silent because they don’t pay attention to the City financials or even look at employee cost allocations. And rare is it that anybody watches and comments on City accounting, and if they do, it almost always falls on deaf ears.
So as a non-COBI ratepayer and well owner, thank you City water ratepayers for the many years of paying for Bainbridge’s groundwater monitoring program!
And thank you also for paying for the major portion of the USGS aquifer study!
That was about a half million dollar gift to the non-COBI water ratepayers who are connected to other water systems or have their own wells.