Fact or Fiction
This Fact or Fiction page is designed to provide clear and accurate information in response to some of the most widespread stories without confirmation.
Bainbridge Island residents are engaged and curious. We want to provide accurate information on the topics Islanders are talking about. You can also sign up to get the weekly City Manager’s Report in your email inbox with the City’s most current news.
Hear a rumor? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate every email, but we will not be able to respond to every email.
Question: Does the City sell subscription or email lists to third parties?
Fact: The City does not sell subscription lists to third parties, but individuals can request information such as City distribution lists through the Washington Public Records Act (RCW 42.56) as long as they certify that they will not use the list for commercial purposes. The City is required to provide records under the Public Records Act with few exceptions.
RCW 42.56.070(8) says that agencies shall not "give, sell or provide access to lists of individuals requested for commercial purposes." If a requester was asking for a list because they want to contact the individuals to sell them something, this would prohibit the City from giving out the email contact list.
Question: Did the City reduce some island speed limits to generate revenue from monetary citations?
FACT: The City did not reduce some island speed limits to generate revenue from monetary citations.
Per Ordinance 2023-03, some Bainbridge Island speed limits changed to implement the recommendations of the Sustainable Transportation Plan, which was developed with significant input from a resident steering group, and for consistency along specific corridors and pedestrian safety.
New speed limits will be enforced with monetary citations. Revenues received from speeding citations make up a very small fraction of revenue to the City. Monetary citations are used for enforcement purposes.
Revenue from speeding citations in the last three years:
The City receives only a minor percentage from a citation no matter the citation total amount. Much of the citation, pursuant to State Law, goes to the State, Public Safety and Education, Trauma Care, Auto Theft Prevention, and other assessments.
The City’s public engagement plan included an island-wide mailer to better inform residents of the speed-limit change and to help drivers avoid monetary citations for speeding.
Additional public engagement and studies included:
In the summer of 2021, the City of Bainbridge Island held a neighborhood traffic calming open house to hear from residents on how conditions on the road could be improved for people walking, biking, or rolling. Many residents voiced their desire for speed limits to be analyzed for consistency and lowering some limits in addition to exploring traffic calming facilities.
In late 2021, the City engaged a transportation planning and engineering firm, Transpo Group, to evaluate options for island-wide speed limits which were presented to City Council on Sep. 13. The purpose of the evaluation was to investigate the potential for developing a comprehensive set of speed limit changes that would lower overall speed limits while also supporting consistency and safety across the island and limit the need for case-by-case speed limit reviews. This speed limit study was particularly sensitive to all modes of transportation to better align with the Sustainable Transportation efforts that were simultaneously occurring. Speed limit revisions were ultimately recommended in the Sustainable Transportation Plan (p. 33), with other types of programs, adopted by Council in March 2022.
Additional information can be found at: https://www.bainbridgewa.gov/1415/Islandwide-Speed-Limit-Study
Information about public meetings and how to be more informed on upcoming City projects and City Council items can be found on the City’s website, weekly City Manager’s Report email newsletter, weekly City Update video, City social media channels, and quarterly COBI Connects physical newsletter mailed to every residence.
(Last updated August 2023)
- Fact: The City of Bainbridge Island did not issue a permit for the fireworks display of September 17, 2022, and does not issue display fireworks permits of any kind.
Fiction: The City of Bainbridge Island issued a fireworks permit and did not tell residents of the island about a 9/17/22 fireworks show that disturbed residents.
Additional Facts: The City of Bainbridge Island does not issue display fireworks permits of any kind. The City issues special events permits, but not display fireworks permits, which must be obtained from the fire marshal. The fire marshal is not under the direction of the City if Bainbridge Island. Though consumer fireworks are illegal on Bainbridge Island, display fireworks are not. Bainbridge Island Municipal Code Chapter 8.28 specifies that display fireworks within Bainbridge Island need to be permitted with the fire marshal. Display fireworks can only be operated by a professionally licensed business with all appropriate state licenses.
What happened: On Saturday evening September 17, 2022, beginning around 9:20 p.m., a fireworks display was launched from a barge in Port Madison waters. Based on the permit application to the US Coast Guard, the barge was situated outside the boundaries of Bainbridge Island.
The commercial operator, retained by a private entity for the event, holds a General Display Fireworks License and Pyrotechnic Operator License issued by the Fire Protection Bureau of the Washington State Patrol. A permit was issued by the Seattle Fire Department for the loading of fireworks which occurred in that city. Coast Guard approval for a Marine Event was also secured. The City of Bainbridge Island was not informed of the event and did not have the opportunity to comment or suggest that notification be provided to Bainbridge Island residents. Neither the Bainbridge Island Police Department (BIPD) or Fire Department issued a permit for the event.
The event triggered multiple calls to Kitsap 911. The BIPD is exploring coordination with a variety of agencies for events like this in the future.
- FACT: The City of Bainbridge Island has an established process to disseminate factual information through the City’s website first and foremost. The City of Bainbridge Island posts on its own social media accounts about City (and City partner) projects and events.
QUESTION: Why doesn’t the City comment on social media posts, especially if the community is talking about a particular topic on social media?
Additional Facts: The City of Bainbridge Island only posts on its own social media accounts, currently to include as of 10/24/22: Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor. The City posts on its own feed about City (or City partner) projects and events. The City does not comment or post about potential projects that have not entered into the pre-application phase of planning. The City has an established process of receiving applications for projects, and it currently does not include by social media post. Project information and updates can be found first and foremost on www.bainbrdigewa.gov. The City also does not post an opinion on policy debate or endorse City staff comments posted on their personal social media accounts.
- FACT: The $0.25 disposable cup fee to customers on Bainbridge Island, implemented from the 2023 Waste Reduction Regulations, is retained by the retailer. The City of Bainbridge Island does not receive the fee.
Question: Who retains the $0.25 disposable cup fee to customers for the 2023 Waste Reduction Regulations?
Additional Facts: As of January 1, 2023, all retail food establishments on Bainbridge Island must charge a $0.25 fee for disposable cups. Customers can avoid the $0.25 fee for disposable cups by bringing in their own clean, reusable cup. The fee is intended to help offset some of the cost associated with providing a home compostable disposable cup and to incentivize customers to bring their own cup.
Customers must be alerted to the fee on any presale or post-sale media such as menus, ordering platforms, and receipts. Customers placing orders by telephone must be verbally informed of the single-use cup charge at the time of the placement of the order. The City is providing local businesses with free, 5x7 cards with information about the fee available in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese for placement by business registers.
Note: Retailers do not need to charge the fee when providing free drinking water upon request to customers in a small, unlined paper cup. This fee does not apply to nonprofit entities or entities providing services on behalf of a nonprofit that operate as a retail food establishment for less than 10 days per calendar year.
- FACT: There are no health restrictions on providing a clean, sturdy, and appropriately insulated reusable cup to a food retail establishment.
FICTION: The use of reusable cups is not allowed at coffee shops and restaurants due to health restrictions.
Additional Facts: In accordance with the Retail Food Code, WAC 246-215-03348, customers may provide their own reusable cups for beverage service. Retail food establishments may refuse to use, at their sole discretion, any customer-provided cup, especially if the cup is cracked, chipped, or corroded, appears inappropriate in size, material, or condition for the intended beverage, or if it appears to be soiled or unsanitary, and instead require use of a reusable cup provided by the establishment for any beverage consumed on the premises.
Businesses do not need additional permissions to accept reusable cups.
- Fact: City staff have been working with the Chamber of Commerce, the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, and Bainbridge Island Zero Waste to educate businesses and residents about the new requirements. The outreach efforts have been substantial.
Question: What outreach has the City done about the new 2023 Waste Reduction Regulations?
Outreach and education efforts include:
- Development of a new page on the City website with extensive resources to support local businesses in complying with the Municipal Code and identify compliant products (with educational materials available in both English and Spanish).
- A press release shared in November 2022 highlighting new educational materials on the City website.
- Business Ambassador site visits to all impacted businesses to review the new requirements and provide print copies of educational materials in late 2022.
- Promotion of early adoption of the 2023 requirements via the Erase the Waste Pledge; a total of 10 businesses and 24 residents completed the pledge in late 2022.
- A quarter page ad thanking businesses who signed the Pledge in the December 98110 issue of the Bainbridge Island Review.
- A full-page ad with information about the new $0.25 disposable cup fee in the December 98110 issue of the Bainbridge Island Review.
- A 6x9 mailer with information about the new $0.25 disposable cup fee sent to all Island households in late December 2022.
- Gave businesses free, 5x7 displays with information about the new $0.25 disposable cup fee for posting near cash registers (with information available in English, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin).
- Free posters with information about the new $0.25 disposable cup fee for posting near cash registers (with information available in English, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin).
- A home compostable vendor fair on December 12, 2022 with home compostable products on display and vendors available to answer questions about unique product needs and options for local businesses.
- A presentation on how to compost home compostable containers at the December 12th vendor fair (the recording is also available on the City website).
- Letters regarding the new requirements for lodging establishments sent to all vacation rentals with City business licenses
Another round of Business Ambassador visits to local businesses are planned for early 2023. City staff is available to help businesses with this transition and answer questions about the new regulations and research specific product requests.
- Fact: PFAS substances and chemicals, found in many man-made products including plastics, are harmful to people and the environment according to the EPA. Bainbridge Island requires that all home compostable containers be free of intentionally added PFAS to help protect public and environmental health.
Question: How do the waste reduction regulations benefit public health?
Additional Facts: BIMC 8.24 requires that all home compostable disposable food service ware items shall be certified to be free of all intentionally added fluorinated chemicals, often referred to as PFAS. PFAS are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or chemicals which are a class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fluorinated carbon atom. PFAS are a family of man-made chemicals that are used in many products to provide stain resistance, water and oil repellency, and other properties. PFAS do not occur naturally, and some PFAS have been found to persist in the environment for long periods of time. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals. Learn more on the Washington Department of Health website.
- FACT: Cardboard pizza boxes meet the City’s home compostable criteria if they are certified PFAS free and meet other certifications.
QUESTION: Are cardboard pizza boxes home compostable?
While cardboard can be composted, BIMC Chapter 8.24 requires that food service ware be “home compostable” which means it is:
- Natural fiber based (like cardboard) and/or able to break down or otherwise become part of usable compost in a safe and a timely manner in a nonindustrial composting environment, AND
- Certified to be free of intentionally added fluorinated chemicals, AND
- Certified by BPI, CMA or another City-approved third party.
QUESTION: Are cardboard pizza boxes that have been chemically treated to minimize residual grease home compostable?
BIMC 8.24 requires that all home compostable disposable food service ware items shall be certified to be free of all intentionally added fluorinated chemicals, often referred to as PFAS.
PFAS are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or chemicals which are a class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fluorinated carbon atom. PFAS are a family of man-made chemicals that are used in many products to provide stain resistance, water and oil repellency, and other properties. PFAS do not occur naturally, and some PFAS have been found to persist in the environment for long periods of time. They are often called “forever chemicals.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals. Learn more on the Washington Department of Health website.
Note: Certain types of food packaging that have per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) intentionally added to them may not be manufactured, sold, or distributed in Washington beginning in 2023 according to a food packaging prohibition (RCW 70A.222.070). The ban applies to certain food packaging types made of:
- Paper or other plant fiber AND
- Have PFAS intentionally added.
As of February 1, 2023, food packaging manufacturers, distributors, and retailers may not manufacture, sell, or distribute wraps, plates, food boats, or pizza boxes in the State of Washington with PFAS chemicals intentionally added. Learn more on the Department of Ecology website.
(Last updated March 15, 2023)