Marine mobile pump-out program coming to Liberty Bay

The Poulsbo City Council at its May 9 meeting agreed to partner with the Recreational Boating Association of Washington for the Clean Vessel Act grant to establish a marine mobile pump-out program at Liberty Bay.

The city will provide $15,000, city documents read.

RBAW secured the grant from Washington State Parks totaling $178,452, providing free mobile marine pump-out vessel moored at Liberty Bay Marina. The program aims to improve water quality by giving recreational boaters a convenient method to dispose of sewage from sanitary waste tanks, avoiding the release of sewage into Liberty Bay, per documents.

The grant will provide 45 service days in Liberty Bay each year for the duration of the grant (three years). RBAW is seeking additional municipal and port support. The Port of Poulsbo has committed to $15,000 over three years, and the city of Bainbridge Island is working on approvals through Mayor Joe Deets’ office.

“We’ve worked hard to improve the quality of Liberty Bay, and I think we should continue that,” Councilmember Gary McVey said.

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The council also approved a new police officer. The Poulsbo Police Department will receive $200,000 to be applied toward the additional officer, per documents. Roughly $85,000 will be a one-time expense (vehicle and equipment).

“Our patrol strength has remained approximately the same since about 2010,” police chief Ron Harding said. “We’ve added new FTE’s but they haven’t been in patrol ranks.”

Harding said population has increased by about 3,500 people in that timeframe, and analysis from a few years ago indicates the department needs up to six more officers. Calls have continued to increase steadily, approximately 1,100 a month. “We’re able to meet those but it’s very challenging to do other kinds of auxiliary kinds of assignments.”

The actual hire date will be determined by Mayor Becky Erickson.

Also at the meeting, the council endorsed a joint letter between Poulsbo and BI advocating for wifi services at the BI ferry terminal and on ferries.

“Internet access has become an essential requirement in today’s society,” the letter states. “It is ubiquitous. The public expects to have internet access. For many individuals, internet access is crucial for carrying out their daily tasks efficiently. The absence of internet access on ferries or the Bainbridge Island terminal decreases productivity. Providing internet access will greatly enhance customer service and increase customer satisfaction.”