Bremerton Says ‘No New Taxes or Fees’ for Now

Bremerton residents have for several months been faced with the possibility that its city council could add $20 to its fees for cars, money that would be used to make road improvements mostly. Then last week a trial balloon of sorts was floated in front of the city council, but based on what happened Wednesday night it’s clear there was no one willing to argue let that thing keep flying.

First off, the mayor, Cary Bozeman, gave a presentation to the city council saying he instructed new financial services director, Andy Park, to address a potential $3.9 million shortfall in the city’s 2009 budget. He said he had two requirements. That there be no new taxes and that it be addressed right away.

The “no new taxes” must have happened in the last week, because that was still on the table then. It’s not anymore.

On car tabs a group of four in the minority convinced one who voted to establish a transportation benefit district to help them slow down the momentum toward actually establishing a higher fee on car tabs. City Councilman Brad Gehring voted in February to establish the district, the first step in the process of raising the fee. That vote was 5-4.

The second step is lengthy, though. The council, now acting as a district board, has to establish a charter and bylaws. The council was handed a draft and had expected to perhaps approve them both tonight, as well as electing board officers. Gehring, however, sided with the four original district opponents, saying one week is not enough time to be comfortable with a charter and bylaws. Approval won’t happen at least until June now, which means if the council, er, the board, decides to approve the $20 hike in car tab fees, it will be at least three months later than originally hoped.

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