Bonus Taxing Capacity, Deja Vu

I just wanted to call out a part of my story this week on a proposed merger between South Kitsap Fire and Rescue and the Bremerton Fire Department.

According to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery, there is the possibility, repeat possibility, that the merger could produce something called bonus taxing capacity for the city of Bremerton. Many variables go into calculating the city’s maximum allowable tax rate, and remember that, if the merger is approved on the November, 2011 ballot, the tax implications pertain to 2012. So anyone trying to make predictions as to whether this would happen or not would have to make some educated guesses about the variables.

What the implications would be for individual Bremerton property owners is likewise hard to pin down. But Avery did confirm that the merger could play out in the same manner as when the cities of Poulsbo and Port Orchard were annexed into NKFR and SKFR respectively. The same potential exists as a result of Port Orchard’s annexation into Kitsap County Regional Library District. The PO council, however, has said they do not plan to access the additional taxing capacity, so it gets “banked” until and unless a future council chose to use it.

Avery said he and his staff would take a closer look at the numbers, but with the holiday, I don’t expect a quick answer.

Bremerton City Council President Nick Wofford said he would not comment on the hypothetical possibility of the city being able to use or bank bonus taxing capacity because there are currently too many unknowns.

Hypothetical as this issue — and the merger itself — are, I mention bonus taxing capapacity not to stir up Chicken Little, running around squawking “tax hike, tax, hike!” But the possibility of such does deserve mention and more analysis.

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