Category Archives: Regional coordination

“Sustainable” Revenue Among County Commissioners’ 2011 Priorities

I attended the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners retreat today at the county campus. (Bunnies are back in the parking lot, I see. Thought they’d been eaten by raccoons.)

The big news coming out of the meeting was that the board is considering a tax measure for 2011. Two years ago, when the crumbling economy was getting too hard to ignore, Josh Brown, who is up for re-election this year, said the idea of raising taxes was not on the table. The message he and the rest of the board got was that any tax increase would be intolerable.

Brown, as I recall our discussion, did not preclude a tax hike proposal at some point in the future. Some day, he said, citizens may need to choose between maintaining an adequate level of services — including public safety — and avoiding a tax increase. What’s changed since then and now, said Brown and fellow commissioner Steve Bauer, is that the county has run out of ways to absorb revenue lost as a result of the recession and the cumulative effects of the 1 percent limit on property tax increases.

The discussion is still in its very early stages, and commissioners will be checking in with the public on the proposed tax measure, as well as other county issues.

Today’s meeting heralds budget season at the county. There will still be some give and take between the board and department heads as they hammer out the 2011 budget, but here are the commissioners’ other priorities (in no particular order).

Under the heading of “Land as a Resource”,” North Kitsap Legacy Partnership: The county must dedicate resources to the several departments involved in planning for a private-public development and land conservation project in North Kitsap.

Water as a Resource: The county wants to make conservation of water an ongoing priority. Kitsap County, unlike other areas of the state, relies solely on rainfall to replenish its aquifers. Even in our rain drenched area of the state, maintaining access to adequate clean water will require a concerted and well-coordinated effort, county officials say.

Financial and Service Sustainability (several related items here):
a. Performance measures: The commissioners want to institute performance measures to ensure that the county is getting the most bang for its buck. Bauer has been a strong proponent of this approach. Department heads have been measuring activities, but there’s been no monitoring, said county administrator Nancy Buonanno-Grennan. “They don’ generally measure meaningful things,” she said. “There’s not a lot of rigor to them.”
b. Compensation reform: The county will analyze its salaries to make sure its compensation is reasonably in line with private sector salaries.
c. Public Discourse on Services: The county will ask the public to weigh in on what services it wants and expects in unincorporated areas (this is related to annexation issues and the ballot measure issue below).
d. Annexation policies: The city will develop these in coordination with cities to make the process of annexation, with its trade-off of revenue and responsibilities more predictable.
e. Interaction with cities on annexation: The county will meet individually with leaders of Kitsap cities on their respective plans for annexing urban growth areas. They’ll be looking for a two-year plan of action to make the process more predictable for everyone.
f. Public outreach to urban growth areas: The county will try to inform citizens about changes they would see with annexation.

Under the heading of Resource Conservation/Economic Development/Green Jobs: South Kitsap Commissioner Chalotte Garrido is pushing for a regional effort to secure energy grants. (Garrido mentioned this initiative, already under way at the county level, as a possible model for performance measurements, since the county already has some experience in this area with grants that require measurable outcomes.)

Also under Resource Conservation, the county needs to have a sustainable business plan for its parks department, Garrido said, and it need to standardize its policies and procedures that affect all of the counties parks, even though they are quite different from one another. Garrido also wants to see some action on plans for South Kitsap parks including South Kitsap Regional Park and Howe Farm. Of SK Regional Park, Garrido said, “There should be things happening in that park with the funding that has been designated to it.” Bauer raised to possibility that the county some day may need to let go of parks altogether, which would require the formation of a municipal parks district.

Tacoma-based Housing Authority Under Scrutiny

The (Tacoma) News Tribune is reporting that the FBI is investigating the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association regarding allegations of misspent public funds. From the story:

For months, questions have lingered about whether any law enforcement agency was – or would be – investigating the Tacoma-based housing nonprofit’s spending of a $4 million state budget appropriation and $400,000 federal loan. The nonprofit obtained the money in recent years to help it build a mixed-use business and housing center on Tacoma’s Hilltop, but today the site remains vacant.

Inmates Could Come Here to Escape High Water

These digs are ready should the water come down in King County. Kitsap Sun photo by Larry Steagall.

Former Kitsap County commissioner and current Bremerton Mayor candidate Patty Lent has made the case that she’d go after King County businesses in danger of water damage should the Howard Hanson Dam need to be freed of as much water as some fear.

Even if that doesn’t happen, we may get King County jail inmates. Josh Farley has the story today. King County would guard the prisoners. Kitsap would feed them, provide a nurse and pay the utilities.

If you’re wondering what kind of budget impact that might have, at $28 per day for up to 114 inmates, it’s a potential $3,192 a day, minus costs. Farley tells me the meals cost about $1 each. Water would figure to be the big additional utility cost.

County to Pay for Bulk of Ferry Study

One of the items of the Kitsap County commissioners’ agenda for Monday will be an allocation of the county’s hotel-motel tax revenues.

Typically such a meeting can invite a long line of those testifying, from those saying “Thank you” to those pleading for changes.

I don’t know what to expect on that score on Monday.

Part of what will be on the list of expenditures will be different than the allocations I’ve seen in the past. There will be $50,000 to help pay for an economic analysis of the ferry system’s impact on the East side.

This was the kind of study suggested less than a year ago in a meeting of Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council members, but eventually shelved when the different agencies that belong agreed they’d have trouble finding money in the budget.

What’s pushing this now, of course, is Washington State Ferries’ long-term proposals, one that would continue the current service as is and another that would reduce boats in Bremerton and Southworth and would reduce night service at those docks and in Kingston.

Commissioner Steve Bauer said the analysis would not be complete before the end of the Legislature. That could be a problem if legislators insist on picking one plan or another before “Sine Die,” the end of the session. Bauer is hoping the legislators will agree to push it at least another year, because whatever decision they make this year won’t have any financial impact until at least 2011.

The total cost of the study is expected to be in the neighborhood of $75,000. The remaining amount would need to come from the KRCC’s other members.

A Snapshot of the SKIA Annexation Discussion

South Kitsap Reporter Chris Henry here, filling in for vacationing Steve Gardner.

I attended the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce-hosted Eggs and Issues breakfast held this morning at the Cloverleaf Tavern in East Bremerton (just eggs and issues were served no alcohol at this hour). It was a good chance for me to immerse myself in the proposed annexation of the South Kitsap Industrial Area by the City of Bremerton. On Thursday, I’ll be covering a meeting of officials from the Port of Bremerton, City of Bremerton, City of Port Orchard, Kitsap County and West Sound Utility District regarding Port Orchard’s role in SKIA should the annexation move forward.

How Port Orchard will fit into the future of SKIA was one of several recurring themes addressed by the panel, which included Bremerton City Council President Will Maupin, Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan and David Overton, whose family is the primary private property owner within SKIA boundaries (the other big player is McCormick Land Company). James Weaver, director of development for the City of Port Orchard, arrived later.

Other issues discussed were:

The potential cost of annexation to City of Bremerton residents.

Environmental issues

The likely time line should annexation proceed.

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Seattle Needs the Ferries More than We Do

seattleferry.jpgPhoto comes from here.

Thursday morning at a meeting of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council the local cities’ and county’s electeds agreed that stable ferry funding has to be our legislative delegation’s top priority in the 2009 session.

To make sure it happens, the group is planning to study the impact ferries have on the Seattle economy as part of an effort to gather legislative allies for the cause.

“This has got to be a spiritual cause for them,” said Bremerton mayor Cary Bozeman.

“We’ve got to be evangelists,” said Lary Coppola, Port Orchard mayor.

Kitsap County commissioner Steve Bauer suggested a strategy of gathering data about how the ferries matter to the eastside economy, then creating a presentation to make the case, all in an effort to add allies.

Nine legislators represent Kitsap County. Add three more for Vashon, three for Clallam and Jefferson, three for Island County and three for the San Juans. That’s 14 of 98 in the House, seven of 49 in the Senate. Those 21 probably won’t need much convincing.

It will be the legislators on the receiving end of the ferries, from Pierce to Snohomish, that will be key to the strategy. “They don’t have this on the radar from an economic sense,” said Bainbridge Island mayor Darlene Kordonowy.

The KRCC officials referred to a study that showed tourism accounted for a bigger share of ferry traveling than previously estimated.

Coppola said the ferry case will have to be made to Seattle business groups that it wouldn’t be good economically for them to see the ferry service continue to be threatened. “They’re going to make the case to their legislators, because they’re going to understand it’s money out of their pocket.”

Bauer said if the ferries stopped tomorrow it could have a bigger negative impact on the Seattle side than it would over here.

The View from the Inside

Chris Henry writes on the Speaking of South Kitsap blog about Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola’s shifting or non-shifting views on the county’s relationship with the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Toward the end of the entry is a conversation about how things look from the inside.

Regarding the column and writing columns in general, Lary said that his views on a lot of things have changed as he has become more familiar with the ropes of local government.

“I’ve learned a lot more about the inner workings of this stuff than I knew from the outside,” he said.

“Has it changed your perspective?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “I’ve realized that some things aren’t as black and white as they seem. … When you look at something from the outside without having all the information, things are sometimes very different from what they appear on the surface. … I’m trying to take a more thoughtful approach to things because the quality of the information I’m working with is a lot better than it was before.”

Kitsap’s Appointments to the PSRC

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending a meeting of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, at which members will outline a process for evaluating Kitsap’s membeship in the Puget Sound Regional Council. You can read the most recent story about Kitsap and the PSRC here, but in a nutshell, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel and members of the community, most notably Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners, have questioned the value of Kitsap’s membership in the PSRC.

An evaluation by county staff shows Kitsap received roughly $31 million more in funding for regional transportation projects from 1992 through 2007 than it would have if it had operated as its own independent planning organization. But critics and Angel say that PSRC takes away local control. Angel was among a handful of PSRC members who recently voted against that entity’s Vision 2040 plan.

Because the question of whether the PSRC is good for Kitsap has been raised, all local entities involved need to be able to weigh in said Mary McClure, KRCC’s executive director. McClure and others have suggested that an equally timely discussion would be how Kitsap can increase its effectiveness on the PSRC, which also includes King, Pierce and Snohomish County.

Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, who serves on the PSRC’s executive committee, would like to see more involvement on the part of Kitsap’s committee appointees to the PSRC. Just by showing up and taking part, they can exert significant influence despite Kitsap’s relatively small size compared to the other counties, Brown said.

Here’s a list of Kitsap appointees to the PSRC (below, I’ll list Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council’s 2008 membership so you’ll know who fits where).
KConPRSC.pdf

Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council 2008:
Chair
Council Member Carol Arends
City of Bremerton

Vice-Chair
North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer
Kitsap County

Members:
Kitsap County
South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel
Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown

City of Bremerton
Mayor Cary Bozeman
Council Member Will Maupin
Council Member Nick Wofford*

City of Bainbridge Island
Mayor Darlene Kordonowy
Council Member Debbie Vancil
Council Member Kim Brackett*

City of Port Orchard
Mayor Lary Coppola
Council Member Carolyn Powers*

City of Poulsbo
Mayor Kathryn Quade
Council Member Ed Stern

Suquamish Tribe (Membership Memorandum of Understanding in Progress)
Council Chair Leonard Forsman
Rob Purser*

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
Council Chair Leonard Forsman
Rob Purser*

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (Membership Memorandum of Understanding in Progress)
Council Chair Ron Charles
Doug Quade*

Port of Bremerton
Commissioner Cheryl Kincer
Commissioner Bill Mahan

Naval Base Kitsap (ex officio member)
Captain Reid Tanaka
Tom Danaher, PAO*

Mary McClure
Executive Management
McClure Consulting LLC

Coppola Responds on SKIA

Lary Coppola’s comments in today’s story about a port commissioner’s concerns about a SKIA battle came during a short break in the Port Orchard City Council meeting. Today he had time to elaborate.

One of the reasons he’s bringing up a multijurisdictional solution for the South Kitsap Industrial Area is directly related to his role as mayor of Port Orchard.

“Port orchard is the poorest city in the county and I see my job as trying to do something for the economic opportunity for this city,” he said. “If SKIA annexes into Bremerton, I believe there should be some way for Port Orchard to benefit.”

He called SKIA the best economic development option since Bangor, since “we ran off the best opportunity since Bangor.” (Most of you will get that he’s talking about the speedway.)

Coppola is not sure how the structure would work, but has been told a similar model in in place in Snohomish County for Boeing. Multiple jurisdictions contribute to the infrastructure and all of them benefit from Boeing.

He again questioned whether Bremerton would have the money to provide infrastructure, especially when that city hasn’t nailed down a way to pay for street repairs.

Coppola said development would probably happen using one of the participating entity’s code, not by making up a whole new set of development rules. He again suggested the port as the lead agency in making that decision.

He responded to the port commissioners’ statement Tuesday that they’d do what’s best for the port. “I agree with that. That’s their job,” he said. “I believe exploring every possible opportunity is also part of their job.”

The Mayor Writes . . .

Please divert your attention to a couple of blog entries by local fixture and recently elected Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola.

We speculated on Bremerton’s interest in SKIA, but Port Orchard’s possible role received little more than passing interest. Coppola’s got an idea that, especially given his position, port and Bremerton officials will give consideration.

Coppola also weighs in on Kitsap SEED, in response to chief consultant Tim Botkin’s firing, er, having his contract terminated.

The mayor might (I said “might”) be overstating what Botkin was obligated contractually to provide for the money he was being paid, but spoke what is for many the absolute truth when you separate what’s in the contract from what are reasonable expectations. I only hedge on “might,” because I know what was in the most recent contract, and based on what I’ve seen that was about to come to pass.

Where Coppola cites examples, though, his commentary is pretty telling.

He couldn’t even put together a coherent grant application. Instead of spending a couple of thousand dollars on a professional grant writer, in one instance, he kept the money in his own pocket and did it himself. He scored 345 points out of a possible 1,000 — nearly at the very bottom of the list.

Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes is among those who are specifically proficient at writing grants and getting funding. She has helped the City of Bremerton score tons of grant money for park and other programs. The city pays her to write the grant and provide the supplementary material and so far the investment has paid off. I don’t know if Byrne-Barrantes is the grant writer Coppola’s referring to, but she’s an example.

In October we wrote about SEED getting passed over for a grant. At the time we wrote:

Tim Thomson, the port’s chief operating officer, said the fact that nothing has yet been built on the SEED site was likely one of the port’s weaknesses in its application.

“Since ours is more conceptual than physical, we were probably at a disadvantage,” he said. “Our weakness is we are just beginning the site. We’re competing with zones that were defined around infrastructure that already existed.”

I tried to find out if this is the grant Coppola was referring to, but it’s late Monday and I’m tired of trying to negotiate around the CTED Web site tonight. It’s one we know about, though.

You may be most surprised at Coppola’s ending. He thinks the port did the right thing by dumping Botkin, but he isn’t opposed to SEED.

KAPO Rallies to Blast PSRC’s Vision 2040

Note 12/19, 10:30 a.m.: This entry has been changed to correct information about Kitsap representation on the PSRC. I stated there were 3 representatives on the council. Poulsbo City Councilman Dale Rudolf was speaking, however, of the PSRC’s Growth Management Policy Board on which he represents Kitsap County and “Other Cities.” Bremerton City Councilman Will Maupin represents a “Metropolitan Center,” and Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan represents “ports.” Also on the board is Suquamish Tribe representative Rob Purser. The Growth Management Policy Board has 17 voting members, including all those named above, and 10 non-voting members.

Of the total number of votes on the PSRC’s general assembly, Kitsap County makes up 3 percent. If you include other Kitsap jurisdictions – all of its cities, the Port of Bremerton and the Suquamish tribe – the total number of votes equals 6.3 percent according to PSRC deputy executive director Mark Gulbranson, a Bainbridge Island resident. Votes are alloted based on population, Gulbranson said.

Here’s the pdf Download file“>file from the PSRC on how votes are allotted.

Here’s the corrected entry:

Alright, so not everybody at tonight’s public hearing before members of the Puget Sound Regional Coordinating Council was a card carrying member of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners, but the overwhelming majority of those who spoke on the council’s Vision 2040 growth strategy plan were all humming the same tune, “Get us out of the PSRC.”

And a second refrain was carried through much of the meeting – Kitsap bears little resemblance to the other counties represented on the PSRC: King Pierce and Snohomish. Kitsap resident Ron Ross noted that Kitsap, although densely populated (either second or third most densely populated county in Washington depending on who’s right) is still significantly rural, is dominated by military bases, lacks other industrial enterprise, relies heavily on property versus sales tax and is geographically isolated. So why should Kitsap have to play by the general rules, Ross said.

Vivian Henderson of KAPO lambasted Vision 2040, comparing its version of Puget Sound’s future to Seahaven Island, the falsely perfect world of “The Truman Show.” Henderson called the plan’s description of a typical day in 2040, “absolutely ridiculous.”

Many who testified were wary of PSRC’s perceived power over counties and cities. Although not a government entity, the council does oversee distribution of transportation funding throughout the region. The PSRC can’t certify a county’s comprehensive plan, explained Dale Rudolf, a Poulsbo City Councilman and one of three Kitsap representatives to the PSRC’s Growth Management Policy Board, but they can comment on it, and they can certify its transportation plan for the purposes of funding qualification.

Several people, including South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, spoke on what they believe is Kitsap’s under-representation on the council. Land use planner William Palmer said the PSRC has made Kitsap County “the step-child of the Puget Sound region.”

After the meeting, Rudolf, who ran the public hearing, noted that there are three Kitsap representatives on the PSRC’s Growth Management Policy Board. Suquamish Tribe representative Rob Purser is also on the board. The Growth Management Policy Board has 17 voting members, including all those named above, and 10 non-voting members.

Of the total number of votes on the PSRC’s general assembly, Kitsap County makes up 3 percent. If you include other Kitsap jurisdictions – all of its cities, the Port of Bremerton and the Suquamish tribe – the total number of votes equals 6.3 percent according to PSRC deputy executive director Mark Gulbranson, a Bainbridge Island resident. Votes are alloted based on population, Gubranson said.

In the past year, said Rudolf, Kitsap has received 10 percent of the transportation funding funneled via the PSRC.

A handful of people bucked the anti-Vision 2040 tide and spoke out in favor of strong planning policies. One was Tom Nevins, who is on the county’s planning commission. “You might get the feeling Kitsap County residents are opposed to planning, to the Growth Management Act and that’s not true” Nevins said.

Richard Nerf, a former Houston resident, also supported deliberate planning for future growth, saying that in his former city, “If you can buy the land, you can do pretty much what you want with it. People say they don’t want the problems of the big city. The problem is, if you don’t plan, the problems of the cities will come to you.”

After the meeting, I spoke to Gulbranson about the what-if’s involved if Kitsap wanted to withdraw from the PSRC. Gulbranson declined to comment saying that’s a matter for the county commissioners.

I also spoke to Jim Bolger of the Kitsap County Department of Community Development’s planning division to get his reaction on the evening.
“I wasn’t surprised by the comments,” Bolger said. “I knew they (KAPO) were organized on this. When you get the public out and engaged and involved, I think that’s a good thing.”

The PSRC general assembly will discuss Vision 2040 at its April 24 meeting. For more information, visit www.psrc.org.

Passenger-Only Ferries Across the Pond

Steven Gardner writes:

Ed Friedrich reported Tuesday on King County’s plan to use property taxes increase the use of passenger boats around Seattle, will take over the Vashon-Seattle run and will launch a demonstration boat between Kirkland and the University of Washington. The county will also investigate the feasibility of other routes.

Meanwhile the Puget Sound Regional Council is looking at a regional approach.

One of the complaints (one of many) about Kitsap Transit’s plan that failed with voters in February was that Kitsap was bearing the entire burden.

Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel made that point at the forum “The Return of the Mosquito Fleet” Monday.

“We were by ourselves,” Abel said. “The new thing is everybody is talking about it in the Puget Sound region.”

Abel said when Kitsap County gets involved, it will only happen after a vote of residents.

Endresen tributes

Christopher Dunagan writes:

County Commissioner Chris Endresen, who is leaving office to work for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, has been getting a lot of praise lately as she wraps up her final days for the county. I believe many of the local elected officials are truly fond of her and respect her for her knowledge and leadership.
At her last Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council meeting on Tuesday, Endresen said Kitsap County will be going through a tough period over the next couple of years. She recommended the book “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”
by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury.
“We all serve the same citizens,” she said. “If we all remember what we’re trying to get done, it will make the job a lot easier.”

Fellow members of KRCC provided her a certificate with personal written comments:

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