This post follows on
my story about the Bethel
Corridor annexation that ran Saturday.
Just kidding about the “geek” thing. Annexation is something
everyone should be interested in because it can affect the services
you receive and how much you pay for them, which was the point of
the story. In fact, one of the reasons I wrote it at this time is
that the father of one of my fellow reporters lives within the
proposed annexation area, and he was wondering about the
I wanted to add to this post some information from Port Orchard
Mayor Lary Coppola that I wasn’t able to squeeze into the
But first, a correction. This comes as a result of the inquiring
mind of Bob Meadows, who is a geek in the best sense of the word.
Bob pointed out that the comparison of the city and county
stormwater fees didn’t make sense, based on the rates charged under
each jurisdiction’s code. The city’s first analysis compared county
rates for a building with “multiple units” to city rates for a
“single family residence,” which resulted in the confusion.
The correct information is: property owners’ net payments would
increase with annexation by just less than $220 per year per
$100,000 of assessed value if the annexation were in effect today.
(I erroneously reported $150.)
Here is the city’s analysis of the comparative cost of living in
the city and the county, with the correct figures.
Bethel Corridor Property Franchise Tax comparison-2010.
And here are the respective tax codes for the city of Port Orchard
and Kitsap County:
taxcode- City of Port Orchard
There also are some differences in development codes between the
city and the county, illustrated by the city-generated document
below (the home is a real residence, used by permission of the
owner). As you can see it’s a residential property, not commercial.
Given that the Bethel Corridor is commercial and going to become
more-so, residential property owners, considering the effects of
annexation, may be thinking about selling and moving, or moving and
developing properties to the allowed density. I’d be interested to
hear from anyone in that boat; e-mail me at email@example.com.
Here’s the code comparison, which has links to both the county’s
and city’s codes.
Bethel Corridor 1880 Salmonberry
And here’s the
city’s proposed zoning for areas to be annexed:
Mayor Coppola, in his statement for the story Friday, made some
noteworthy points. (The mayor outlines the potential advantages of
annexation. There is no organized opposition to the annexation. If
I hear of any I’ll give them equal air time.)
The mayor goes into greater detail than I did in the story on
what would happen to the county’s Bethel Corridor Plan if
annexation occurs. The city would use about half of the increased
sales and property tax revenue from the annexation (expected to be
about $1.4 million per year initially) for help fund the major road
improvement. The city would also seek grants, and federal and state
transportation funding (all of which I reported). Although the city
may modify the plan somewhat, they would adhere to an aesthetically
pleasing design since the corridor would be another “gateway” into
the city,” Coppola said (which I didn’t report).
The mayor expects the revenue to increase with the eventual
competion of two major retail projects, yet to break ground: the
Walmart expansion to a Supercenter, and the construction of a Home
Depot nearby. Coppola points out that these two projects could, to
a certain extent, “cannibalize” some sales tax revenue from other
stores in the city. This trend could be partly offset if the Bethel
Corridor can attract shoppers from Gig Harbor, he said.
The story summarizes advantages listed by Coppola, including
public safety, prompt permitting and improved road maintenance. He
goes into some detail about the staffing and equipment needed to
maintain the city’s current level of service.
As I said, I’d be happy to post other arguments for or against
annexation (or you can simply comment on this post). Here’s the
complete text of the mayor’s e-mail (note he mentions an estimated
cost of $30 million for the Bethel Corridor under the county’s
county’s website, however, still lists it at $43 million.)
Here’s the mayor:
The City Treasurer and the Finance Committee have vetted the Bethel
Corridor annexation, after input from the Police Department,
Planning, Public Works, Clerk, HR, and the Court.
The annexation will generate approximately $1.4 million in
annual revenue, split between property and sales taxes. The Finance
Committee has tentatively committed to put away half of that annual
revenue for debt service on the widening project – which will end
up being the largest public works project in the history of the
City. We are already searching for grant opportunities and federal
and state transportation dollars that could be available to also
help defray the costs.
The County has done the engineering on this, and the last
estimate I heard was about $30 million. However, that was in 2006
(I think) dollars. Considering the current state of the economy, I
believe we could shave 15 to 20 percent off of that. Also, we
haven’t seen the actual drawings, so we’re not sure what was
included in the way of lanes, medians, landscaping, etc., so we
don’t know for sure what opportunities there are for additional
savings – if any.
Right of way acquisition is also an issue. We’re not sure if the
cost estimates included that or not, but they should have. Also,
any future commercial development will have to deed the necessary
right-of-way to the City as a condition for permitting any
development, which should help decrease the overall cost of the
project. There will also need to be some re-engineering done, as
the County has allowed some construction to encroach upon what
should have preserved as right-of-way, so we’ll have to cross that
bridge when we get to it.
With all this in mind, we have a budget of about $700,000 to
support the annexation. We expect this to increase as development
occurs. For example, the two big projects already in the works are
Walmart and Home Depot. It appears the County will collect the
permitting fees on these, but we will generate inspection fees,
sales tax on the construction, and additional sales tax revenue
once they open. Since we did our usual conservative budgeting, none
of those gains are figured in our projections.
We also expect those developments will cannibalize some of the
existing sales tax revenue we already collect. For example, Walmart
will take sales away from some of the existing grocery stores, and
Home Depot will impact Lowe’s and Scott McClendon’s Ace Hardware.
However, we also anticipate a sales tax jump from all the local
folks who currently patronize the Gig Harbor and Silverdale Home
Depot’s, and think a grocery department at Walmart will attract
some additional shoppers from Gig Harbor since they don’t have a
As far as personnel goes, in consulting with all the
departments, we have identified and prioritized our additional
needs, and created a tentative hiring order.
In looking at the costs associated with this annexation, we will
have to hire an additional two police officers, and equip them –
cars, guns, radios, computers, etc., as well as train them. Since
it takes on average about six months to get a cop from new hire to
patrol-ready, we are already engaged in this process, and have
identified the top candidates, and made an offer of employment to
one of them. Currently, police response time is two minutes or less
anywhere in the City, and we are committed to not to diminish that
standard in any way.
The next immediate need will be for public works personnel. We
are ramping up for that, as well as looking into purchasing the
additional equipment we’ll need. One thing this does, is justify
the cost of another snow plow, but there’s other equipment we’ll
need as well.
It’s imperative to note here that water and sewer services for
this area are not supplied by the City, but by West Sound Utility
District. You may want to chat with Larry Curles and John Poppe
about their plans.
The City Development Department will need at least one more
person at some point, and we’re planning on that, as well as
additional people in the Clerk’s office and the Court. As we
learned with the Fred Meyer annexation, calls for police service
will increase primarily due to shoplifters, so with the amount of
retail involved in this annexation, we’re planning on the need for
more time for the judge, an additional court clerk, and more time
for the police officer who staffs the courtroom.
As far as taxes go, I believe Allan sent you a comparison sheet.
However, since there is very little residential included in this,
I’m not certain how valid such a comparison is in reality. I’ve
also attached a comparison for the property on Salmonberry Rd. you
Finally, what’s in it for the property owner? The biggest
positive is the police protection and Public Safety. There’s no way
the Sheriff’s Department can match our response time given the
County’s budget situation. Sheriff Boyer does a great job, but his
people are stretched to the limit right now, so public safety is a
big plus. As you recall, when the Walmart shooting happened, the
Port Orchard Police were first on the scene when the call from the
deputies went out. There’s a reason our crime rate is down over 60
percent since I’ve been Mayor – it’s a major priority. Port Orchard
is a safer place to live, raise your family, and own a business
than at any time in the past quarter of a century.
Another benefit is our permitting time and customer service. We
have the shortest permitting time in the county – and unlike the
County and some other Cities, we’re still open for business five
days a week. Our people understand that they work for the taxpayers
and customer service is their highest priority.
The Bethel Road widening will actually get done. It’s been on
the County’s work plan since 1999, and I believe is listed as the
13th priority for the county – behind some trails and other things
the County has deemed a higher priority – for 2011.
The roads will be maintained better – and snow plowing will
I hope this is what you wanted. Call me if you have
Lary Coppola, Mayor
City of Port Orchard
216 Prospect Street
Port Orchard, WA 98366
(360) 876-7025 – Direct Line
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