Challenger in Port Race Puts His Oar in the Water

Martin DiIenno, a retired carpenter and one-time live-aboard boat owner, has filed his intention to challenge longtime Port of Bremerton Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington in the upcoming election. Huntington, who was elected to the port in 1989, filed earlier this week.
DiIenno said he’s been considering running for the position for nearly four years.
“It’s time,” he said. “I just think the position needs a change from Mary Ann. She’s been in there long enough.”

DiIenno. the husband of Port Orchard City Council member Rita DiIenno, said he’s aware of public displeasure with the increased port tax — an addition of 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value — established by the port’s three commissioners last year to help pay for major improvements to the Bremerton Marina.
The increase, which went into effect this year, caught many people off guard when they received their property tax statements, according to officials at the Kitsap County assessor’s office.
The port established an Industrial Development District last year to help pay off a $17.7 million bond issue it secured to fund the marina project. The new taxing district encompasses large areas of Bremerton and South Kitsap, and the new tax adds $90 per year on a home valued at $200,000.
“The Port spent six years researching and analyzing numerous ways to finance a new marina and decided the IDD levy was the only way we could build the complete project which is very important for the economic development of Kitsap County,” said Huntington, who estimates the new marina will bring $10 million annually in tourist spending to Kitsap County. “I don’t like taxes any more than anyone else, but this project is an essential part of a healthy and strong economy for the whole county.”
DiIenno said, if he were elected, he’d make the the port’s actions more transparent.
“I just think the front door should be open, and everything should be out in the public,” he said.
Huntington said nothing the port does should be a surprise to the public, since all their meetings are publicized in advance.
“The meetings are always open to the public,” Huntington said.

2 thoughts on “Challenger in Port Race Puts His Oar in the Water

  1. Well, it’s about time!

    Huntington claims “nothing the port does should be a surprise.” That’s true, but when she sneaks around and hikes our taxes without saying “boo” to us, she can turn it into a surprise.

    I looked. I know for a fact that the port commissioners didn’t lift a finger to let us know what they were doing.

    They used press releases to tell us that they supported the POF tax. They did the same for other tax measures by other taxing districts.

    But, for their own tax increase, the port commissioners said not one word. Not one damn word.

    A nearly 5 percent increase in the total property tax bill (that’s the aggregate, not just the port tax, which more than doubled) shouldn’t be a surprise, but it was — because that is what Huntington and the others wanted it to be.

    Sure, the meetings are open, but ordinary folks don’t go unless they know there is something they need to speak up about.

    Huntington and the other two commissioners know how to use the press to let us know what’s happening.

    Huntington simply chose not to let us know.

  2. Below is the “PUBLIC” notice that was given, one had to know that you had to go to the Port of Bremerton webpage to get this info, and it looks like to me like only “5” days advance notice was given. It is in such vague language, how was the average person supposed to know this means you were going to almost triple the tax rate? Come on, Mary Ann, you knew exactly what you were doing!!

    Did you know that even poorest property owners are not given a break on this tax? Was this even discussed?

    Well all I can say is: one done, two to go!!

    11/14/2006 Agenda

    Action Items

    1. Consideration of Final Budget for Calendar Year 2007
    a. Public Hearing
    b. Consideration of Resolution 2006-53, providing for an increase in regular property tax levy and all allowable levies for calendar year 2007. For approval by motion and signatures.
    c. Consideration of Resolution 2006-54, adopting the final budget for calendar year 2007. For approval by motion and signatures.
    d. Consideration of Resolution 2006-55, filing the final budget and submitting request for tax levies for calendar year 2007 with the Clerk of the Board. For approval by motion and signatures.
    Kenneth W. Attebery
    Chief Executive Officer

    11/14/2006 Minutes:

    Action Item #1 – Final Budget for Calendar Year 2007
    Becky Swanson presented the Final Budget for 2007. The budget is a balanced budget, totaling $34,626,562.
    Commissioner Huntington called for a public hearing. No public comments were received and the public hearing was closed.
    Commissioner Mahan moved to approve Resolution 2006-53 providing for a 1% increase in the total regular property tax levy over the 2006 final levy plus new construction and improvements to property, any increase in state-owned property and all allowable levies. Commissioner Kincer seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
    Commissioner Kincer moved to approve Resolution 2006-54 providing for approval and adoption of the 2007 final budget and acceptance and approval of the Six-Year Capital Plan for years 2007-2012. Commissioner Mahan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
    Commissioner Mahan moved to approve Resolution 2006-55 filing the final budget and submitting a tax levy request with the Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Kincer seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

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