One Night, Two Budget Hearings

It’s a budget geek’s dream … or nightmare (because you can’t be in two places at once). On Dec. 3, both Kitsap County and the City of Port Orchard will hold public hearings on their respective 2008 budgets. Both meetings start at 7 p.m. The county meeting is at the administrative building, 614 Division St., Port Orchard. A copy of the preliminary budget is available on the county’s Web site www.kitsapgov.com. We ran a story on the county’s draft budget earlier.

The city will hold its public hearing at City Hall, 216 Prospect St., Port Orchard. A copy of the draft budget will soon be available on the city’s Web site, www.cityofportorchard.com. Hard copies are available at City Hall. For more information, call (360) 876-4407. I’ve pasted the story below, as it won’t be up on the Web until later.


City of Port Orchard to Present 2008 Budget

City will stick with I-747 1 percent property tax cap.

By Chris Henry
chenry@kitsapsun.com
PORT ORCHARD
The City of Port Orchard will hold a public hearing on its 2008 budget at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at City Hall.
The city will stay within the 1 percent cap on annual property tax increases imposed by I-747, despite the state Supreme Court’s recent ruling finding the initiative unconstitutional. Actions of the state Legislature at a special session Thursday on the aftermath of the ruling are also unlikely to affect the budget, said City Treasurer Kris Tompkins.
Port Orchard passed its $1.59 million property tax levy ordinance earlier this month with the 1 percent lid in place, though new construction and annexations boosted the percentage lift to 6.2 percent.
Taxes on new construction, including commercial development at the Sedgwick-Bethel interchange and the soon-to-open Lowe’s Home Improvement store, will contribute significantly to the city’s revenue said Tompkins.
The total budget was initially projected at $24 million, but the amount is likely to increase to around $26 million following a city council budget study session Monday, said Tompkins. The council approved some items from the supplemental budget, including $250,000 for repairs to City Hall.
Projected revenues will cover the additional expenditures, said Tompkins, who added that the city’s historically conservative approach to budgeting has allowed it to avoid revenue shortfalls.
“We operate with a bare bones staff and we try to be very frugal with our citizens’ resources,” said Tompkins.
Final budget projections will be available by Monday, Tompkins said.
In the budget, the council has given preliminary approval to an adjustment of the pay scale for city employees, bringing salaries in line with comparable jurisdictions. A 3.5 percent cost of living adjustment has also been approved.
Among other staffing line items, the city will hire a part-time hearing examiner to handle the increasing number of land use decisions coming before the city council. Mayor Kim Abel said the council’s time will be better utilized when a hearing examiner can do the initial analysis.
Among the significant capital projects to be funded in 2008, the city will add to its aesthetic appeal by running a large portion of its downtown electrical lines underground. Puget Sound Energy will help pay for the project, which has been recommended by consultants on economic development. The city’s share will be $250,000.
The city also will pay to complete planning and preliminary design for a downtown parking garage at a cost of $35,000. And its road department will continue to lay the ground work for the Tremont Street widening project, set to begin in 2009. Federal funding will cover 86.5 percent of the cost. Work planned for 2008 includes completion of engineering and right-of-way acquisition.
A copy of the draft budget will be available on the city’s Web site, www.cityofportorchard.com. Hard copies are available at City Hall, 216 Prospect St., Port Orchard. For more information, call (360) 876-4407

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