PO Mayor Vetoes Admissions Tax

Kim Abel said she would approve a version of the measure that funnels
revenue to youth activities.

By Chris Henry
chenry@kitsapsun.com
PORT ORCHARD
Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel has vetoed an admissions tax ordinance passed by the City Council Nov. 26.
Movie theaters, carnivals and establishments charging a cover fee for entertainment would have been subject to the 5 percent tax that was projected to generate around $85,000 annually.
Abel said she would support a modified version of the ordinance that would give a break to new businesses and earmark funds raised by the tax for youth activities. Her veto will send the matter back to the council for consideration at their Dec. 10 meeting.
“I believe this tax can be implemented as proposed with very few changes,” said Abel in a letter to the council.
Abel, who has spearheaded the formation of a Boys & Girls Club in South Kitsap, recommended that 100 percent of revenues go for the enhancement of youth activities, such as a skateboard park. She also wants to provide a one-year reduced tax for new businesses.
She said the city has an unreserved property tax fund balance that could be used to offset the decreased revenues.
Abel said modifications to the ordinance were first proposed by Councilman Bob Geiger as an amendment that failed at the Nov. 26 meeting.
“Some of the things he said resonated very strongly with me,” Abel said.
Geiger, an outspoken critic of the admissions tax, was the lone nay vote in the 4:1 decision (Carolyn Powers and Rick Wyatt were absent).
Geiger owns the theater building in downtown Port Orchard and recently leased the space to a Bainbridge cinema company. Far Away Productions will reopen the historic cinema in mid-December.
Jeff Brein, co-owner of Far Away, has said the new tax would put a burden on businesses like his. But he said he would support the ordinance if, instead of Abel’s suggestions, revenues were used to help downtown businesses.
Brein said added police surveillance is needed in the evenings to make downtown Port Orchard a safe and inviting place, because frequent altercations among the bar crowd have marred Bay Street’s ambiance.

2 thoughts on “PO Mayor Vetoes Admissions Tax

  1. …”…Abel, who has spearheaded the formation of a Boys & Girls Club in South Kitsap, recommended that 100 percent of revenues go for the enhancement of youth activities, such as a skateboard park. She also wants to provide a one-year reduced tax for new businesses….”

    100% of a new business tax revenue used only on youth activities seems short sided.
    Should a portion of the business tax be used to help business and perhaps provide something for your seniors and physically challenged?
    Does your Senior Center offer diverse activities and need no further support?
    Is your downtown business area well protected and safe for folks to stroll and shop after dark?
    .just a thought.. Sharon O’Hara

  2. Sharon,
    I have long worked on promoting the vision of Chuck Jeu, who believed that South Kitsap needs a multi-age, multi-use center that would serve seniors and youth. The hope was that it could be placed at the South Kitsap Community Park and be surrounded by gardens and walkways. It could also have an indoor and outdoor theater component, because you are right, there are a lot of needs in the community. I also think that helping the small businesses downtown would be a good idea.

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