While Democrat Charlotte Garrido maintains a small lead over
Republican challenger Tim Matthes, the final result of the race for
South Kitsap Commissioner won’t be official until the election is
certified Nov. 25. At last count, Tuesday, Garrido had 50.59
percent of the vote; Matthes had 49.14 percent.
When Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola announced that the city
hopes to move forward with an annexation of Bethel
Corridor sooner rather than later, I called both candidates to see
where they stand on the city’s proposal.
One hitch for the county would be that the city is asking for a
suspension of a revenue sharing agreement between the county and
Kitsap cities that allows the county a “soft landing” revenue-wise
when an annexation occurs. The interlocal agreement calls for the
county to receive 75 percent of tax revenue from the annexed area
in the first year, 50 percent in the second year and 25 in the
Kitsap County is doing with half a million less and dipping into
its reserves to balance its 2009 budget. Given the economy, it
hardly seems like an opportune time for the county to pursue
development of the corridor, the plan for which has become
something of an albatross around the county’s neck.
The cost, with bonding, to implement the whole plan (with design standards) would be $43
million, and the city had considered asking taxpayers and
businesses to foot the bill. A recent survey shows, not
surprisingly, lack of support for the various mechanisms (including
increased property taxes) proposed to fund the project. Coppola has
said the city could fund infrastructure on the corridor through a
variety of sources, including grants, development fees, revenue and
more, without having to increase individual taxes. What would have
to go are the plan’s exacting design standards.
Both candidates said they would support the city’s desire to
annex the corridor.
Tim Matthes pointed to the plan’s design standards as an example
of the county’s “onerous regulations” that have stymied
development. Matthes has said, if elected, he would work to ease
the burden on developers by simplifying county code. Matthes said
South Kitsap Industrial Area’s impending annexation into Bremerton
is another example of how Kitsap’s cities are better at putting out
the welcome mat to new and growing businesses than the county
Matthes said he would support Port Orchard assuming
responsibility for the corridor as long as it makes sense for
taxpayers.”It should go to whoever would do the most for it, and
the city appears to be in the best position to do that,” Matthes
Garrido, who served as SK Commissioner through 2000 took part in
the process through which the Bethel Corridor Plan was developed
with input from citizens, businesses and other interested parties.
Asked if she had any concerns about the city implementing a
modified plan, she said, “Everybody is going to have some concerns
about it.” That being said, the economic times dictate some degree
“I’m willing to work with the city in any way we need to to
address that issue as well as anything else,” she said.
And what about the prospect of altering the revenue sharing
agreement and the county’s dispensing with the soft landing?
“We have to be creative in ways we’ve never had to be,” said
Garrido. “I don’t throw anything off the table.”