Monthly Archives: August 2009

SKSD Board: Ineligible Candidate Gets Nearly 20 Percent of Vote

Former Board Member Giving SKSD Incumbent a Run for Her Money

Third candidate who was disqualified earned nearly 20 percent of the vote.
By Chris Henry
Incumbent Naomi Polen was lagging behind challenger Chris Lemke in what amounted to a straw poll on the race for South Kitsap School District Board of Directors, district 3.
Polen earned 31.36 percent of the vote to Lemke’s 44.92 percent in Tuesday’s primary election. Both, being the two top vote getters, move on to the November election.
A third candidate, Gail F. Porter, was deemed ineligible to serve, since she moved out of district after filing for office. Even so, she earned 19.65 percent of the total 5,385 votes cast.
Write ins totaled 219 votes or 4.07 percent of the total.
Porter notified the Kitsap County Auditor’s office of the move on June 18, after the June 11 deadline to withdraw. Ballots were already being processed, so Porter’s name appeared among the contenders.
Although the result the the primary was a given, Lemke, a former SKSD board member, was guardedly optimistic at the margin by which he was ahead. He chalked it up to “local grassroots networking.”
“I’m thankful for the numbers,” he said. “It’’ll be a worthy opponent and a great election in November. I’m looking forward to it.”
Polen was appointed to the board last spring when then-District 3 representative Chuck Mayhew moved. Lemke, who served on the board from 2001 through 2005, was among those who had asked to be considered for appointment to Mayhew’s position.
Polen, who has so far run a fairly low-key campaign, said she anticipates working harder to publicize herself between now and the November election.
“I guess I will start putting signs out, which I didn’t want to do,” she said. “I felt I was getting out there, but obviously the numbers say I’m not.
Lemke, who did not give his age, is a retired Department of Defense manager who has held numerous volunteer positions in South Kitsap, most related to education. His four daughters attended South Kitsap schools.
Polen, 45, who helps run her husband’s construction business, also has served in multiple district and community volunteer positions. Her four children have attended South Kitsap schools.
South Kitsap School District may formally contest the estimated $70,000 it will owe for the cost of the primary.
“We have sought legal council to see if there’s any way to mitigate the cost, but we’re not interested in having a fight with the county,” said district spokeswoman Aimee Warthen.
Kitsap County elections manager Dolores Gilmore in July said much of the cost of the election is incurred through printing and distributing ballots. The law does not make provisions for districts in cases like this, she said.
Any action taken by the district will depend on advice from its attorneys, which is pending, Warthen said.

More on What Runs Downhill in McCormick Woods

I thought I’d call out a comment on my recent story about Port Orchard’s sewer and water rate increases related to the recent McCormick Woods annexation.

BlueLight said:
Here’s the way I understand it: The houses in McCormick Woods are on a “stepped” sewer system, which is – basically – a hybrid between onsite septic and municipal wastewater. Each home has a septic tank, but instead of drainfields these tanks pump to the municipal system. Prior to annexation, the City of Port Orchard serviced this system; responding to pump failures, etc. The City also pumped each holding tank – I believe – every five years. This is what the surcharge paid for. Obviously, this design is is more labor and cost intensive to operate than the purely municipal type system throughout the rest of the city. One could easily say that – as a result of annexation – the homeowners in McCormick Woods managed to have residents in the other parts of P.O. assume the cost of pumping their septic tanks.

I replied:
BlueLight – Regarding your comments on McWoods STEP (septic tank effluent pumping system), it is not correct to say the surcharge was assessed to pay for the pumping/maintenance of septic systems in McCormick Woods. What I apparently did not make clear in the article is that all South Kitsap residents who live outside Port Orchard but access its sewer system pay the 50 percent surcharge, not just McWoods residents. The McWoods sewer surcharge, totaling about $200,000 a year, goes (or went) toward the city’s total sewer budget.

You are correct that the city is responsible for inspecting and (if needed) pumping the septic tanks of McWoods homes, under an agreement between Kitsap County and McWoods developers when ULID 6 was formed.

Since the sewer line went in, liquid waste from McWoods has been diverted from a communal drain field to the sewer line that runs along Old Clifton Road and eventually to the sewer treatment plant operated jointly by Port Orchard and Westsound Utility District. The solid waste is processed through on-site septic tanks that, like such tanks everywhere, require periodic inspection and maintenance.

Under the ULID 6 agreement, the city inherited the responsibility for maintaining those septic systems. That is unique to McWoods. The city takes care of 605 McWoods septics; that’s 133 per year on a rotating basis, which costs the city $72,000 a year.

While the surcharge was in effect, the revenue generated ($200,000) more than made up for the septic service cost ($72,000), said Public Works Director Mark Dorsey. So in essence, McWoods residents, while they were paying the surcharge, were subsidizing city residents’ sewer service to the tune of $128,000 per year.

Dorsey said the McWoods surcharge, which was significant, actually helped keep rates down for city residents. Now everyone, including those in McWoods, have to share in picking up that lost revenue.

The council will be discussing McWoods sewers at its work study meeting, Tuesday. The meeting is open to the public, but comments from the audience are taken at the discretion of the council, unlike at a regular council meeting, where the public always gets a chance to speak.

Hope this helps. Chris Henry, SK/ Government reporter

Follow-up On South Kitsap Montessori School

In case you were wondering the outcome of of the situation with Farmhouse Montessori School on Bethel- Burley Road — made famous by the Kitsap County hearing examiner’s quote that neighbors of the school might be disturbed by the “noise generated by laughter and screaming of young children” — here’s the story in summary, from reporter Chris Dunagan’s article of Aug. 11:

“Based on new plans — including a maximum of 34 students instead of 40, as well as reduced operating hours — Hearing Examiner Ted Hunter approved the proposal with 22 conditions. The school’s hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, as opposed to the previous proposal of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.”

Friday Afternoon Club: Top 10 Reasons to Attend SKSD Back-to School Event

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: South Kitsap High School Track

1. It’s free. I should have put it under the heading “Cheap Thrills.”
2. There will be free school supplies, kid-centered displays, demonstrations and activities. Balloons, coupons for haircuts and other good stuff as well.
3. There will be free performances by musical and dance groups.
4. There will be free bus rides (for those who can’t get enough during the school year). Also recommended for newbie riders. Welcome to kindergarten, kids!
5. The district wants to encourage families to do stuff with their kids.
6. The district wants to promote communication between school staff and families.
7. There will be free immunizations. Maybe not your kid’s idea of an afternoon of fun and games, but they’ll need to be up on their shots before school starts. And, you’ve heard this before, the vaccinations are free.
8. There will be free food (maybe that should have gone at the top of the list).
9. The event will culminate in a kids’ parade.
10. Did I mention it’s free?

Here’s the announcement that will run in the Kitsap Sun Friday:

South Kitsap School District will host its annual Back to School Celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Satuday at the South Kitsap High School track.
The event has grown over the years, with a host of activities and services, including free immunizations. It is free to the general public. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Booths from community organizations, businesses and schools will line the track, offering kid-centered displays, demonstrations and activities. Among the offerings will be school supplies, refreshments, hands-on games, art projects and school bus rides.
There will be performances by South Kitsap School District’s Summer Band, the Sidney Glen Orchestra, SKHS Cheerleaders, the SKSD Guitar Group, Just for Kicks, the Academy of Dance, Cultural Dancers led by Ruth Loihle, and a group of Irish Dancers. The day will culminate in a kids’ parade lead by the South Kitsap High School Band and the summer band.
The district, in cooperation with the Kitsap County Health District, will offer a free immunization clinic. Immunizations available meet the legal requirement for vaccinations all school age children must have before beginning school in the fall.
The celebration is part of the district-wide Family Friendly Schools Initiative begun during the 2004-05 school year. It is a nation-wide program created to enhance student learning by encouraging family engagement and promoting two-way communication between families and schools.
All supplies, food and give-away items for the event are donated by local businesses, community groups, and individuals.
For more information, contact Aimee Warthen at (360) 874-7002.

McCormick Woods Annexation Results in Utility Rate Hike

Port Orchard officials have delayed implementing a rate increase related to sewer system improvements.
By Chris Henry
Port Orchard residents will see an increase of $11 bimonthly in their sewer and water bill as a result of the recent McCormick Woods annexation.
The city council held a public hearing on the impending rate hike Tuesday, but no one testified.
Before becoming part of the city in July, McCormick Woods was subject to a 50 percent surcharge on sewer and water services, which are provided by the city. Now that the annexation is complete, the surcharge goes away, and the entire city — including McCormick Woods residents — must absorb the loss of revenue.
The city’s financial department has calculated it will cost an additional $3.50 for water and $7.50 for sewer bimonthly per household to make up the utility shortfall totaling an estimated $280,000 to $300,000 per year. The actual amount depends on consumption, according to City Treasurer Kris Tompkins.
City residents currently pay $72 every other month for sewer. That will increase to $79.30 every other month with the change.
The city has a two tier system for water, charging $15 every other month for consumption of less than 3,000 gallons per month and $19 for more than 3,000 per month. The city also has an overage charge for people who consume more than 5,000 per month. The new water rates will be $18.50 and $22.50 every other month for the two tiers.
The city’s water rates are low compared to other cities and utility districts in Kitsap County, Dorsey told the council. Port Orchard is the only utility provider in the county that does not have a commodity charge, he said. Users are charged only the flat rate per tier, not per gallon.
The city’s utility committee decided that now is not the time to institute a rate hike to finance the city’s capital improvement program for sewers. The city and Westsound Utility District jointly own the wastewater treatment plant on Beach Drive. Port Orchard, as part of its comprehensive plan for sewers, identified work that needs to be done on the system over the next several years.
The utility committee felt that adding an additional $11.20 bimonthly for sewer system improvements would put too much of a burden on residents, especially given the economy, Dorsey said. So the city will have to wait to fund those repairs and improvements, at least through 2009. The city will revisit how to fund sewer system improvements in 2010.
The city has also had to impose other utility rates and rate increases over the past couple years, another factor in the committee’s decision, Dorsey said.
There was a water rate increase in 2008, and at the beginning of this year, the city instituted a new stormwater utility, in compliance with state and federal regulations on water quality. The money will be used to prevent pollutants from making their way into Puget Sound through stormwater runoff. Cities and counties around the state have had to comply with the state law.

In PO, More Paint Drama and Cedar Cove Jitters

With Cedar Cove Days less than two weeks away, organizers of the festival that will transform Port Orchard into its fictional counterpart are sweating the small stuff. Does Port Orchard need a bigger flag for its pole, and what to do with “that” malodorous downtown restroom.

And while “Paint the Town” has come and gone, prickly feelings linger over design choices, flames fanned by a new effort to repaint the poles under the marquee.

At last night’s city council meeting, Heather Cole, a local business owner and design consultant for the Aug. 2 “Paint the Town” gave an update on Port Orchard’s extreme makeover in advance of Cedar Cove Days, Aug. 26 through 30. The painting party was hosted by South Kitsap’s radio superstar, Delilah Rene.

A total of eight buildings were painted in the volunteer blitz, with supplies and labor donated by local businesses, Cole said. The “Paint the Town” committee is working on “stragglers,” including the Dance Gallery, the “black and white building” next to MoonDogs, Too, and Olympic Bike & Skate, at the corner of Bay and Sidney. Cole noted that MoonDogs is seeing to the restoration of the mural on the black and white building adjacent to its outdoor patio. The bike shop is being painted in various shades of green, with accents in recessed areas, an effect Councilman Fred Chang pronounced “interesting.” “I wasn’t sure if it was finished or not,” he said. The All About Floors building also will be repainted by Cedar Cove Days, Cole promised.

With that she launched into the committee’s next endeavor: repainting the poles holding up the marquee. Cole noted that the current color on the poles was chosen as part of the Bay Street Association’s paint plan of several years ago. She said the committee understands that the paint was specially chosen to withstand marine weather and grit from passing traffic, and that the city spent significantly more than it would have for regular paint. That being said, the committee would like to replace the forest green on the poles with a cream color, using the same high quality, durable paint. That would give the sidewalk under the now-minimized marquee — its pickets removed more than a year ago after much fevered debate — a brighter appearance, Cole said. The paint would be supplied by donors, she said, so the city wouldn’t be out any money.

Cole said she had heard from merchants on both sides of the issue, but that her perception is most favor the change. Chang and other council members said they would like written documentation to that effect, and Cole said she’d produce same by the council’s next work study meeting, Aug. 18, when the matter of the pole paint will be taken up.

Commenting on Cole’s proposal, was Tim Waibel of Sugardaddy’s Salon, who said he’d like to know the process for how the council would take public comment on the proposal. The public is welcome to attend work study meetings, but the council does not have to take comment, as at a regular meeting, he said. The 18th would be the last meeting before Cedar Cove Days for such comment to be lodged, if the poles are to be painted in time.

Mallory Jackson, owner of Custom Picture Framing, was clearly unhappy with Cole’s idea. The council, should it embrace the pole painting proposal, would seem to be dismissing the work of the Bay Street Association to come up with a coordinated palette of Northwest colors.
“Your hardworking merchants downtown do have something to say in this,” Jackson said. “To the best of my knowledge, the association has not changed its mind (about the palette).”

After the meeting, Cole and Jackson had a polite but terse exchange over the paint issue.
“I understand you have a very strong opinion one way, but some people don’t,” Cole said, suggesting that there were a number of new merchants in the association since the original palette was chosen.
Jackson reiterated her contention that the merchants association should have a voice in the matter.

My thoughts: Maybe Port Orchard should offer itself up as fodder for the HGTV show “Paint Over,” in which Jennifer Bertrand orchestrates painting make-overs for those “going through a personal life transition.”

In other Cedar Cove news, Councilman Jerry Childs, a key player on the Cedar Cove Committee, raise the issue of the city-owned restroom in the Port Orchard marina parking lot. With bus tours of the town, made famous in local Author Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series, taking off from the parking lot, it’s likely that restroom will see heavy use, said Childs. The concrete structure includes a small stairway to an observation tower that is also likely to be a popular spot during the festival.

The problem is, the restroom smells.

The cause, explained Councilman John Clauson of the public facilities committee, is something no amount of cleaning will help. Underneath the structure is a “wet well,” a chamber where raw sewage from the city is collected and sent on its way to the Westsound Utility District’s sewer treatment plant, jointly owned by the city and the district.

Childs pointed out that Cedar Cove Days will draw visitors from 37 states, with 28 bus loads of Macomber fans embarking from the lot over the four days of the festival that could — organizers hope — put Port Orchard in the national spotlight. With tours lasting two hours and the predominant demographic being “women over the age of 45,” Childs said, it would seem incumbent on the city to provide a proper pit stop.

“That is the last rest room they’re going to have (before the tour),” Childs said. “I’m kind of worried about it meeting the standard of cleanliness.”

The council discussed the relative wisdom of locking the restroom, thereby minimizing the city’s potential embarrassment, with no conclusions arrived at. Meantime Public Works Director Mark Dorsey will check with the Port Orchard Marina to see if they might make their restrooms available to Cedar Cove visitors.

Childs was also concerned over the flagpole at the entrance to the city. Although the old tattered flag has been replaced with a new one for the festival, the size of Port Orchard’s pole calls for a larger tribute, said Childs.

“We want to say, ‘Hey look us over.'” he said.

The Port Orchard branch of the VFW will help accommodate Child’s request.

RWC’s Related to Manchester’s Proposed IDD

IDD = Industrial Development District:

Two sections of the RCW cited (see below) with my interpretation. The port will hold a public hearing on this matter at 6 p.m. tonight (Aug. 10) at the Manchester Library

1. The port of Manchester is considering forming an IDD, which would allow it to impose a special levy of up to 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for up to six years. A port district can form an industrial development district for capital improvements within the district that contributes to economic development. A public hearing is required before the port can form the IDD..
Industrial development districts authorized — Boundaries — Deletion of land area.

(1) A port commission may, after a public hearing thereon, of which at least ten days’ notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the port district, create industrial development districts within the district and define the boundaries thereof, if it finds that the creation of the industrial development district is proper and desirable in establishing and developing a system of harbor improvements and industrial development in the port district.

The law allows a port to delete lands from the IDD boundaries.
(2) The boundaries of an industrial development district created by subsection (1) of this section may be revised from time to time by resolution of the port commission, to delete land area therefrom, if the land area to be deleted was acquired by the port district with its own funds or by gift or transfer other than pursuant to RCW 53.25.050 or 53.25.060.

2. Once an IDD is formed, the port can impose a first six-year levy for up to 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value without a vote of residents within the district. The Port of Manchester is considering levying 20 to 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in addition to the current levy of just more than 14 cents per $1,000. The port is also authorized to impose a second six-year special levy for up to 45 cents per $1,000 of assess value. But the measure can be forced to a vote if at least eight percent of district residents (who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election) sign a petition to that effect. The vote is subject to simple majority approval (50 + one).
RCW 53.36.100 Levy for industrial development district purposes — Notice — Petition — Election.
(1) A port district having adopted a comprehensive scheme of harbor improvements and industrial developments may thereafter raise revenue, for six years only, and a second six years if the procedures are followed under subsection (2) of this section, in addition to all other revenues now authorized by law, by an annual levy not to exceed forty-five cents per thousand dollars of assessed value against the assessed valuation of the taxable property in such port district. In addition, if voters approve a ballot proposition authorizing additional levies by a simple majority vote, a port district located in a county bordering on the Pacific Ocean having adopted a comprehensive scheme of harbor improvements and industrial developments may impose these levies for a third six-year period. Said levies shall be used exclusively for the exercise of the powers granted to port districts under chapter 53.25 RCW except as provided in RCW 53.36.110. The levy of such taxes is herein authorized notwithstanding the provisions of RCW 84.52.050 and 84.52.043. The revenues derived from levies made under RCW 53.36.100 and 53.36.110 not expended in the year in which the levies are made may be paid into a fund for future use in carrying out the powers granted under chapter 53.25 RCW, which fund may be accumulated and carried over from year to year, with the right to continue to levy the taxes provided for in RCW 53.36.100 and 53.36.110 for the purposes herein authorized.

(2) If a port district intends to levy a tax under this section for one or more years after the first six years these levies were imposed, the port commission shall publish notice of this intention, in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the district, by June 1 of the year in which the first levy of the seventh through twelfth year period is to be made. If within ninety days of the date of publication a petition is filed with the county auditor containing the signatures of eight percent of the number of voters registered and voting in the port district for the office of the governor at the last preceding gubernatorial election, the county auditor shall canvass the signatures in the same manner as prescribed in *RCW 29.79.200 and certify their sufficiency to the port commission within two weeks. The proposition to make these levies in the seventh through twelfth year period shall be submitted to the voters of the port district at a special election, called for this purpose, no later than the date on which a primary election would be held under *RCW 29.13.070. The levies may be made in the seventh through twelfth year period only if approved by a majority of the voters of the port district voting on the proposition.

Friday Aftenoon Club: Cruz in to Port Orchard

This from the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce:

Port Orchard’s Annual
Classic Car Show–The Cruz!
Sponsored and hosted each year by
The Saints Car Club!

Sunday, August 9, 2009 in downtown Port Orchard! Join thousands of classic car fans and hundreds of classic, vintage and antique cars for the biggest Classic Car show around. Unless you are showing your car at the Cruz, the best way to arrive is by ferry or by bus.
Schedule: 7am-12pm Registration $10 for Cruz exhibitors in all classes. Register between PO Marina and Port Orchard library near Kitsap Transit Passenger Ferry landing, just off Sidney and Bay St. Pre-registration before Aug. 9th not required.
9am-4pm Festival by the Bay Street Fair
10am-4pm the Cruz is open to everyone!!
10am-3pm Door prize drawings for registered exhibitors
3pm-4pm Awards ceremony at the Waterfront Park Gazebo.

Heads Up Manchester: Port Considering New Tax

Correction 8/10: This blog post incorrectly said the port’s levy collection rate per $1,000 of assessed property value has remained the same throughout its history. The port has never in its decades-long history sought a lid lift beyond annual increases allowed by law. But the collection rate has changed as the total value of assessed property has changed. The rate for 2009 is 14 cents per $1,000.

Port of Manchester to Hold Hearing on Proposed Taxing District

Public opinion sought, although matter is not subject to a vote.
By Chris Henry
The Port of Manchester will hold a public hearing on Monday on a proposal to create a taxing district, called an Industrial Development District, within the Manchester Village Commercial Zone that would apply to all residents within port district boundaries. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at the Manchester Library.
The port would use revenue from the IDD to purchase property and retire debt.
Port commissioners had been considering a ballot measure for a levy lid lift. The current levy rate of just over 14 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value has never been adjusted since it was established decades ago, The port has never in its decades-long history sought a lid lift beyond annual increases allowed by law, said Alan Fletcher, port administrator.
Instead of the levy lid lift, the port’s board of commissioners chose to pursue an IDD, which would allow them to raise the levy rate up to 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for a period of up to six years. Forming an IDD does not require a vote.
Port commissioners estimate the amount they would need to collect from property owners for the proposed land purchase would be between 20 to 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value above the current levy rate for a period of six years. Collection would start in 2010.
The port will use money from the IDD to promote its goal of furthering recreational opportunities and economic development in Manchester. One potential use for the land to be purchased is to expand the library and add facilities that could be used for recreation and meeting space.
Although a vote is not needed to form an IDD, port commissioners want to hear from the public about the proposal, said Fletcher. The port wants to avoid the debacle incurred by the Port of Bremerton, when that port’s board of commissioners formed a six-year IDD for taxes collected beginning in 2007 to rebuild and expand its marina. The action was not well publicized in advance and came as a surprise to many who ended up paying the tax.
IDD’s are powerful, said Fletcher, but they are temporary and limited in that the money cannot be used for ongoing maintenance.
Besides purchasing land, the port will use a portion of IDD revenue to retire its share of debt on property it recently purchased to expand parking at the marina. The total cost, $650,000, was 75 percent funded through a grant from the state’s Recreation Conservation Office. The port must provide 25 percent in matching funds or in-kind services such as volunteer labor. Revenue from the IDD special levy would allow the port to pay off the 25 percent match.
Written testimony on the proposed IDD can be delivered before the hearing to Contract Administrator Alan Fletcher, Port of Manchester, Box 304, Manchester, WA 98353; (360) 871-0500.