Monthly Archives: September 2009

PO Mayor’s Salary: Pay-for-Performance Precendent Set by Leavenworth

On Sunday, we’ll run a story on the latest developments in the debate over Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola’s salary. At issue has been whether and how to compensate him on his performance of the job. Here’s a brief review of our coverage and preview of the story.

Coverage so far:
The council in 2008 agreed to what they believed was a six-month trial increase for Coppola, who welcomed the idea of a pay-for-performance model. But the council learned in June that what they thought was a temporary measure could not be undone.
Under state law, councils can raise a mayor’s salary part-way through his term of office, City Attorney Greg Jacoby told them, but unless there were a financial crisis, they could not decrease it until the position came open again. Coppola’s term is up at the end of 2011.
Finance Committee Chairman John Clauson said the council did not ask Jacoby to research the implications of their action back in December, which led to the unintended consequence of a permanent raise.

Recent developments:
Coppola has volunteered to give up 50 percent of his salary if he doesn’t meet a set of quantifiable standards to be set by the city council. Under a proposal from Finance Committee Chairman John Clauson, the committee will draft the list of measurable criteria, to be finalized by the city council. A new set of criteria would be developed and Coppola would be evaluated every six months. If he doesn’t meet the standard, he would accept a 50 percent decrease in his current rate ($62,150 annually).

At least one other Washington city has an incentive-pay arrangement with its mayor. Leavenworth Mayor Rob Eaton receives a base compensation of $12,000, but under an ordinance passed by the city council in July, 2008, the council may periodically, at its discretion grant him what amounts to bonus compensation. Over the past year, Eaton has received a total of $60,000.
Like Coppola, Eaton spends more than 40 hours a week promoting his city. His forte is lobbying state and federal legislators. Often, when his work day is done, Eaton attends festivities in the quaint, Bavarian-themed town in Eastern Washington.
Leavenworth, with a population of 2,200 receives more than 2 million visitors a year. They have both a mayor and a city administrator.

Not everyone on Port Orchard’s council is on board with the idea of incentive pay for the mayor. Although Councilman Fred Chang calls Coppola’s offer “admirable,” he finds Clauson’s proposal “disturbing.”

“I think it’s unnecessarily politicizing the position,” said Chang, who with Councilman Fred Olin unsuccessfully sought an advisory vote on the issue early in the discussion. “I’m very disturbed by the performance-based model. I like it in principal, but I think they’re forgetting we’re a government, not a private company.”

Both Chang and Olin have had good things to say about Coppola, and they agree Port Orchard needs a full-time mayor. But they disagree with the methods pursued by the council.

On a separate note, Port Orchard — which has long had a bad case of Leavenworth envy — has not gone unnoticed by that town.
“I’m very familiar with your community,” said Eaton. I think it’s a beautiful community. I think it has lots of opportunities. I find it charming.”

Although Leavenworth’s unifying theme has played to its advantage, it’s not a deal breaker, Eaton said. His town’s events are a surprisingly “mixed bag,” just like Port Orchard which touts seagulls one week, pirates another, and recently pulled out all the stops to turn itself into the fictional town of Cedar Cove. “The ultimate thing is your customers,” said Eaton. “If you treat your guests well, they’ll come back.”

Coming Up Next Week in Port Orchard

7 p.m. – The City of Port Orchard Planning Commission will meet at City Hall, 216 Prospect St.;

7 p.m. – The Port Orchard City Council will meet at City Hall, 216 Prospect St.; Among the topics before the council: chain parking and water efficiency goals.

10 a.m. – The City of Port Orchard Hearing Examiner will meet at City Hall, 216 Prospect St.; The topic is a request the subdivision of 8.8 acres into 9 lots of property located south of Bay Street and west of Caseco Lane. The name of the project is Turtle Ridge.

Friday Afternoon Club II: PO Artwalk’s Future Could Depend on Today’s Turnout

Darryl Baldwin, president of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association, said the immediate future of the town’s monthly art walk could depend on turnout at this evening’s event. Downtown businesses will host featured artists from 4 to 7 p.m. today (Friday). The art walk debuted early in the summer. According to Baldwin, about half the merchants think it’s a good idea; the rest are less enthused. The association will discuss whether to continue the art walk throughout the winter or take a hiatus ’til spring, factoring in the crowd (or lack thereof) this evening, Baldwin said.

Friday Afternoon Club: Movie Showing Benefits Food Bank

The South Kitsap Helpline Food Bank will hold a movie fundraiser at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Historic Orchard Theater, 822 Bay Street in Port Orchard; (360) 850-1082.

The film, “Shirley Valentine,” is about a wisecracking, unpredictable English housewife, bored with her suburban life who takes a wild trip to Greece. Pauline Collins reprises the role of Shirley in the film which won her Broadway’s acclaimed Tony award.

The suggested donation is $20 per ticket, which includes two tickets for a door prize drawing.

Helpline is raising funds to purchase the Port Orchard Nursery property in order to grow produce for the food bank, hold classes on cooking and canning, and sells products to support food bank operations.

I also heard this week from Sally Santana, advocate for the homeless, who sent me an updated resource list.

The format is such that I cannot upload the file, so I will herewith paste the whole thing and hope I don’t crash the system.

Continue reading

Port Orchard Marina Officials Propose Parking Swap with City

By Chris Henry
The Port of Bremerton’s Port Orchard Marina manager has suggested a swap of parking spaces with the City of Port Orchard that would net the port one additional space in the city’s waterfront parking lot. In exchange, the port would maintain a strip of landscaping for the city.
Under the proposal, Marina Operations Manager Brain Sauer told the city council Tuesday, 31 spaces on the east side of the lot that are now controlled by the port would be switched for a total of 32 spaces on the west side of the lot, near the marina office.
The logic, Sauer said, is that port customers now must drive through the area on the east side of the lot occupied on Saturdays by the Port Orchard Farmer’s Market to get to port spaces proposed for the swap. The farmer’s market runs May through October, directly overlapping the port’s peak season.
Moving port parking nearer the marina office would make more sense, Sauer said. And, he added, if the farmer’s market were able to shift closer to the park, it would open up more city parking for market-goers.
Other parking problems arise during the city’s five major festivals each year. The port gives its customers heads up that their cars are likely to be moved to accommodate festival activities. Typically customers leave an extra set of keys with the port so they can be moved to city parking spaces at no additional charge. The city forfeits those spaces during festivals.
Alternately, cars in port spaces are towed. The festival committees pick up the tab for the tow, and the cars are not impounded, just moved.
The new configuration would do away with the need to play musical cars, Sauer said.
In the past, some vehicles that can’t be moved for one reason or another have been left to sit smack in the middle of the action. That problem also would be solved by the swap, Sauer said.
In his observation, marina customers who arrive by car are apt to have lunch or shop downtown. Allowing these folks to park closer to the action, would make it easier for them to support the downtown economy, Sauer said. People using the paid city parking, however, are more likely to be Seattle-bound, so having them park on the east side of the lot would not detract from downtown business, he said.
Council members seemed receptive to the idea, although there was some discussion of reevaluating the arrangement after one year. Councilwoman Carolyn Powers of the city’s Public Property Committee said she had tried to contact the farmer’s market about the idea, but their representative to the city was out of town. Powers said the proposal would have to be approved by the market before she would give it her endorsement. she approves of the proposal, but she suggested the farmer’s market should have the chance to weigh in on it.
“I like it because its safer,” said Councilman Fred Olin.
Councilman Jerry Childs of the Tourism Committee said the idea was “fantastic,” and he praised the port for being”great partners” with the city during festivals.
The council will discuss the issue and likely act on the proposal at an upcoming meeting to be determined.

And since a picture is worth …. well you know the rest, here are maps showing the present and proposed configurations, courtesy of the Port of Bremerton.



Manchester Talked, Port Listened

Port of Manchester Commissioners were united Monday in their decision not to impose a tax on port property owners through the industrial development district mechanism.

The law allows a tax increase of up to 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value without a vote of the public. It’s a law that applies only to port dsitricts, with the stated purpose being acquisition of “marginal” land to spur economic development.

In Manchester’s case, the land they wanted to acquire was neither marginal not targeted for industrial development. The idea was to buy one of the commercial properties for sale in the town to preserve it for future community use. Port commissioners, in accordance with their parks & recreation plan, would have relied on public guidance and participation in future development of the property, possibly as a community center.

The idea of acquiring land is not off the table, but the port is not reconsidering their original idea of seeking a levy lid lift, among other options. They also need to pay off debt related to parking improvements now under way. Sooner or later, commissioners say, they’ll need to raise cash for that and meet the rising cost of maintaining the facilities they have, including the marina and waterfront park.

Although two of the commissioners, Steve Pedersen and Daniel Fallstrom, said loud and clear that they favor buying property soon to preserve it for future generations while real estate prices are low, they opted not to go the IDD route, which would have allowed them to act quickly. Although earlier discussions with community groups, including the port’s advisory committee, showed many people in favor of the land purchase, those who were opposed to the no-vote tax showed up in force at the port’s August meeting.

The commissioners pushed the matter off for a month to gather more public comment. Commissioner Jim Strode said he heard from many people on both sides of the issue. Although he didn’t break it down scientifically, he said the split in community opinion showed the port needed to do a better job of bringing everyone into the discussion. Fallstrom said those he’s heard from are about 50/50 pro and con. Pedersen said those against the proposal seem to outweigh those for it by a small margin.

Here on this blog, we took an unscientific poll listing three reasons people might favor the IDD and three reasons they might be opposed. We allowed people to vote up to three times. Since only 22 people (out of more than 3,000 voters) participated, the results can hardly be considered representative. We also did not screen to make sure all participants were actually Manchester residents. But for what it’s worth:

Should the Port of Manchester form a temporary taxing district to buy land for a future community center?

* No, they shouldn’t raise property taxes without a vote of the people. (55.0%, 12 Votes)
* Yes, the port should act now before property prices go up. (18.0%, 4 Votes)
* No, now is not the time to raise people’s taxes. (18.0%, 4 Votes)
* Yes, Manchester needs an expanded community center. (14.0%, 3 Votes)
* Yes, the port should secure the property against commercial development. (9.0%, 2 Votes)
* No, the port should look at other priorities. (9.0%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

Fruit Going to Waste Makes This Woman Mad

Doris Worland of Olalla is old enough to remember when canning fruit was standard practice to help stretch a family’s grocery budget. So it galls her to see fruit in people’s backyards falling to the ground, rotting.

It’s bothered her for years. This year, she decided to do something about it. Earlier in the summer, Doris mounted a one-woman gleaning campaign, trying to play matchmaker between property owners with more fruit than they were able to use and local food banks.

“What I’m doing is basically harassing these people who have this stuff falling off the trees,” she said. “Most of them say you can have what you want of what they cannot or will not or are unable to use for themsleves.”

Despite some publicity and a universal response that “that’s a good idea,” she has not found enough volunteers to make her idea come to fruition, so to speak. Now, with apples and pears getting ripe, Doris, 78, has been picking fruit and delivering it herself to food banks, but a bad back is slowing her down.

“I don’t have a ladder, and I don’t think I ought to get one,” she said.

Doris is frustrated with the lack of action and the continued waste of fruit.

“I’m kind of upset, discouraged, depressed,” she said. “It’s not as if I’m a politician pressing my agenda, my religion or asking for money. It’s just that I don’t want these things to go to waste if they can be helping somebody.”

If you have fruit to give away or if you can volunteer to pick, call Doris. She is willing and able to deliver the fruit to the food bank.

Contact her at (360) (253) 851-4303 or (360) (253) 970-2047.

Friday Afternoon Club: Cedar Cove to Pirate’s Den, Will the Real Port Orchard Please Stand Up?

Port Orchard, which recently portrayed the fictional town of Cedar Cove, will undergo another transformation Saturday and Sunday, with its Murder Mystery Weekend.
Landlubbers and pirates alike will follow clues throughout the weekend to discover who killed Capt. Zeke Black.
The B.O.O.M. (Brotherhood of Oceanic Mercenaries) Pirates will invade the waterfront area in Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual event, filling the air with sea shanties, cannon fire and the sounds of other buccaneering business.
Here’s a look at last year’s event:

Besides the questioning of suspects and hunting for clues, highlights include a “Landlubber Dinghy Derby Race,” pirate ball, Fight-A-Pirate swordplay, costume contests and Pirate Ball.
Information: (360) 876-3505,
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday: Obtain clue packets (fees listed on chamber Web site).
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: Marketfaire, Fight-a-Pirate Lessons, children’s activities.
11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday: B.O.O.M. Pirates Cannon Show.
12:30 p.m. Saturday: Landlubber Dinghy Derby Race
1 p.m. Saturday: Adult costume contest.
1:30 p.m. Saturday: B.O.O.M. Pirates Stunt Show.
2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: “Goonies” at Historic Orchard Theatre, 822 Bay St.; (360) 895-0564
4 p.m. Saturday: “The Coroner’s Report”
6 p.m. Saturday: Pirate’s Ball, Moondogs, Too, 714 Bay St.; (360) 895-2300.
9 to 11 a.m. Sunday: VFW pancake breakfast, waterfront gazebo.
11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday: B.O.O.M. Pirates Cannon Show
Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday: Obtain clue packets.
Noon Sunday: Pirates Stunt Show.
12:30 p.m.: Kids and pets costume contest.
4 p.m. Sunday: The mystery is solved.

Port of Manchester IDD: Take the Poll

Should the Port of Manchester form an industrial development district to buy land for a future community center? Read the post, then take the poll on the homepage of this blog.

Port of Manchester to Revisit IDD Tax Monday
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Manchester Library

Revenue would be used for land acquisition and debt service.
By Chris Henry
Port of Manchester Commissioners will vote Monday on whether to form an industrial development district, a taxing district affecting property owners within port boundaries. Revenue from the IDD would fund the purchase of a downtown Manchester property that could some day be developed as a community center.
The IDD, which does not require a public vote, would allow the port to move quickly on the purchase while property prices remain low, said Alan Fletcher, contract administrator for the port.
Strong resistance to the new taxing district at the port’s Aug. 10 meeting led the board to defer the vote and leave the record open for a month. Some who testified supported the IDD, but opponents loudly protested the tax increase and called for at least an advisory vote on the matter.
Under the IDD the port could collect up to 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value in addition to the current levy (just more than 14 cents per $1,000 for 2009) for up to six years. Port commissioners estimate they would need to collect 20 to 25 cents per $1,000 to purchase the land.
Fletcher calculates the proposed tax would cost the owner of a $250,000 home about $57.50 per year. The IDD tax is temporary and would expire at the end of the six years.
The proposed community center on the site eyed for purchase is part of the port’s parks and recreation plan, developed with community input. The center would be developed in the future in partnership with civic groups and would likely include an expanded library with space for community activities.
A portion of the IDD revenue would go to retire debt related to expanded parking at the port’s marina.
Port commissioners Steve Pedersen and Daniel Fallstrom, who were elected in 2008, expressed disapproval during their campaigns for the Port of Bremerton’s IDD, formed in 2006 to pay for the new Bremerton Marina. That IDD, which was not well publicized, became a political albatross for the Port of Bremerton.
Fallstrom in 2008 said Port of Bremerton residents should have had a say about the new tax that was set at the full amount allowed by law and in many cases more than doubled individual property owners’ payments to the port. Asked why he did not support an advisory vote for the Port of Manchester’s IDD, Fallstrom said, “It’s too late to do that this year, and cost for a special election would be $15,000, which the port can’t afford.”
Fallstrom added that Manchester’s IDD would not be as costly to property owners.
Residents who favor the community center have told the board they want to secure land for future generations rather than seeing it lost to development, Fallstrom said.
“What we’re trying to do is we have a great opportunity here to get things for the future generations at a great price,” he said.
Fallstrom would not say how he will vote on Monday.
“This is one of these hard decisions elected officials need to make. We’ll just wait ’til Monday and see what the three of us decide,” he said.
Pedersen said the board made extra efforts to seek residents’ opinions on the port’s future in part because of Bremerton’s debacle. He was a proponent of the recently formed port advisory committee whose input led the board to float the IDD. Responses from residents during and after the public hearing have given him pause.
“It’s really made me step back and take a good hard look at the authority and power to tax people, and I take that very seriously,” said Pedersen. “Just because an IDD is a tool, it doesn’t mean you take it out of the tool box and use it.”
Long-time commissioner Jim Strode, who is running unopposed in the upcoming November election, said at the meeting in August, “If I go down in flames for any decision we have to make, I’m OK with that.”

Here’s a map of the Port of Manchester:

Kitsap Chambers of Commerce Respond (or Not) to Possible Mason Chamber Name Change

I wrote a story today about the North Mason Chamber of Commerce and its board of trustee’s proposal to change the name to Mason-Kitsap Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has grown since April from 210 members to 398 members at present, with a significant number from Kitsap County.
“It’s hard to ignore the 246,000 people who live north of the Mason County line,” said Mike Boyle, chairman of the board.
Boyle also said the name reflects the chamber’s increasingly regional focus.

The chamber’s membership still has to vote on the name change, but I wanted to know what Kitsap County chamber representatives thought of the idea. I didn’t hear back from Bainbridge Island’s Kevin Dwyer. Here’s what the rest had to say.

The proposed name change has given Coreen Haydock Johnson, executive director of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, a mild case of angst over potential confusion it could create.
“It affects relocation, tourism and membership,” she said. “They’ve been very successful recently, and we applaud that, but we were all really surprised.”
Haddock Johnson doesn’t see the chamber’s claiming of “Kitsap” as being about “turf per se,” because membership in multiple chambers is a common practice.
“Maybe it will be all unfounded. It was just a surprising move, and we’ll see where it goes,” she said.

The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce is reserving comment on the name change until after its Sept. 17 meeting, according to spokeswoman Darci McGuire.

The Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce has taken no official position, said executive director Silvia Klatman.

Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce executive director Adele Heinrich said North Mason is geographically distant enough that the name change makes no difference to her. She praised North Mason’s growth in membership and innovative use of social networking, and she lauded chamber president and CEO Frank Kenny, in the saddle these past three years.
“Frank does such a good job of spreading the wealth. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem at all,” Heinrich said.

Kenny was surprised at the idea some people might not be totally comfortable with North Mason’s claiming “Kitsap” in its name.
“We’re somewhat taken aback that some people feel threatened by this,” said Kenny. “If someone thinks we did this to target their area of influence, that’s just not the case. That never came up in any of the discussions.”