Category Archives: The Economy

Port Orchard’s Grey Chevrolet Hanging in There

Over on the Kitsap Business and Economy blog, Rachel Pritchett has reported that Grey Chevrolet remains afloat despite GM’s declaration of bankruptcy. No one’s been laid off and the dealership sold 88 cars last month, said owner Kevin Grey. Grey is on the alert for fallout from the company’s reorganization, however.
“It’s how it unwinds,” he said.

Slip 45 Slips Away

As reported on the Kitsap Entertainment blog, Slip 45 on Bay Street is closed for business. A one-line entry on their MySpace page confirms that the folks who were running the place have called it quits and “gone back to Cali.”

Slip 45 follows in the wake of  J.A. Michael’s and Mako’s as has-beens at that location.

The establishment’s owners opened just over a year ago, having poured more than $80,000 into rennovations and vowing to distance themselves from Mako’s unsavory reputation for bar brawls.

In March, a bar fight at Slip 45 sent a 40-year-old man to Harborview, but Port Orchard Police Sgt. Dale Schuster said over-serving did not appear to be a factor.

Darryl Baldwin, owner of Moondogs Too across the street, said he understood Slip 45 had changed hands in the course of the year. The new owner told him that the recession had taken its toll. April was an especially brutal month.

Cmdr. Geoffrey Marti of the POPD said he also believed but could not confirm that finances were the cause of the closure.

“They really tried to keep a good reputation,” said Baldwin.

Moondogs has struggled with the economy but is hanging in there, he said. “We’re doing actually pretty good,” he said.

Cheap Thrills: Wood That Warms Twice

Correction 4/8/09: Juliua Stroup informs me that she does not have 20 cords of woods available at this time. She is dedicated to providing warmth to those in need. What she needs most at this time is help from people willing to load, split and stack wood so it can season for next year. CTH

Although a hint of spring is in the air. Nights are still chilly here in Kitsap County. South Kitsap resident Juliua Stroup wants to do something about it for those who are struggling with heating bills or otherwise in need of fuel. Stroup left her IT job in Keyport last June to start a full-time nonprofit Christian wood provision program called “A Gift Of Warmth.”

Her organization locates wood from various sources, picks it up, processes it and stores it until it’s ready to burn.

Stroup has found plenty of wood and has probably about 20 cords so far that are ready to use, but she needs help loading and unloading her truck. And she needs help splitting and stacking additional wood coming in so it can season for next winter.

“Through this process I’ve injured my elbow tendons and would need help loading and unloading my truck,” she said. “We have wood being volunteered from all directions but I am but one person. … We could have so much more available for next winter if I could recruit some helpers.”

If you’ve ever chopped wood, even on a subzero day, you’ll get my reference to the “wood that warms twice.”

To help or if you need help, call Stroup at (360) 895-1482 or cell (360) 440-2587.

Here’s the thread of an e-mail exchange between Stroup and Baker forwarded to me from Sally Santana.

“Major Baker,
My name is Juliua Stroup and I reside in SW Port Orchard. I left my 18 year IT contractor position at NUWC Keyport last June to start a full-time non-profit Christian wood provision program called “A Gift Of Warmth.”

I provide clean dry wood for those in emergency need who have an accredited wood stove as a heat source. Next winter I will register with various Kitsap County organization and churches who may come in contact with residents who for unknown reasons cannot afford to purchase wood to heat their homes and has become an emergent need. My organization locates wood from various sources, picks it up, processes it and stores it until it’s ready to burn (cedar kindling also) and then will deliver 1/2 cord per year.

Since this is my first year working full-time on this I don’t have as much “ready” wood as I’d like, but I do have some (at least 20 cord at this time, with possible availability from others in the community).

I can be reached at 360-895-1482 or cell 360-440-2587. I am usually working on some stage of this process so please leave me a message on the 360-895-1482 number as I will be checking it.

Dear Juliua,
PRAISE THE LORD! Yours is exactly the kind of resource I have been wanting to create for years! We do have clients every winter who come to us asking for wood. I also have a source of wood for you who has lots of downed trees that they want to get off their property.

Dear Major Baker,
There are too many wood resources here in Kitsap County to allow anyone to go cold so please let me know if I can help. Through this process I’ve injured my elbow tendons and would need help loading and unloading my truck. We have wood being volunteered from all directions but I am but one person. I have probably 20 cords so far split and stacked, but we could have so much more available for next winter if I could recruit some helpers. -Juliua”

Port Orchard: Thrifty or Cheap Part II

Yesterday, I wrote about Port Orchard’s penchant for thrift, which has been extant at least as long as I’ve lived in South Kitsap (since 1979).

The city, for example, didn’t go for a voted bond issue to pay for its City Hall (completed in 1999) or expansion of its wastewater treatment plant (completed in 2007). Payments on the City Hall debt come from the city’s current expense fund, its cumulative reserve for municipal facilities fund (where real estate excise tax goes) and its water-sewer operating fund. The city’s portion of the wastewater treatment facility debt is paid for through sewer rates.

“At the time City Hall was built the City fathers did not want to increase the tax burden to the citizens by having an additional property tax levy,” wrote City Treasurer Kris Tompkins in an e-mail to me.

As I look to the year ahead, however, I wonder if (and to what degree) that thrifty mindset may be about to change.

Port Orchard is on the cusp of change and growth that will require some major expenditures. There are currently three major projects on the city’s plate, the Tremont Corridor, the Bethel Corridor and the Town Center Revitalization Project/ parking garage, which I wrote about Tuesday.

In a comment on the story, Sally Santana writes:

“How are we going to afford this and the Tremont roundabout too? And the Bethel Corridor?”

The short story on this is that the city has funding for work set to take place in 2009 on these three projects. Beyond that, there are funding gaps, and city officials are looking at a number of different potential funding sources, including state and federal grants, and economic stimulus money.

Here’s where the three project stand in terms of progress and funding.

The Tremont Street project is budgeted at an estimated $15 to $16 million with construction set to start in 2011. The work set to be done in 2009, completing the design and right-of-way acquisition, is covered in this year’s budget. The project is partially funded with state and federal grants that require a local match, with money coming from the city’s arterial street fund. There is, however, a “funding gap” for completion of the project, according to City Engineer Mark Dorsey. The state’s $6 billion budget deficit could impact the Tremont Corridor, in which case, the city would have to come up with alternate funding besides money the state had committed to the project. The city is working with the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council and the Puget Sound Regional Coordinating Council to acquire more state and federal funding to close the gap, including federal economic stimulus monies for projects to completed within a two-year time frame.

Although the city has expressed an interest in annexing all of the Bethel Corridor sooner rather than later, that project is not even on Dorsey’s radar for 2009. The city will shortly complete annexation of 39 mostly commercial parcels on Bethel, including Fred Meyer, which will generate subtantial sales tax revenue. The theory is that, as the rest of Bethel comes into the city limits, the cost to complete the widening with infrastructure will come in part from sales taxes. But the city will also be looking toward a variety of funding sources to see this project to completion, Dorsey said. The city is also asking the county to suspend a revenue sharing agreement that would increase the city’s share of revenue gradually over three years to provide the county a “soft landing” financially speaking.

The city has spent all but $6,500 out of $30,000 on a preliminary design for the town center/parking garage. They have also spent $16,000 on a geotechnical report to make sure the proposed building wouldn’t need extra support to prevent it sinking, as buildings close to a shoreline are prone to. The project is in the “very” preliminary stages, according to development director James Weaver. The prospectus on the town center (on the city’s Web site) includes a rather lengthy list of potential funding sources including:

“1. The Port of Bremerton, a major stakeholder that needs approximately 100 spaces, has indicated
a desire to provide commensurate funding of portions of one or more parking structures.
2. Federal funding through Congressional earmarks or programs.
3. Kitsap Transit, another major stakeholder that could seek funding through many sources to
support transit improvements and parking requirements for bus and ferry users.
4. Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, as the Port Orchard designated development
authority for New Market Tax Credits and which can pursue both low interest loans and grants
in conjunction with arrangements with private developers.
5. The City of Port Orchard, which can obtain funds via a bond issue, sale of the existing library
parcel, and pursue grants and loans on its own.

Additional possible funding opportunities may include

6. Washington State Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT) funding opportunities
7. New Market Tax Credit financing
8. Federal Economic Stimulus financing
9. Federal Appropriations
10. Public / Private Partnerships
11. Community Development Block Grant and other potential funding sources.”

The item city residents will want to pay close attention to, and one that I’ll be watching, is: “The City of Port Orchard, which can obtain funds via a bond issue.”

So, getting back to the thrifty or cheap question, to what extent is major spending on infrastructure and development of public properties justified if the goal of the city is growth and economic development? Considering the state of the economy, to what degree should the city hold to its traditionally thrifty principals? Did adherence to those principals in any way cause the stagnation that Port Orchard is often cited as suffering from?

Simply Stupid

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re sitting in a doctor’s office and you see a magazine with a name like “Really Simple” and you think, “Right, the economy stinks. Time to simplify my life.”

You open the magazine and begin to mentally drool over how great your life will be – how fruitful, peaceful and, yea, even empowered you will feel – if only you can apply all the insightful suggestions therein.

For example, did you know you can create an atmosphere of familial calm by repainting your entire house in soothing, cool colors like greens and blues? You are amazed and excited. Why did you not think of this before? First the family room; next the Middle East.

And did you know you can make a fool-proof fire starter for your fireplace using paraffin and dryer lint? Really. All you have to do is harvest the lint (make it a festive event), melt the paraffin, stuff the lint in egg cartons and pour in the paraffin, adding a wick. “Wonderful,” you say to yourself. “Plenty of lint, I’ve got. Now about those other items, I wonder how many stores I will have to drive to to find them.”

I know about magazines like “Really Simple.” They are aimed at people, primarily women, whose lives are complicated. Their premise is that a simple life is actually achievable … if only. If only, in addition to everything else you have to do, you just drop it all and pick up a paintbrush … and the magazine just to make sure you’re doing it right and that the end result is as idyllic and picture perfect as its glossy pages, which, trust me on this, were not at all simple to produce.

With the start of the new year – the economy being what it is – I see a theme emerging on this blog: doing less with less and maybe even being happy with it. Easier than it sounds given the necessity of eating, driving, clothing oneself and, yes, having fun.

Chime in and stay tuned.

SK Protesters to Join Nationwide Pan of Proposed Wall Street Bailout

You might see some folks at the corner of Bethel and Lund avenues in South Kitsap around 4 p.m. today looking mad as hell about the proposed government bailout of companies mired in bad debt from the mortgage crisis.  Local resident River Curtis-Stanley forwarded the Kitsap Sun a form e-mail advising of a national day of protest to be joined by herself and presumably other “Kitsap citizens.”

The e-mail reads, in part:

“Once again money can be found to prop up the rich elites of this
country while large and growing numbers of people are losing their
homes or are homeless, over 45 million people in the US are without
health care, growing numbers of people have to choose between fuel and
food, and the infrastructure of the country crumbles,” said [LOCAL
ORGANIZER]. “We’re coming together to say NO to the Bush bailout.”

For more information, contact Curtis-Stanley:
(360) 769-5935
(360) 981-1947 cell
rivercs@gmail.com

Gig Harbor CostCo to Open Nov. 2

This item is on our Web site today. If you currently shop at the Silverdale CostCo, is this new location more appealing to you? What is your favorite CostCo product?

GIG Harbor
New CostCo Set for Grand Opening
A new CostCo outlet will open in Gig Harbor Nov. 2, providing competition to Silverdale’s CostCo and a warehouse shopping alternative, especially for South Kitsap residents.
The 148,000 square-foot store has the full compliment of CostCo offerings, including a gas station, optical goods, a pharmacy, hearing aids and a one-hour photo center. Fresh products will be available in the store’s full bakery, produce section, service deli, meat and seafood sections. The deli will offer “home replacement meals,” according to a press release from the company.
The store is located at 10990 Harbor Hill Drive. On opening day, the store will open at 8 a.m., two hours earlier than regular Friday hours.

Rabbi Discusses the Spiritual Side of Business

lapin.jpg

Members of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce have heard many presentations on business strategies, but today, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a San Francisco radio talk show host, took them to a higher plain.
Lapin, the author of “Thou Shalt Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money” and other books, is known for applying ancient Jewish wisdom to contemporary commerce. He shared with the group his theories on spirituality, business and “Finding Grandeur in the Daily Grind.”
Chamber members responded enthusiastically to Lapin. At least two have been regular listeners to his radio program distributed by KSFO 560 radio, in San Francisco. Learn more about Rabbi Lapin at www.rabbidaniellapin.com.

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