Tag Archives: Coppola

Matthes, Garrido Weigh in on Bethel Corridor

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 third.

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 is.

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 said.

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 of expediency.

“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.”

Follow Up on Port Orchard City Hall Resignations

The City of Port Orchard has responded (in timely fashion) to the Kitsap Sun’s request for documents related to the resignations of three city staff members since January. I wrote about the resignations when former city clerk Michelle Merlino left in June.

Merlino’s resignation bears similarities to those of former city engineer Maher Abed, who resigned in April, and former city planner, JoAnne Long-Woods, who resigned shortly after Coppola took office.

The “separation and release” agreements show severance payments made to the three individuals as follows:

Michelle Merlino:

1.5 months’ salary – $8,322.60

133.57 hours accrued vacation – $4,275.58

1 month medical premiums – $956.25

Total: $13,554.43

Abed:

1 month salary – $8,481.20

22 hours vacation – $3,522.96

1 month medical premiums – $956.25

Total: $12,960.41

Long-Woods

1 month salary – $7,869.80

3 months medical premiums – $1,434.39

Total: $9,331.19

The total cost of the three resignations to the city, therefore, is $35,846.03.

Long-Woods also agreed “that she will never reapply for employment with the city for any position.”

All three agreements included a provision that the city “agrees not to make disparaging remarks of a personal or professional nature” about the individual, who in turn “agrees that she (he) will not make disparaging comments of a personal or professional nature about the city or its current or former elected officials, public officers, directors, employees, representatives, agents, insurers, successors and assigns.

According to the letter I received with the documents, the mayor derives his authority to appoint or remove officials in these positions under the Port Orchard Municipal Code.

POMC 2.08.010: Appointment and removal of the city clerk, city treasurer, city engineer and police chief.*
The mayor of the city may appoint or remove the city clerk, city treasurer, city engineer and the police chief subject to a confirmation vote by a majority of not less than four members of the city council. Such appointments and removals must be in writing, signed by the mayor and filed with the city clerk. (Ord. 1830 § 1, 2001; Ord. 1223 § 1, 1982; Ord. 1056 § 1, 1978; Ord. 919 § 1, 1973; Ord. 759 § 1, 1966; Ord. 685 § 1, 1961).

* Appointment authorized – See RCW 35.23.021.

RCW 35.23.021: The mayor shall appoint and at his or her pleasure may remove all appointive officers except as otherwise provided herein: PROVIDED, That municipal judges shall be removed only upon conviction of misconduct or malfeasance in office, or because of physical or mental disability rendering the judge incapable of performing the duties of his or her office. Every appointment or removal must be in writing signed by the mayor and filed with the city clerk.