Category Archives: County

Speaking of Stormwater, Remember the Manchester Mudslide?

On Wednesday, environmental reporter Chris Dunagan wrote about Kitsap County officials’ study of stormwater issues throughout the county and in Manchester, Kingston and Silverdale.

Stormwater has been a contentious issue in Manchester, said Port Commissioner Steve Pedersen. Residents of the town testified last year on their concerns about stormwater run-off at a public hearing on the proposed Spruce House development. The project was blocked by the county’s hearing examiner, whose decision was upheld in March by the county’s board of commissions.

The problem with Manchester, Pedersen explained (not specifically commenting on Spruce House) is that the town sits at the bottom of a bowl. Water runs down from the area of Alaska and California streets. You may recall the mudslide of monumental proportions taped by a county employee in 2007. The footage related to a dispute between two neighbors over who was responsible for the muddy mess. The video is a graphic illustration of the need for stromwater management, which is not just about reducing pollution of streams and bays, but also about controlling erosion.

According to Pedersen, the Port of Manchester has been working with the county on a stormwater management system in Manchester. The port had considered going in with the county on a grant proposal, but the notification did not come in time for them to get the application together. The port will continue to collaborate with the county to the degree it is able.

“While we don’t have the money, we want to be a player in how we can find a solution. We’re trying to be willing partners,” Pedersen said. “We want to find some kind of resolution everyone can live with.”

Because the county’s planning is still in the early stages, the nature and location of any stormwater facility is still unclear.

In other Port of Manchester news, the port has been looking at properties it might buy for the purpose of economic development. We’re not talking a mall here. Pedersen said one idea being floated is for a farmer’s market location. The town attracts plenty of tourists, especially in fair weather, and the port would like to encourage them to spend their money in Manchester.

They’ve checked out several properties, but the Spruce House property is not among them, Pedesen said.

Like the stromwater plans, the port’s idea for economic development is in the early stages, although they’d like to strike while real estate prices are still low. One thing is likely, the port will not try to fund any real estate purchase through a special tax or levy increase. They will work within existing revenue, Pedersen said.

Hauge on Gun Club Attorney’s Public Records Request

At Monday’s Kitsap County Commissioners Meeting, Regina Taylor, attorney for the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club brought before the board a problem she’d had that day getting some materials from the county GIS department, which makes maps.

Taylor said she wanted topographical maps in connection with a lawsuit filed by Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge against the gun club earlier this month. The suit alleges code violations and unsafe operations at the club, in Central Kitsap.

Taylor said a GIS staff member at first told her the documents she requested could be provided. The staff member said an estimate of the cost and the time it would take to produce the maps would be forthcoming. When Taylor didn’t hear back, she called the department and was told her request would have to go through Hauge’s office.

The reason, Hauge said, Tuesday, is that there are rules governing lawsuits that require any person or entity that is party to the suit to make a “discovery” request for documents related to the case. The purpose is so that there is a record of what information was traded, on what date and in what fashion, Haugue Hauge said.

In this case, discovery requests go through the county prosecutor’s office.

He assured that Taylor would be able to get the documents through the correct channels.

The rule does not pertain to public requests from individuals or groups not party to the suit, or to the media, Hauge said.

Taylor was not immediately available for comment.

Heads Up on the Agenda

Port Orchard
7 p.m.: The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will meet at the county administration building. Notable on the agenda: The board will honor local civil rights pioneer Lillian Walker, whose memories are featured as part of The Legacy Project, an oral history program established by the Office of Secretary of State in 2008. Also on the agenda, the board will consider resolutions:
* establishing an Energy Conservation Committee to develop and implement a comprehensive energy efficiency and conservation plan for Kitsap County.
* approving the purchase and sale agreement for the Harborside Condominium Unit T-102.
* freezing salary rates of elected officials and providing for self-pay of health care premiums.
* designating Kitsap County as a recovery zone for purposes of issuing recovery zone economic development bonds under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Port Orchard
7 p.m.: The city council will consider Ordinance No. 019-10, Approving the Annexation Request for Sidney Glen, File No. A-24-10.

5 p.m.: The Bremerton City Council will hold a study session and discuss a request from the city engineer to apply for an Economic Development District.

County Republicans Condemn Russ Hauge on Rifle Club Suit

Sandra LaCelle, Kitsap County Republican Party Chairwoman, sent this to us:

On September 13, 2010, at the Executive Board Meeting of the Kitsap County Republican Party, the following resolution was adopted:

Resolved, that the Kitsap County Republican Party hereby condemns the actions of Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hague and his office for the continual harassment and frivolous legal attacks upon the officers and members of the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club.

It is a bold statement for reasons I will provide further down.

Rifle club members were out in force at Monday’s county commissioner meeting addressing County Prosecutor Russ Hauge’s lawsuit against the club. Some of their comments will be included in a story Josh Farley is working on. Their basic points were:

  • The club is all about safety.
  • The county commissioners need to reign in Hauge and the Department of Community Development.
  • They asked why this had to be filed in Pierce County.
  • If the club is closed people will go shoot in the hills.
  • They questioned the qualifications of the prosecutor’s key witness.
  • They think this is a vendetta Russ Hauge is launching against Marcus Carter. (The two have faced off in court before.)

James Sommerhauser, a regular at these meetings and a fixture in the local Democratic party, said he belonged to the club for a couple of years. He thought it was safe, but said if it wasn’t he probably wouldn’t have recognized how. He said if the club didn’t get permits it was required to, then the club would be wrong in that case. He also pointed out that the prosecutor is a separately elected official, so county commissioner control over what the prosecutor does is almost non-existent. Josh Brown, county commissioner, said that the primary interaction between the commissioners and the prosecutor is over the prosecutor’s budget.

That does not necessarily mean the commissioners have to remain silent, but they’re not clear right now what authority they have to do or say anything.

Jim Coutu of Gig Harbor made a point that may speak to why some people who have no dog in the fight would have strong feelings about the suit. “Lawsuits come about because people cannot come to terms any other way,” he said. “This doesn’t feel like something that wanted to get resolved in a proper manner.” Where that matters is that the public knows of no problems between the county and the rifle club. And then there is a pretty big lawsuit.

You may recall there is also friction between the county and the city of Bremerton over the city’s financial participation, or lack of it, in the restructuring of the loan for the Harborside Condominium complex. We’ve been reporting it for months. It may result in a lawsuit, but because we have been reporting the conflict for some time that news won’t come out of the blue like the rifle club suit did.

The Central Kitsap Reporter had a story in May when neighbors of the range wanted the county to take action. It was kind of a “he said, she said” moment.

From a political standpoint, addressed in Farley’s story posted Saturday, there is so much to consider. I think Hauge was absolutely correct when he said the suit “could not have come at a worse time” politically.

In the Aug. 17 primary Hauge won what was a de facto straw poll by 12 percentage points. While that doesn’t officially fall into “landslide” territory, it is a pretty comfortable lead. Now this issue is out there, less than two months from election day. The only way this is a political win for him is if overwhelming evidence comes to light between now and the day ballot are mailed out. Courts do not move that quickly. And people mad at Hauge for taking this action will not wait until election day to mark their ballots.

What if it turns out that Hauge is right? I know many people will not consider that possibility, but I am not at liberty to rush to judgment here. I have not read his filing and even from what I little I have heard I have a lot of questions on both sides. But again, what if it turns out Hauge is right?

Would Republicans then still have cause to claim that this lawsuit is a “frivolous legal attack” and part of the “continual harassment?” Though the party’s statement doesn’t specifically name this most recent suit, in tone it seems pretty clear that the county Republican Party has already judged this case before the process plays out.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
old Time is still a-flying.
And this same flower that smiles today,
tomorrow will be dying.”
– Robert Herrick

Heads Up: On The Agenda

Brynn Grimley writes:

Well this week is easy, the only government jurisdiction with its agendas available is the county. Bremerton and Poulsbo haven’t posted them as of Sunday evening, and the city of Port Orchard isn’t meeting Tuesday. Check later in the day to see if Bremerton or Poulsbo posted agendas for the week. Both councils meet Wednesday — Bremerton at 5 p.m. for a briefing before heading into a regular meeting 30 minutes later. Poulsbo meets at 7 p.m. for a regular meeting.

Here’s the Kitsap County Commissioner meeting schedule for the week:

Monday, Aug. 30, 10 a.m.: Board information sharing until 11:30 a.m., then review of calendar and agendas until noon.

2 p.m.: Legislative update from Tom McBride until 3 p.m.; 30 min resource conservation update; sewer financing plan follow up for 45 minutes until 4:15 p.m.; community planning project and year of the rural updates until 5 p.m. Adjournment to follow.

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 8:30 a.m.: Voluntary separation program discussion; the rest of the meeting becomes DCD Director Larry Keeton’s meeting. He’ll give a 45 minute presentation on Limited Areas of More Intense Rural Development and site specifics; after a 10 minute break, he’ll start the board on the revision of Chapter 3 of the Comprehensive Plan for 45 minutes, next he’ll tackle the rural commercial/industrial code development until 11:30 a.m. The board will recess into executive session following this for 15 minutes to discuss real estate issues before adjourning.

Does Voluntary Separation Target Older Workers?

Kitsap County is considering a voluntary separation agreement for its employees as a way to help balance the 2011 budget. The city of Poulsbo recently approved such an agreement.

According to Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, the program isn’t targeted only at employees close to retirement. But both the Kitsap County undersheriff and county clerk on Monday told the board of commissioners they would prefer to see workers close to retirement take advantage of the offer.

Maybe “targeted” is the wrong word, since both programs are strictly voluntary. Both, however, clearly offer employees who have been in their positions the longest the greatest incentive to leave.

Under Poulsbo’s agreement adopted by the council, employees who take the voluntary separation would receive varying payouts based on how long they worked for the city.

Employees who have been with the city for up to five years would receive two months’ pay, those with five to 10 years of service would receive 2 1/2 months of pay and those with more than 10 years’ service would receive three months’ pay.

Under a draft proposal, Kitsap County employees who have worked fewer than 10 years would receive 10 percent of their annual rate of pay up to $10,000; 10 through 15 years, 15 percent with a maximum of $12,000; 15 to 20 years, 20 percent with a maximum of $15,000; and 20 years or more, 25 percent with a maximum of $20,000.

I asked the county’s HR director Bert Furuta how such a program would be expected to affect morale. “OK,” he said. “As long as it’s fully voluntary.”

The county has already made layoffs in addition to leaving positions unfilled. Poulsbo has not yet had to make deep budget cuts, so I’m wondering if the voluntary separation agreement isn’t making folks around city hall just a tad nervous.

I’d appreciate hearing from anyone whose employer has offered a voluntary separation. How was it for those who accepted the agreement? How was it for those left behind?

And for those of you who haven’t had to chance to consider a voluntary separation offer, what would it take to get you out of your position?

Thank you. Chris Henry, reporter

County Commissioners Put Proverbial Foot Down

Brynn Grimley writes:

I spent a lot of time last week calling Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority commissioners and speaking with executive director Tony Caldwell and finance director Judy Henry for the story I wrote on the housing authority’s budget that ran in Sunday’s paper. (It can be read here).

While I was asking questions about the budget, most of the people I talked to weighed in on the on-going debate about where KCCHA should be located. Of course these comments came after my story ran in Wednesday’s paper explaining the move was still postponed and all discussions were had in a closed meeting, making it hard to know what exactly is going on. (That story can be read here).

There wasn’t a lot of new information that was shared with me in those “after the article” conversations, just everyone making a case for why they felt the way they do about the move. As I continued to ask: “At what point do you say ‘enough is enough?'” — it became clear I wasn’t the only one wondering when patience would run out.

At an afternoon meeting Monday, the Kitsap County Commissioners put their feet down. They passed a resolution stating they want KCCHA out of the Bayshore Drive building within 60 days. They feel they’ll have better luck selling the building, and a second property near by, if KCCHA is gone.

Commissioners also cited the goals of a work plan created last year between the county and KCCHA staff and the agency’s board that details ways in which KCCHA would strive to consolidate its services and reduce its overhead costs. The county commissioners believe paying $19,000 a month (and now another roughly $2,000 a month to the Port of Bremerton) for unused office space in Bremerton is not a good use of the agency’s resources.

But from where they stand on the KCCHA board, the three county commissioners are in the minority. The four other KCCHA commissioners — board chairman Lary Coppola (Port Orchard mayor), Becky Erickson (Poulsbo mayor), Debbi Lester (Bainbridge Island councilwoman), and Troy Erickson (resident representative) — so far appear to support finding an alternative location for KCCHA to reside.

I can’t tell you why they support it, because I haven’t heard them publicly discuss their reasons. But I am sure they in part want to support KCCHA executive director Tony Caldwell and KCCHA staff, who maintain that moving to the Norm Dicks Government Center does not make smart fiscal sense for the agency.

KCCHA is now left with a divided board. Three commissioners (who have now decided to look at this from the county’s financial perspective) believe the move will help the agency shore up its financials; four commissioners (not tied to county finances) appear to believe it doesn’t make financial sense to move the agency to Bremerton. But at this point this can only be assumed by their lack of action, because they aren’t publicly talking about the move in their meetings.

County commissioners, who until they have the majority can only express frustration at the KCCHA board meetings, have now decided to flex a different muscle. It’s called the: “We took on $40.5 million in debt to bail you out” muscle.

It will be interesting to see if the county can legally “evict” KCCHA from the Silverdale building, even though KCCHA still technically owns it (it was one of the buildings pledged to the county to help repay the debt).

It should also be noted that the KCCHA commissioners agreed in May that if an alternative had not surfaced by the board’s July 6 meeting, everyone would support the move to Bremerton.

Well July 6 has come and gone and KCCHA hasn’t started to pack any boxes to my knowledge. If an alternative was found, no one seems to have told the county commissioners, because they made it clear on Monday they’re tired of waiting.

Heads Up: On the Agenda

Steven Gardner writes:

Brynn had herself a little holiday and left the agenda reporting to me. Unlike last week, I’ll actually have to go to a couple of these this week. See you there. Aloha!

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Monday, June 28: 1 p.m. Note the earlier start time, but the first half hour is yet another executive session. Then there is a budget update to detail how recording and licensing revenues are down, property tax delinquencies are up, penalties and interest on those delinquencies are up, expenditures are down, unemployment payments are up, supplies are down and Bremerton owes the county $200,000 for jail stays. The rest of the meeting deals to some degree with budget meeting, until 4 p.m. when there is a half hour on countywide planning policies.

Monday, June 28: 7 p.m. Jon Brand was named Engineer of the Year for an Urban County, Cami Lewis is employee of the month and a couple other awards will follow the pledge of allegiance. Some public airing will happen dealing with closing the streets for Whaling days and an interlocal agreement for the Newberry Hill Heritage Park. Public hearings will be on a “no parking” restriction on parts of Sidney road at Horshoe Lake Park and road closures on Seabeck Holly Road for culvert replacement. As always, there’s an option for you to stir things up at the beginning and end of the meeting.

Wednesday, June 30: 8:30 a.m. The board will spend three hours in a discussion about “water as a resource.”

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 30: The City Council study session will have a few short items, but the longer conversation is likely to be about the city’s 2010 budget. The council could make recommendations on how the budget will be cut, responding some to proposals from department directors and making unwanted mandates on others.

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)
Meeting dates: It’s the fifth Tuesday of the month, which means no meeting, unless we’re notified otherwise, because if Port Orchard has a problem, it’ll deal with it.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)
Meeting dates:
No meeting until July 7

“Sustainable” Revenue Among County Commissioners’ 2011 Priorities

I attended the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners retreat today at the county campus. (Bunnies are back in the parking lot, I see. Thought they’d been eaten by raccoons.)

The big news coming out of the meeting was that the board is considering a tax measure for 2011. Two years ago, when the crumbling economy was getting too hard to ignore, Josh Brown, who is up for re-election this year, said the idea of raising taxes was not on the table. The message he and the rest of the board got was that any tax increase would be intolerable.

Brown, as I recall our discussion, did not preclude a tax hike proposal at some point in the future. Some day, he said, citizens may need to choose between maintaining an adequate level of services — including public safety — and avoiding a tax increase. What’s changed since then and now, said Brown and fellow commissioner Steve Bauer, is that the county has run out of ways to absorb revenue lost as a result of the recession and the cumulative effects of the 1 percent limit on property tax increases.

The discussion is still in its very early stages, and commissioners will be checking in with the public on the proposed tax measure, as well as other county issues.

Today’s meeting heralds budget season at the county. There will still be some give and take between the board and department heads as they hammer out the 2011 budget, but here are the commissioners’ other priorities (in no particular order).

Under the heading of “Land as a Resource”,” North Kitsap Legacy Partnership: The county must dedicate resources to the several departments involved in planning for a private-public development and land conservation project in North Kitsap.

Water as a Resource: The county wants to make conservation of water an ongoing priority. Kitsap County, unlike other areas of the state, relies solely on rainfall to replenish its aquifers. Even in our rain drenched area of the state, maintaining access to adequate clean water will require a concerted and well-coordinated effort, county officials say.

Financial and Service Sustainability (several related items here):
a. Performance measures: The commissioners want to institute performance measures to ensure that the county is getting the most bang for its buck. Bauer has been a strong proponent of this approach. Department heads have been measuring activities, but there’s been no monitoring, said county administrator Nancy Buonanno-Grennan. “They don’ generally measure meaningful things,” she said. “There’s not a lot of rigor to them.”
b. Compensation reform: The county will analyze its salaries to make sure its compensation is reasonably in line with private sector salaries.
c. Public Discourse on Services: The county will ask the public to weigh in on what services it wants and expects in unincorporated areas (this is related to annexation issues and the ballot measure issue below).
d. Annexation policies: The city will develop these in coordination with cities to make the process of annexation, with its trade-off of revenue and responsibilities more predictable.
e. Interaction with cities on annexation: The county will meet individually with leaders of Kitsap cities on their respective plans for annexing urban growth areas. They’ll be looking for a two-year plan of action to make the process more predictable for everyone.
f. Public outreach to urban growth areas: The county will try to inform citizens about changes they would see with annexation.

Under the heading of Resource Conservation/Economic Development/Green Jobs: South Kitsap Commissioner Chalotte Garrido is pushing for a regional effort to secure energy grants. (Garrido mentioned this initiative, already under way at the county level, as a possible model for performance measurements, since the county already has some experience in this area with grants that require measurable outcomes.)

Also under Resource Conservation, the county needs to have a sustainable business plan for its parks department, Garrido said, and it need to standardize its policies and procedures that affect all of the counties parks, even though they are quite different from one another. Garrido also wants to see some action on plans for South Kitsap parks including South Kitsap Regional Park and Howe Farm. Of SK Regional Park, Garrido said, “There should be things happening in that park with the funding that has been designated to it.” Bauer raised to possibility that the county some day may need to let go of parks altogether, which would require the formation of a municipal parks district.

A Potential Twist in Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority Move?

Brynn Grimley writes:

OK it’s not really a twist per se, but hey I have to do something to get readers, right?

At today’s Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority board meeting, executive director Tony Caldwell introduced some new information to the debate about moving the authority from Silverdale to the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton. But there wasn’t much of a discussion because the three county commissioners were not at the meeting. (They’ve been the most vocal about seeing the agency move to Bremerton).

Here’s what Caldwell reported:

He met with the agency’s bond counsel from Foster Pepper to discuss the agency’s options for finding a tenant for the space (other than the housing authority). The representative told Caldwell two things.

One: Under the terms of the bonds used to pay for the housing authority’s portion of the building, the authority could sell the space to another entity (private or public) as long as the proceeds were applied to repaying the bonds.

Previously the board questioned if the authority’s hands were tied because they didn’t know if the bonds restricted what percentage of the building could be occupied by private business. This new information gives the authority more opportunity to find a potential buyer for the space because it can look outside of the public sector.

Two: The authority can lease the space to any entity — public or private — using a rolling lease system. Meaning every 50 days the agency could renew its lease with a tenant, which gives more flexibility to who can fill the space. But if the authority wanted to enter into a long-term lease, like a one-year lease, it would only be able to do that with a public agency.

Again the authority thought it could only lease the space to local government entities, and hasn’t looked outside of the public sector for potential tenants because it thought its hands were tied. Now it knows it can enter into a month-to-month lease with either a public or private business/agency.

Also of note, but not discussed at the meeting, was this from Caldwell’s executive report:

He has been contacted by someone who is interested in buying the authority’s office space along Bayshore Drive in Silverdale. The person would like to buy the building and lease it back to the authority.

Because there wasn’t a quorum at the meeting, and because the county commissioners were not in attendance, there really wasn’t much of a conversation about this new information. KCCHA chairman Lary Coppola and board member Becky Erickson both expressed interest in the details that the authority could now appeal to the private sector. But Caldwell wasn’t given any direction for how to move forward. (Although in his executive report he asks for board permission to “make inquiries about potential interest” based on the new information.)

At the board’s May meeting Caldwell was given until July to find an alternative to moving to Bremerton. He has since explored other options and identified several locations throughout the county that are vacant and would support all of the agency’s departments in one location. There would still be the need for tenant improvements no matter where the agency relocates, but Caldwell said he believes the changes would not be cost prohibitive.

We’ll see what the July meeting brings.

(In May I reported the board gave Caldwell until July to find an alternative to the move. Use the links in the story to read previous articles regarding this topic. The May story can be found here.)

Heads Up: On The Agenda

Brynn Grimley writes:

For those who have been living under a rock, in case you didn’t know today’s a holiday. Which means that all government offices are closed. That means for this blog there’s one less meeting day to have to review. (Woo Hoo!)

Without further adieu, here’s the agendas for the week:

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 2: 8:30 a.m. The board’s weekly work study session will include a 30 minute presentation by Parks and Recreation Director Jim Dumwiddie about parks grants, County Fire Marshal David Lynam will follow with a 45 minute presentation about special events. The board will take a 10 minute break then reconvene for an hour presentation by DCD Director Larry Keeton about large onsite sewage systems. The board will then recess into executive session for 30 minutes to discuss existing litigation and then recess again into executive session from 11:30 to noon to discuss real estate matters. They’ll adjourn following the executive sessions.

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 2: 5 p.m. The City Council will have a briefing until 5:30 p.m. where they’ll convene their regular session in council chambers. The following items are on the general business agenda: approve parking enforcement services contract with Diamond Parking; award contract to Stan Palmer Construction for construction of the Lions Park Renovation project. The public hearing portion of the meeting includes: review of a Local Solicitation 2010 Justice Assistance grant application; public hearing on an ordinance to amend Title 18 titled “City Fire Code” of the Bremerton Municipal Code and to adopt the 2009 changes to the International Fire Code; hearing an ordinance to amend Chapter 17.04 titled “State Building Code Adoption” of Bremerton Municipal Code, to repeal the adoption of the Washington State Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Code and to adopt the 2009 editions of the various building codes. Council committee reports will follow and then adjournment. (A story on the Diamond Parking contract is here).

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)

No meeting this week.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 3: 7 p.m. The council will begin the meeting with an update from Mayor Becky Erickson. There are only two items on the business agenda. They include: reviewing a contract amendment with ICF Jones & Stokes for a Dogfish Creek study; and a contract amendment with Krazan for the Fjord Slide Repair project.

Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 2: 1 p.m. I either didn’t receive the agenda for KCCHA before the long weekend or I accidentally deleted it. The agenda is not listed on the website (or if it is I can’t find it), but here’s what the organization submitted for the civic calendar listing for its meeting: The Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority commissioners will meet at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth St. This public meeting will include an executive session (closed to the public) to discuss real estate and potential litigation.

Kitsap Reginoal Coordinating Council (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 2: 8 a.m. The meeting kicks off with a study session to review countywide planning policy revisions between council representatives and Health District staff. The regular meeting will call to order at 9 a.m. and will cover a public hearing on funding recommendations on the homeless housing grant program; a report on a ferry service meeting held recently with Kitsap legislators and citizens; a work program report which includes a report from the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance/KCCDC; report by the non-motorized ad hoc committee; a report on the progress of the revenue sharing/UGA program partnership Kitsap County staff is doing in tandem with city of Port Orchard staff; a report on the city and county’s roles; and a report on the broadband ARRA grand application. Adjournment is slated for 11 a.m. (A story about the revenue sharing/UGA program is here.)

Port of Illahee (meet at the CKFR Station 41 off Old Military Road)

Tuesday, June 2: 5:30 p.m. The Port of Illahee is holding an informational meeting for district taxpayers to learn about the Illahee Plan, the port’s opportunity to buy land from the Timbers Edge development, a petition for the community to sign if they support the purchase and how these issues could effect the community. Commissioners want to hear from all community members in the port district. (The story about the petition and the option to buy the Timbers Edge property is here.)

That’s all I got for the short week. Hope everyone is enjoying their day off today.

Another Name Added to CK Commissioner Race

Brynn Grimley writes:

Incumbent County Commissioner Josh Brown has a third challenger in his bid for re-election to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners — and he’s faced off against this challenger before.

Central Kitsap resident and native Wally Carlson has stated his intent to run against Brown, and recently filed with the Public Disclosure Commission. Last week Republican challenger Abby Burlingame announced her intent to run.

Saying he still thinks county government is heading in the wrong direction, Carlson chose to run “because county government has become even less transparent, less accountable, more wasteful and has continued to strangle private property rights,” he said in an e-mail.

Compared to his previous election run, Carlson says this time around he has four or five points he plans to stick to throughout the campaign. Still claiming himself to be “no politician,” Carlson said he has “more definition” this time about how he’d like to see the county run.

He’d like to see a performance audit of the county’s various departments — especially Public Works and the Department of Community Development, he said. Once the audits are complete, he wants to see the results analyzed and changes made from the bottom up instead of top down, he said.

Carlson hasn’t decided yet what party he will run under. Currently he’s listed as “other” on the PDC website. Four years ago he ran as a Democrat, but this time he’s hoping to appeal to more of the property rights crowd, he said. He’s thinking he’ll run as a “rogue conservative Democrat,” he said.

Carlson still lives in Central Kitsap with wife of roughly 21 years Vicki. They have five children, one who still lives at home.

Carlson, 63, graduated from Central Kitsap High School in 1965 and received his bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University in 1970. He owns Wally’s Design Works, a custom home/design business. Four years ago he and wife Vicki were working on marketing a novel Carlson spent eight years writing. He’s since published the book, “Annie’s Second Wind”, and has been speaking to area book clubs.

I wrote about Carlson back in September 2006 when he was running for the same position. That story is here.

Burlingame to Challenge Brown in CK Commissioner Race

The race for the Kitsap County central district commissioner seat will be contested.

Republican Abby Burlingame will challenge Josh Brown, Democrat, in his bid for re-election to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners.

Burlingame, 30, is a North Kitsap High School grad who lives in East Bremerton and has cut hair for the past decade at A Barber Shop in Silverdale. She also studied public policy and law at Seattle Pacific University and said she is one Spanish class shy of finishing her bachelor’s degree program.

She interned during the 2009 Legislature for state Sen. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley and her name appears as a research assistant on papers prepared by the Washington Policy Center.

Her chief interest in running stems from her belief in local government, she said. Burlingame said local governments will continue to feel the brunt of budget concerns in the coming years. She said she not certain the county is well positioned to handle the budget challenges ahead, given the projects the county has planned.

Burlingame said she built a house when she was 23, a house she sold when she went through a divorce. She is single with no children.

Commissioners Review County Administrator’s Performance

Perhaps, like Vivian Henderson, you noticed this item on the Kitsap County Commissioners’ weekly schedule, “May 10, 9 a.m., Executive Session – Review Performance of Public Employee.” Time allotted, 2 hours.

Vivian asked me to do a reality check, since the executive session, to which the public is not allowed, was to take up such a large chunk of the commissioners’ time.

I heard back from the county’s personnel director, Bert Furuta, as follows, “The executive session is directly related to a comprehensive performance evaluation process that the board is currently completing for their County Administrator. Nancy Buonanno Grennan has been employed in her position for 3 years and the board had determined that Nancy and the public is appropriately deserving of a formal and in-depth review of her performance.”

The board at the executive session discussed Buonanno Grennan’s responsibilities and measures of her performance on the job.

Furuta clarified that Buonanno Grennan’s evaluation, as a personnel matter, is exempt from public records request “unless misconduct is involved and let me assure you that is not the case here.”

Furuta said his reference to “public” was related to the board’s intention “that the evaluation process should promote productivity and accountability to the board as elected representatives of the public.”

The End For Appeals & Mediation

Brynn Grimley writes:

I am happy to start this blog post by saying, I will no longer bore you with my writing. Oh wait, I should clarify that by adding: with my writing about county code and if the commissioners should remove themselves from the land use appeals process and add mediation.

Commissioners voted Monday night 2-1, with Charlotte Garrido dissenting, to remove themselves from the land use appeals process. The vote also authorizes the requirement that mediation be offered during certain hearing examiner appeals, in an effort to reach a compromise before spending the time and money to appeal.

I’ll have a story about this on the Web later today, but I’ll give you the gist here.

Commissioner Steve Bauer was in favor of the removal for a number of reasons. Commissioner Garrido felt it was important to keep the board in the process, but amend the process so it was clear to the public what the board’s role was when hearing appeals. Commissioner Josh Brown appeared to be leaning along the same lines as Garrido initially, but ended his deliberations by saying he had to go with the amendment to remove the board because he felt the other amendment would add more responsibility (i.e. time) to county planning staff that are already pressed for time.

The ordinance that was approved will take effect immediately, and will include a mediation step (that the hearing examiner can require).

Bauer’s quotes to support his choice include:

“We got some pretty compelling information on the amount of staff time these appeals take currently. It’s a huge amount of time. Hundreds of hours.”

“I think we create the expectation in the current hearing process that we can change things even if the project meets code. Our job is to enforce the code, not to talk about if we like the project or not.”

Commissioner Garrido said: “I believe that part of the problem is we have not been clear enough about what we can do and cannot do in the appeals process.”

One way the board would have done that under the ordinance she supported would have been to hold land use appeal hearings on a separate day, making it clear the board would be acting in a judicial role, and not legislative.

Brown said he supported the ordinance that would remove them from the process, but wants to revisit the decision in a year to see if it was the right choice. He said he’d be the first to admit it needs to be changed if it doesn’t work. He also wants reports on the effectiveness of the mediation, and whether to continue it based on its results.

After the vote the board opened the meeting for public comment (like they do every meeting), and two people said they were disappointed with the board’s choice. One man said he felt the board was “shirking its judicial responsibility” by removing itself; the second speaker agreed saying he felt the board was sending a message to the citizens that the commissioners don’t want to hear how land use/development is affecting the community.

County planning commissioner Jim Sommerhauser commented in response and said he believes the board’s decision actually made commissioners more accessible to the public. Now they can discuss project applications with concerned parties without fear the application could be appealed to them. Commissioners previously had to be cautious about the applications they discussed with the public just in case a project was appealed, because if appealed they act as judges and need to be impartial.

To wrap up, it looks like you’ve got at least a year before you read me writing about mediation and appeals on this blog again. (Fingers crossed!).

To read previous stories on mediation, click here, then within this story click the hyperlink to access other stories.

Heads Up: On The Agenda

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s what’s happening in Kitsap County government this week (please note that King of the Kitsap Caucus Steven Gardner wrote the below summaries detailing information sharing at the county commissioner meeting Monday. He wanted his turn to gripe about “information sharing”).

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meeting in the Port Blakely conference room at the county admin building off Division Street)

Monday, April 5:

10 a.m.: During the morning meeting, sandwiched between five minutes of approving minutes from past meetings and 30 minutes of a review of future agendas and calendars is 1 hour and 25 minutes of “Board Information Sharing.”

If such sharing were open to the public Steven Gardner, who will be attending the meeting, would share that his daughter turned 12 last week and that little rash on his right ankle has returned.

2 p.m.: Discussion of up to $1 million in grants the county might apply for, followed by updates on the Legislature, economic stimulus, a shoreline master plan update and a proposal to host the Babe Ruth World Series in Kitsap in 2012.

Wednesday, April 7

8:30 a.m.: The work study will begin with an approval of minutes, followed by a review of the proposed agenda for the April 12 nightly Monday meeting (this will take just shy of one hour); information sharing will follow for roughly 35 minutes (in this case I know the “sharing” will come from county department heads who are checking in with the board); lastly the board will hear an annual hearing examiner briefing from DCD Director Larry Keeton, take a five minute break and resume with discussions about mediation and appeals. They’ll recess into executive session from 11:30 to noon to “discuss real estate matters.”

City of Bremerton (meeting in the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 5th Street)

Monday, April 5:

6 p.m.: Bremerton City Councilman Roy Runyon will host a town hall meeting addressing how citizens might launch an initiative campaign to legalize backyard hens within city limits. The meeting is at the Norm Dicks Government Center.

Wednesday, April 7:

5:30 p.m.: The City Council had on its 5:30 p.m. agenda a proposed retirement plan for Police Chief Craig Rogers. The mayor has decided the proposal shouldn’t happen. An alternative might not go in its place Wednesday. The council will discuss changing vacation accrual rules while furloughs are in place.  There is also a resolution to support “Kids at Hope.”

Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority

Monday, April 5:

9 a.m.: The housing authority will hold a public hearing to take comment on its public housing act five-year and annual plans. These are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and detail what the housing authority will do in the coming year(s) in regard to public housing options and when they’ll do it. Public comment offered will be taken into consideration before submission to HUD. The hearing will be at its Silverdale office, 9307 Bayshore Drive, Silverdale.

Tuesday, April 6:

1 p.m.: After passing its consent agenda, which includes the submission of its public housing act annual and five-year plans, the board will recess into executive session to discuss real estate and potential litigation. The meeting will resume with director’s reports from the agency’s management team. The proposed relocation to the Norm Dicks Government Center and lease of the center’s fifth floor space from the Port of Bremerton will follow and the meeting will adjourn after “other business” is discussed. The meeting is expected to run until around 3:30 p.m., and will be held in the KCCHA offices of the Norm Dicks Government Center on the main floor.

City of Poulsbo

Wednesday, April 7

7 p.m.: The City Council will start its meeting with the pledge of allegiance, and then immediately go into a 30 minute executive session to discuss the possible sale or lease real estate; a mayor’s report will follow, along with business items that include: setting a public hearing for the proposed Gaines annexation; two ordinances, one for setting a line of credit the other for local agency financing; an agreement with WSDOT for Noll Road right of way acquisition (I assume this is for the Highway 305 culvert replacement); they plan to have a discussion on alcohol in city parks; and will hear a presentation of the phase one development for a new Public Works site.

And that’s all I got. Until next week.

Heads Up: Kitsap’s Political Agenda For The Week

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s a look at what the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will be tackling this week:

Monday, March 22:

2 p.m.: The board will hold an executive session to discuss existing litigation.

2:15 – 2:45: Risk Pool Discussion

2:45 – 3:15: President’s Hall and 4-H and Parks Openings

3:15 – 3:45: Legislative Update

3:45 – 4: Economic Stimulus Update

4 – 4:30: Closed session regarding Collective Bargaining

4:30 – 6:  Budget Update

Commissioners have a regular meeting starting at 7 p.m. The board will start the meeting with employee awards; a presentation by Capt. Jonathan Thomas about the Northwest Schooner Society’s the Schooner Lavegro — commissioners could vote to make the schooner the official Tall Ship of Kitsap; they’ll accept two sailboats from the Kitsap Sailing and Rowing Foundation; and hear an update on the 2010 Census.

They’ll vote on a contract amendment with BCRA architecture firm to provide engineering and design services for first phase projects associated with the 2008 adopted master plan of the South Kitsap Regional Park. Total cost of the amendment for the work is $231,483, paid for by an RCO grant.

The meeting will end with three public hearings:

William Palmer’s appeal of a hearing examiner decision to deny a conditional use permit for the construction of a three-story mixed use building with commercial space, condominiums, below grade parking and surface parking is first. The board will not taken comment on this item, it’s for decision only. Chris Henry wrote about this here.

A petition to vacate filed by the city of Bremerton will be heard. The request is for the county to vacate a part of its right of way so the city can use the land for it’s sewer lift station project in South Kitsap.

The last hearing will be on an ordinance that would amend the county’s code dealing with hearing examiner appeals and the board’s involvement in the process. I wrote a story about this for the weekend, it can be found here.

Wednesday, March 24:

The board has canceled its regular Wednesday work study meeting to hold an all day discussion on the wastewater facility plan from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Kitsap Treatment Plant, 12350 Brownsville Hwy.

To see a list of all the agendas click here.

Five So Far for Treasurer

In speaking with Carl Olson, Kitsap County Democratic Party chairman, yesterday about the possible ascension of Norm Dicks to Defense chair, I asked him if he would tell me who has requested application packets for the open treasurer position. He did.

They are:

Daryl Daugs
Isaac Delgado
Rob Gelder
Meredith Green
Kathryn Quade

The applications are due by Feb. 19, so there could be more.

The Same People Who . . .

Brynn Grimley wrote a story about a loan a company can get if the county will be the second guarantor. This is one of those stories in which no matter what the commissioners do, someone will complain. Is this a “The same people who . . .” story?

By that I mean are the same people who are complaining about the county’s reluctance the ones critical of the county for loaning the money for the Harborside Condominiums, or redoing the loan on the condos? If you recall, in redoing the loan and agreeing to taking on first position, county commissioners did it because not doing it could have placed the county in a worse position, having to pay off millions without being able to sell units. Commissioners also said it was probably a mistake to guarantee the loan in the first place, but the three commissioners who did that are all now in different political positions.

I suspect this is a “The same people who . . . ” story because there is someone asking why the county wouldn’t guarantee this loan when they would the other one.

There is no way for the county to act without generating criticism. If the county agrees to back the loan, it risks forfeiting future Community Development Block Grant funds that are relied upon by local agencies. If the county declines to back the loan, though, it risks losing potential Kitsap jobs. For those who are full-time critics on the Internet, this story is a dream come true.