Monthly Archives: July 2007

County Cuts $1 million from 2007 Budget

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners today approved more than $1 million in cuts from the county’s 2007 budget. Trimming this year’s budget will make for a “softer landing” in 2008, when an anticipated revenue shortfall hits the county’s general fund, said Ben Holland, the county’s director of administrative services.
Commissioners also agreed to continue a hiring freeze that was instituted at the beginning of the year.
Holland’s comment brings to mind the chilling image of a plane navigating through choppy air as flight attendants scurry to make sure passengers are wearing their seat belts. Right now, we’re talking 1 million in cuts from a budget of nearly $329 million. County budget officials are trying to get a handle on 2008 budget predictions. No one knows for sure just how rough the landing will be. One thing officials say with certainty is that the downward trend is sure to continue.
Today a hiring freeze, tomorrow, layoffs? SK Commissioner Jan Angel has said, “That’s a very real possibility.”
Reasons cited for the shortfall in the county’s 2007 Budget Book include unfunded mandates required by the state, increased costs for health insurance, and for law and justice programs (which make up 63 percent of the county’s general fund), skyrocketing energy costs and the 1 percent limit on existing property tax revenue established by I-747.
New North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer, noting that property taxes are “one of the primary sources of revenue for us,” said the results of I-747 have been that revenues from property taxes have not kept up with inflation.
The $1.06 million worth of budget cuts includes a $400,000 reduction in the board’s “one-time” expenditures, a fund that the three commissioners can access for special projects or needs that come up during the year. Other reductions include $410,000 in savings by delaying the purchase of computer equipment, $152,000 in savings by delaying hiring when a vacated position requires annual and sick leave cash outs, and $98,000 reduced spending on temporary help.
The cuts will affect all departments. Department managers have been working over the last six months to identify ways to shore up fund balances against a budget shortfall that will hit the general fund in 2008 and the county’s road fund in 2010.

SK Parks: Hearing Completed

Update 3:36 p.m. Friday: Marc Brenman executive director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission confirmed that his organization was contacted by Warren Collver, who has had discussions with staff members. They sent Collver a claim questionnaire, Brenman said, but he has not acted on the concerns he voiced as yet.

Update, 12:26 p.m. Friday: SK Parks: Dissolution is Finalized

After 28 years as the governing entity for South Kitsap Community Park, the South Kitsap Parks & Recreation District Board of Commissioners is no more.
Judge Anna Laurie today granted the board’s petition to dissolve, which was filed in Kitsap County Superior Court last month, along with a quit claim deed to the park, which the board has turned over to Kitsap County.
The board had struggled for years to maintain the 200-acre park, which was not supported by taxes, and in April, it reached an agreement with the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners. The county last year pressured the parks board to release the park by bringing suit against it for past election debt.
During prolonged negotiations with the county, board member Margie Rees actively resisted the transfer, while other board members appeared to move toward resignation and eventually acceptance of the arrangement, under which the county has promised to put $2.19 million into the park over the next six years. Rees signed all documents relating to the transfer, however, and said at a celebration of the park’s history June 30 she was ready to work cooperatively with county staff.
Parks board chairman Larry Walker, and board members Rees, Ron Flerx and Mary Colborn were present at the hearing. Not present was board member Warren Collver, whose threat last week to file a discrimination complaint against his own board with the Washington State Human Rights Commission threatened to delay the dissolution. Since four people had filed to run for positions on the board, any delay could have incurred on the board the cost of the November election, an estimated $25,000 to $30,000.
During the hearing, Otto asked Laurie to bar any future claims against the parks board. Laurie refused, but granted the dissolution after no one came forward to file a claim against the board.
Otto said he is not concerned about Collver’s threat. As of Thursday afternoon, no complaint by Collver had been filed with the commission (although he last week said it was “in the mail”), said Otto. Otto on Thursday received an e-mail from Collver, who said he believes he has six months to make a filing. Even if that were true, Otto said, Collver’s claim of discrimination lacks merit.
Collver has complained about a meeting held in a location that, he says, was not adequately publicized and not accessible to people with disabilities. Collver uses a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis. Otto has e-mails showing how the meeting was publicized, and he said he can prove that his office is fully wheelchair accessible.
Walker said he is relieved that the dissolution is final.
“I am currently unemployed as a politician,” he quipped after the hearing, adding on a more serious note, “I’m glad this is over with. We’ve finally turned the corner. The stagnation’s over, and we’re moving forward.”

10:53 a.m., Friday: As I’m on vacation, I didn’t attend the parks board dissolution hearing today, but I thought you’d all be interested to know Kathryn Simpson just called me to say she was at the hearing, and the parks board is dissolved.

Warren Collver, who had said last week he was planning to file a discrimination complaint against the board, did not attend the hearing, which was presided over by Judge Anna Laurie. Kathryn said she understood that as of 3 p.m. yesterday, there was no claim against the parks board on file with the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

The board’s lawyer, Tony Otto, asked the judge for a ban on any future claim against the board, Kathryn said. The judge did not grant that, but did grant the dissolution and said it would be next to impossible for anyone to successfully bring a claim against a non-existent entity.

Also see a blog comment Kathryn made yesterday:
“As for my post about withdrawing, I need to update the situation. After going to the Auditor’s office Monday afternoon and being told that if we withdrew there would be no “special election filing period” and there would be no elections for SKPRD, I received a call with an about-face from the Auditor’s office Tuesday morning. Their position changed back to what they told us when we filed in June… if we withdraw after June 14th, there would be a special filing period and still there would be a potential for elections in November. Thus, Tuesday I called back the others who had filed (sorry, I couldn’t reach you, Mike) and suggested that the withdrawls be held off pending Friday’s hearing.”

Anchors Aweigh: Manchester Project Set to Begin

Three years after David Hopkins first conceived of an upscale residential/retail project in Manchester, he’s finally ready to break ground. Demolition on the old Manchester Foods building, site of the new development, will begin this week.
It’s been a long haul for Hopkins and his partner Dawn Gogol, principals of Hoppet Construction Inc. of Gig Harbor. Their plans have been delayed by a citizen appeal and a backlog of projects awaiting approval by the county’s Department of Community Development. And while many Manchester residents have expressed approval of the project, The Anchors at Manchester has been at the center of a hotly contested debate over building height and design standards for the town’s commercial core.
Hopkins said he and Gogol have “worked our butts off” to make The Anchors a showpiece and example for future development in Manchester. The 26,435-square-foot “Cape Cod” style project will have shops and 11 condominiums, ranging in size from 1,400 to 2,500 square feet, and in price from $500,000 to $1.1 million — not exactly the kind of real estate the sleepy little waterfront town with knockout views Mount Rainier has been used to.
“We got excited about this piece of land three years ago when we felt we could have a real impact for design standards in Manchester,” Hopkins said.
The project did get people thinking about design standards, but the impact wasn’t exactly what Hopkins had expected.

Be a Part of Kitsap History

Kitsap County Celebrates 150 Years
By Chris Henry
In January 1857, this area was incorporated as Slaughter County. On July 13 of that year, the founding fathers abandoned that grim moniker in favor of “Kitsap County.”
On Friday (July 13, 2007), the Kitsap County Historical Society will officially launch the county’s sesquicentennial celebration with the unveiling of a display highlighting its first 150 years. The display, developed in coordination with Kitsap County officials, will be installed at the museum, 280 Fourth St. in Bremerton. A copy of the display will be at the county’s administration building, 614 Division St. in Port Orchard, and there will be a copy “traveling” throughout the county.
The historical museum this year is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Other local milestones are the 60th anniversary of the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede and the 100th anniversary of the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce. The four groups are cross-marketing events throughout the year under the slogan, “Four Hundred Years of Celebration in Kitsap County.”
County officials will host a sesquicentennial observation Aug. 23 at the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede. Clarence Moriwaki, the county’s public information officer, has been instrumental in the design of a commemorative pin that will be available for purchase — $1.50 each — at the fair. The historical society’s sesquicentennial display will be on view at the fair, and visitors are likely to see curator Jane Roth Williams strolling around in 1800s period dress.
Roth Williams drew on the museum’s permanent installation of historical artifacts to design the sesquicentennial display, which offers a condensed version of local history from the time of the first Native Americans to 21st Century Kitsap. Along the way Kitsap’s history has been tied to Puget Sound, through early logging enterprise, U.S. Naval installations and ferry transportation, including the famed Mosquito Fleet. Roth Williams said this year would be an opportune time for local residents to visit the museum and learn more about Kitsap’s history.

Be a Part of Kitsap’s History: The Kitsap Sun will observe the county’s sesquicentennial by compiling information on county history from residents and former residents. Share your knowledge (and historical photos) via e-mail to, or by mail to Local News Editor, Kitsap Sun, Box 259, Bremerton, 98337. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of photographs.

Signs of the Times: What Dog is Worth That Much?

Aug. 16 Update: A co-worker of Cloise Orand told me several days ago the lost boxer was found dead in Long Lake.

With this entry I’ll launch a new category, “Signs of the Times,” about those signs you see around town from time to time that catch your eye and make you wonder …

When I saw this sign, I had to call Cloise Orand of Cloise & Mike Construction and ask, “What dog is worth that much?”

Cloise told me all about Tyson, his 3-year-old brindled boxer, who up to July 11, went everywhere with him. The dog is devoted, great with his four kids, low-maintenance, in a word, said Cloise, “He seems flawless. … I don’t usually like dealing with animals, but he’s so efficient. I don’t have to leash him. He stays right by my side.”

Cloise and a friend were motoring around Long Lake Wednesday with Tyson, hanging out in his favorite spot under the seat. So when they shoved off and headed down the lake, it took them a while to realize the dog wasn’t on board. Cloise figures he must have jumped out when they weren’t looking and gotten left behind.

They circled the lake several times that day calling for the dog, but no luck. Cloise has been out every day since looking for him.

Now $5,000 may seem like big bucks for a boxer, but Cloise’s co-worker Tom Cowan says the dog is like a member of the family. “It’s like a kid to him. … He feeds him steak, lobster. He loves the dog.”

And Cloise says, “I have the money. I’d rather have my dog.”

If you can help, the number to call is in the photo.

And if you see an eye-catching sign, send it to me by jpg at

SK Parks: Unfinished Business and a Great Quote

July 13 12:15 – See update below.

Just when everyone thought the end was in sight …

South Kitsap Parks & Recreation District Commissioner Warren Collver, citing RCW 49.60, has filed a formal discrimination complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission against members of his own board and its attorney Tony Otto. The document is in the mail, he said tonight after what was supposed to be the board’s last meeting.
Collver has been a strong proponent of transferring ownership of South Kitsap Community Park over to Kitsap County, but his complaint could delay the parks board’s dissolution process and thereby incur on the board a cost in the upcoming election, estimated by county election officials to be between $25,000 and $30,000.

Tune in to just a little later tonight as …

Warren Collver speaks his mind.
Larry Walker tears his hair.
Tony Otto, perhaps, wonders why he got into the legal field.
And Kathryn Simpson says, if there were a way, she’d remove herself from the ballot and encourage other SK Parks candidates to do the same.

Like I said before … curiouser and curiouser.

Update: I spoke with Tony Otto this morning and he has assessed that Collver’s claim against members of the board, which could result in a fine up to $10,000, would constitute grounds for a delay on the dissolution of the board.

Karen Flynn this morning said that while the official deadline for candidates withdrawal is passed, the law allows her office to consider on a case by case basis late coming requests for withdrawal. One factor is the deadline for printing ballots and election pamphlets. Flynn, probably speaking for the rest of the SK folks who have followed this story’s bizarre twists and turns, summarized this latest episode by saying, “Ya know, you can’t get it off your shoe.”

It’s Debatable: Mayoral Candidates Agree on Economy

Judging by today’s debate among Port Orchard Mayoral candidates, there’s not much to debate. What did become clear is the difference in personalities among the three.
Economic development dominated the agenda at the event, hosted at Le Garmache by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. And all three candidates — Tom Saunders, Kathleen Dolan-Bowes and Lary Coppola — agreed the city needs leadership and a plan to succeed.

Continue reading

SK Parks: Countdown to Dissolution

The South Kitsap Parks & Recreation District Board of Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at Park Vista retirement center in Port Orchard for what will likely be the last time.

The Board petitioned for dissolution last month as part of its agreement with Kitsap County to transfer ownership of the park to the county. A hearing on the dissolution is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 20 in Kitsap County Superior Court, and if no one comes forward with a claim against the park, monetary or otherwise, the dissolution will be finalized.

The board has already signed over the 200-acre South Kitsap Community Park to the county, and at a farewell celebration at the park June 30, even the most ardent park advocates were nostalgic but upbeat about the regime change and ready to move on.

One small cloud on the horizon is a threat made in late June by board member Warren Collver to lodge a discrimination complaint against the board. Collver has not responded to repeated attempts by the Kitsap Sun to contact him.

Parks board chairman Larry Walker recounted the dispute with Collver, who, he said, began sending critical e-mails to him in March. Walker said Collver’s main complaint was in regard to several special meetings held by the board, which, Collver alleged, were in violation of the law. Walker said Collver, who uses a wheelchair, also complained about discrimination on the part of the board. Some of his complaints centered around past discussions about physical access to meetings, which were moved from an upstairs meeting room to a retirement home, said Walker. But Collver also complained of being shut out of the decision-making process.
“He accused every individual board member of trying to sneak around behind closed doors and run secret agendas,” Walker said.
In mid-June Collver had “made noise” about lodging a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission, Walker said. Collver repeated the threat at the parks board’s June 28 meeting. A staff member at the Human Rights Commission verified that Collver had called in May, but no formal complaint had been filed as of today (July 11).

Since the June 28 meeting, Walker learned from a story in the Port Orchard Independent that Collver does not intend to file a complaint. Walker has not heard directly from Collver, nor has parks board attorney Tony Otto, who is uneasy about the lingering pall Collver’s threat to file a formal complaint casts on the potential outcome of the July 20 hearing.

“If he does, it may just delay the dissolution of the park,” Otto said.

And here’s another, slightly more ominous cloud on the horizon. Any delay would be more than just a legal formality. If the board doesn’t dissolve by Aug. 14, it could incur even more election debt, since four people — all advocates of county ownership of the park — have filed for the upcoming election. Their action, said spokesperson Kathryn Simpson, was to ensure that dissolution would occur one way or another, even if the current board balked.

The candidates did not withdraw, even after the board signed papers on June 14 formalizing their intent to dissolve. A 30-day window was required to allow people to come forward with any claims against the parks board before the dissolution can become final.

“I’m just hoping it will go smoothly, and we can put the district to bed,” said Otto.

End of Surge

County planners clear a backlog of building permits.
By Chris Henry
Planners with Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development took in some sunshine and a barbecue Monday to celebrate a milestone: They have gotten through a backlog of 125 building permits — some of which had been in a holding pattern for months — that new director Larry Keeton vowed to address when he came on board at the end of 2006.
During the so-called “surge,” planners were sequestered at their desks, except for one planner each day who was available to answer questions from the public.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from that,” said Jeff Rowe-Hornbaker, assistant director of permitting.
To handle public inquiries, a special phone line was set up with staff trained to answer commonly asked questions, make appointments and route calls to staff members for customers needing more technical responses. The strategy worked.
“What I said when we started is, we’d have a party when we got through those permits,” Keeton said as he flipped burgers on the steps of the county administration meeting.
Keeton acknowledged, however, “we still have a long way to go.”
He and his staff are “mapping” the permit application process to look for inefficiencies and shorten the wait time. He said the surge has allowed county staff to identify bottlenecks in the process.
“We’re evaluating what worked well for our staff and the public,” said Rowe-Hornbaker.
Keeton couldn’t give an average current wait time for permits, but said it now takes an average of six months from application to receive a review of a site development activity permit.
The DCD will continue with the new protocol to further improve customer response times. Planners will meet with customers by appointment only. Reviewers will be sequestered during nonscheduled appointment times to focus on backlog projects. Planners will dedicate the last hour of the day to return phone calls. All calls are expected to be returned within 48 hours.
The planner of the day will be available to answer general planning and/or process questions.
Contact (360) 337-7181 to schedule an appointment or to be routed to the planner of the day. To request an inspection, call (360) 337-4696.