Monthly Archives: September 2008

Tickets to Debbie Macomber Event on Sale Oct. 12

Tickets for Cedar Cover Days, in celebration of Kitsap author Debbie Macomber, will go on sale at 3 p.m. Oct. 12 for the event which runs Aug. 26 through 30 in Port Orchard.

Macomber, who lives in Port Orchard, has drawn on people and places in her hometown to create “Cedar Cove,” the setting for many of her best-selling novels. The Cedar Cover series is laced with hints of local culture, shops based on real storefronts here and characters drawn from Macomber’s own life.

Macomber’s books have sold more than 60 million copies. Organizers hope Cedar Cove Days will boost Port Orchard (and Kitsap County) into the spotlight of her substantial worldwide fan base.

Among the a la carte events from which visitors can choose:
A cruise on the 182′ Royal Argosy through to the luxurious Kiana Lodge with Debbie.

High Tea at the The Victorian Rose Tea Room with Debbie.

A Sock Hop … and more

There’s also a chance to win a free trip to Cedar Cove Days. To enter, readers need to tell Debbie which Cedar Cove character they’d most like to meet and why, in 75 words or less. For complete details, visit Macomber’s Web site. Entries must be submitted by Oct. 31.

South Kitsap: The Week in Review

What? A New Utility Bill?

The Port Orchard City Council took its first formal step toward establishing a storm water utility by OK-ing a public education survey. On Oct. 14, they will review a resolution to actually create the utility, but fees won’t be set until around the first of the year. The city, like other cities and counties statewide, is required by the state’s Department of Ecology to create a program for preventing and cleaning up  pollution from run-off.


Last Call to Sound Off on SK Levy Amount

The South Kitsap School District Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on Wednesday prior to voting on a resolution setting the amount of its Feb. 3 replacement maintenance and operations levy. The board agreed this week to consider a levy measure that would factor in an 8 percent rate of inflation for the first year of the levy and 6 percent in subsequent years. The amount collected in the form of property taxes over four years would total $70 million, up from $67.6 million in an earlier proposal.

The estimated levy rate would be $2.27 per $1,000 of assessed property value for 2010 and 2011. The estimated rate would be $2.28 per $1,000 for the last two years of the levy. The $67.6 million proposal would have collected an estimated $2.20 per $1,000 over four years.

The current levy amount is $1.98 per $1,000 of assessed value. The total amount collected from 2006 through 2009 will be an estimated $53.7 million.


Yukon Harbor Now Open to Shellfishing

Yukon Harbor and beaches to the north and south have been approved for shellfish harvesting for the first time since state health officials began certifying shellfish areas in the 1960s.


Bremerton Woman Sentenced in South Kitsap Bicyclist’s Death

A Bremerton woman was sentenced Wednesday to a nine-month jail sentence in the death of a bicyclist last September, according to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.

Delores J. Magneson, 60, pleaded guilty in August to one count of vehicular homicide. She has already begun to serve her sentence in the Kitsap County jail.

Magneson was driving on the 7300 block of SE Mile Hill Drive on Sept. 6, 2007, when her 1992 Buick Century left the road to the right and fatally struck Craig Hatt, 41, of South Kitsap.


Burst Water Main Leaves McCormick Woods High and Dry

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

McWoods, Flush Away. Water Main “Good to Go”

Repairs were completed on a broken water main at McCormick Woods about 1:15 p.m. today. Although testing on the main was being wrapped up, Jay Cookson, public works supervisor, said residents are free to turn on the tap and … sigh of relief … flush those toilets that have been in a holding pattern since 5 a.m. when the 12-inch main serving approximately 700 homes in the development sprung a leak.

It’s the little things that make my day. Flushing toilets are high on the list. I’m working from home today as I have meetings in Port Orchard. About 1 p.m. I heard the toilets and faucets making strange noises, kind of like Jack Nicholson’s gut rumbling in “The Witches of Eastwick.” Then, voila, H2O!

“Everybody’s good to go,” said Cookson.

Literally .. good to go.

Cookson said that work on a sewer line in the area about two weeks ago may have compressed the ground above the plastic pipe, which is buried about four feet deep, causing the leak. Workers turned off the water, removed the section of damaged pipe and repaired it with a metal band. The pipe is on the main line serving the McCormick Woods development.

Waterless in South Kitsap

I woke up this morning in my usual fog, so it took me a minute to realize no water was coming out of the tap I’d just turned on.

I went out into the kitchen. “Did we forget to pay the water bill?” I asked my husband.

He checked on the neighbor’s house and found they had no water either. Nor did our friends down the street.

I looked on the City of Port Orchard Web site, and there was the answer: a water main break in McCormick Woods, leaving more than 800 people without H2O, the cause as yet unknown. I suddenly had a burning desire to brush my teeth.

Earlier, public works staff couldn’t estimate how long it would take to fix the main. Just minutes ago, the city updated the post to say water would be back on about 11 a.m. We’ll get by until then. There’s juice in the fridge. My fellow journalists will have to put up with me, un-showered. Sorry guys.

Turning on the tap for clean water is something we may take for granted, but according the UNICEF, 1.1 billion people worldwide only have access to unsafe water sources.

The federal Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. This year one of its mandates has trickled down to the City of Port Orchard, which will join Kitsap County and neighboring cities in developing a storm water management plan. Upgrading systems, building new facilities and setting up a schedule for maintenance and operations are among the tasks the city must accomplish to be in compliance with state and federal law. Implementing the plan is expected to cost the city $1 million over the next six years with the self-sustaining storm water fund to be covered by rate payers and, hopefully, grants.

Yes, that means City of Port Orchard residents will get a new utility bill as the storm water program is implemented. (McWoods gets its water from PO. As county residents, at least for now, we pay our storm water fees to Kitsap County.)

Port Orchard’s storm water rate for single-family homes has been suggested at $7.50 per month. Business, commercial and public property rates, however, have been estimated at $130 per month per acre of “impervious surface unit.”

Mayor Lary Coppola expects push back from the public. At a recent work-study session with the city council, he said he wanted to make clear that the city is operating under mandates from the state’s Department of Ecology and subject to sanctions if they don’t comply. The city is already behind schedule for implementing the storm water plan.

The suggested rates are really just a starting point for the council’s discussion of same, which will take place early in 2009 with a public hearing before amounts are finalized.

The city has yet to firm up estimates of cost and revenue, which will dictate rates. So stay tuned. Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard’s new public works director, said at the work study that budgeting for the new utility would be challenging until the city has conducted an inventory of its current system and inventoried the total amount of impervious surfaces to be assessed. (That’s how I put it in today’s Kitsap Sun article.)

What Mark really said was until those inventories are completed, the city is working with “scientific wild-ass guesses.”

My thoughts: Well, at least it’s better than unscientific wild-ass guesses.

Friday Afternoon Club: Sunday Benefit for Pasha Phares

People familiar with the South Kitsap theater scene will recognize the name Pasha Phares form his year’s on stage with the Performing Arts Guild of South Kitsap and Bremerton Community Theater. Although it’s been several year’s since he’s performed, Pasha’s theater “family” has remained in touch. On Sunday the will put on performance of Neil Simon’s “Fools” at BCT to benefit Phares, 40, who has lung cancer. Although the family has insurance, his illness has put other financial pressures on the family, explained Linda Jensen, who is organizing the event.

Details are below.
What: Reader’s Theater Performance of Neil Simon’s “Fools”
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Bremerton Community Theatre, 599 Lebo Blvd., East Bremerton; (360) 535-5152
Tickets: $20
Information: Linda Jensen (360) 598-6914

No Organized Opposition to McWoods Annexation But …

The McCormick Woods annexation committee is ready to move forward with a petition that could make McCormick Woods Urban Village a part of the City of Port Orchard. A story on the latest developments will run tomorrow.

While no organized opposition to the proposed annexation has emerged, at least one resident, Pat Lowery, has approached Bremerton city officials to gauge their interest in annexing McCormick Woods.

“From the very beginning, we got only one side of the story,” said Lowery. “’We’ve got to join Port Orchard and stay away from big, bad Bremerton.’ … My whole attitude on this was let’s look at both sides of the issue.”

Lowery does not favor a Bremerton annexation over Port Orchard, but he thinks residents should hear what Bremerton might have to offer. He e-mailed Mayor Cary Bozeman, who forwarded the inquiry to city council members.

“My guess is it’s probably premature for them or me to comment on this issue,” Bozeman said. “We’ve been pretty much preoccupied with the SKIA issue.”

Bremerton has accepted a proposal to annex from property owners in the 3,400-acre South Kitsap Industrial Area. Port Orchard has been pressing for the right to provide sewer service to the area, slated for industrial development.

Bremerton City Council President Will Maupin said the council has in the past discussed the possibility of a McCormick Woods annexation. But the consensus was that its location — in South Kitsap — made it more logically affiliated with Port Orchard.

McCormick Woods Urban Village is eligible for annexation into Bremerton because The Ridge at McCormick Woods, a development on the north side of Old Clifton Road, is contiguous with a large parcel of land within the city of Bremerton, now under development.

Hypothetically speaking, Maupin said, Bremerton would be open to considering a McCormick Woods annexation, provided a financial analysis showed revenues and expenditures “pencil out” for the city.

“If they were interested in being annexed into Bremerton and approached us with a petition, we would certainly analyze the situation,” Maupin said. “If it were going to be a big burden on the rest of the people of Bremerton, we probably wouldn’t do that.”

Because McCormick Woods is a relatively affluent urban growth area, the balance of property tax revenue to expenditures for police services would probably be advantageous to the city, Maupin said.

He added, however, that Bremerton would not try to derail a McCormick Woods-Port Orchard match-up. Referencing Port Orchard’s increasingly aggressive stance on the SKIA sewer issue, he said, “We would not and have not said a word about the current annexation into Port Orchard, and we won’t. Port Orchard has been causing problems with our annexation of SKIA, which isn’t anywhere near Port Orchard.”

Annexation committee member Dick Davis said he doesn’t believe there is significant support among McCormick Woods residents for a Bremerton annexation. But Lowery, and whoever else may be a of similar mind, has committee members feeling uneasy.

“I don’t know how large it is. Maybe it’’s a group of one,” said Davis. “I think it is, but I don’t think you want to ignore this thing. It creates seeds of doubt.”

Increased Property Assessments Could Result from PO Comp Plan Update

At more than 65 pages and more than 20,000 kilobytes in its electronic version, the City of Port Orchard’s draft comprehensive plan update is not exactly light bedside reading.
But the document, released to the public Monday, contains proposed goals and policies that will affect where people live and work, how they get around the city, the services they receive and the taxes they pay, among other issues. That’s why city officials are seeking citizen input on the plan now through its adoption by the city council in December.

One issue that’s likely to get close scrutiny is the potential effect of the new plan on taxpayers whose properties are rezoned to reflect revised policies on growth and economic development.
A change in zoning — for example from residential to commercial — could trigger an increase in assessed value, explained Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery on Tuesday, but only if development in the surrounding area were to drive up the market value of the property.

For example, Avery explained, some properties on the Bethel Corridor did not see a significant increase in assessed value for some time after the area was rezoned commercial. Extension of the sewer line and the arrival of Fred Meyer were two factors assessors used to determine that the properties in question could now be sold for a significantly larger amount and so should be assessed at a higher value.

“There is a potential effect,” Avery said. “Is it automatic? We like to think we use some rationale when we revalue.”

A residential building in a commercial zone would not be protected from being assessed at the commercial rate simply because it was not being used as commercial property. Assessments are based on the property’s “highest and best use.”
If the increase in assessed value was greater as a result of the zoning change than others in the county, then taxes would go up as that rezoned property would be assuming a larger share of the tax burden, Avery said.
The draft comp plan is available in hard copy for $25 or as a DVD for $5 at City Hall. A free copy is available at

SK Fire Chief Speculates on Tax Implications of Regional Fire Authority

Note: The online version of the story referenced below was changed to reflect the correct current rate for South Kitsap Fire and Rescue’s EMS levy (30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value) and the 2007 rate for the district’s fire levy ($1.17 per $1,000). A correction will run in the paper.

Also, I said the fire levy was a six-year levy. To clarify: the district ran and passed a temporary fire levy in 2006 for the maximum time of six years. The regular fire levy is permanent, and the district has both. The total levy rate for both is 98 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

******* OK Here’s the post:

In comments following a story I wrote Sept. 9 on the South Kitsap Fire and Rescue EMS levy, readers expressed concern about the tax implications when/if SKFR merges with the Bremerton Fire Department and Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue. I asked SKFR Chief Wayne Senter what he knows. Here’s what he said:

Chief Senter:

“It is too early in the planning process to predict what funding mechanisms will be used to fund the expenses of the proposed West Sound Fire Authority. All of the funding mechanisms available to a fire district are available to the regional fire authority. We are currently determining what the expenses for the WSFR would be, once that is done, the options for funding will be determined. Regardless of what the planning process produces, voters will determine if the authority is formed and funded through an election involving all three fire service areas.”

Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery, in an earlier post on this blog, also said it was to early too give definitive answers. He did have more information on funding options for RFAs.

Jim Avery:

“There is a lot of flexibility in how such an organization can be organized. Under a full RFA there would be only one governing body and the same levy rate would be charged to all property owners within the combined taxing district. This would be difficult to get started, as the CK ($1.26) and SK ($.98) levy rates are a ways apart. I think the two RFAs currently existing in the state are modified RFAs where the existing governing bodies (fire commissions and/or city council) continue while the existing levies continue in each of the districts. What is hopefully gained is a closer working relationship with more inter-local agreements to share protection areas and operational efficiencies.
I think it is very early to know what is going to happen at this point between the City of Bremerton, SKFR and CKFR. Anything that does happen, however must ultimately be authorized by the voters. Feel free to call if you still have questions.
Jim Avery”

In the same blog post, we heard from Mark Horaski of Valley Regional Fire Authority, formed in 2007 from the merger of the Algona, Pacific, Auburn fire departments. Notice he says,”Some of our cities experienced higher increases than the average due to differences in the original city levy rates and fire services that were being provided.”

Mark Horaski:

“The Valley Regional Fire Authority was officially formed on January 1, 2007, the result of a proposition approved by the voters during the November 2006 election. The agreed upon taxing structure was that 2007 would see each participating city (Algona, Auburn and Pacific) continue to levy their regular property tax rates and transfer funds to the VRFA for its operations. Starting in 2008, the VRFA has levied its own property tax, which is comprised of the following:
1. A property tax levy; and
2. A fire benefit service charge.
Note that this funding mechanism was also approved by the voters in November 2006. The fire benefit service charge must be renewed by the voters every six years, and in exchange for the ability to levy it, the maximum property tax rate that the VRFA can levy is $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value (versus $1.50 per $1,000 of AV for a non-FBC funding model).
It is important to emphasize that each of the participating cities reduced its own 2008 property tax levy rate to reflect the fact that they were no longer providing fire services to their citizens.
During the original vote on the proposition, it was outlined to taxpayers that the average citizen would not see an increase in the cost of funding fire operations of approximately $60 per year. We were pleased to keep this increase to approximately $38 for 2008.
You are correct that some of our cities experienced higher increases than the average due to differences in the original city levy rates and fire services that were being provided. This was discussed during the vote on the VRFA establishment however, and it was outlined that some citizens would be paying more for fire service under the VRFA model.
However, in exchange for a higher rate, they would receive:
1. A full time 24/7/365 professional firefighter staffed station (one VRFA city was previously staffed with a combination of professional firefighters and reserves, and did not provide 24/7/365 service); and
2. Full three person engine crews for our entire service area (this increases fire fighter safety, and provides additional response capabilities while on a call–one VRFA city previously ran with 2 person engine crews).
Finally, it was noted that the service contract that one city had with another for the provision of fire services did not reflect the cost of providing service to that city–as a result, that city’s contract rate would have gone up significantly at the next renewal. The VRFA formation took care of this situation.

SKSD: Speak to the Board Tuesday, Late Start Wednesday

A couple of items from the South Kitsap School District Web site:

South Kitsap
Members of the South Kitsap School Board will meet with the public at 6 a.m. Tuesday at Uncle Dave’s Café, 3280 SE Lund Ave. in Port Orchard.

WEDNESDAY – Each Wednesday morning during the school year, starting September 10, staff at South Kitsap schools meet to collaborate. Students are asked to arrive 45 minutes late on Wednesdays. The purpose of this time is to analyze student data, review best instructional practices, and modify and improve instruction based on student needs. For more information, contact your local school.