Matthes, Garrido Weigh in on Bethel Corridor

While Democrat Charlotte Garrido maintains a small lead over Republican challenger Tim Matthes, the final result of the race for South Kitsap Commissioner won’t be official until the election is certified Nov. 25. At last count, Tuesday, Garrido had 50.59 percent of the vote; Matthes had 49.14 percent.

When Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola announced that the city hopes to move forward with an annexation of Bethel Corridor sooner rather than later, I called both candidates to see where they stand on the city’s proposal.

One hitch for the county would be that the city is asking for a suspension of a revenue sharing agreement between the county and Kitsap cities that allows the county a “soft landing” revenue-wise when an annexation occurs. The interlocal agreement calls for the county to receive 75 percent of tax revenue from the annexed area in the first year, 50 percent in the second year and 25 in the third.

Kitsap County is doing with half a million less and dipping into its reserves to balance its 2009 budget. Given the economy, it hardly seems like an opportune time for the county to pursue development of the corridor, the plan for which has become something of an albatross around the county’s neck.

The cost, with bonding, to implement the whole plan (with design standards) would be $43 million, and the city had considered asking taxpayers and businesses to foot the bill. A recent survey shows, not surprisingly, lack of support for the various mechanisms (including increased property taxes) proposed to fund the project. Coppola has said the city could fund infrastructure on the corridor through a variety of sources, including grants, development fees, revenue and more, without having to increase individual taxes. What would have to go are the plan’s exacting design standards.

Both candidates said they would support the city’s desire to annex the corridor.

Tim Matthes pointed to the plan’s design standards as an example of the county’s “onerous regulations” that have stymied development. Matthes has said, if elected, he would work to ease the burden on developers by simplifying county code. Matthes said South Kitsap Industrial Area’s impending annexation into Bremerton is another example of how Kitsap’s cities are better at putting out the welcome mat to new and growing businesses than the county is.

Matthes said he would support Port Orchard assuming responsibility for the corridor as long as it makes sense for taxpayers.”It should go to whoever would do the most for it, and the city appears to be in the best position to do that,” Matthes said.

Garrido, who served as SK Commissioner through 2000 took part in the process through which the Bethel Corridor Plan was developed with input from citizens, businesses and other interested parties. Asked if she had any concerns about the city implementing a modified plan, she said, “Everybody is going to have some concerns about it.” That being said, the economic times dictate some degree of expediency.

“I’m willing to work with the city in any way we need to to address that issue as well as anything else,” she said.

And what about the prospect of altering the revenue sharing agreement and the county’s dispensing with the soft landing?

“We have to be creative in ways we’ve never had to be,” said Garrido. “I don’t throw anything off the table.”

7 thoughts on “Matthes, Garrido Weigh in on Bethel Corridor

  1. Garrido, “degree of expediency”, “work with the city”, “have to be creative”. Matthes, “counties onerous regulations”, “ease burden on developers”, “makes sense for taxpayers”. What a range of thought on the Bethel Corridor. Seems Garrido wants to still stick it to the non incorporated areas of the county while Matthes at least considers the non incorporated taxpayers. The County is giving away the farm. SKIA, McCormick Woods, Bethel Corridor and probably Silverdale. I guess if it good for the urban growth areas it is just tough love that the rural areas suffer the tax burden for the unincorporated areas in the future. I do not hear of a plan for the rural areas. I do not hear how the County will meet future expenses as it loses its income to the cities. I do not hear how the county expects to foster growth and economic development in rural or urban areas to support the services the county supplies. I do not hear a plan on what will pay for the needs of the unincorporated areas as business’s are attracted to nearby cities, including Gig Harbor. Franky, at this point I think parts of South Kitsap need to see if Mason County and Belfair want to annex us. I see those of us who live in rural Kitsap paying higher taxes due to a smaller tax base and our commissioners wanting to spend at the same levels as in the past. No idea what the voter thinks, poor communications, no plan for the future that can be explained to the voter, and a feeling they know what is best for the lowly voter and taxpayer. But then again, we have come to expect that having dealt with the Port of Bremerton.
    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap

  2. I’m beginning to feel sad for you Roger Gay.

    There seems to be nothing about the area you like. It is the same Kitsap County today as when you moved here….why did you move here?
    What did you like about it then?

    “I do not hear a plan on what will pay for the needs of the unincorporated areas as business’s are attracted to nearby cities, including Gig Harbor.”

    The real plum that got away was your own Port Orchard’s refusal to work with Costco…

    More important questions to ask is what PO is willing to do for business…besides the tax supported three off lead dog parks you have right there. Sort of shows where your priorities lean….yet you continue to blame Bremerton for all your ills.

    Get another dog.
    Sharon O’Hara

  3. First of all I do not live in Port Orchard, so it is not my Port Orchard that refused to deal with Costco. The officials, elected or not who lost Costco, Home Depot, etc. are examples of lack of leadership and planning that at times is very prevalent in the County at both the county and city level. I live in unincorporated Kitsap County, but I know that the cities of Bremerton and Port Orchard have a very large impact on my life and like to keep informed and make my opinions known to our officials. As for liking the area, I have lived here over half my life. I like a lot of things about Kitsap County, but like anything it can be better. With the proper leadership, planning, and with an elected group of officials who can communicate with the taxpayer and voter it can be one of those “best place to live” locations, at least in the top five. As for your pet peeve, the dog parks, I have not supported the Howe Farm dog park. I was on the County Parks board many years ago when it was brought up and it was decided then to specifically exclude a dog park due to the desire to make Howe Farm a working farm. I made my opinion clear to Jan Angel, the commissioner, but she had others who were very vocal supporters of an off leash facility. Do not be sorry for me. I enjoy the area, I enjoy getting involved in many aspects of the County, I enjoy voicing my opinion, and I am very open to other views, unlike some who blog.
    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap (not the city of Port Orchard)

  4. Thank you. Thank you also for your involvement in your community, South Kitsap (County Parks board) and attempt to keep the Howe Farm a working farm, not a dog playground. Foresight and wisdom on your part.

    I’m also open to other views but I will never understand the reasoning of the Howe Farm conversion.
    It seems strange that our food banks can’t keep up with the people relying on them for food , at the same time that good crop soil is given over to a play field for dogs (the third dog park over there) not people, not crops.

    Thanks for your part in helping the community become better.
    Sharon O’Hara

  5. I look ALL around Port Orchard and I see nothing but retail space being leased to Junk dealers and 2nd hand stores. They’re everywhere! It has defined Port Orchard for the last couple decades and is only getting worse with the economy.

    Now, I see ongoing commercial development adjacent to the Armory and at the intersection of Sedgwick & Sidney. More low rent space as developers try to break even.

    After the Downtown Bremerton FIASCO (Condo’s and Marina) and Kitsap Transit’s insistence on a Foot Ferry to Seattle, I am Fed up with Public Official’s ignoring the sentiment of voters and pushing forward with Empire Building. Leave the Bethel dream for another time and figure out how to clean up the Junk throughout Port Orchard’s current city limits. Bethel was advertised at 40 million by the county with big portions coming from new tax districts/schemes.

    I think we all would be better served if the Mayor would focus on keeping track of our County Commissioners and keeping the Bremerton Mayor out of our pockets.

    Just my 2 cents (which is all I have left in my pocket)

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