Category Archives: Taxes

How Fire District Merger Could Affect Taxpayers

Note to readers: It seems I’ve been going in for epic blog entries lately. Here’s another one, hopefully with useful information.

I got an e-mail about a month ago from Roger Gay, who asked about the potential impact on taxpayers of a proposal to consolidate the Bremerton Fire Department, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, and South Kitsap Fire and Rescue. Roger was worried about the issue of bonus (taxing) capacity such as the City of Port Orchard gained when its fire department merged with South Kitsap Fire and Rescue.

I contacted Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery to see if a similar scenario could occur with the merger of the three districts, and Avery’s short answer is, conceivably, “yes.” See Avery’s entry dated 3/11/08 (near the bottom of the extended entry).
Avery had this disclaimer, “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.”

I also contacted Mark Horaski, director of Valley Regional Fire Authority, that was formed in 2007 with the merger of the Algona, Auburn and Pacific fire departments. He provided information on how VRFA dealt with the merger of three taxing jurisdictions with three different fire district rates.

An article by reporter Andy Binion in the Kitsap Sun addressed the potential benefits and complications of the proposed merger.
“A study completed last summer said the three entities could join together to streamline organizations, improve service and save money,” Andy writes.

But exactly how that would work is far from hammered out.

The article continues, “Districts and departments have different levels of service and pay different amounts in taxes. Part of the process will be to determine how much households will pay.”

Here’s the thread of e-mail correspondence on how the proposed merger could (possibly) affect your family’s budget.

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County Could Tap New License Tab Law to Pay for Bethel Corridor Project

As I started to make this entry, I found I had to assign it to multiple categories on the blog, a record four, in fact: development, Kitsap County government, roads and infrastructure, and taxes. So take note. If you’re a South Kitsap:
a. Business owner
b. Politician
c. Property owner
d. Vehicle owner
e. Consumer
f. Tax geek
… this story has something in it for you.

Land Rich: Assessed Value of Undeveloped Properties Skyrockets

Some property owners may be in for a surprise when they get that little card
from the Kitsap County Assessor’s office this week.
Property change of value statements will be mailed Friday, and more than
91,000 Kitsap property owners will receive notices this weekend, said Kitsap
County Assessor Jim Avery. Commercial properties and properties with new
construction will receive change of value notices later this summer.
The latest reevaluation of properties shows that the county’s hot real
estate market is cooling off slightly, Avery said, but people who own
undeveloped land and property owners within newly designated urban growth
areas will find substantial increases in their assessed values.
“Those people are really going to be hammered, because quite honestly, their
property just became a whole lot more valuable,” Avery said.

See typical assessed values and property tax rates for the various areas of Kitsap County here.

County’s Pocketbook Gets Lighter Every Year

Property taxes payments from Kitsap County residents are due Monday. For information, contact the assessor’s office at (360) 337-7160 or log on to

Monday is the deadline for Kitsap County residents to pay their property taxes.
And as they write their checks — perhaps reeling from the amount — Ben Holland, director of the county’s administrative services, would like them to know that the county has budget woes of its own.
County officials are scrambling to address a budget shortfall they see hitting in 2008.

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County Unveils Plan to Pay for Bethel Road Improvements

The Port Orchard City Council on Monday learned how the county plans to raise $43.4 million for the Bethel corridor project and what the city’s role in paying for the major road revision may be.
The proposed project now lies outside city boundaries, but when and if that area is annexed, the city would assume the county’s bond payments, said Eric Baker, the county’s special projects manager, who made a presentation to the city council. Local residents, business owners and developers will also shoulder a portion of the financial burden according to a county proposal for financing the project, Baker said.
A levy to help pay for the project will be put before voters in 2008.

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Port of Bremerton

This probably isn’t new to anyone who has opened their pretty pink envelope from the county. But the sticker shock of a large tax increase for those living within the Port of Bremerton’s taxing authority is still sinking in, according to Kitsap County Treasurer Barbara Stephenson. Her phone has been ringing off the hook since property tax statements were mailed out last month
The port established an Industrial Development District last year to help pay for an expansion to the Bremerton Marina. The marina work will cost $22.9 million, with $4.5 million coming from the federal government.
Getting there took creation of the IDD in public meetings late last year. And that happened in meetings most taxpayers didn’t know about until they received their tax bills.
The district encompasses large areas of South Kitsap not exactly within spitting distance of Port Orchard’s Waterfront Marina. The new tax will add $90 per year on a home valued at $200,000.
Steve Gardner wrote about reaction to the tax increase in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun. You can read his article (and check out the district boundaries) at You can weigh in on the issue at the Bremerton Beat blog.
Perhaps more people will start attending the port commissioners’ meetings, held the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Bremerton National Airport Terminal Building Conference Room, 8850 SW State Hwy 3, Port Orchard, Washington.

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