Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Port Orchard Waterfront Parking Fees to Increase

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

PORT ORCHARD —

People who use the city of Port Orchard’s waterfront parking lot can expect a new pay system before the end of the year.

The city council on Tuesday agreed to switch from the cash boxes that have been there for decades to cashless kiosks. Finance Committee Chairman John Clauson expects the system will be installed some time this summer.

Along with the new system will come a fee increase from $3 to $5 per day, in part to pay for the two machines, which will cost more than $20,000 each.

Clauson and other city officials advocating the switch say it will make more efficient use of staff time. As it is, two people are required to empty the boxes daily and two people must count the money.

A cost-benefit analysis shows that for every $260 in fees collected, the city spends $110 to $130 in staff time.

The city’s budget is tight, Clauson said. Doing away with the parking fee task will free up staff time that could be better used elsewhere. It will not amount to a budget cut, however.

Another advantage of the new system will be increased convenience to parking customers, Clauson said.

Councilman Fred Chang spoke on behalf of people who don’t have credit or debit cards. Clauson said those people, who are probably few and far between, could buy a monthly pass at City Hall or use a pre-loaded credit card, readily available at grocery stores.

City Treasurer Allan Martin said he is a strong advocate of electronic payment. The city is moving toward online payment options for utility bills and eventually other fees. The new system will also be more secure than the old boxes, which are subject to frequent break-in attempts, Martin said.

The council must pass an ordinance for the parking fee increase. It is not on the agenda for the upcoming meeting, March 23, but will likely come before the council within the next month, Clauson said.

Read more online.

Kitsap Sun Blog: PO Council: Some Jostling for Finance Committee Slots

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

At Tuesday’s work study meeting, Port Orchard City Council members parceled out committee assignments. Most of the time, this is a process of seeing who steps forward to volunteer for a committee, but in the case of the finance committee, there were more applicants (five) than slots (three).

The reason, Mayor Lary Coppola said after the meeting, boils down to: money is power. “It’s the decision-making committee,” Coppola said. “So many decisions that happen on the council are driven by money.”

Councilman Fred Chang, one of the five contenders, put it this way, “For those of us not on it, we feel there’s a lot of information discussed there, and by the time it gets to the council, there’s already three of the four votes we need (out of seven council members to make a majority). … It’s not so much that they make decisions against what the rest of the council would agree with, it’s just that we’re not privy to information we need.”

Council members do receive minutes of committee meetings, not quite the same as being in on the discussion, I would guess.

Council members who have served on the finance committee for the past two years include John Clauson (chairman), Rob Putaansuu and Carolyn Powers. Besides the three incumbents and Chang, Councilman Jerry Childs threw his hat into the ring for the upcoming term.

Council members each wrote their three top recommendations for the committee on slips of paper. City Clerk Patti Kirkpatrick tallied the winners: John Clauson (who also was chosen by the council to remain chair), Rob Putaansuu and Jerry Childs.

The process seemed to me a little old school and had shades of a fourth grade popularity contest. But, according to City Attorney Greg Jacoby, it was all above board. I had the misconception that no action could be taken at a work study meeting. That’s not true, Jacoby said. State statutes allow final action to be taken on items at properly publicized work study meetings, as long as the item is on the agenda and as long as it doesn’t involve approval of contracts or bills for payment. Jacoby said it is customary for Port Orchard (and most other local jurisdictions) to use study sessions for in-depth discussions and briefing on issues that will come before them at regular council meetings.

Furthermore, said Jacoby, the paper slip voting did not constitute final action. The council will entertain a resolution at its regular meeting Jan. 26 regarding committee membership. Terms run two years. Writing the names on paper was a way to come to consensus on the council’s recommendations for the finance committee.

Information on committees and boards can be found on the city’s Web site. Upcoming committee meetings, which are open to the public, are listed on the regular council meeting agenda, which is available on the city’s Web site and by request by calling City Hall, (360) 876-4407.

Read more online.

Port Orchard Council Meetings Will Be Online, but Not On the Air

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

By Chris Henry
Posted December 9, 2009 at 5:01 p.m. , updated December 9, 2009 at 5:04 p.m.

PORT ORCHARD — Starting in January, Port Orchard residents and others with high-speed Internet access will be able to watch city council meetings via computer.

The city is doing away with its cable broadcasts of meetings on Bremerton Kitsap Access Television. The switch was formalized Tuesday with approval of the city’s 2010 budget.

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola and BKAT public access manager Charlene Burnette had been negotiating a renewal of the contract the city has had since 2006, but were unable to reach an agreement. The council reallocated the $7,897 that had been earmarked for BKAT, with $7,000 to go toward downtown flower baskets and the remainder for DVD copies of meeting videos to be made available to the public.

But ditching BKAT was not simply a cost-saving measure. According to Coppola, Wave Broadband has more Internet customers than cable television customers within city limits. That doesn’t count the number who get Internet access through other companies. Satellite television subscribers don’t have cable access.

“Clearly, at least in my mind, we would be reaching far more people using the Web site rather than BKAT,” Councilman John Clauson said.

Clauson said posting videos of meetings on the Web site would allow people to watch at any hour of the day and to skip forward or back to issues of interest. Another advantage is that the city would have an online archive of meetings.

Councilman Fred Chang said he favors posting meetings to the Web site, but he did not want to remove access from cable customers. Chang was the lone council member voting against the ordinance. Councilman Jim Colebank, in an earlier work study discussion, echoed Chang’s position, but he was absent for Tuesday’s meeting.

Several council members, including Chang and Carolyn Powers, said ideally they’d like to have both formats. Clauson, head of the finance committee, said Wednesday that the council could reallocate money for BKAT broadcasts in the future.

But according to Burnette, they’d have to act quickly. Another client has requested the city’s broadcast slots, she said. Burnette said she is willing to hold their spot until Dec. 18. The council meets on Dec. 15 for a work study session.

Burnette said BKAT’s $278,000 budget would not be significantly hurt by the loss of Port Orchard’s business. The city’s contract is the smallest of all their clients. The city of Poulsbo, about the same size as Port Orchard, pays more than $19,000 per year. Port Orchard got a special deal on their contract when they first signed up, and there was no written provision for bringing them up to the going rate over time, Burnette said.

“What’s sad is the loss of the concept of regional television carrying all our government meetings,” Burnette said.

The likelihood that other cities and Kitsap County will eventually post meetings to their Web sites poses a threat to BKAT, “but not a serious threat,” Burnette said. People who don’t have or can’t afford Internet will continue to rely on cable television broadcasts, she said.

The Port Orchard council must still decide whether to rescind a 1 percent franchise fee increase established in 2005 and directly tied to the BKAT broadcasts. That issue would need to come before the council as an ordinance. Reducing the key would cost the city about $12,900.

Read more online.

Kitsap Sun blog: Port Orchard May Broadcast Council Meetings on its Web Site

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Speaking of South Kitsap
Reporter Chris Henry talks about life in the county seat of Port Orchard and surrounding areas.

The City of Port Orchard is considering severing its ties with BKAT, the public access television station that broadcasts city council meetings. Mayor Lary Coppola is floating a proposal to broadcast meetings on the city’s Web site instead.

The move would save the city nearly $8,000 per year and make watching the meetings easier for city residents, a large number of whom have Internet access, said Coppola at a work study meeting with the council Wednesday.

Eliminating BKAT broadcasts had in late November been considered among of a number of cost saving measures the council believed it would have to effect as a result of maintaining the city’s budget at 2009 levels. Foregoing an allowed one percent property tax increase meant the city was short $16,000 in revenue. But at the work study meeting, council members learned that additional franchise utility tax revenue from 2009 annexations had closed the gap.

Coppola told the council he still believed dropping BKAT was a good idea. The city already has equipment to record meetings, and staff members would be able to run the equipment while performing their regular meeting duties, said City Clerk Patricia Kirkpatrick.

By posting meetings on the Web site, Coppola said, the city would make them available to residents 24/7 instead of during broadcast times, one of which is 1 a.m.

Coppola said he learned from Wave Broadband that the city has a greater number of Internet subscribers with that company that television subscribers. Other companies — Qwest, AT&T and Telebyte — also provide Internet access to city residents, he said, suggesting the city as a whole is well connected to the Internet.

Some council members were supportive the idea.
“I think it’s much more convenient,” said Councilman Jerry Childs.
But Councilman Jim Colebank said he would vote against any such proposal that comes before the council out of concern for residents who may have no access other than television.

Councilman Fred Chang, who was a strong proponent of BKAT broadcasts when they were instituted in 2006, said he, too, was concerned about the audience used to watching the meetings on cable television. Chang, however, sees value in posting meetings on the Web site.

“In an ideal world, I would like to have it on both,” Chang said.
Councilman Rob Putaansuu favored dropping BKAT but said the council should show city residents something tangible for the trade-off. After considerable discussion, the council reached a consensus that, if BKAT broadcasts are dropped, money saved would apply to the cost of flower baskets that beautify city streets in summer.

No formal votes are taken at work study meetings. Discussion of the BKAT issue is not on the council’s upcoming agenda, nor is dropping BKAT part of the city’s proposed 2010 budget.
In an e-mail sent to the Kitsap Sun, former Port Orchard Mayor

Kim Abel said that an increase in the city’s cable franchise fee in 2005 was tied to the televising of council meetings on BKAT. She requested the council to lower the franchise fee if it does away with BKAT.

Coppola, replying to Abel in an e-mail copied to the Kitsap Sun, said he would bring the franchise fee issue to the attention of the council.

Read the entire article online.

Incumbent Chang Maintaining Strong Lead Over Igloi-Matsuno

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

By Chris Henry (Contact)
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

PORT ORCHARD —

Incumbent city councilman Fred Chang will get a second term.

Chang was leading challenger Amy Igloi-Matsuno in the race for Position 6, with 54.57 percent of the vote and 1,818 votes counted on Tuesday.

“I’d say that I’m stunned,” said Chang, 50, a public information officer for the state’s Department of Transportation.

Igloi-Matsuno, 28, is a Port Orchard restaurant owner whose campaign spending, at just more than $18,000, was double that of Chang’s. Despite the wide margin, she was not conceding.

“I’ll see what the results show tomorrow at 5 p.m.,” she said.

Chang, who won his first race for city council in 2005 with a handy 59 percent, said he wasn’t counting on anything in his campaign against Igloi-Matsuno. Demographics change greatly over four years, he said, and the influx of voters to the newly annexed McCormick Woods was a wild card.

During the campaign, Igloi-Matsuno criticized Chang’s penchant for asking probing questions, saying it created an “obstacle” on the council. Chang said he felt affirmed by election results to continue in his watchdog role.

“I felt I have an inclination to want people to know what’s going on,” Chang said. “I heard from people that they like that.”

Chang said in his second term he will work to improve communication through the city’s Web site.

Read the complete article online.

Kitsap Sun Blog: Speaking of South Kitsap

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Lucarelli-Powers Race Too Close to Call
November 3rd, 2009 by chris henry

Incumbent Fred Chang is beating challenger Amy Igloi-Matsuno, despite her heavy investment in the campaign. Igloi-Matsuno spent $18,662 to Chang’s $9,212, for a total of more than $27,000. I’d say it’s safe to say that’s a record for campaign spending in a Port Orchard council race. In unofficial results, Chang had 54.57 percent of votes counted to Igloi-Matsuno’s 45.10 percent.

Read complete post online.

Chang leads Igloi-Matsuno, Powers edging Lucarelli

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

By CHARLIE BERMANT
Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer
Today, 9:13 PM · UPDATED

Incumbent Port Orchard City Councilman Fred Chang is leading challenger Amy Igloi-Matsuno 54 percent to 45 percent, according to the initial vote count Tuesday night. In the only other contested race incumbent Carolyn Powers has 50.35 percent, just edging Cindy Lucarelli, with 49.01 percent.

Approximately 2400 votes were collected as of Tuesday afternoon, with 1,818 votes included in the first count. Chang’s lead—172 votes—does not seem insurmountable, but the nine-point spread is unlikely to reverse.

In a speech to supporters after the results were announced, Igloi-Matsuno did not concede the election, but said she was “hoping for the best.

“Nothing has changed for me,” she said. “I still love Port Orchard, and believe in its potential. I will still be working on behalf of small business, and I will still go to Olympia in support of those issues.”

Chang said he was “astounded and pleasantly surprised” by the vote, saying that expected to win but not by such a wide margin.

“I had a lot of good conversations with people during the campaign,” he said. “I didn’t know just how many. I felt that I had strong support, but I didn’t know how widespread it was.”

In the Position 2 race, incumbent Carolyn Powers is leading challenger Cindy Lucarelli by just 23 votes. This is the second consecutive election where Lucarelli has come close to unseating a veteran incumbent, and it is possible she may pull it off this time.

The next ballot numbers will be posted at 5 p.m. Wednesday at www.kitsapgov.com.

Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer Charlie Bermant can be reached at cbermant@portorchardindependent.com or (360) 876-4414.

Read the article online.

Annexations in 2009 Will Impact Port Orchard’s 2010 Budget

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

By Chris Henry (Contact)
Saturday, October 31, 2009

PORT ORCHARD —

[URL]Annexations to the city of Port Orchard in 2009 have added more than 2,000 residents to the city’s population and pushed its total assessed valuation above $1 billion.

The city council will need to consider the effects of annexation in planning its 2010 budget, treasurer Allan Martin said last week.

The shrinking economy plus the increase in population from the McCormick Woods annexation mean the council would have to approve an ordinance showing “substantial need” to achieve the 1 percent increase in property tax revenue it has automatically been eligible to take in the past. The council will consider the ordinance on Nov. 10.

Before the annexation, the city’s population was 8,420. Now, it’s 10,836.

Cities with fewer than 10,000 people can collect up to 101 percent of the previous year’s amount, plus new construction.

Cities with more than 10,000 people are subject to the lesser of two limits: 101 percent of the previous year’s collection or 100 percent plus inflation. Thanks to the recession, inflation declined over the past 12 months by .848 percent. That means, without an ordinance, the city in 2010 could collect 99.2 percent of the $1,633,307 in property taxes it collected in 2009. With an ordinance, it could take in up to an additional $16,333. The one percent increase in 2009 totaled $15,437.

Martin estimates the one percent increase for 2010 would cost the average property owner less than a penny per $1,000 of assessed property value.

At a public hearing Oct. 27, City Councilman Fred Chang asked if the ordinance could be crafted so that the city’s property tax revenue would remain flat for 2010. The answer, said City Attorney Greg Jacoby, is yes.

Including annexations, including McCormick Woods and the Fred Meyer complex on Bethel Road, the assessed value of the city rose from $833 million in 2009 to $1.167 billion.

Read the complete article online.

Letter to the Editor | Chang a pleasure to work with

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I will Vote for Fred Chang today.

Fred is a tough customer. He always does his homework and fact checks for himself. That makes it hard on a Mayor. I know, I was the Mayor during Fred’s first two years on the Port Orchard City Council.

Staff has to be prepared and to have thought about an issue from all sides so that they can answer questions.

Fred also pushes the City to be open and transparent in all their decisions.

He lead the charge to get City Council meetings televised.

He pushed for more and better information on the City website.

He reaches out to citizens and brings their voices into the Council Chambers. Fred encourages folks to speak at the meetings, he shares information through email lists about ferries, his downtown neighborhood and the downtown business community.

And best of all, Fred looks hard to find the most cost efficient way to provide services to Port Orchard citizens.

He works to mix all their concerns and finds an effective solution to the problem.

Please join me in voting for Fred Chang for another term on the Port Orchard City Council.

KIM ABEL

Port Orchard

As printed in the Port Orchard Independent. This also printed in the Kitsap Sun as “Chang Always Does His Homework.”

KITSAP SUN | OUR VIEW | Choose Chang, Lucarelli for Port Orchard City Council

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Often it’s simple to boil down races featuring incumbent candidates: If they’ve done well, keep ’em in there. If not, it’s time for a change.

Both contested Port Orchard City Council races have a member defending a seat — but we’re departing from the logic mentioned above for these endorsements.

Most would agree that the city has been run well in recent years, and Mayor Lary Coppola’s initiatives have agreed with the council for the most part. We see the next council in need of retaining a relationship that can perform that check and balance, but with an ability to look ahead with fresh eyes.

Making the call on pending issues like a proposed parking garage downtown and future annexations or continued recruitment of business will take a mix of styles. So we’re endorsing one incumbent and one newcomer, in hopes of finding that mix.

Cindy Lucarelli, running for the council’s Position 2 seat, has been hands-on in one of Port Orchard’s most recent accomplishments, this past summer’s Cedar Cove Days festival. The event was a smash in branding a new city festival and attracting tourists and notoriety, and Lucarelli was at the helm organizing and cheerleading. Her experience there shows a capability to step in and lead, which Carolyn Powers has done ably for more than two decades in City Hall. Powers has left her mark on the city as an accountable manager, but we like Lucarelli’s vision and energy as the city expands and prepares for the coming years.

This year was Lucarelli’s second run at the council spot, a place we hope to see Amy Igloi-Matsuno in the future. Igloi-Matsuno, a downtown business owner, is a political newcomer, and while there’s not a specific need to be a wonk to run for office, we like Fred Chang’s experience with the issues in the Position 6 race.

Chang has demonstrated a passion for open communication with constituents, a characteristic that should be valued when it is proven by an elected official. That, plus a solid understanding of the process thus far in issues like the downtown proposals and Bethel Corridor planning, position Chang to be a leader the city needs.

We expect to see Igloi-Matsuno’s name in politics in the near future, and we hope to see her continue to grow in experience as an up-and-coming community leader. But Chang is the choice to stay in his council seat.

Read more online in the Kitsap Sun.