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Concerns aired during meeting on Silverdale incorporation

Keeping taxes and decisions local was emphasized by proponents of Silverdale incorporation, while one concern voiced by residents Tuesday night was suspicion that taxes will increase if Silverdale becomes a city.

The meeting, intended by Citizens United for Silverdale to make their case for incorporation, drew about 70 people. Included in the audience was Peter Wimmer, who lives on Knute Anderson Road. Wimmer said incorporation makes sense — he agrees that residents are not well-represented by the county — but he disagrees with some details that have been proposed. For instance, Wimmer said the committee’s suggestion of a council-manager system with seven elected city council members is too large a council.

“With seven it’s going to be too much wasted in my opinion,” Wimmer said, adding that having a small governing system will cost less.

But organizers emphasized the need to create a city.

“The county can’t provide both urban and rural services. It just doesn’t work,” said Marcus Hoffman, the committee’s spokesman. “It’s time we determined our own future.”

A majority of the sales tax spent within the city limits could go to an incorporated Silverdale, keeping local revenue local, Hoffman said, adding that the county would still receive 15 percent of the total amount collected, as mandated by state law. Many services, such as police and fire, would most likely be contracted from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, he said.

And taxes would likely not rise, unless residents vote “big spenders” onto the council — which he doesn’t see fiscally conservative Silverdale doing, Hoffman added.

Others, however, think Silverdale incorporation is not a good idea at all.

“It’s pretty selfish — the motivation,” said Ron Gillespie, who lives on Tracyton Boulevard. By selfish, Gillespie meant the sales taxes generated in Kitsap’s retail center should be distributed to the county as a whole. He also feels the county government is responsive to the needs of residents.

“I feel represented in the county,” he said.

While they may not always agree on everything, Gillespie said he addresses his local concerns — such as development issues in Old Town Silverdale — to County Commissioner Josh Brown, who represents the district that includes Silverdale.

The committee plans to hold more public meetings. Though last week they said a proposed city boundary had been determined, the group is still fine-tuning it, Hoffman said Tuesday. They have decided to not include east Island Lake residents but need to figure out exactly where to draw the line, said Mary Earl, a committee member. Committee members hope to have the proposal to voters by spring 2012.

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