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Pro-incorporation group reaches out to businesses

Even though some Silverdale business owners don’t live within the proposed incorporation boundaries, members of Citizens United for Silverdale think their views are equally important.

“They may not have a direct vote, but they have an impact,” said Marcus Hoffman, the committee’s spokesman. “The business community makes or breaks this initiative.”

While the committee is currently gathering signatures of registered voters residing within the proposed Silverdale city’s boundaries — they need 10 percent of the signatures, about 950, from the area in order to get the measure on the ballot for spring 2012 — committee members are also seeking out to inform local business owners.

The group organized two presentations last month focused for business owners. Three turned out for one and none came out for the second.

Although Hoffman acknowledged the fact that owners who reside outside of the proposed boundaries do not have an official voice because they cannot vote on the matter, their opinions can have an impact.

If owners started to place storefront signs supporting or opposing incorporation, it would affect customers and residents, he said.

“If the business community doesn’t support it, it won’t happen,” Hoffman said.

Stephanee Yost, owner of Two Bits Barber Shop in Old Town Silverale, lives outside of the proposed boundaries and thus cannot vote but she still has a strong opinion on the idea of Silverdale becoming a city.

“I’m not for it at all,” she said last week while giving a customer a haircut. “I’ve watched Bainbridge Island. They put a lot of small businesses out of business.”

Yost has owned her business in Old Town Silverdale for eight years and said she does not know what other business owners in the area think about incorporation.

She thinks that if Silverdale becomes a city, there will be additional costs for her whether they come in the form of more taxes or increases in sewer charges, she said.

“I’m concerned that the price to become a small business will increase,” Yost said.

There are two primary concerns of incorporation that Hoffman said the committee has continuously been hearing from everyone: more taxes and another layer of government. “Neither of which is true,” he said.

“You’re already paying the taxes but it’s being spent countywide,” Hoffman said.

Ruth Harris, of KitsapArt School of the Arts — also located in Old Town — said she has not heard a lot about the incorporation efforts and currently does not have an opinion formed.

She also lives in Bremerton so she does not have a vote.

“I would need to see the pros and cons. Every decision like that has benefits and drawbacks,” Harris said, adding that if it seemed to benefit the entire community, she would consider supporting it.

The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce has not taken a side on Silverdale incorporation, said Maria Mackovjak, a board member of the Chamber.

“We’re in the information gathering phase,” Mackovjak said last week. “We have not formulated a formal stand.”

Mackovjak, who is a Silverdale business owner who lives within the proposed boundaries, declined to provide her personal thoughts as a business owner on the topic of incorporation because she is on the board.

As groups and individuals continue to think about the issue, Hoffman said the committee has knocked out about a quarter of the needed signatures and have been receiving “pretty good” responses by going door-to-door to different Silverdale neighborhoods.

The committee has a six month period to gather signatures, which began in July.

He has noticed that those residing in newer developments are more favorable to the idea of a city, he added.

And, they want to continue to reach out to the business community as well as others in Silverdale.

“We’ll do a presentation for any group. It can be the knitter’s club — as long as the people have a connection to Silverdale,” Hoffman said.

 

Citizens United for Silverdale can be reached at UniteSilverdale@gmail.com.

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