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"Incorporation, I-695 cloud county's budget future"

"Kitsap County’s budget planning for next year is complicated by two items on the November ballot – Silverdale incorporation and Initiative 695, the statewide license tab fee measure.Both could significantly affect the budget by decreasing county revenues. Silverdale’s incorporation would also cut county expenditures on projects in that area.But until ballots in the Nov. 2 general election are counted, budget planners must juggle the four possible election outcomes. County budget manager Ben Holland said the preliminary budget, presented Monday to the County Commissioners, anticipates possible lost revenue, instead of expecting to maintain current revenues and making budget cuts later.Projected county revenues total $57 million, while total expenditures are expected to top $61.5 million. Based on this discrepancy, county officials likely will trim some of the departments’ requests.Part of the projected revenue expects a property tax increase. If approved, homeowners would pay five cents more for each $1,000 of property valuation, a proposed 2.85 percent increase. This tax increase was based on an expected property value increase of 2 percent and $240 million in new construction.Three quarters of all county revenue is collected through county government and administration, which spends 27 percent of the total. Law and justice departments spend more than three times the amount of money they collect – about 57 percent of the total county budget pie.Community services take in half of the amount of money they spend (13 percent), while the Health and Human Services Department takes in .03 percent of the budget and spends a scant 2.7 percent.The Sheriff’s Department often has attracted budgeting attention because of the county’s low deputy-to-citizen ratio. Sheriff Steve Boyer requested five new deputies and one new sergeant, at a cost of $296,000. He also doubled the overtime budget to nearly $400,000, which Holland characterized as “a more realistic figure when comparing overtime usage in the past three years.”The next step in the budget process is departmental hearings, which are open to the public, scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 14. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee will meet during the end of October to work on balancing the budget and will discuss the potential effects of Silverdale incorporation and I-695.“I think it’s important that we become literate in these issues,” said Commissioner Charlotte Garrido. "

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