Community Council nears its first birthday

"The work of organizing a community advisory board can be dull, to say the least.Watching paint dry can be more exciting, in fact. But one year after it was created by the Kitsap County Commissioners, the Central Kitsap Community Council has finished the bulk of its organizational work. And now, members said last week, it’s time to get down to business.“I think (the first year) has been hopeful,” said Kay W. Wilson, a member of the advisory board. “I think it was disappointing but understandable that we spent most of our time getting organized and so little time dealing with issues ... We’re all inventing the process as we go.”“The first year was directed to organization,” council member Bob Dietz said. “I believe (the council) has turned the corner and become active and responsive to the community it was directed to serve.”The council was formally created by the commissioners in January, 1999. It’s mission is to advise the commissioners on Central Kitsap issues, and to facilitate communication between area residents and county government officials.It has spent the past year creating by-laws, electing officers and forming several committees. Their most substantive accomplishment was spending the $15,000 budget the commissioners allocated for the council. That money was spent on seasonal banners for Silverdale, Seabeck and Tracyton, with a portion also going to work on the Clear Creek Trail.“I’ve been really pleased with them. I know they’ve spent a lot of time organizing and getting ready,” said Commissioner Tim Botkin.That has frustrated some council members, Botkin acknowledged, but it comes with the territory.“The fact that they organized and assigned members to various committees, without anyone telling them to do that, was pretty impressive,” Botkin said. “I’ve served on a number of volunteer boards and committees and I haven’t seen anybody be quite as ambitious as this one.”The five members surveyed have even more ambitious plans for 2000. Council President David Peterson listed salmon at the top of the list – he wants to make sure that CK residents are aware of the potential impacts of the 1999 listing of two local salmon stocks as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. He also wants to make sure that CK is represented in those discussions.Other topics the 15-member Community Council plans on tackling this year include the dual home rule charter proposals, which could change the form of Kitsap County governance; beautification and recreation; growth management; and transportation.Botkin plans on presenting them with a short list of projects to tackle in 2000 as well. Atop that list are growth management issues, including what Botkin refers to as a “rural planning effort” and planning for the 2002 expansion of Silverdale’s urban growth area. He also wants the council to begin thinking about easing transportation in and out of Silverdale.Another council member, Natalie Bryson, is particularly interested in discussing transportation issues. She chairs the Community Council’s transportation committee.“There’s a real lack of places for people to park and ride in Central Kitsap. There are park and rides in other parts of the county,” Bryson said.Council member Carl Tonge named environmental issues his top priority, adding that they should avoid getting caught in minutia.“I think we really should be working on larger-picture things, and I think we should get back to that,” Tonge said.All the council members said they are happy to have the first year – and all the requisite organizational work – under their collective belt.“I think the real test of the Community Council is going to be in its second year,” Wilson said.The Community Council is scheduled to begin that second year when it meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11 at the County Meeting room in the Eagles Nest building on Fairgrounds Road."

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