"PFD has first meeting, requests staff help"

"Another step toward acquiring public facilities for the county was taken Oct. 2 at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Pavilion. The first meeting of the board of directors of the new Public Facilities District brought six of the seven members together for the first time for a round-table discussion on the future and vision of the PFD. I was really impressed with the quality of the members that wound up being appointed, said Rick Smith, the district 3 (Central Kitsap) representative.Discussion at the meeting revolved around what the PFD has the power to do and what it hopes to accomplish. Members shared personal experiences from working on other groups and what facilities they have seen communities build. A multiple use facility, an indoor soccer field and an ice skating rink were a few of the ideas presented.The group also talked about where and how it can raise money. Smith estimated a one-tenth of a percent sales tax hike could raise as much as $1 million a year for 20 years.Donna Gross of Port Orchard noted, however, that South Kitsap will not be eager to pass any new taxes. She said recent school levy failures indicate that South Kitsap would be reluctant to shell out more money, especially for a facility that might be located in the central or northern part of the county. The group also heard cost-cutting tips from Mike Burgwin, who chaired the Multiple Use of Public Resources Group, which studied how to expand availability and use of existing facilities. Burgwin said schools and fire stations should be available for use by the community at large. The group discussed the possibility of the Olympic and North Kitsap high school pools being brought under the control of the PFD for the sake of community-wide use.There is a lot of overlap in the community, Burgwin said. We don't want people paying twice for the same thing. The group split into budget and planning subcommittees. The budget group consists of Smith, Barry Cook of Bremerton and Andy Maron of Bainbridge Island. They hope to get money from the county commissioners as soon as possible in order to hire a staff.Interviewed after the meeting, County Commissioner Chris Endresen said now is the time to ask for money from the county. She said the commissioners are about 60 percent through planning next year's budget and hope to have it approved by December.Even though the timing is right, there's no guarantee the PFD will get any money.When they started we told them they're were going to be on their own, Endresen said. The budget is pretty darn tight.Endresen wouldn't speculate on how much the county could give the PFD, but said if they could get some support from another taxing district, their chances of getting help would be better. The planning group, which consists of Gross, Linda Berry-Maraist of Poulsbo and Cary Bozeman of South Kitsap, hopes to find out what projects the county will support and where they would like them to be. Facilities ranging from an ice rink to a community center all have been suggested, but everything remains tentative until further meetings.We want to make sure we're having a balance throughout the county, Smith said.The Public Facilities District was empaneled by the Kitsap County Commissioners on July 24. The seven-member board was appointed to build, operate and acquire public facilities in Kitsap County. The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Pavilion. "

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