"Endresen and Botkin yes, Angel no on government center"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:29 AM
"The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners voted Monday, May 21, to continue planning - and start spending - for a $33 million downtown Bremerton joint government center.Commissioners Tim Botkin of Central Kitsap and Chris Endresen of North Kitsap voted to allow the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority (KCCHA) to spend up to $400,000 on building design and to investigate land acquisition. Commissioner Jan Angel, whose South Kitsap district could be negatively impacted by moving 254 county jobs from Port Orchard to Bremerton, voted against the measure. The county is liable for 80 percent of the bill under the contract, with Bremerton and the KCCHA splitting remaining costs.At Botkin's suggestion, the commissioners decided to delay acquiring land for the city/county building for 30 days. Botkin said the breather gives Kitsap County and Port Orchard officials more time to resolve economic concerns. I firmly believe we can mitigate the (economic) impact on Port Orchard, Botkin said, and I believe Port Orchard will benefit just as much as the rest of the county.Angel said too many unanswered questions remain to warrant moving forward with the government center.Angel issued a statement to citizens who attended the commissioners meeting detailing why she voted against the contract.At the outset, I want to say that I am not against Bremerton revitalization, Angel said. I truly want to see our largest city revived.But Angel said she wants answers to several questions, such as the legality of moving 254 jobs from Port Orchard to Bremerton.Does this plan constitute moving the county seat? she wondered.Angel also worried about the lack of parking in downtown Bremerton, traffic congestion, and cost of the new building. She wondered if another project, such as a convention center, wouldn't better serve Bremerton and the county.But her vote wasn't enough to delay the second phase of planning efforts.This is not the final decision, Botkin said. This is just a more specific investigation of the very issues raised by Commissioner Angel. Botkin said if the county doesn't move forward with phase II, those key questions, such as what to do about parking and traffic, won't be answered.Before casting his vote, however, Botkin argued the relocation of 254 jobs wouldn't mean removal of the county seat from Port Orchard. We would be against moving the county seat, he said.Botkin and Endresen said county services must grow at the same rate county population does. County government is in need of approximately 70,000 square feet of additional office space, which would be expensive no matter where such a project was completed. "