County puts breaks on arts ordinance

"The Kitsap County Commissioners decided Monday, June 11, to wait another month before voting on a proposed arts ordinance designed to boost the local arts industry and beautify county projects.Commissioner Chris Endresen said the board will revisit the proposal July 16, after county staff has addressed a flurry of concerns raised by wary residents.One percent of the total cost of a capital improvement project is an awesome amount of money, to allocate for a public arts program, said Vivian Henderson, a representative of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners. I don't want this (ordinance) to be a part of my tax burden, she said.The proposed arts ordinance requires all Kitsap County Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects to include funding for public artwork, according to Kitsap County Administrator Malcolm Fleming.One percent of the cost of all capital improvement projects would be devoted to art, which officials estimate would mean about $130,000 per year.Commissioner Tim Botkin asked county staff to revisit that estimate over the next month to ensure its accuracy. For some of those who testified Monday, the exact dollar amount was irrelevent.I don't object to an arts commission going out to get private donations and using those donations to purchase art, but don't take a penny of my tax money, Silverdale resident Robert Messinger told the commissioners.North Kitsap resident Scott Henden, who ran for commissioner against Endresen last year, worried the ordinance would send the wrong message to taxpayers.The issue isn't about art, he said. I'm worried about the cumulative effect on residents.Central Kitsap resident Bob Dietz said the arts are integral to the identity of any community, and Illahee resident Judith Krigsman agreed.Although Port Orchard residents Kathy and Gil Micheal said they support the arts, they aren't so certain Kitsap County tax dollars should be involved.Projects subject to the ordinance would include new or remodeled buildings, structures, parks, streets, sidewalks and parking lots.The ordinance also would create a nine-member arts board, appointed by the commissioners. The board would establish criteria for selection of artwork and make recommendations to the commissioners about artists or works. The board also would pursue private donations or funds. "

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