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County seeks input on 2002 budget

"In a new twist on a perennial exercise, Kitsap County officials actively are seeking input from citizens to help shape the 2002 county budget before its expected adoption this winter.We are trying to help citizens who want to proactively tell us what they want in the budget, rather than only giving them a chance to react to the final proposed budget when it is ready for adoption in December, County Administrator Malcolm Fleming said.The first step was a public comment period conducted during the Kitsap County Commissioners' regular meeting Monday, July 2. Bremerton resident Jean Bulette urged the Commissioners to encourage activity along the Bremerton waterfront.I recently attended a senior trip to the Fisherman's Wharf (in San Francisco) with my daughter, Bulette said. There were bumper cars, shops, arcades, food courts, a merry-go-round. There was something for everyone, including putt-putt golf. There's no reason why we can't do that here.Bulette said she's not against the development of a government center near Bremerton's waterfront in the future, but wanted to lobby in favor of other uses as well. Multiple uses, if shaped properly, can encourage tourism, trade and visitors from across the county to Bremerton's waterfront, she said.Zoltan Szigethy, executive director of the Kitsap Regional Economic Development Council, urged the commissioners to set aside funds to market Kitsap County to outside businesses and trade. Kitsap hasn't done enough marketing, he said.Szigethy also asked the commissioners to stay the course by promoting social and physical infrastructure, including additional telecommunications capacity, and supporting the ferry system and a second Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Health care services and educational opportunities also should be supported and expanded, he said, especially if Kitsap is to continue providing a trained and healthy workforce.Kitsap Public Facilities District chairman Rick Smith called for expansion of tournament-quality recreational centers, which could attract tourism and generate revenue. Smith also asked the commissioners to consider expanding the county's trails and regional parks.Silverdale resident John Norris, who jokingly referred to himself as a representative of the Kitsap Alliance of Naysayers, asked for efficiency, and argued against the proposed 1 Percent for Arts Ordinance. The commissioners are planning eight more buget hearings between now and December. A schedule is available at the county Web site (www.wa.gov/kitsap) or by calling the commissioners' office at 337-7146. "

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