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PFD weighs criteria for selecting projects

"As members of the Public Facilities District (PFD) grappled with the criteria they would use to decide which of the proposed regional centers they would fund, economic benefits and enhanced recreational opportunities seemed to rise to the top of the list.I think that's an element we need to consider - the potential for economic growth based on the project, said Andrew Maron, representative from Bainbridge Island. McCormick Land Co., the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce and the City of Bremerton have proposed building conference centers, and the Kitsap County Fairgrounds has proposed improvements including installing artificial turf and a new stage in Thunderbird Stadium, improving ball fields and adding new equestrian facilities.Gregory Easton of Property Counselors and Andrew Olsen of the Chambers Group, Inc., have been hired by the PFD at $175 an hour to help create evaluation criteria, and they presented their initial findings at the July 30 meeting.They divided evaluation criteria into two parts - preliminary criteria and a second set of more specific, more objective qualifying factors.Economic factors absorbed much of the discussion. It seems to me that if you go to the extreme and say (it should serve) Kitsap County residents, three of the proposals will fall off the list, said Zoltán Szigethy, executive director of the Kitsap Regional Economic Development Council and a recently appointed PFD consultant. He urged the board to expand the economic benefit criteria into three parts - the short-term benefits of the construction, the long-term benefits, including the number of jobs created, and secondary or indirect jobs created by the facility.The creation of new recreational opportunities, which Kitsap County residents repeatedly asked for during public input sessions, also was discussed as a priority.The support of recreational facilities was not included (in the criteria) and I think it should be - although this is difficult because we have three apples and an orange ... said Linda Berry-Maraist, a representative from Poulsbo.The board contemplated how involved it wants to be with the planning, construction and management of the facility, and members toyed with the idea of having their own project manager on site. Cary Bozeman and Rick Smith expressed concerned about protecting the board in the case of cost overruns.I'd like to see a guard so the Public Facilities District is not responsible for losses during construction or operation, said Smith, board president.The money the four agencies are competing for is a .033 sales tax rebate permitted though RCW 35.57. To qualify for the rebate, the facility must serve a regional population and cost at least $10 million, including debt service. One-third of the total cost of the facility must be matched by the agency proposing the project, and construction of the facility must commence before 2003. The money is a refund of sales tax revenue collected by the state, and no new taxes are levied. "

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