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CenCom Sales tax OKed for April ballot

It looks like the county’s 911 Central Communications (CenCom) will have a tax proposal on the April ballot.

The Kitsap County commissioners unanimously approved placing a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax request on a special, mail-in only ballot this April 22 on behalf of CenCom, the county’s 911 emergency dispatch agency.

CenCom director Ron McAffee says the sales tax proposal follows closely on the heels of voters’ sentiment.

“The voters have wanted us to find a more equitable way of funding 911 services in Kitsap County,” he said.

Supporters say the sales tax — not property taxes — is much more fair.

“This way, even the crooks will help pay for 911 if they actually purchase something,” McAffee said, causing a ripple of laughter throughout the county commissioners’ chambers on Monday, Feb. 24.

The sales tax proposal is expected to eliminate three years of the 911 property tax approved by voters in the fall of 2001. Voters approved the additional 16 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to build a new 911 center in West Bremerton.

If the sales tax increase is approved, the remaining property tax for 2004, 2005 and 2006 would be removed, and it would pay for the remaining $7.5 million to $8 million still owed on the new 911 building.

Once the new 911 center is paid for, emergency officials say the sales tax would provide a continued funding source for 911 services in the county, thereby freeing up revenues among its user agencies including the cities and the county.

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