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Lent claims she had a plan

Embattled Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent on Thursday called a published report that she had changed her stance on impact fees “premature.”

Lent was said to have reversed her position on a recent vote for impact fees. Lent and Chris Endresen voted last month to raise impact fees on new construction for the first time since 1992; South Kitsap’s Jan Angel was the only vote against fee hikes.

The new fees aren’t slated to go into effect until July 2004, and Lent has been saying publicly she hoped an alternative method for gathering funds could be found before then.

But has Lent changed her mind on her impact fees vote? Not so fast, she said.

“It’s premature (to think I have) until the funding mechanism is in place. And the entire board has to vote on where the money is coming from.”

Both her fellow commissioners Endresen and Angel are out of town. The next commissioner’s meeting is slated for July 28.

Lent met last week with a group of real estate officials, builders and other interested parties to explain her position.

She also met with the county’s Republican Party board two weeks ago.

Republican officials had said they felt betrayed by Lent’s vote in favor of impact fees. She had campaigned against such revenue increases.

“Growth is good,” Lent said Thursday. “When they say impact fees are bad ... well, we have to balance the two.”

Lent declined to comment about her personal feelings.

She has taken heat from supporters and her own party over the past two weeks since voting to increase impact fees on an incremental basis through 2007.

“But,” Lent offered, “we did have a positive meeting. We are all interested in and talking about county government and that’s a good thing.”

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