County wants to pump up stormwater assessments to $61

Even as each major storm unleashes vertitable floodgates, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners on Monday again deferred imposing an additional $16 assessment of the annual Stormwater and Surface Management Program fee until its April 26 meeting.

Currently, each parcel is assessed a $45 fee.

The matter was previously deferred from a March 23 public meeting, at which time the commissioners said they needed more time to deliberate.

The commissioners, in turn, instructed the staff to find places to cut in order to pay for the increase.

“Every time there’s a storm, our phone rings off the hook,” Commissioner Jan Angel said at the beginning of a discussion that followed additional public testimony. “This fee is the only place we have to go.”

After some discussion, she agreed with Commissioner Patty Lent, who said, “I don’t think we’re prepared to make a decision on this today.”

“We haven’t had an adjustment since 1994,” Angel noted. “That’s what’s what gotten us in this boat to begin with. If we could have put through some gradual adjustments it would have been different. But with inflation, you can’t go 10 years without an adjustment.”

Angel soon added she “hated to see this on the back of the citizens” before issuing the challenge to seek cuts in other areas.

Public criticism was vehement, contributing to the decision to once again table the vote.

“The government is ‘nickel-and-dimeing’ us to death. This is not a fee, it’s a tax,” Allen Miller said. “We don’t need to have a solution that’s looking for problems to solve.”

“What you’re doing is driving voters into Tim Eyman’s arms,” said Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPO) president Tim Matthes. “When his next initiative passes, I will be here to say, ‘I told you so.’ ”

“Before or after your driveway floods?” Angel replied.

“It’s not popular to raise taxes, but it’s part of our job,” Commissioner Chris Endresen said. “But no one is going to just drop us this money. And I call this a fee because when it is collected, it goes directly to stormwater management and isn’t used for anything else.

“With water conservation, it’s a lot cheaper to pay in advance than to clean up pollution later.”

Vivian Henderson. executive director of the KAPO, said the initial $45 “made sense and wasn’t a lot of money. But we need to examine whether or not this increase is in the best interest of property owners.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates