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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 theres 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 dont think were prepared to make a decision on this today.
We havent had an adjustment since 1994, Angel noted. Thats whats 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 cant 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, its a tax, Allen Miller said. We dont need to have a solution thats looking for problems to solve.
What youre doing is driving voters into Tim Eymans 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.
Its not popular to raise taxes, but its 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 isnt used for anything else.
With water conservation, its 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 wasnt a lot of money. But we need to examine whether or not this increase is in the best interest of property owners.