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Kitsap County to study costs tied to Silverdale incorporation

Kitsap County officials are hoping an upcoming study on the cost of providing services in local urban growth areas (UGAs) will provide a foundation for future incorporation discussions.

The study will analyze urban services in all 10 of the county’s UGAs including Central Kitsap and Silverdale. The report will focus on sheriff’s services, roads, parks, sewers and various other government social services.

“The next step is to get a handle on what the revenues and expenditures are for each UGA and what does it take to serve it with urban services,” said Eric Baker, special project planner for the county, who presented information on the impending study at Wednesday night’s Central Kitsap Community Council meeting.

The Board of County Commissioners will be putting together a task force for the study. A group Baker described as “key community members to help provide baseline data.” He stressed that the group will not act as an incorporation task force, rather provide a model that will give the community the ability to have discussions they can attribute numbers to.

“We’re trying to figure out what’s the cost of urban services and what’s the difference between the UGAs,” Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown explained. “We’re trying to get the facts out there in front of folks so we can do the right thing for the community.”

The study is expected to begin within the next 30 days and will look at all 10 UGAs. The first phase will continue through January 2009 and will look at Silverdale from a county perspective. The second phase is expected to begin in February 2009 and will look at Silverdale from comparable city perspectives.

“We’re going to take a look at expenditures not just today, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now and measure it against revenue generated from taxes: property and excise,” Baker said. “We’ll balance the two and hopefully we’re not in a situation where they’re aimed at each other or where they’ve crossed.”

Joyce Merkel, a property owner in Old Town Silverdale, questioned how incorporation would affect her and other property owners regarding a shift from county services to city services and the costs associated with that transition.

“What’s this going to cost me?,” she questioned. “I can’t seem to find that answer.”

Baker explained that the study will provide baseline information on a variety of factors including revenue and government options.

“This will provide pros and cons ... and significantly more information than is available,” he said.

Early next year, county officials will begin selecting those who would like to participate in the study. Those interested can contact Baker at ebaker@co.kitsap.wa.us or Angie Silva at asilva@co.kitsap.wa.us.

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