Incorporation talks rumble within the Silverdale Chamber

Talk of incorporating Silverdale into a city has surfaced at recent Silverdale Chamber of Commerce meetings, according to Executive Director Darla Murker.

Rumblings date back to last year when the chamber decided to make incorporation a discussion item, weighing out the pros and cons of such a process, and when the idea received little resistance, a task force was erected and the chamber issued an incorporation survey to gauge peoples' interest on the topic.

Murker called the survey "really, really basic" and said it was designed simply to "put our toe in the water."

Survey-takers generally welcomed the notion of incorporation and said the chamber should play a role in the process without becoming the driver, according to Murker.

"Really, what we wanted to do was gauge interest," she said. "There wasn't one person who adamantly opposed the idea."

Consequently, the county outlined a two-phase project that will analyze the revenues and expenditures of local urban growth areas (UGA) and prepare a financial analysis of the potential incorporation of Silverdale.

At a meeting July 31, Kitsap County Special Projects Manager Eric Baker presented the plan in an 18-page outline to Murker and Kitsap Public Facilities District Executive Director Mike Walton. Special Projects Planner Angie Silva also attended.

"The purpose of this project is to prepare a revenue and expenditure analysis of UGAs in Kitsap County during Phase 1, and to prepare a financial analysis of the potential incorporation of a city of Silverdale during Phase 2," according to the outline.

The outline states that the Phase 1 fiscal analysis, scheduled to be completed around March 2009, will look at UGA's in terms of project organization, drivers, metrics and data sources, revenue, costs of services, cost of facilities and level of services.

"We want the most accurate set of numbers possible," Baker said at the meeting.

Based on the findings of Phase 1, Phase 2 will begin shortly thereafter and run through November 2009. The process for managing the project will be established and a list of "comparable cities" will be established for the county to study against Silverdale.

"What we're looking to do in 2009 is test our model against a city," Baker said.

The process remains in its earliest stages and public participation will factor into how the process unfolds, Baker said.

"This process is not a pro- or anti-incorporation movement," he added.

As for the chamber, Murker said it wants to be an information-provider and not a leader in the process.

"I see the chamber being an information source," she said. "We've actually set up a bulletin board to post (incorporation) information.

"We're in that proverbial wait-and-see period. As more information is put out, it will create a bigger buzz in the community."

Murker said the public needs to be informed and the chamber wants what's best for Silverdale.

"Regardless of the side you're on, people need to be informed," she said. "It's all about the future of Silverdale."

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