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Port staff meets with locals to answer questions

At the Givens Community Center Tuesday night, Port of Bremerton Chief Executive Officer Cary Bozeman shared his vision and enthusiasm for his organization’s future with some skeptical residents.

“I’m very excited and I’m certain we have the potential to hit a home run here, as far as bringing companies into the area,” Bozeman said, addressing about 30 people who came to learn more about the port and have their questions answered.

One of those audience members was McCormick Woods resident Dick Davis, who said many residents of that area, which is in close proximity to the port-owned Bremerton National Airport, were very concerned about Bozeman’s often-expressed desire to bring commuter airline service to the airport.

“That may be a blessing for some, but it is a potential disaster for those of us who like to keep our windows open at night and will hear planes flying over,” Davis said. “How far along are you in discussions and how can we residents be involved? This will be huge for us in terms of property values.”

Bozeman said he did not expect to have commuter service operating in the next decade.

“There is nothing concrete we’re moving ahead with in the near future, but it is in our long-range plan and we will certainly have lots of citizen input in that,” Bozeman said. “There’s no question we have the potential to add commuter service to the airport, but we’re not going to see anything to that effect in the next 10 to 12 years. We understand the potential impacts and we are very sensitive to that.”

South Kitsap resident Roger Gay asked how Bozeman could justify buying a pair of $100,000 “floating restrooms for the Port Orchard and Bremerton marinas, adding “the current restrooms seem adequate.”

Marine facilities director Steve Slaton said the idea for purchasing restrooms came from customer requests.

“It also removes the temptation to, shall we say, ‘spoil the environment,’” Slaton said, referring to boaters relieving themselves outside.

Bozeman added that 75 percent — $75,000 — of the cost of each bathroom was being paid for by a grant, but Commissioner Larry Stokes said that did not justify buying them.

“I’m not in favor of the floating restrooms,” Stokes said, saying that although a grant may cover most of the purchase cost, he was still concerned about the ongoing costs. “You have to think about the maintenance and upkeep. That’s where I draw my opinion, but I’m only one of three.”

Another audience member asked about the new marketing position included in the port’s 2010 preliminary budget, whether it was a “done deal” and if the $65,000 salary included benefits.

Bozeman said it “was not a done deal,” since the budget had not yet been approved, and the position would pay a $65,000 salary with a $15,000 benefits package, totaling $80,000.

“We are in a very competitive market — we are competing with Seattle, Tacoma and Bellingham,” Bozeman said. “We need to find companies that want to move here.”

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