27 October 2021 City Council Study Session

First Public Hearing on Budget is Nov 3. The workshops are all happening right now, you can review the first two presentations at https://www.bremertonwa.gov/1267/2022-Proposed-Annual-Budget. Final Budget Workshop is Nov 1.

Zero increases to utilities in 2022! Except General Utilities charge, which is codified to rise 2.7%. Why? ARPA paid for capital improvements AND City did a dynamite job getting super low-interest loans. Yay City!

Lodging Tax Advisory Committee made recommendations on which groups should get $$. Conference Center gets their dedicated $250K. I still don’t understand why City keeps funding Conference Ctr – shouldn’t it be paying for itself by now? Admiral Theatre gets its dedicated $150K. So there’s only $200K for various arts and tourism groups.

Gorman notes that meetings have been getting MUCH longer. As I’ve been saying for months. He notes that this is because so many items that would have been on Consent Agenda in the past have been moved to General Business, requiring second complete presentation of many items where majority of Council has already indicated approval. He suggests that current protocol – only one voice needed to move item to General Business – be amended to require a second vote before items moved to General Business. Simpson, the Councilor who almost inevitably does this, says the minority voice is important and it should be heard. It’s pretty late by this time, no one has the oomph to discuss this. Younger proposes that rules and procedures be discussed at some future study session, perhaps a future 5th Wednesday. Council agrees and moves on.

I missed the first 5 items on the Agenda. It’s recorded on City website. I will be back on the job for Nov 3rd meeting.

A. BRIEFINGS on AGENDA BILL ITEMS

1. Public Works Agreement for Residential Electrical Service Modifications at E 11th & Perry Ave

2. Ordinance amending Section 9.10.020 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Eligibility Qualifications” regarding the Tow Truck Roster

3. Ordinance amending Chapter 7.12 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Dangerous Animals”

4. Ordinance amending Chapter 5.36 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Special Events”

5. Proposed Public Hearing on Revenue Sources for the 2022 City of Bremerton Budget

6. Ordinance to amend and re-establish City Rates & Fees for 2022
Mike Riley presents. Various miscellaneous fees will be changed, various dept heads are present to answer questions Council might have.
Dennehy – audiobook fees – what member of the public wants this? What is it? What’s it for? Finnell says it’s for reasonable accommodation. Simpson asks about $3700 fee for cable. He thinks we’re undervaluing, need to compare to other municipalities. Moved to General Business.

7. Ordinance to amend and re-establish Utility Assessments, Rates, Fees, and Charges for 2022

Mike Riley presents w/ Knuckey. 0% increases for water, wastewater, & stormwater utilities. Only increase is General Utilities charge which is codified to match the CCI index, whatever that is, & will be increased thus by around 2.7%. Sullivan asks why we’re freezing rates this year (and last year) when we know that huge wastewater increases are coming down the pike. Riley says ARPA funded capital improvements, e.g., stormwater reserve fund, to an extent that we can honestly say we don’t need to ask for an increase. City was very successful in getting low-interest loans. Knuckey will present all of this at Public Works Committee on 10/28. Simpson says reduce flat rate for senior discount, as it went up 5% Moved to General Business.

8. Acceptance of Lodging Tax Advisory Committee’s 2022 Funding Recommendations

Michael Goodnow presents. $600K total to be allocated from lodging tax revenues. $150K dedicated to Admiral. $250K dedicated to Kitsap Conference Ctr. So there’s only $200K left to allocate among all the other groups. All the usual suspects get about their usual amounts. Dennehy asks about Historic Ships – Gorman says, this is the USS Turner Joy. Younger asks about Navy Museum, he’s never seen them before, why are they suddenly asking for $$? Goodnow says it’s the local volunteers, to help their operations. Simpson commends everybody. He talks about Turner Joy. He likes it. Gorman wonders why Experience Kitsap was awarded $0 in 2020 and again in 2021. Goodnow says their project is to create 2 videos, which didn’t resonate with the committee. And they weren’t collaborating with anybody on this. So they got $0 once again. Moved to Consent Agenda, per Simpson. Finnell says that since these are quite a number of community organizations, why not move it to General Business so people have a clearly stated opportunity to comment. Moved to General Business, upon reflection, by Younger after hearing Finnell’s objection.

B. GENERAL COUNCIL BUSINESS

  • Race Equity Advisory Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Leslie Daugs

Goodnow presents in Daug’s absence. Kitsap Co Human Rights Council attended. Puget Sound Regional Council on some of the projects they’re working on. KMH also presented. Poulsbo REAC presented, and Bainbridge Island REAC would like to collaborate in future, too.

  • o Public Works Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Eric Younger

Little on the agenda. Discussions on Plant Sluice Gates, wastewater, Northlake Way pressure reducing valve relocation project. No questions from Council.

  • o Other General Council Business

Younger mentions that we’re not tied to making changes on Monday to the budget. He’s giving Finance a homework assignment – he wants to know how many businesses are subject to B&O tax, how many do not pay any B&O because they’re below exemption limit of $240K, and how many would be exempt if the exemption was $400K, $500K, and $1M. Historically, when B&O exemption is raised by $20K, the city loses $50K. Gorman – Council Rules & Procedures, make changes, add requirements to clean up language, and Gorman notes that meetings have been getting longer because when one person demands that any given item be put on General Business, it makes meetings longer, so he proposes that such objections be required to be seconded. Simpson says he likes it just the way it is. The minority voice is important, and it should be heard. He is the reason meetings have been getting longer. He wants so many, many agenda items moved to General Business. Younger says yes, we should look at the rules and procedures, but not right now, on the fly, let’s schedule it for some future 5th Wednesday. Gorman asks about homeless encampment on MLK near 6th St, Mayor says once the jails opened up to release many people so they wouldn’t get Covid and die, some chose to move on, all were warned, some were incarcerated. I believe his point was that the encampment is now gone, but I am so exhausted that, readers, you may well want to check me on this.

  • C. ADJOURNMENT OF STUDY SESSION
  • D. EXEMPT CLOSED SESSION

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