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The Bremerton City Council reduction measure has passed by a rather large margin. Bremerton voters have chosen to have a smaller number of elected officials in place that will represent them going forward.
Over the past several years the forming of neighborhood and business districts by the residents of Bremerton have proven that citizens of this community are more than willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work necessary to help themselves, to help their neighborhood and to help their city.
Given the right opportunities, citizens will come forward to serve.
Current economic conditions at the federal and state levels have created a budget climate at the city level that is very bleak. Collectively we are past the point of Band-Aids. We are past the point of worrying about pride and hurt feelings.
What we as a community need to decide is how much we are willing to pay and what specific services, operational efficiency and quality stewardship we expect to receive in return for every dollar we contribute.
Concessions will need to be made in every department at every level of the city. Several suggestions will not be popular or have never been implemented before and many ideas will come under attack by those who put a continuation of the status quo above what would be the healthiest changes for everyone in the long term.
In the coming weeks there will be various budget and operational or council district meetings held in a town hall style format. Several council members will be making themselves available as well as many department heads and high ranking city employees at these meetings.
Participation from citizens needs to be very high. A considerable amount of information will be released and or made available and knowledge is power.
At some point a citizen budget and operations committee needs to be conveyed and established. Only a limited amount of perspective can be given by those operating on the inside who have personal livelihoods that will be impacted sooner rather than later. That is why a diverse variety of stakeholders is necessary for long term, community accepted, viable solutions.
I urge all Bremerton citizens to embrace these coming opportunities. Information about budget and district meetings is always posted in advance on the city website. This is a chance to join with other Bremerton residents, have a voice and have more of a direct influence over making sure that our city government exists to serve its members first and foremost before it looks to serve itself.