News

Maupin retains council presidency

By CHARLES MELTON

Editor

By a one-vote margin, Bremerton City Councilman Will Maupin retained his position as council president Wednesday night, while Councilwoman Dianne Robinson was elected to her first term as council vice president.

The nine council members chose between Maupin and fellow Councilman Brad Gehring and as the votes were announced Maupin garnered just enough support to serve a second consecutive term as council president.

Councilmen Nick Wofford, Adam Brockus and Mike Shepherd joined Councilwoman Carol Arends in re-electing Maupin, while Gehring’s candidacy was supported by Councilman Cecil McConnell, Robinson and newly elected Councilman Roy Runyon.

Robinson, on the other hand, received unanimous support in her bid to serve as the council vice president.

One of the most important duties of the council president is assigning council members to the various council, city and regional committees, but it isn’t as easy as it might sound, Maupin said.

“I’ve tried my best to give everyone an important job, but one of the things I’ve learned is that you’re not going to make everyone happy,” he said.

That was but one lesson Maupin said he learned during his first stint as council president and as 2008 swings into high gear, the annual council retreat is going to be an important part of getting things done.

“We’re going to try to make the council retreat more in-depth and try to begin focusing on 2009,” he said.

With the adoption of the city’s 2008 budget in December, the city’s work plan for the coming year is pretty much set, so any new issues that come up during the year will most likely end up in the 2009 budget, he said.

In 2007, the council made significant progress in achieving its priorities highlighted by the adoption of the downtown subarea plan, the citywide parks and open space plan and the citywide non-motorized transportation plan at the end of the year, he said.

This year the focus will be on finding a way to fund street improvements with the most likely financial source coming from a $20 motor vehicle excise tax increase, he said.

“We have to be careful with that, because we don’t want to be in the same position as the port (Port of Bremerton) where we adopt a fee increase and get criticized later,” he said.

In February 2007, the Port of Bremerton commissioners approved a six-year property tax increase without voter approval to fund the Bremerton marina project, which led to a strong public outcry about the action.

The city council can’t begin working on the car tab increase issue until February at the earliest, so Maupin said while it is a priority for 2008, no action has been taken in that direction yet.

“We don’t have a recommendation from the administration and the council hasn’t really discussed it yet,” Maupin said.

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