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Bozeman: I can bring the bucks

To mayoral candidate Cary Bozeman, the future of Bremerton is about two people.

The man or woman at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard who earns $42,000 a year, but who Bozeman claims is not spending it in Bremerton.

Secondly, the man or woman elsewhere in the state with deep financial pockets that Bozeman wants to see emptied here.

“I will ask those (PSNS) employees what it is we have not been offering to them that they need to have to be spending money here, to be investing here, to be buying homes here,” Bozeman said.

Then Bozeman would move on developer contacts he has fostered in years of working in Seattle and Bellevue.

“I will urge those people to invest in Bremerton,” Bozeman said. “I think we are the best value in the state right now. I have contacts with almost every major developer in King County and every major developer in the state. I will bring these people over here and tell them the city of Bremerton is willing to work with them. We are willing to put some packages together. We are willing to work with them on zoning issues and on permit issues.”

Bozeman said economic development should be the new mayor’s number one task.

“We can’t do anything without money. We can’t do anything unless we raise the tax base and attract private capital,” he said.

Bozeman said constantly looking at taxpayers to bail Bremerton out of its financial doldrums would end under his leadership.

“We cannot continue to depend on public money to reenergize this city,” he said.

Bozeman recently presented a 10-point “economic stimulus package” to the editorial board of The Bremerton Patriot. it includes:

1. Establish an “economic roundtable” from all walks of life in Bremerton to meet monthly to talk about fiscal issues.

2. Create a marketing plan that emphasizes affordable housing.

3. Hire an “economic development specialist” for the city.

4. Develop a training program for entrepreneurial business people. “People that want to start a new business, but don’t know how.”

5. Create a business inventory map for the city — “a software package.”

6. Establish a business recruitment and retention team.

7. Fund a team to work on technology. “We’re in good shape here, but still have a ways to go.”

8. Bring down utility costs. “We are competitive on water, but power looks like it will be going up and sewer is a nightmare.”

9. Try to become a community that can attract a diverse employment base. “If you want to be a global economy, where you are attracting Japanese money, or Asian money, you’ve got to be a community where employers believe their employees are going to be comfortable in our community.”

10. Provide educational opportunities.

Bozeman said he will improve relations with Navy officials and rank and file sailors in Bremerton.

“Why do the 5,000 guys who come in here on a ship every six months want to go somewhere else?” Bozeman asks. “They go to Poulsbo and they go to Seattle. They hate Bremerton. We know that, because the ship (USS Abraham Lincoln) that came in here from Everett, they chose to get bused all the way back to Everett instead of staying here in Bremerton. To me, if we are a Navy town, let’s act like a Navy town. Let’s develop some places, a district, where Navy people are going to feel comfortable. That doesn’t have to mean porn shops and bad bars.”

Bozeman said he is on record as being for the city/county government center.

He said he is also for the waterfront conference center for downtown Bremerton, that is currently under consideration for funding by the Public Facilities District.

Bozeman is on the PFD board that is currently deciding where up to $11.5 million in tax rebates will be spent on a project of benefit Kitsap County residents.

Though the upgrade of athletic facilities at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds seems to be gaining momentum with the PFD, Bozeman said the conference center is not off the PFD’s radar screen.

“It could be the catalyst for changing things here. We have a unique location in that it’s right off the ferry that connects to two million people on the other side. We do have problems in that the city right now has not identified a maintenance and operations revenue stream to support operating losses. It’s a three-legged financial stool that is very shaky right now. But there are some of us who believe, because it is a unique location, that it deserves a full financial hearing.”

The PFD has given the city of Bremerton about 90 days to show how the conference center will be financially viable.

If not, Bozeman said, the PFD will move on and approve the Fairgrounds project, or perhaps a conference center at McCormick Woods in South Kitsap.

“The PFD does not want to be the deep pockets for this thing. We can’t be,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bozeman said the future of Bremerton is about an attitude adjustment.

“This community has had low self-esteem for a long time. I don’t think it has been a community that has had a can-do attitude. I will bring that. That will start permeating through the employees of City Hall, second of all, to the business community, and third of all, to the rest of the world that might be looking at us as an opportunity.”

It’s obvious Bozeman has a grand plan for Bremerton, which he claims can make Kitsap County’s largest community “a great city” again.

“We can take a place among the better cities in this state,” Bozeman said. “I think there are two cities in the last census that lost population. We were one of them and the other was Aberdeen. I understand Aberdeen, but I do not understand Bremerton.”

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