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Parking permit issue remains undecided

Bremerton residents may not have to worry about paying for parking permits after all.

The issue was tabled at the Dec. 18 City Council meeting because several Council members felt the ordinance needed to be looked into further before making a decision.

“This issue requires more study,” said Council member Mike Short, adding that he might vote to pass the ordinance in the future.

If the ordinance does pass someday, it will require Bremerton residents who live on streets with time restricted parking to pay $1 a month for a parking permit. Currently residents can receive these passes free from City Hall.

Council member Cecil McConnell said he voted yes to tabling the issue not because of the fee, but because of the many loopholes in the new ordinance.

Not all council members agreed the issue should be tabled, however.

Council member Eric Younger said he voted no on the motion because at the last meeting the Council passed the 2003 budget, which included $25,000 in revenue from the parking fees. Younger said he felt it was irresponsible to leave that large of a hole in the budget.

“We’ve lasted one whole week with a balanced budget,” Younger said.

Council member Daren Nygren agreed with Younger and also voted no to table the ordinance.

“I don’t think it’s the proper way to do business, leaving a $25,000 hole in the budget,” Nygren said.

The Council did pass four other ordinances that could have affected the 2003 budget. All four ordinances had to do with business and occupation taxes, including one requiring landlords to obtain a business permit and pay the $55 fee for the permit.

Landlord Jerry Vanfussen said he was against the ordinance because the cost will go to tenants and he said it would discourage people from investing in Bremerton.

“As a city you probably want to encourage people to invest in the city and not discourage them,” Vanfussen said. “Making them pay more money will discourage them.”

Bremerton resident Allen Shute said he agreed with the ordinance because it will help the city clean up after “slumlords.”

The Council voted to pass the issue unanimously.

“Anyone who is making a profit has a business,” Council member Wayne Olsen said.

Because of the upcoming holiday the Bremerton City Council will be meeting on Dec. 23 instead of Dec. 25 in their chambers. The meeting will not be televised.

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