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Council eyes vote

To vote or not to vote? That is the question.

The Bremerton City Council will decide in the next few weeks, based on a recommendation by City Attorney Roger Lubovich, whether or not to send a vote on the tunnel project to the people.

According to Lubovich, the vote would provide input to the Department of Transportation (DOT) about how the public feels about the project, but it would not be a decision.

On July 13, the Washington State Department of Transportation Department Secretary Douglas MacDonald sent a letter to Mayor Cary Bozeman and City Council President Daren Nygren stating they were taking over control on the project.

Now any City Council action may be moot.

“That’s how I’m reading this,” said Lubovich in his office on Thursday morning.

“If the state has taken over this project like they say they have, the City has no decision. We’ll provide input but it’s their decision.”

On Friday, July 23, the Kitsap County Auditor’s office certified the petition from the anti-tunnel group Citizens Against the Tunnel (CATT). CATT asked for an ordinance to be drafted that states a tunnel will not be built in downtown Bremerton.

They needed 2,060 signatures, but received 3,125.

The city can now act in three ways. They can draft CATT’s ordinance, not draft it or send it to the voters on the November ballot.

In the next two weeks, Lubovich will submit a recommendation to the City Council about whether or not he believes they should send a vote on the project to the people.

“It is questionable whether or not it is an acceptable matter to vote on,” Lubovich said before the City Council meeting Wednesday. “With preliminary research I would recommend against it.”

Lubovich adamantly stated he had not firmed up a recommendation to the City Council about whether they should vote or allow citizens to vote on the tunnel project.

After Lubovich received the July 13 letter, he called DOT’s Olympic Region Administrator Randy Hain and asked for confirmation.

Hain told him they had already hired a project manager.

In the letter, MacDonald said the DOT will pick up at the Final environmental assessment phase.

The DOT letter arrived just days after CATT submitted 3,000 signatures to the City Clerk’s office.

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