City Council eyes B&O tax reform

The Bremerton City Council took an initial step toward helping small business start-ups at its meeting Wednesday night at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth Street.

Businesses with a gross revenue of less than $20,000 annually would be exempt from paying business and occupation taxes if the proposed ordinance is approved at the Council’s Dec. 22 meeting.

The proposed ordinance would make the city’s business and occupation tax code consistent with Washington state law, said City Attorney Roger Lubovich.

“The substantive issue in this ordinance is that it would exempt businesses with revenues of less than $20,000 annually,” Lubovich said.

Council President Daren Nygren said the proposed change to the tax is a positive one for businesses just starting out.

“During our budget discussions we looked at ways of phasing out the b and o tax,” Nygren said. “I think this is certainly something we will look at in the future.”

Councilman Brad Gehring said he also favors a gradual elimination of the business and occupation tax.

“The gradual elimination of the b and o tax is something that would enhance economic vitality in the city,” Gehring said.

In other business, the Council gave its approval to petition for annexation of approximately six acres on the east side of Pine Road just south of N.E. Roswell Drive.

The acreage is part of a nine acre parcel that is owned by Brandywine Co. Inc. Three acres of the parcel are currently within the city limits.

The parcel is currently zoned as low density residential, which will allow three to eight units per acre, Lubovich said.

The state’s boundary review board is expected to give the petition a waiver and the annexation should become effective on Jan. 10, 2005.

The Council also passed the final changes to city’s 2004 budget to accurately reflect its revenues and expenditures on their first reading.

The Council will meet one more time before Christmas at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday before conducting its final meeting of the year on Dec. 29.

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