Arends, Lange meet over ‘Eggs and Issues’

City Council District 7 candidates discuss downtown revitalization, B&O tax.

Bremerton City Council’s District 7 battle pits a new Charleston business owner against a 12-year council member.

At Tuesday’s Eggs & Issues Candidate Forum at the Cloverleaf Sports Bar & Grill, Gentry Lange and incumbent Carol Arends met to debate questions from the event’s sponsor, the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce and residents in attendance.

“Change and progress are possible,” Lange said.

Owner of the Hi-Fidelity Lounge on Sixth Street, Lange said he only joined the race due to an instance where the city wanted to use imminent domain to shut down Bremerton businesses in order to build a park.

Arends, a 12-year council member, said the businesses to which Lange was referring were offered relocation fees for moving, which means it isn’t even an issue.

Lange said he spent the last five years working on voting rights issues and strongly opposes Washington’s move to vote-by-mail.

Both candidates said they oppose the suggested $20 car tab tax and both agree the downtown renovation is complete enough to shift focus elsewhere.

Lange explained how starting a business in Bremerton was very “confusing” and costly and he would like to create a position within the city government of “business caseworker or liaison.” He also is opposed to the Business and Occupation tax and said utilities like water and sewer are too high. He said he proposes a moratorium on permits for existing businesses purchased by new owners.

“Getting a business off the ground is hard enough,” he said.

Arends said her experience and connections are the reason people should vote her into a fourth term.

As for the B&O tax, she said she and the rest of the city council have worked to lower it gradually and want to eventually eliminate it. She also said she wants to see the momentum created downtown to continue to other parts of the city.

“I want to see a thriving Charleston,” she said.

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