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Public will vote on $30 car tab fee in November

City Engineer Mike Mecham presented a plan to Bremerton City Council members Aug. 4 at the Norm Dicks Government Center that would repair streets and sidewalks throughout the city and the council voted 5-4 to send the option to fund it to the people for a vote in November.

The board decided against a $20 car tab addition in 2007 because most members felt it unfair to add a fee without sending the issue to the public for a vote.

The new plan, if passed, would add a $30 fee to vehicle registrations which would bring in $900,000 per year, $675,000 for streets and $225,000 for sidewalks, Mecham said.

According to Mecham, the plan will exist in two three-year periods and repairs would start at the worst streets in the area and work up through the better ones.

As part of the Safe Routes to School program, sidewalks around area schools would be added or repaired. Pine Road and Marine Drive also will get sidewalk help as two of the most used roads by pedestrians in the city, Mecham said.

A few board members did question parts of the plan.

Brad Gehring, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, asked Mecham if provisions had been made in the plan for motorcyclists to pay a lower fee.

"I didn't write the plan, but I don't think so," Mecham said.

Dianne Robinson worried not all areas were being considered, especially the Anderson Cove area.

Roy Runyon also voiced concerns about the area around 7th Street between Hewitt Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue which has no sidewalks at all.

"I think we are missing some major school areas in the city's core," Runyon said.

Another factor which bothered some of the board was the fact the plan was based solely on the condition of roads, not on the traffic on the roads.

Robinson made a motion to continue the discussion until Feb. 2, 2010 but that motion was not carried.

"If we don't do it now, it will be delayed and roads could get worse," Adam Brockus said.

Will Maupin agreed with Brockus' sentiment.

"We are wasting our breath discussing the plan," Maupin said. "There will be plenty of time to decide the details. Delaying it is a mistake."

The measure was then voted upon by the board with yes votes coming from Council President Nick Wofford and members Maupin, Brockus, Runyon and Carol Arends and four no votes from Cecil McConnell, Gehring, Robinson and Mike Shepherd all voted against.

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