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Bremerton has leadership, finally
Former Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent has taken the reigns of Bremerton.
She was sworn in Nov. 25 in the council chambers of the Norm Dicks Government Center by Bremerton Municipal Court Judge James Docter before a packed house.
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming out,” Lent said after signing the necessary documents to take office as mayor. “And I’d really like to thank those 69 that put me over the top.”
Lent’s comment was in regard to her narrow 69-vote margin over City Councilman Will Maupin. She won with a percentage high enough not to cause a recount, but still less than one percent of the total votes.
When former Mayor Cary Bozeman resigned in June, City Council President Cecil McConnell took over as interim mayor.
“It is just finally nice to have a mayor,” Jack Arends, son of City Councilwoman Carol Arends, said. “Now maybe we can get stuff done.”
Lent said she will spend the remainder of 2009 learning the ins and outs of running the city, but is ready to get to work.
“I am really excited to get in there and start making a difference,” she said. “We have a lot to accomplish.”
One of Lent’s first endeavors will be to contact Reps. Jay Inslee and Norm Dicks about raising the share of federal gas tax revenue made available to the city. The council placed an initiative on the November ballot to increase car registration fees in order to raise money to repair dilapidated roads, but Lent strongly opposed this measure. The increased revenue from the gas tax could replace the money the city will not receive from the failed initiative.
“There are other ways to get what we need,” Lent said. “Taking more from our citizens is not the answer.”
But the money has to come from somewhere, and the latest discussions by the City Council have been in regard to raising utility rates to increase revenue for the budget shortfall. In this case too, Lent has taken a stand against.
Her calendar is full for when she is ready to jump in and tackle the city’s current issues. Meetings with department heads, an upcoming efficiency study, budget talks with financial services director Andy Parks and retirement applications for 19 city employees must all be dealt with at some point when she takes over.
“We will deal with each item on our list one at a time,” Lent said. “We are going to unite as a city and get the job done.”