Opinion

Silverdale incorporation not just ‘another layer of government'

The question asked in the Aug. 5 headline “Who’s in favor of a City of Silverdale” is the reason it should go to a vote.

Nine-hundred-fifty-three signatures are needed to get the measure on a ballot. By signing the petition, voters are saying they want to vote on this issue.

In response to your recent piece about incorporation, here are some clarifications. These important facts about incorporation are from the Revised Code of Washington:

The first reaction is always incorporation increases taxes. In this economy, that is a legitimate fear. The reality is, yes, taxes may increase whether Silverdale incorporates or not.

However, 98.4 percent of your property taxes remain the same whether in the new city limits or not.

There is no double paying of taxes. No matter where you live, in a city or unincorporated Kitsap, property taxes are assessed and paid only once for the junior taxing districts.

Junior Taxing Districts are the library, fire, port, school, public utilities and EMS.

A school, port, library, or fire district levy requires voter approval to raise the tax rate.

The City of Silverdale could not do it. For instance, Central Kitsap School District levies are voted on by registered voters living in the CK School District which like Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, Kitsap Regional Library, Silverdale Port, and Public Utilities encompasses more than just the City of Silverdale boundaries.

Other slices of the property tax pie, by law, go to the state and county and are legislated by elected state representatives and county representatives, respectively.

After incorporation, Silverdale will have the same fire district employees, buildings and equipment; the same library building, and employees; the same three port district commissioners and properties; the same Silverdale Community Center, and the same Silverdale located Sheriff’s building and possibly the same County policemen and women wearing a City of Silverdale uniform and driving a City of Silverdale police car.

Silverdale tax revenue per capita will be the highest on the Kitsap Peninsula without raising taxes.

We are confident this revenue stream ensures the financial feasibility of the City of Silverdale.

Incorporation is hardly “another layer of government.”

“Another layer of government” suggests creation of positions to do the same job that the county is responsible for currently. This is not the case.

With incorporation, a professional city manager would replace the county administrator; the city public works department would replace the county public works department; and the county sheriff would be replaced, initially, with a contracted force with the City of Silverdale.

Incorporation actually brings that so-called “other layer” from Port Orchard to Silverdale. There are no double positions.

The best value about incorporation is the Silverdale Police protection would be a faster response time over a smaller area just as experienced by other recently incorporated cities.

Finally, the best value of incorporation, elected representation is accountable to the people who elect them.

On local Silverdale taxes and other issues, approximately 92 percent of Kitsap voters live outside of the proposed City of Silverdale boundaries.

 

Randy Biegenwald is chairman of Citizens United for Silverdale.

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