On Feb. 12 citizens of Silverdale will have the opportunity to vote for incorporation. Some people are concerned that incorporation will cause their taxes to increase. They mistakenly think they will be required to pay for “another layer of government”. The areas of authority and responsibility of city government are not duplicated by county government. There is nothing inherent in incorporating a community that would cause overall taxes to rise.
According to the Municipal Research and Services Center, most cities incorporated after the Growth Management Act experienced no tax increases. Some even saw small declines. If taxes were to go up it will only be at the will of the local voters. Silverdale will be in sound financial condition with its existing tax base.
Many issues that are the result of Silverdale’s growth during the last three decades have largely gone unresolved. These issues would be properly addressed by a local city government. Had this happened as those problems began to arise the necessary improvements would have been paid for with existing Silverdale tax dollars. A review of post GMA incorporations show that, time after time, urban areas are improved by incorporation.
It is reasonable to expect people to act in their own self interest. I believe when decisions are made locally, affecting the future of Silverdale, the voters will generally act in the best interest of their own community. Currently, those decisions are made by officials who are elected by, and are responsible to, all the voters in the county. The voters of both Bremerton and Bainbridge Island have more influence in picking those officials simply because they have more voters. Beyond that, I’m sure they are not interested in having Silverdale voters vote in their city elections.
Silverdale’s voters will now have their say. I hope that, finally, they give themselves the right to vote.