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Matthes announces run for Port Orchard mayor
Tim Matthes, who chairs both the Port Orchard Planning Commission and the Kitsap County Board of Equalization, has announced he will file this week to run for mayor of Port Orchard.
Matthes, who ran unsuccessfully in 2008 as a Republican for South Kitsap commissioner, said his primary goal is to bring more transparency and public input to the city’s government.
“It’s a process that, by design, should include all of the families and taxpayers of Port Orchard,” he said. “As a longtime activist and Planning Commission member, I’ve witnessed firsthand how the issues and decisions that should preserve our legacy have been made by a small group uninterested in pubic input and involvement. It’s time for a mayor in Port Orchard who puts the interests of its citizens first.”
Matthes, who was born in Bremerton and attended Olympic College, has lived for more than 40 years in Port Orchard.
He retired in 1993 from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, where he worked as a mechanical systems inspector.
Matthes also served for seven years in the Washington National Guard.
He is the immediate past president of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners.
Matthes, 65, said he, like incumbent Mayor Lary Coppola, supports growth and annexation by the city, but he’d prefer things proceeded at a more manageable pace.
“I understand growth is inevitable,” he said, “but it doesn’t have to transform the character of the community. We don’t have to be different to be successful.”
Matthes said he differs from Coppola on numerous issues, including the need for a downtown parking garage.
“Parking has been a problem down there for many years,” he said, “but I think we could find a solution a lot cheaper than a four-story parking garage built with someone else’s money.”
Matthes said a town of 10,000 people simply doesn’t need a structure that could cost $10 to $20 million.
“Of course, we’re not always going to be a city of 10,000 residents,” he said, “but if we grow, we’ll have a lot more people to help us pay for it.”
Matthes said many of the large capital projects being talked about for Port Orchard would require state and federal grants — but he finds those sources of funding problematic.
“Grants always come with strings attached,” he said. “It’s been my experience that it often costs you more to meet those conditions than you get from the grant.”
Matthes cited the example of Port Orchard’s City Hall, which was completed at a cost of $6 million in 1999.
“We paid for that project all by ourselves by scrimping and saving for 20 years,” he said. “I hear a lot of talk about how Port Orchard is in great shape financially compared to a lot of other small towns around the state, and that’s certainly true. But that isn’t because of anything we’ve done in the past four years.
“This city has a long history of being financially responsible,” Matthes said, “and I don’t want to see us get away from that philosophy.”
Matthes said he also disagrees with Coppola’s suggestion that Port Orchard’s continued growth could mean switching from a mayor to a city manager form of government.
“I’ve seen too many cases where the city manager isn’t as accountable to the voters as an elected mayor would be,” he said. “I’m all for managing things efficiently, but I don’t think Port Orchard needs a city manager who thinks he knows better than the residents what’s best for them.”