Stokes slated to swear-in Tuesday

Newly elected Port of Bremerton Commissioner Larry Stokes will be officially sworn in Tuesday as the board convenes for its first meeting of 2008.

After the results were finalized from last November’s election, Stokes, 68, earned 63 percent of the votes to Mary Ann Huntington’s 36 percent in a race that many said revealed voters’ anger over a recent tax hike approved by the port to rebuild the Bremerton Marina.

In fact, Stokes was angry enough himself to break his previous vow of never running again for the commissioner seat he left open for Huntington in 1989.

“I’m unhappy with the taxing situation,” Stokes said last fall, explaining that his tax bill from the port increased last year by at least $200 when the port raised the amount it collects from its district. “I know how the port operates, and we never increased taxes when I was on the board, even though we purchased waterfront property, put in the marina park, and put the guest moorage in. We never raised taxes, and we never raised our compensation.”

He made his feelings plain to the board at the first meeting after the election when the commissioners — then Huntington, Bill Mahan and Cheryl Kincer — approved a 1-percent levy increase along with the 2008 budget.

“You’re doing it again,” said Stokes, when asked by Kincer if he had any comments on the proceedings, which included the board approving both the port’s $35.4-million budget for 2008 and raising the regular property tax levy by 1 percent. “I’m just a citizen now, but if I were up there, I’d be voting ‘Nay.’”

Before she left her seat, Huntington praised her fellow commissioners and the work they had been able to accomplish together.

“I am so proud of the things we three accomplished, and we worked together as a team,” she said, referring to Mahan, first elected in 2000, and Kincer, who joined the board in 1998.

As for her 18 years of service, Huntington said, “I have no regrets whatsoever about anything. I can stand down there on that breakwater (in Bremerton) and be proud of what I did.”

Other items that may be on Tuesday’s agenda:

• A public hearing on security at the Port Orchard Marina and surrounding areas — at the Dec. 11 meeting of the Board of Commissioners, a marina tenant expressed concern over what he called a “dramatic increase” in crime and other security issues at the marina.

Steve Slaton, the port’s director of marine facilities, said in order to properly respond to the tenant’s concerns, he suggested the board schedule a discussion of “marina security” on the agenda for the port’s next board meeting in January.

“That way we will have time set aside to discuss the issue, which we have been proactive about,” Slaton said.

• A resolution adopting the Mithun, Inc., plans for Pod 1 and business incubation buildings of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project. Resolution 2007-69 was first discussed at the Dec. 11 meeting, but then tabled for the next meeting to allow further discussion.

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