Dicks advises new city council, mayor

Pick a project, find someone else who’s done it, then ask for the money.

That’s the message U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks gave to the Port Orchard City Council on Friday in an unexpected visit at the council’s all-day retreat.

The council gathered to meet with each department head in City Hall, and to brainstorm ideas for the city’s future, including how to obtan the state and federal money that many cities use to fund projects.

Mayor Lary Coppola only heard the night before about Dicks’ visit, so the day’s agenda was shuffled around, but the visit provided valuable information for the new class at City Hall.

The council and Dicks discussed how to help the area’s economic developing, with Coppola noting that the city’s concern over the area’s development and growth is “what got us elected.”

Members of the council wanted to know how other cities keep up with the various funding opportunities.

Dicks encouraged the city hire a full-time employee to manage those issues.

“You’ve got to come out of this with somebody who’s going to work with a delegation,” he said. “You’ve got to work Olympia on the capital budget and you’ve got to work the capital side, and that’s the name of the game.”

Councilman Jerry Childs noted that the full-time employee would have the advantage of longevity and could develop relationships making the process easier.

“Partnerships are key,” Dicks agreed. “Nobody does it all without a partnership.”

And once the city knows what it wants and where to get it, Dicks said he’s ready to help acquire the funds.

He noted times in the past when Port Orchard passed up on state funding.

“You’ve got to make wise decis-ions,” he said. “You’re the leaders of the community. You guys gotta make wise decisions as to when you cooperate.

“That was not a wise decision,” he said of past times the city could have cooperated and gained grants and state funding.

Dicks repeatedly referred to projects in Bremerton, his home town, that were funded this way. But he noted that Port Orchard is part of his district as well and believes it can benefit from the same money sources.

“We’re not going to forget Port Orchard, and we want to help you guys,” he said.

He added that working with Sen. Patty Murray (D) would also help, especially with transportation pro-jects such as improvements on the foot ferry service.

“She is doing amazing things on these transportation projects,” he said. “Whatever your proposals are, you definitely want to have something you’re asking her to help you on. ”

The council discussed a number of projects that could benefit from such partnerships and fund-ing, including the foot ferry, the restoration of the Carlisle II, downtown parking and economic development.

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