Silverdale cityhood set for the February ballot

Residents of Silverdale will decide next February whether to set up a city.

An incorporation measure is planned for the Feb. 12 special election, according Marcus Hoffman, a spokesman for Citizens United for Silverdale.

Hoffman said during a phone interview Wednesday the issue was held up by urban growth boundary changes caused by remand from the state Growth Management Hearing Board, but it is now headed for the ballot.

According to documents from Citizens United, if the incorporation is approved by voters, the county will call for an election for city officials.

Hoffman said the plan is for a council-manager form of government, with seven council members. A city manager would be hired by the council to run the executive branch. Finding the right city manager would be the first critical task for the newly formed city, Hoffman said.

Public safety would be a top issue to work out if the measure passes.

If a city is formed, residents could vote to annex into the Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue district and the county library district.

Hoffman said he supports annexation into both junior taxing districts.

“This will give us a local voice for library issues,” Hoffman said. “We can finally get a library in Silverdale.”

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Weninger said the best service for the entire area would be provided if the city incorporates and annexes into the district.

If the city did not annex, Weninger said the fire district would be cut in half.

“If the city left it would make if difficult with some response times,” Weninger said.

In a position paper written by Weninger and  David Fergus, chairman of the fire district board of commissioners, they wrote the district would remain neutral on incorporation.

But they also wrote that “impact to the level of fire protection services to the region could be significant, and it is the position of Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue that annexation of fire protection services back into Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue by the new city would ensure continuity of the current service levels, and be in the best interest of the citizens of our community.”

The elected council and city manager would also have to consider police protection.

Hoffman said he supports contracting with the county or another city to provide the needed services.

He said many residents are concerned about traffic and crime, which could be addressed on a local level if the incorporation passes.

“People want local representations,” Hoffman said. “Now we have no directly elected voice. We don’t have local voices about what is going on in Silverdale. There is a real advantage to local government handling local concerns.”

If a new city of Silverdale is created, the county would lose an estimated $7-8 million per year in tax revenues, about 10 percent of the county’s 2012 revenues, officials say.

Silverdale incorporation last went before voters in February 2000, when it was defeated by a 2-1 margin.

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