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COUNTY BRIEFS: Educating about dog waste; raising judge salaries

CLEAN IT UP--Kitsap County is participating in a program that aims to educate the public about disposing of pet waste, in order to keep dangerous materials out of the water supply.

“Pet waste is a major source of bacteria and pollution,” said Outreach and Education Coordinator Jayna Ericson. “This affects everyone, and is a major threat to public health.”

The Kitsap County Public Works Department reports the county’s 15,000 dogs each produce and average of three-quarters of a pound of waste each day, for a total of 11,000 pounds — or more than five tons each day.

“A lot of people don’t realize that dog waste has a negative impact on the environment,” Ericson said. “They think of it as fertilizer, or that it will just go away. We want to tell people the best way to deal with the problem.”

While it is impossible to properly dispose of all this waste, a majority of it is under the control of the dog owners. Suggested means of disposal are to double bag the waste and put it in the garbage or flush it down the toilet (for those dog owners connected to a public sewer).

In order to fund the program, which includes salary and printing costs, the county has received a $19,750 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The grant also includes funding for two workshops to help people in the Sinclair Inlet and Dyes Inlet watersheds to develop safe septic systems. The meetings will take place today at the Silverdale Water District and Sept. 19 at the Givens Community Center in Port Orchard.

Both workshops take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information, call (360) 337-5777.

JUDGE SALARIES RAISED--The Kitsap County commissioners on Monday approved salary increases for county judges, prosecutors and court commissioners, as proscribed by state law.

While the commissioners took action, Personnel Director Bert Furuta said they didn’t have a choice as the increases are outlined by the Washington State Citizens’ Commission on Salaries.

Under the new guidelines, Superior Court judges will make $148,831 per year, with half of this amount paid by the county.

Of the $141,708 now paid to District Court judges, the county will pay the full amount.

The state also pays half of the prosecutor’s salary, which is yet to be determined.

While the commissioners vote to approve a salary increase, they cannot do so for themselves. For instance, the board last voted a salary increase for the Central Kitsap Commissioner from $87,256 to $105,580 per year, to take place after the commissioner elected in 2006 took office.

Similiarly, the commissioners cannot vote to decrease their own salary, a topic that has come up several times in light of the recent budget crisis.

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