Plan opponents get final say

"Kitsap County residents will have one last chance to voice their opinions about the governance center tonight at a final public forum, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Port Orchard City Hall.Bay Street Association President Phil McCormick, who, with City Councilman John Clauson, spearheaded the forum, said he expects Commissioner Jan Angel, in whose district Port Orchard and Bremerton both lie, Port Orchard Mayor Jay Weatherill and members of the Port Orchard City Council to attend the forum.He said the forum will be an opportunity for Kitsap County residents to state their views on the proposed governance center one more time prior to the commissioners' expected May 21 vote on the project.My hope is the county commissioners will understand what a detriment it will be to Port Orchard to lose $1 million in revenue, McCormick said. I have nothing against Bremerton wanting to build a governance center ... but to take that amount of revenue from Port Orchard - I don't see how they can justify that.Greg Easton, of Seattle-based Property Counselors, the company that conducted the economic impact study, formally presented a finalized version of the study to commissioners May 14.According to his study, moving 10 county offices and about 254 employees from the county complex in Port Orchard to Bremerton could cost the city about $924,000 in lost sales to local grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and other retail-oriented businesses.While city officials balked at the number, county staff emphasized the cost to the city equates to about three-tenths of 1 percent of 1999's total sales.City Engineer Larry Curles said city officials are concerned the county is conducting studies on the assumption the offices will be moving while they still have questions about whether the county is essentially moving the county seat. Are we building a $35 million new satellite office, or are we building a new county seat? he said. The City of Port Orchard feels the program as we've now seen it is a de facto move of the county seat. They're not asking the question, 'Is it a legal move?'City Attorney Loren Combs is expected to address the county seat issue at tonight's public forum. Until that's resolved, Curles said, city officials want the county to hold off on making any decisions. Port Orchard sincerely hopes the county does not commit significant money to this project until that question's resolved, he said. "

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