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County wants input on 2002 budget
"In a new twist on a perennial exercise, Kitsap County officials are actively seeking input from citizens to help shape the 2002 county budget and its corresponding policies well before their expected adoption this winter.We are trying to help citizens who want to proactively tell us what they want in the budget, rather than only giving them a chance to react to the final proposed budget when it is ready for adoption in December, said County Administrator Malcolm Fleming.To that end, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, during their regular meeting on Monday, July 2, accepted public comment from rank-and-file Kitsap taxpayers, as well as officials with the Economic Development Council and the Kitsap Public Facilities District. Bremerton resident Jean Bulette, for one, attended the commissioners' first July meeting in person and urged them to encourage the infusion of multiple activities along the Bremerton waterfront from a budget and policy perspective.I recently attended a senior trip to the Fisherman's Wharf (in San Francisco) with my daughter, said Bulette, who was struck by the fervor of activity there. There were bumper cars, shops, arcades, food courts, a merry-go-round. There was something for everyone, including putt-putt golf. There's no reason why we can't do that here.Bulette said she's not against the development of a government center near Bremerton's waterfront in the future, but wanted to lobby in favor of other uses as well. Multiple uses, if shaped properly, can only encourage tourism, trade and visitors from across the county to Bremerton's waterfront, she said.Zoltan Zsigethy, executive director of the Kitsap Economic Development Council echoed Bulette's sentiments, but discussed the topic from a countywide angle.He urged the county commissioners to consider setting aside funds in the 2002 budget to properly and proactively market Kitsap County to outside interests, businesses, and trade. Kitsap hasn't done enough to market itself, he said.Zsigethy also asked the commissioners to stay the course, by promoting social and physical infrastructure along the peninsula, including additional capacity for telecommunications, as well as support the ferry system and a second Tacoma Narrows bridge. Healthcare services and educational opportunities should also be supported and expanded, he said, especially if Kitsap is to continue providing businesses with a trained and healthy workforce.Kitsap Public Facilities District chairman Rick Smith also submitted comments, saying he would like to work with Kitsap County to expand the number of tournament-quality recreational centers, which could attract tourism and generate revenue by way of user fees.Smith told commissioners that Kitsap County is also experience a paucity of trails and regional parks, but that want could be remedied if given consideration in budget talks.Silverdale resident John Norris, who jokingly referred to himself as a representative of the Kitsap Alliance of Naysayers wanted to remind the commissioners to pursue the construction and maintenance of facilities like parks and trails in an efficient and effective manner.Norris, also referring to the proposed 1 percent for Arts Ordinance, reminded the board of commissioners he isn't in favor of publicly-funded art. "