City council backs school levy

Monday’s gathering of the Port Orchard City Council brought two previously tabled issues to the forefront of the community.

After Councilmember Carolyn Powers urged the three other councilmembers present to endorse the renewal of the school levy, Councilmember Rita DiIenno voiced concern over replacement levy’s increased expense and upcoming information the Council didn’t currently have.

She suggested the council wait until the Jan. 13 meeting to make a decision.

“I knew what she was trying to say,” said Jim Civilla, president of the local levy group South Kitsap School Supporters (SKSS), who was at the meeting.

According to Civilla, he understands DiIenno wants to do what’s right for the community.

“I think she felt like she needed to do her due diligence before she made her vote,” Civilla said.

However, DiIenno voted in favor of the levy along with the other councilmembers present when a vote was called.

“She stood 100 percent behind it (when the time came),” Civilla said.

Civilla said SKSS’s levy campaign is in full swing and doing as well as he suspected it would.

“Two weeks ago, we went out into the community and handed out posters for the windows of the businesses and almost all the businesses were receptive,” Civilla said.

He also reported that SKSS was making a special effort to reach out to non-registered voters with children in the South Kitsap School District.

“We sent out over 2,200 letters to non-registered parent voters,” Civilla said.

Civilla said he believes the levy campaign will be successful when the vote is taken on Feb. 8.

“I think that over the past four years the district has gained the trust of the community,” Civilla said. “A lot of the reasons that people used to vote ‘no’ have been put aside because the trust is there.”

Future plans of the SKSS include the incorporation of yard signs into its campaign tools and a community rally scheduled for Jan. 8.

Other council actions:

• The council voted to accept the Port Orchard Economic Development plan recently submitted by hired consultant EDAW. Accepting the plan by Dec. 31 was a requirement for the $50,000 grant the city received to hire EDAW, but the plan itself and its individual projects have yet to be approved.

• The council approved changing almost five acres of land between Orlando Street and Horstman Road from commercial to high-density residences in the city comprehensive plan.

• The council gave its final approval to turn over parking enforcement from public works to the Port Orchard Police Department. Starting in 2005, police officers will handle all parking enforcement functions within the City of Port Orchard.

• The council unanimously approved authorization for the mayor to sign a contract with the humane society at a 9.71 percent increase for services.

-The Council unanimously approved authorization for the mayor to sign a renegotiated 2005 contract with City Attorney Loren Combs.

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