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Manchester Community Council eyes nonprofit status

In the first of two town hall meetings required by its bylaws, the Manchester Community Council (MCC) met on Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, including what its members foresee in Manchester’s future.

Topics of interest included further meetings of the Building Height Committee, an update of the legality of public beach-walking, and the Haida Park project.

“We have to really understand the legal parameters we’re up against,” said MCC President Bob Ballard of all three subjects. He reminded meeting-goers the county’s Department of Community Development (DCD) will read Manchester’s Sub-area Plan next year and changes will likely be made.

Sewer Committee Chair Ron Rada reported the county commissioners have approved ULID No. 8 and the installation of sewer lines in the improvement district is closer to becoming a reality. According to Rada, there are two other “interest areas” in Manchester that are being looked at as possible ULIDs.

Bud Larson, head of the Block Watch Committee, proposed constructing a way station for the Kitsap Sheriff’s Office to increase law enforcement presence in Manchester.

“We need to change some thinking about what we need as a community,” Larson said, pointing out that it often takes deputies between 25 and 45 minutes to respond to 911 calls in Manchester.

The MCC is also seeking tax-exempt status from the IRS and looking to attract donors by becoming a nonprofit organization. In addition to the tax advantages, individual members of the council will not be held accountable for any of its future debts and liabilities.

Todd C. Smith, an associate at the Seattle law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, is representing the MCC pro bono with the procedural aspect of becoming a nonprofit.

After drafting and filing its “articles of organization” with the Secretary of State, the council will submit “incorporation papers“ to the Internal Revenue Service and complete IRS Package 1023 to gain tax-exempt status.

According to the IRS, “The exempt purposes set forth in Section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.

“The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening of neighborhood tensions; elimination of prejudice and discrimination; defense of human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.”

However, the IRS also states “The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests.”

Nonprofit corporations cannot campaign or lobby for or against political candidates. Taxes must be paid on any profits the nonprofit organization makes.

The MCC’s current mission states “The MCC will promote a sense of community by identifying, promoting, and conveying community concerns and issues to the Board of County Commissioners, and advise the citizens of the County’s land use plans, policies and actions. The MCC will also work independently to achieve results on issues within the Manchester Subarea.”

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