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Parks Board answers lawsuit

The South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners has filed a counter claim against Kitsap County via attorney Tony Otto denying the board is insolvent and alleging the Kitsap County commissioners have no right to deny them an election in November.

According to Board Chair Larry Walker, the board plans to fight any charges by the county that are untrue.

“Basically, we’re not denying that we owe money but we are denying that we’re unable and unwilling to pay it,” Walker said. “We’re denying that the county has the authority to stop the election.”

According to the counter claim, the board “admit(s) that there are insufficient assets on hand to immediately pay, but deny that defendant is without resources to pay election costs. The district has acquired considerable real estate holdings and has been managing those holdings since 1985 and before. Those real estate holdings have a market value in excess of $1.5 million, including land with large stands of timber. The district is not insolvent.”

The court document “den(ies) unwillingness or inability to pay; admit(s) that full payment has not yet been made, but payments are being made every month. $21.089.72 has already been paid on this debt in the last 17 months. In 2002, a payment of $10,000 was made. All of these payments have been made without demand, request or solicitation by the plaintiff.”

The parks board also “den(ies) that the court has power to prohibit defendant from obeying its statutory obligations to hold elections, and deny that the plaintiff has the right to seek such relief.”

Walker said the board is proceeding with its plans to adopt its latest master plan. After another editing meeting, Walker said the board may be ready to hold a public hearing on the document and adopt the master plan by the end of October.

“Right now,” he said, “it’s in the hands of the lawyers.”

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