Coppola submits mayor’s report, promises monthly updates

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola has outlined his expectations for the upcoming year, claiming success in his efforts to run the city like a business.

“In my own business I’m always looking for the best price,” Coppola said at a Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce meeting on Wednesday morning. “Before I got here, no one would ever ask a vendor whether the cost of something was negotiable, or whether the vendor was offering the best possible price. I’ve asked that question numerous times and saved the city a lot of money.”

One example of this is the renegotiation of a lease covering five copying machines.

“In the past,” Coppola said, “the city didn’t get the best price for goods and services because “no one asked for a better deal.”

Coppola characterizes the city as “aggressively business-friendly,” and claims it has the most efficient permitting process in the region.

“Any time a business comes to down, they want to be up and running in 120 days,” Coppola said. “We’re able to do that. This is faster than the county, or any other city in the county.”

For his informal address to the chamber, Coppola relied on the same notes he planned to use for his annual Mayor’s Report. This year, he also posted the report in video format on the city’s Web site.

Additionally, Coppola has pledged to increase the frequency of these reports and post an online video every month in order to keep residents abreast of city issues.

He hopes this will become a two-way communication channel, with questions sent to receiving an answer in the video.

While the current report provided a broad view of city goals, Coppola said the monthly dispatches will be shorter and more specific.

Coppola said Port Orchard showed a net gain in the total number of local businesses, due to annexation.

“We’re much better off than most cities our size,” he said. “We haven’t needed to lay off or furlough any employees, cut any services, or delay any capital projects and we're still open for business five days a week — unlike the Kitsap County and Bremerton.”

Coppola is also concentrating on environmentally based cost savings, advocating a shift to electronic distribution of council meeting documents.

Doing so would eliminate the need to print more than 90,000 pages a year.

As part of this program, the city would install a small terminal for each council member, giving them immediate access to all city documents during a meeting.

Additionally, Coppola is looking to create a “green” operating environment for the city, gradually switching over to hybrids as the vehicle fleet needs replacement.

Another priority is to establish an emergency response plan that would be in place in case of a disaster.

“If there was an earthquake and City Hall fell down, there is nothing in place that would tell us what to do,” Coppola said. “There are no procedures outlining where employees are to report or what they are to do after a disaster either, should the facility where they work be damaged or destroyed. We need a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan, so the city can continue to operate with an absolute minimum of interruption should some kind of disaster occur.”

The Mayor’s Peport, along with a growing list of Coppola’s goals that have been circulating for several months, will provide the basis for a city council retreat scheduled for today at City Hall.

The retreat, beginning at 9 a.m. and scheduled to end by 1:30 at the latest, is an annual event during which the council sets goals and priorities for the year ahead.

The agenda lists a soup-to-nuts variety of city issues, from annexation and downtown renovation to the establishment of a Facebook “fan page” that can be used as a way for the city to communicate with the public. It seeks to fill in details about street improvement, waterfront development and the McCormick Woods park plan. had not been completed as of Wednesday afternoon, but items scheduled for discussion included annexation and budget. Several matters for the planning commission and the design review board will also be addressed.

City Attorney Greg Jacoby will also attend, and has said he will not bill the city for the time spent at the retreat.

The meeting will be held in council chambers, and is open to the public. Despite this, council retreats are rarely attended by anyone outside of the council, staff and members of the media.

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