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Patriot Bremerton

FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2013 | Vol. 16, No. 24 | 50¢

Who let the dogs out? 20th Annual PetsWalk is a big success Page 15

Conference center expansion moves ahead without a lease

Council candidates square off at forum


Business and occupation taxes, tourism, sales taxes and the narrowing of streets were among the topics that candidates for the Bremerton City Council District 3 seat addressed at a recent forum. The League of Women Voters of Kitsap sponsored the candidate forum at the Norm Dicks Government Center featuring Bremerton City Council District 3 candidates Adam Brockus, Michael Strube and Jerald (Jerry) McDonald. All three men aren’t wild about the city’s Business and Occupation Tax, none of them think their district is dying a slow death and the trio sees hope in annexing more land to boost

In a 5-4 vote during last week’s study session, the Bremerton City Council voted to spend $79,000 with architects from Rice Fergus Miller to design an expanded Kitsap Conference Center and put together a bid package for that work. The additional space will take up most of the third floor of Kitsap Transit’s headquarters building, allowing for more conferences and events adjacent to the existing facility. Kitsap Transit has approved $200,000 to replace two elevators as part of the project and the city recently secured $400,000 from the Kitsap Public Facilities District to help offset expansion costs. The remaining $500,000 for

Kevan Moore/Staff Photo

Despite the lack of a lease, the city will spend $79,000 to design an expanded Kitsap Conference Center on the vacant third floor of Kitsap Transit’s waterfront building. the project will come from the city’s equipment rental and revolving fund, but officials say all of those costs will be recovered from increased

revenue at the conference center upon completion of the expansion. The biggest concerns about the project, though, revolve

around moving forward despite the lack of signed lease for the expanded space See EXPANSION, A13


sales tax coffers. When it comes to narrowing Washington Avenue on the lead-up to the Manette Bridge, there is a consensus of “not so fast” and any decision on whether or not pear trees belong on Fourth Street should probably be left to the experts. The incumbent, Brockus, thinks he’s done a good job and wants to continue his work. Strube wants to improve the city’s business climate and says the council isn’t very creative while McDonald says the council needs to work more with surrounding jurisdictions and do a much better job of promoting tourism. District 3, which has been redrawn following a vote of the people to See CANDIDATES, A13

Food bank needs remain in summer months By Leslie Kelly

Summer may be the time for carefree days in the sun and taking enjoyable vacations. But for those who run area food banks, there’s no vacation from their job. “There’s always a need,” said Patti Peterson, executive director of the Bremerton Foodline. “This summer’s no different.” Peterson, who has been affiliated with Bremerton Foodline for more than a dozen years, said needs were greater in June this year than they were a year ago during the month, but donations were down. “There’s a number of causes,” she said. “But sequestration is definitely one of them.” Peterson said that the food bank is still getting donations, but the impact of sequestra-

tion had seen donations, both financial and food, drop off. “The federal payroll is the most significant income source in this area,” she said. “When that gets cut, it affects us. Instead of someone giving us 10 items in a food drive, they’re only able to give us five because they’ve lost confidence in the local economy. They don’t know what’s down the road for them. So they’re cautious.” While she’s not seen an increase in federal or sequestered employees using the food bank, she has seen other things in the local economy increase their client base. “Anytime a business closes, that’s bad news,” she said. “Take the Sizzler (steakhouse on Wheaton Way). Those employees may get unemployment eventually, but that will be used to pay their rent and bills. They will still need help with food.” And another thing affect-

ing their food bank’s growing need is that people are relocating to Bremerton, thinking there are jobs. “I had a family in the other day who moved here from Texas because they heard there were jobs here,” she said. “People have that impression, but it’s not the case.” In June, Bremerton Foodline served 1,325 baskets of food, equating to 3,665 individuals. Families and individuals who have signed up with the food bank can get help once a month. Allocations are given based on the number of people in the family. If they need more help than that, they are referred to other food programs in the area. In total, the food bank was open 20 days and handed out 55,990 pounds of food. During that same time 85 volunteers put in 1,295 hours in June, to keep food on the shelves at the food bank, shop with clients and sort products.

As do most food banks in this area, Bremerton Foodline gets food from local food drives, and from food bank food distributors such as Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest. Because those places can purchase food directly from wholesalers and in massive quantities, food can be purchased at a reduced cost. Still, local food banks pay for that food and sometimes for the cost to have the food delivered. But as Peterson points out, in buying in quantities, a box of cereal can cost 98 cents, rather than $1.50 which would be the price at a outlet grocery store. And that jar of peanut butter can be purchased for $1.60 by buying a case of them at $19.90. Even with that, the food bank is having a hard time keeping up with the summerSee FOOD BANK, A13

Leslie Kelly/Staff Photo

Patti Peterson sorts through a bag of food last week.

Bremerton Patriot, July 19, 2013