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Port of Poulsbo: Rutledge wins, Bockus may apply

Jim Rutledge - File photo
Jim Rutledge
— image credit: File photo

POULSBO — Challenger Jim Rutledge defeated incumbent Arnold “Arnie” Bockus for Port of Poulsbo Commission Position 3 Tuesday.

But don’t count Bockus out: He said he may apply for the commission position being vacated by Glenn Gilbert, who has resigned effective Nov. 30.With 1,463 ballots counted as of Thursday, Rutledge received 912 votes to Bockus’ 544. Seven votes were cast for write-ins.

Rutledge, a physician’s assistant at North Kitsap Family Practice, said he plans on attending a seminar for new commissioners in December, hosted by the Washington Ports Association.

He plans to return to the port’s mission statement of providing economic development to the area. He said he thinks the port can become more involved in downtown festivals and events, or in fact sponsor a festival, and improve “ease of access for tourist-type boats downtown” from Seattle.

He would also like to see the port district expand to the current city limits, which would mean a boost in property tax revenue. As the city limits have grown, the port district has not. Only property owners within port district boundaries pay a property tax to support the port district and the services it provides.

Taking office in January, Rutledge said he will “acquaint myself more closely with upcoming issues at the port,” including the city’s Shoreline Master Program. The shoreline plan, which is being updated by the city, regulates development and other uses in shoreline areas.

Bockus, a retired police officer, was a seven-year port commissioner. He said he was a little surprised at the results, but neither candidate did much campaigning outside of posting signs.

Bockus said he may apply for Gilbert’s Position 2 seat when Gilbert retires Nov. 30. The commission will appoint a successor to serve until November 2012, when an election will be held for the remainder of Gilbert’s term, which expires in 2015. Bockus and Commissioner Tony DeCarlo said having two new commissioners could be problematic, and DeCarlo said it is possible Bockus would stay on as a commissioner if he applies for the vacancy.

With possibly two commissioners to train, that “creates a problem for me and the port … with no continuity in service,” DeCarlo said.

Rutledge added, “I think he’s an excellent choice to take over Commissioner Gilbert’s spot, and I would not anticipate any difficulty in working with him.”

Bockus said he was glad to see some port projects through from the beginning, such as a parking lot on the former armory site. The port recently awarded Sound Excavation the bid to develop the lot.

He said there is much the port can do for economic development, and he wants to see more tourism come to the port, such as tour boats from Seattle. Port commissioners serve six-year terms, manage a budget of just over $1 million and are compensated $100 per meeting they attend.

 

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