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"Poulsbo may pay $30,000 to help support work of EDC"
"POULSBO - How much should Poulsbo be paying to promote itself in 2001? It depends on who you ask. But no matter how you slice the city's budget for next year, one piece seems to stick out above the rest - new programs proposed by the Legislative body. Poulsbo City Council next month will be making some tough decisions next month as they continue to ask department heads to hold the line on additional spending requests. On the other hand though, council itself is looking to spend nearly $46,000 on promotion and development alone. Two requests are currently before the elected group which a local budget operations analyst claims need additional research before they get the rubber stamp for 2001. Herbert Kai, who has worked in the government works methods analyst for the past 20 years, has raised questions concerning a request from the Kitsap County Economic Development Council and a proposal to televise city council sessions. In early-October Zoltan Szigethy, executive director of the EDC, sent Mayor Donna Jean Bruce and the city council a letter asking a substantial increase over this year's contributions. The city limited its support of the EDC to $3,000 in 2000 but the organization is now asking that Poulsbo give it 10 times as much in 2001. An annual investment of $30,000 would still be a bargain for the services provided by the EDC to Poulsbo's economic health, Szigethy said, explaining that the estimate was actually less than the city would pay for work done by an economic development planner. The additional money, he explained, would be used to augment the EDC's own budget which took a hit when federal agencies reduced their funding support. Finance director Donna Bjorkman confirmed that a similar monetary request was made by the EDC last year but that it came too late in the budget process. To better its chances for next year's cycle the Economic Development Council got an early start. But how much revenue does it take to cover such an expenditure for the sole purpose of promoting business, not just in the city, but all of Kitsap County? For Poulsbo business owners, quite a bit really. According to Kai, local businesses have to generate $3 million to cover the percentage of sales tax that would be used to pay the EDC its $30,000. The EDC has demanded that the city pay $30,000, he remarked. But there are no direct returns at the city level. Kai was quick to point out that individual city departments listed projected performance measurements in their 2001 level of service requests. The same method, he said, should definitely apply to the Economic Development Council. This could prove difficult because although the EDC has assisted Poulsbo in the past year it's overall track record is one of trying to boost Bremerton's ever-sagging economy. On the technology front, Szigethy explained the EDC's role in enhancing broad band telecommunications capacity in the county, which in turn helped Sprint solidify its decision to create a Point of Presence in Poulsbo. Nonetheless, Kai said he felt additional information should be sought before the city commits $30,000 to the EDC. How do they plan to help us raise $3 million? he asked. I think the city council has a dilemma whether to promote or not promote the $30,000. Instead of putting all its eggs in one basket, Kai said Poulsbo should instead support its department heads by funding either a grant writer or a finance administration assistant. Another proposal Kai took exception to was city council's plan to have their meetings broadcast. Televising council sessions received mixed reviews when it was first proposed in early-May but even then it was promised as a free service. They're going to turn on this TV show for 6,500 people? Kai asked of the proposal. Less than that actually, unless every man, woman and child tunes in each week. As for it being a free service, Council TV now has a suggested 2001 legislative budget of $15,988. They're in the process of kicking things out that they won't fund next year but they haven't kicked these things out yet. Why? Kai asked. Council will have to answer this question and others Dec. 6 when they tackle the new program portion of the budget. "