Council convenes to vote on prosecutor contract

POULSBO — Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge may face a tough sell tonight when he asks the city council to consider a new contract for legal services offered by the county.

Currently, the county prosecutor’s office provides a prosecutor to the city for about $64,000 annually and Police Chief Jeff Doran and the Poulsbo Municipal Court are pleased with the services, Finance Director Nanci Lien told the council’s finance/administration committee Jan. 4.

However, Hauge wants to up that amount to $79,563 annually, which would mean Poulsbo would pay the same amount as Port Orchard and Bainbridge Island.

Under Hauge’s new proposal, the three smaller cities in the county would pay $79,563 annually on a three-year contract, while Bremerton, which is the largest city in the county, would pay $132,505 annually.

“Bainbridge signed the contract last year but Port Orchard hasn’t and Mayor (Donna Jean) Bruce felt real strongly about this,” Lien told the committee.

Percentage-wise Poulsbo, Port Orchard and Bainbridge Island would pay 21.43 percent each and Bremerton would pay 35.7 percent under the new proposal.

That distribution wouldn’t be fair to Poulsbo, Councilman Dale Rudolph said as he reviewed the number of referrals and filings for each city since 2000.

“We shouldn’t pay for something we’re not getting and we should only pay our fair share,” Rudolph said.

Poulsbo had the fewest monthly court days with seven and the fewest numbers of referrals and filings in 2004 with 287 referrals and 206 filings. Bainbridge Island was just above Poulsbo with nine court days, 439 referrals and 334 filings in 2004. Port Orchard was second in the county with 10 court days, 590 referrals and 495 filings.

Bremerton easily led the pack with 20 monthly court days, 2,029 referrals and 1,398 filings.

Using Rudolph’s premise of each city paying by actual or expected usage, Poulsbo would pay $29,696 annually since it was only responsible for 8 percent of the total workload in 2004. Bainbridge Island would pay $49,740 annually since it was responsible for 13.4 percent in 2004. Port Orchard would pay $69,785 since it was responsible for 18.8 percent in 2004 with the lion’s share belonging to Bremerton, which would pay $221,974 since it was responsible for 67 percent of the workload in 2004.

Lien explained that while Bremerton’s share was far less its usage, it also provides an office and other amenities for its prosecutor, which would need to be quantified to give a more accurate reflection of what it pays for the services.

Committee members also asked about the possible cost for the city hiring an attorney to serve as its prosecutor.

The estimated cost for that would be about $64,000 annually which is what the city paid before contracting with the county prosecutor’s office, Lien said.

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