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North Kitsap voters renew school district levy; Poulsbo Port District annexation losing
POULSBO — North Kitsap School District voters renewed the school district's maintenance and operations levy Feb. 11. The Poulsbo Port District's measure to annex Lemolo, Scandia, Virginia Point and parts of Poulsbo was failing in early results.
As of 8:15 p.m. Election Night, the North Kitsap School District's M&O levy had 6,755 votes in favor of renewal, 3,948 opposed.
The Poulsbo Port District's Proposition 1 had received 237 votes in favor, 706 against. However, those early results didn't reflect all ballots received by the Kitsap County Auditor Elections Office. According to the Auditor’s Office, 2,483 ballots were mailed out to eligible voters in the proposed annexation area. As of Election Day morning, 2,274 ballots had been received.
Going into Election Day, NKSD levy campaign chairwoman Tania Issa was confident that voters would renew the school district’s M&O levy — $2.83 per $1,000 of assessed home valuation. The levy is expected to generate $16.5 million for the school district in 2015.
According to the school district, here’s how each dollar is spent.
— 25 cents: teachers' salaries
— 24 cents: classified staff
— 17 cents: materials, supplies and operating costs
— 8 cents: special education
— 8 cents: transportation
— 8 cents: administrator salaries and benefits
— 6 cents: extracurricular activities and sports
— 1 cent: all-day kindergarten
— 1 cent: special programs
— 1 cent: the pool
— 1 cent: the copy center
If the levy was not renewed, the school district would have to try again in April, Issa said. The school district receives funding from a variety of sources, federal and state among them. But the local levy funds about 23 percent of the school district’s overall budget.
“I do believe we’re going to win,” she said in an earlier interview. In 2010, voters renewed the levy 74.25 to 25.75 percent.
The Poulsbo Port District’s annexation proposal was more controversial.
The port asked residents of Lemolo, Scandia, Virginia Point and parts of Poulsbo to join the port district; the levy is 30 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation.
Supporters said annexation would give more people a say in the day-to-day business of the port, particularly decisions that affect them; and would enable the port district to engage in economic development and do more to safeguard the health of Liberty Bay.
Between 2006-12, the port district received between $224,000 and $265,000 in tax revenue each year. The expanded port boundaries would increase that amount by almost $200,000.
Under state law, port districts are empowered to acquire property, lease property, engage in economic development, improve land for commercial and industrial use, and establish local improvement districts. Ports can invest in park and recreation facilities; roads and streets that serve port facilities; acquire, maintain and operate passenger-carrying vessels; and promote tourism.
Commissioners have said the port district is currently limited in its ability to do any of those things.
"I live outside [the] port district," David Wells said at a forum in October. “This is part of what we call economic responsibility. The port district isn't just there for the marina. It's economic development."
At the same forum, Dennis Beach of Scandia said, “I’m like everybody — against raising my taxes. I have enough being on the water. But that investment pays in the future. I think it's a small step for the taxes I pay to have Poulsbo succeed. If we don't support (annexation), then we don't have any voice over there."
But at a second forum in January, opponents of annexation presented another view. "All of us waterfront homeowners, we got the DNR, we got the Army Corps of Engineers if you got a dock, we got the county, we got septic people, and now you (want to) put another layer — you guys — over that,” said Joe Prevost, whose family has lived on Pearson Point for 25 years. “We're worried. We got enough already.”
He added, “This is a 71 percent increase (in the port's taxing area). I’m very opposed to this."
Some residents said they could not see the benefit of joining the port.
"I'm not unsympathetic to you," said Carl Shipley of Scandia. "But I'm not in favor of this. If you had actually presented something that talked about how I would be drawn more into a community of Liberty Bay, I would have been much more sympathetic. The idea has attraction. There is a sort of natural configuration for a community here. But I just didn't hear it tonight."