Looking for love in all the wrong places

When it comes to deciding on a new location for city hall, the Poulsbo City Council has been more persnickety than a lovestruck 12-year-old. In seven years we’ve seen three different land purchases and enough red tape to stretch from Poulsbo to the moon of Endor. And still the saga continues.

Here’s a quick rundown of events for those of us who have either walked in on the credits or just need a refresher:

2001: The city met, fell in love with and purchased a plot of undeveloped land at 7th Avenue and Iverson Street for $600,000, then, after the fact, plunked down $76,000 for land and engineering studies.

These (rather expensive) studies found something the naked eye should have revealed: Dogfish Creek. Hey, who put that there? At least the citizens of Poulsbo got the cool end of the deal on this one — the plot was turned into Centennial Park, and will be complete with statues and foot bridges.

2005: Fast forward four years. With Mayor Donna Jean Bruce at the helm, the city purchased a 10th Avenue site for $2.1 million. This is purchase No. 2 for those of you with scorecards.

This time they know it’s true love.

With stars in its eyes, the council discusses putting the Poulsbo Police Department on the new site, as the current site has seen some significant wear and tear. But wait ... something lies between Romeo and Juliet — city council and the proposed site — once again.

Like the woman on “Seinfeld” who ate her peas one at a time, something doesn’t sit right. The site’s not downtown. Is this an issue with the voters? Only one way to find out.

The Poulsbo City Council decides to let the voters — remember those guys? — decide whether they want the city’s headquarters downtown. Yes, they do, as a matter of fact. So, alas, the 10th Avenue spot is not to be.

November, 2007: The council answers the question “How many times can a government entity change its collective mind?” The answer? Eight ways ’til Sunday. The council put out a call for architects and spent $425,000 a parcel at 3rd and Moe downtown. An adjacent parcel is slated for purchase for $1.2 million this spring. The plan is to pack in a new city hall, complete with underparking, to serve the growing needs of Poulsbo.

To fund this new choice, the city will sell off Mitchusson Property, which it owns outright. It may put the 10th Avenue property (the second purchase) up for sale also to fund the third property purchase.

Confused? So are we.

With two plots purchased and two more to go, let’s not hold our breath. The new site may have a fatal flaw, obvious or otherwise, and be cast aside as its predecessors.

If Peter Taxpayer ran his household income the way the city runs its general fund, Peter Taxpayer would be forced to file for bankruptcy. It’s been $3.1 million to date. Wonder why people don’t trust local government? It’s because, as in this case, government sometimes robs Peter to pay for city hall.

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