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Its more than just surplus property
The Farm is more than surplus property and childhood memories. Its a place where the city of Poulsbo could set itself apart from all other cities. All cities have a city hall, and a new one will come in time, but how many cities have a working farm?
My uncle Willie owned Willies Auto Service in downtown Poulsbo for many years. He grew up in Poulsbo when the streets were dirt, and black people were not allowed to walk through town. He and my aunt Jan have been together since they were teenagers.
The Farm is where my uncle Willie, aunt Jan and cousin Lyn moved to grieve then mend their broken hearts. My cousin Leanne, along with one of the Titterness boys, was hit and killed by a drunk driver while sitting on the beach along Lemola Drive. She was only 14 years old.
The Farm is where my cousin Lyn lived while she finished high school without her sister. Its where she lived when she was Miss Sons of Norway and homecoming queen. Its where my aunt and uncle turned part of the barn into a pet grooming shop for Lyn when she thought that was the direction she wanted to go.
The Farm is where my brother, sister and I played in the fields and ate plums off the trees until we could not eat another single one. It is where my sisters beloved horse Tony is buried. The loft of the barn saw many small running feet, just having good, old-fashioned fun.
The Farm is where our sweet old granny stayed during the hardest days of her chemo. It is where my family gathered when we lost her to cancer.
Leaving the farm was not easy, and selling to the city of Poulsbo was a blessing. It made the move easier knowing The Farm would forever bring joy to others.
The Farm is history, memories, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city of Poulsbo to set itself apart from other cities.
Fee structure tactics are baffling
Kitsap County Department of Community Developments move to reshape the current fee structures leaves me baffled.
What little information that can be gleaned from the NK Heralds article on Jan. 12 demonstrates the myopic attitude of DCD. Larry Keeton and Steve Bauer should first survey permit applicants over the past five years and determine what the customer has to say about the service rendered by DCD. At least then DCD and the county commissioners would have feedback from the users regarding how DCD runs and maintains their business.
DCD collects fees from the users (customers). Private industries fail when they dont provide goods or services at a reasonable cost and within a reasonable time.
When there is an economic downturn, private businesses cut their costs, reduce their workforce, provide better service or enhance what they do. Where are Keeton and Bauer on this issue? Do they actually want to change the shape on how to generate money for DCD operations? Having never reduced permit fees, its quite difficult to believe that DCD will be taken seriously about the potential of lowering any fees. Enhanced service is not tacking on a fast track fee, for issuing a permit only slightly faster than the glacial rate DCD conducts business now.
What is needed is not a Permit Review Task Force, but instead an honest effort to reduce costs to users for permits, to reduce the DCD budget, and to move the permitting process along in a timely manner.
Keeton and Bauer might believe that they have a better idea about how best to make DCD more self sufficient, and serve its users, but they should be surveying those previous users before going any further. To do otherwise only reinforces the current views of the DCD. Show us youre trying to improve service, not increase fees and red tape.