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Indianola residents approve tax hike for dock improvements, maintenance | Election
INDIANOLA — Port of Indianola residents narrowly approved a measure that will generate more revenue for maintenance of their beloved dock.
As of 8:15 p.m. Nov. 5, the vote on Indianola Port District Proposition 1 was 284 yes, 135 no.
The measure raises the port district’s property tax levy from 15 to 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. The increase will generate $62,000 a year for the port district, up from $45,445 in 2012.
The port’s annual operating budget for 2013 is estimated at $38,648, according to the port.
The measure will increase the average homeowner’s property tax bill by $21 a year — equal to one round-trip ferry ride or one latte a month, proponents said.
Jack Lambrecht, chairman of a committee opposed to the measure, had a different view. “Analogies do not obscure the fact that this is a 45 percent tax increase request,” he wrote in the voters’ pamphlet.
Lambrecht said the levy increase should be deferred until voters have a clearer picture of dock repairs and costs. Funds for maintenance and repair “should be in the domain of voluntary individual contributions …,” he wrote.
But several concerns residents had about Proposition 1 were virtually erased by recent decisions of the Port Commission. Commissioners rescinded an earlier decision that established a $100-per-meeting stipend for commissioners, instead directing that that money — $300 a month, $3,600 a year — be directed to dock improvements and maintenance. Commissioners also took about $6,000 allocated to the Indianola Beach Improvement Club for security and budgeted it for dock improvements and maintenance.
On Election Day, Commissioner Eric Cookson said the current plan is to replace 10-20 pilings with steel pilings every two years; replacing 20 pilings is expected to cost $100,000, he said. He said residents can expect to first see support strapping and cross bracing installed, followed by replacement of pilings identified as most needing to go. Work could start next year, depending on permits, he said.
Cookson warned that the additional funding from Proposition 1 wasn't going to cover the costs of dock improvements, but it was an important first step.
“I’m pretty confident [Proposition 1] is going to go through,” he said. “Residents understand it’s something that’s needed.”
INDIANOLA DOCK TIMELINE
1916: Indianola dock is built.
1919: Daily steamer service begins.
1933: Residents vote to create the Indianola Port District.
1934-35: Dock is widened and reinforced for auto access. Auto ferry service begins in 1936.
1951: Agate Pass Bridge is completed; ferry service to and from Indianola dock is discontinued.
1971: Dock is rebuilt. Rotting pilings, timbers, decking and guard rails are replaced. The rebuilt dock is narrower.
1982, 2004, 2008: Storms necessitate further reconstruction or repairs.
June 27, 2013: The Port Commission closes the dock after Coast & Harbor Engineering expressed concern about the ability of the dock to accommodate large Independence Day crowds. In the ensuing days, the barrier placed by the port district is removed or ignored by dock users.
July 29: Port Commissioner Judith Frank resigns, citing harassment. She said her house was egged and the dock entrance barrier left on her front lawn.
Aug. 13: Port Commissioners Joan Wald and Jeff Henderson make opposing votes for the reopening of the dock, with Wald against and Henderson for.
Aug. 21: Wald resigns.
Sept. 4: Kitsap Board of County Commissioners appoints Eric B. Cookson to Frank’s vacated position. Cookson is also one of two candidates for the position in the Nov. 5 election.
Sept. 10: Port Commissioners Henderson and Cookson vote to reopen the dock, with restrictions against large gatherings.
Oct. 1: Bill Sibbett, a tug boat captain and commercial fisherman, was appointed to serve the two months remaining in Wald’s term. He was one of three applicants for the position and was appointed by commissioners Jeff Henderson and Eric Cookson.
— Sources: www.portofindianola.com, www.historylink.org, North Kitsap Herald