votes-womenThe League of Women Voters of Kitsap County hosted a well-attended mayoral forum at the Norm Dicks Government Center last night. I’ve got a few notes here on what each of the candidates had to say. (Also, Steve at K-Sun live blogged the whole thing.) The entire show will be broadcast on BKAT on Saturday at 3 and 7 p.m., Monday at 11 a.m., and Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. There is also another mayoral forum at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Charleston Theater, 333 N Callow. I’ll be there, beer in hand.

Here’s what they had to say last night:

Patty Lent believes that “The economic development that has started (downtown) needs to be throughout the entire city” and in “the core idea that you have to bring our tax dollars back from Olympia and Washington D.C.” On parking, Lent sad she didn’t have the answer, but wanted to find a way to “still have the revenue but not discourage people from downtown.” Lent wants to see “our gas tax money coming back to our city for street repair.”

Will Maupin believes that in the face of a $4 million budget shortfall, there is probably going to have to be “some fee increases and more user fees for things.” He floated the idea of one-way streets to improve parking downtown. He’s also interested in metered parking so people can park for a longer period of time. Maupin said he’d put the idea $20 car tabs — to pay for street and sidewalk reapair — to the voters. On the budget, Maupin said “We’re going to have some serious cuts in all departments and try and figure out some new funding sources and it’s not going to be pretty.”

Carlos Jara said “Bremerton is not known as being business friendly. I think we need to change that.” Jara later suggested creating a downtown tax abatement district (developers/businesses that meet certain criteria would be sheltered from increase in some taxes for 10 years), and raising the business and operating tax exemption to the first $250,000 of revenues, up from the current $60,000. On the topic of a small-business liason, which has been floated in this campaign: “The mayor is the liason. We shouldn’t hire someone else to do that.” He’s into metered parking, too. He wants to harvest wind and offset the city’s $140k monthly power bill, and use the leftover money to pay for street and sidewalk repair.

Mike Shepherd said that to help fill the $4 million deficit, he’d build partnerships with volunteer groups and find efficiencies, especially in places like maintaining flower pots and parks. He takes issue with the parking contract with Diamond and the animal control contract with the Humane Society. He sees bringing the animal control work back into the city, which he says could save more than $100,000 annually. Parks and user fees will have to rise, he said. Shepherd is also in favor of metered parking, and says business owners feel the same. Shepherd doesn’t think the $20 tab fee is the answer to the street and sidewalk issue.

Daryl Daugs said he’d have regularly-scheduled times for the public to come meet with him. He also would work toward having a stand-alone four-year university in Bremerton.  On the budget, Daugs was the most entertaining: “If you had to remove 20 percent of your toes … if you just removed the end 20 percent of your toes, you couldn’t walk. If you remove your little toe, it’s pretty painful, but you can walk.” On taxes and fees, he said it’s not the time for any increases. On parking, Daugs said “there is a conflict of interest, in that Joe Diamond is the one who enforces our parking and funnels people into his paid lots.” He’s not in favor of the $20 car tab tax.

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