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Public Notices

Posted on: October 24, 2019

2020 Budget Will Help Improve Neighborhoods, Public Safety and Affordable Housing

Greg Wheeler

2020 Budget Will Help Improve Neighborhoods, Public Safety and Affordable Housing in our City

I’m pleased to present to the public and the City Council my proposed budget for the City of Bremerton for 2020. This proposal reflects the current issues facing our community and the need to prepare responsibly for the years ahead.

Addressing Housing Instability and Providing Help for Low-Income Residents

In this budget, I continue to make homelessness, mental illness, safety of our neighborhoods, and the need for quality affordable housing a priority. I have proposed continuing $100,000 in funding for the rental assistance and eviction prevention program for those faced with housing instability. For the second year, I have also included $100,000 in weatherization assistance to reduce energy costs for low-income residents so they don’t have to choose between paying for food or housing. In the pilot year in 2019, both programs were successful in helping residents to maintain housing stability and decrease the chances of becoming homeless. 

In addition, I have expanded the senior low-income subsidy program for 2020. Seniors over 62 with a total income up to $40,000 are now eligible, which is an increase of $10,000 over the previous year.  This change will increase the number of low-income seniors who receive assistance with their water and sewer bill payments in our City.

Committing to a Safe and Healthy Community

I am also making investments that encourage a safe and healthy community. Funding in this new budget will help remodel and update our parks, including Warren Ave Playfield and Kitsap Lake Park, which have been in need of renovations over the past several years. I’m pleased to announce that my budget will continue to build up the City’s streets and sidewalks program, increasing the funding from $8.7 million to $12.2 million. These funds will help manage traffic flows, fix streets and increase walkability for individuals and families in our neighborhoods.

Maintaining public safety is very important for our community. I added three positions, a new fire fighting boat and fire truck in the previous budget, which the City Council adopted. For 2020, I have added three new firefighter/EMT positions to help keep our residents safe and to further reduce emergency response times. 

Supporting Business and Job Growth

To support our businesses and promote job growth, I have increased the Business & Occupation (B&O) exemption from the rate of $200,000 to $240,000 this year, which accelerates the pace to phase out the B&O tax. This effort backs the City Council’s code revision in 2012 to eliminate the tax with annual increases in the exemption. My budget doubles the exemption from the standard $20,000 to $40,000 for the year, creating more savings for businesses to reinvest back in Bremerton in the form of jobs and business expansion.

Preparing Responsibly for the Future

Since taking office, my administration has made progress on many initiatives and goals that were funded in the last budget, including: 

  • Implementation of the Wheaton Way/HWY 303 Corridor Study; East Side Employment Center/Harrison Hospital Market Analysis EIS; and Charleston Business/Community District Study
  • Completion of the first year of the Rental Assistance Program and Weatherization Program
  • Implementation of the Kitsap Lake Study on Vegetation Management and Toxic Algae Control
  • Approval of the First Project Utilizing the Opportunity Zone Designation 
  • Completion of Art Initiatives Projects 
  • Improvement of City’s Bond Rating and Refinancing of LTGO Bonds to a Lower Interest Rate
  • Completion of the First Full Year of Proactive Code Enforcement
  • Issuance of Permits for Nearly $78 million in Residential/Commercial Projects with Another $54 million Expected to be Issued by the End of 2019
  • Beginning Implementation of Parking Study Recommendations
  • Identifying a Location of New Primary Healthcare Clinic on Kitsap Way 
  • Working on Pendleton Place Supportive Housing Complex
  • Securing Legislative Funding for Warren Ave Bridge Improvements, Warren Ave Playfield, Pendergast Regional Park, Kitsap Lake, and Design for Quincy Square
  • Hiring of 3 EMT/Firefighters and Operation of New Marine 20 Fireboat and Ladder One Firetruck
  • Reaching Full Staffing of Police Department after Years of Unfilled Positions
  • Solidifying a Partnership with the Navy to Resolve Traffic and Parking Issues 

With this budget, I will continue the momentum to support a thriving community that serves the needs of residents while ensuring the City remains in strong fiscal health. 

Please take a moment to review the proposed budget and provide your comments. Over the next few weeks, I will be working with the City Council to review the budget before they adopt the document. On November 6 and November 20 City Council meetings, I hope you will join us and share your comments on the budget proposal. 

If you have any comments about the budget document or process, please call or email me at: 360-473-5266 or Greg.Wheeler@ci.bremerton.wa.us.

Sincerely,

Greg Wheeler
Mayor, City of Bremerton

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