2023 Budget Will Maintain Progress on Public Safety, Streets, Parks and Essential Needs and Services for Vulnerable Residents
I’m pleased to present to the public and the City Council my proposed budget for the City of Bremerton for 2023. I believe this budget will continue serving our residents at the highest level while practicing responsible financial management. This budget focuses on repairing our infrastructure such as streets and sidewalks and maintains essential needs and services for vulnerable residents, public safety, emergency response, mental health services, and our local parks.
This year’s proposed budget includes several goals:
- Maintains and protects the progress the City has made since 2018. Over the past several years, the City has funded the police force at full staffing levels – with no cuts to either police staff or operations – and added new police officers to maintain public safety in our neighborhoods and business districts. The City has also added fire fighters and paramedics to respond to increased service calls in our community. Since 2018, and with support of the City Council, the Streets and Sidewalks program was also reinstated and brought back in-house. Employees have been repairing and improving miles of streets and sidewalks, and are currently working through a list of projects. I am continuing all of these efforts under this budget, which will maintain what has already been completed to support our community.
- Delivers a budget that is fiscally responsible and “recession proof”. I remain committed to maintaining a sound and resilient budget. Over the past several years, the City has continued to be in strong financial health due to careful and conservative planning and a stream of sales tax and other revenue sources. The City anticipates this budget will remain sustainable during a possible downturn in the economy, will fund the City’s essential services for citizens and maintain projects that have been completed to move the City forward.
- Continue responding to the needs in our community. I remain committed to providing assistance, support and services for residents. In this budget, I have added two full-time staff positions to maintain the public health and cleanliness of our parks, streets and other public areas and to clean-up illegal dumping in our City. In addition, this budget continues funding for affordable housing assistance, behavioral health services, a mobile medical and addiction unit, among other programs.
In 2022, we moved forward on a number of initiatives and goals to maintain services and programs for residents. During the year, my administration:
- Continued the Bremerton rental assistance program and weatherization and minor home repair programs.
- Funded 5 new police officers as part of our community policing initiative, fully implemented body cameras for our officers and installed vehicle dash cameras to maintain public safety of residents and keep neighborhoods safe. Two behavioral health specialists were also hired to respond to mental health crisis incidents.
- Hired 3 new first responders to increase fire department efficiencies and to expand responsiveness to emergencies and medical assistance calls.
- Administered public health and cleanliness efforts and removed debris in areas with illegal dumping.
- Continued repair and construction of streets and sidewalks, replaced aging infrastructure, added bike lanes, and made accessibility and other improvements for pedestrians.
- Increased the Business & Occupation (B&O) tax exemption from $240,000 to $1 million to support the business community. This increased the number of eligible businesses in the City who received an exemption from the tax or qualified for a decrease in their bill.
- Continued to permit outdoor seating in public parking and other spaces for Bremerton restaurants to help strengthen their recovery.
- Invested in Western Washington University’s local Small Business Development Center to help businesses respond and adapt to market changes.
- Provided support for startup of Mainstreet Association to help businesses in the downtown core.
- Initiated feasibility analysis of the Warren Avenue Bridge Pedestrian Improvement Project.
- Completed construction documents for Kitsap Lake Park Renovation Project.
- Completed resurfacing of Lions Park courts and striping of 10 pickleball courts.
- Completed accessibility improvements for Kitsap Lake Park, Lions Park, and Pendergast Regional Park.
- Secured funding for Kiwanis Park playground replacement and completed accessible playground design.
- Started design for Pendergast Regional Park sports field improvements.
- Started construction documents for Haddon Park Renovation project.
- Started work on Phase Two of Gold Mountain Cascade Course plan.
- Continued with Kitsap Lake vegetation management and toxic algae control efforts.
- Advanced the infill development toolkit to help increase affordable housing supply.
- Completed art initiatives projects.
- Worked on long-term implementation of parking study recommendations.
- Continued joint traffic and parking study with U.S. Navy.
- Implemented the City’s fire safety prevention program and partnered on the 2nd full year of the mobile response unit for opioid and mental health incidents.
- Continued behavioral health program for crisis intervention and support for Stand by Me program.
- Pursued and secured legislative funding for: Quincy Square on 4th Street project; $25 million for construction of pedestrian improvements for Warren Avenue Bridge; upgrades to heating, air conditioning and better ventilation in downtown Bremerton Library; an accessibility playground in Kiwanis Park; $74 million in initial investment to fix the Gorst corridor; and funding to fix the Washington State Ferry system.
- Prepared plans for 2023 to initiate comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion program. Program will focus on ensuring policies, processes, and practices support an inclusive work environment and provide equitable delivery of City services.
In the 2023 budget, I am committed to maintaining completed projects in the City, supporting essential needs and services for residents, and sustaining the livability of our community.
My proposed budget is available for viewing online. I will be working with the City Council over the next several weeks to review the budget before they adopt the document. Residents can find dates and information on City Council meetings on our website here.
Mayor, City of Bremerton