Opinion

Port of Bainbridge Island now in hands of county | Our Opinion | June 24

Why would Bainbridge Island want its own port district? There are several good economic reasons why it might be better for the island’s inland waters and adjacent public property to be monitored by a board of five commissioners elected to deal with harbor and industry-specific issues rather than the city. The island’s park district is a successful example of a junior taxing district the port district supporters are hoping to follow.

There’s now a chance that the community will have the opportunity to decide whether or not it wants a Port of Bainbridge Island since a petition signed by more than 10 percent of the voters in the last general election is now in the hands of the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office for petition verification.

Islander Wini Jones and others have been working hard for the last few months to get enough petition signatures to move the issue forward with the goal of having the county’s Board of Commissioners request a public hearing and eventually place it on the ballot. Jones said the target is the November general election, but if it doesn’t get there on time,  a special election could be held in either February, March, April or May of 2012.

Approximately 1,394 signatures are required to move the petition forward. Jones painfully went over 38 pages of signatures, rejecting the ones that the county would dismiss for one reason or another and then sending 1,620 signatures to Port Orchard.

Jones and others realized they would need to hire professionals in order to honor the county’s desire to have the petitions by May 31, though they weren’t sent to the county until June 16.

Jones said about 80 percent of the signers were excited about the petition, while the remainder who signed said they weren’t sure about it, but thought it should be brought to a public debate. And that’s the point. On an island that needs a major economical revival, no stone should remain unturned.

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