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More funds required
The Kitsap County Noxious Weed Control Board is going before the Kitsap County Commissioners to request an increased assessment to restore the capacity of the Noxious Weed Control Program and to fund it adequately for the next three to four years. We are requesting an increase from $1 to $2 per parcel in the annual assessment to each property owner. It is important that the citizens of Kitsap County understand why we are making this request.
Noxious weeds are highly invasive and have detrimental impacts to our economy, agricultural, public health and natural resources. The county board is proposing to increase the noxious weed control assessment in order to maintain a functional and effective program. The program receives a fixed funding level based on the number of parcels. The original assessment of $1 per parcel – approved by the commissioners in 2005 – was based on inaccurate revenue estimates and costs that resulted in a shortfall of approximately $7,000 per year.
Over the past four years cost of living increases, automatic pay increases required for county staff and other program costs have increased. As a consequence this year we eliminated one part-time administrative assistant and operate the program under a single staff person – the noxious weed coordinator. The assessment we are proposing would allow the program to be restored and would fund projected expenditures for an estimated three years.
In the first three-plus years we have surveyed close to 60 percent of the county, identified 40 noxious weed species, provided information and assistance to more than 6,000 residents. We have helped make the control of knotweed a reality on Bainbridge Island and along Anderson Creek.
Without adequate funding, surveys, educational materials and services will be severely limited. If left uncontrolled now, noxious weeds will only become more costly to control in the future.
The program provides important services that are legally mandated by the state. Support the program by writing, calling, or emailing your county commissioner, or by attending the public hearing scheduled for Dec. 8 in Port Orchard.