Frequently Asked Questions
The following will answer frequently asked questions regarding the facts of incorporation of Silverdale. Please contact us for more information. P.O. Box 3901, Silverdale, WA 98383 or UniteSilverdale@gmail.com
In 1990, the State of Washington passed the Growth Management Act (GMA) which compels cities and counties to reduce urban sprawl by planning for future development. By this act, counties and cities were required to develop a plan showing where higher density development should take place. The higher density areas are called Urban Growth Areas. Unincorporated areas inside a UGA boundary are areas intended for future incorporation or annexation. In 2005, Kitsap County Department of Community Development with input from the Citizen Advisory Committee drew the boundaries of the Silverdale Urban Growth Area (UGA); the Board of County Commissioners approved the plan in 2005. In 2010, Silverdale had an estimated population of 19,140. It would be the third largest city in Kitsap County.
With this basic understanding, the following information was obtained from a variety of sources including the U. S. Census Bureau, Revised Code of Washington, Washington Department of Revenue, Kitsap County Assessor, Department of Community Development and Special Projects, published budgets from Covington, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island and officials from the cities of Port Orchard, University Place, Gig Harbor and Covington.
In addition, questions will arise that are the domain of City Council action once Silverdale has become a city, and therefore, this committee cannot predict nor commit their actions. These answers will be determined by council members elected by the citizens of Silverdale.
1. It’s about Local Control.
a. Local concerns should be resolved at the local level. Decisions before an elected council are more focused and therefore, they can address issues more promptly.
b. Elected representation is accountable to the people who elect them. All County Commissioners are elected countywide. On Silverdale issues, approximately 92% of those voting live outside of the proposed City of Silverdale boundaries.
c. As a city, Silverdale is eligible for state and federal grants. In this instance, Silverdale would be better positioned as a city than as an unincorporated urban area. Grants can significantly increase the Level of Service (LOS). Silverdale would also have a place at the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council (KRCC) table. The KRCC is a council of governments that facilitates dialogue amount its member agencies in land use, transportation and growth menagement. The council is a "voice" for countywide planning policies required by the GMA.
d. Kitsap County Special Projects estimates the over Silverdale retail businesses generate approximately 44 - 50%, of the county’s total sales tax revenue. These revenues could be used to enhance the quality of services to the citizens of Silverdale as determined by locally elected officials.
2. What are the boundaries of the City of Silverdale? The boundaries of the Silverdale UGA are approximately 12 square miles. The boundaries for the proposed city of Silverdale will be determined through community meetings and public process.
3. Where does the revenue come from to support a city government? The major sources of revenue are the sales tax and the ad valorem tax (real property). Other sources of revenue for cities may include other taxes or fees including Business & Occupation, utilities, leasehold, liquor, gambling, admissions, business licenses, permits, and others that are shared with Kitsap County or Washington State. Since these rates are set by city council action, we can only estimate a range based on what other cities charge. The estimated range is compiled of figures based on population and percentages. Property taxes also include junior taxing districts, such as Kitsap Regional Library, Central Kitsap Fire District, Central Kitsap School District and the Silverdale Port Authority. These taxes are collected by Kitsap County and distributed to the identified agency; they are not co-mingled with city or county revenues. After incorporation, the county would continue to collect and distribute these revenues to the appropriate junior taxing districts.
4. Are these taxes going to go up? Not as a result of incorporation. Property and salestax rates are established by state and county elected officials and voter approved levies from junior taxing districts. The revenue generated within the Silverdale UGA when compared with other Washington cities is projected to meet the financial needs of the future City of Silverdale. There are over 1,100 businesses within the Silverdale UGA.
5. What services will the new City of Silverdale provide? “The governing body of the new city or town may acquire needed facilities, supplies, equipment, insurance, and staff during this interim period as if the city or town were in existence.” RCW 35.02.202. When incorporation is approved, the responsibility for each governmental service falls into one of three categories, 1) provided by existing agencies, 2) provided by the City of Silverdale, and 3) continued regional service provided by existing agencies. Initially, essential staffing in the Community Development, Finance and Public Works Departments are required as the City Council and Manager assume responsibility for the City of Silverdale and its citizens. Other services may be contracted back to the county, private contractors, other municipalities, or other taxing districts. The County’s records and data base will be available to the City Council, Manager and Department Heads to ensure smooth transitions.
6. Who provides Police protection? The state required incorporation process requires these services to be addressed. Recently incorporated Washington cities have initially contracted for police services until such time it becomes more economical for a city to assume these responsibilities. Police services will be negotiated by the City Council with the county or other cities. Initial vehicle and equipment expenditures would probably be made over a period of years.
7. Will the Fire District and Library District be annexed? Currently, the Fire and Library districts in the Silverdale UGA are annexed into unincorporated Kitsap County. After incorporation, these districts would continue services at the option of city. RCW 35.02.210 states “At the option of the governing body of a newly incorporated city or town, any fire protection district or library district serving any part of the area so incorporated shall continue to provide services to such area until the city or town receives its own property tax receipts.” The citizens of Silverdale would decide by election to annex these districts. If the library district is not annexed, services could still be paid for at the same levy rate. Until annexing into the library district last year, Port Orchard had paid for this service. The fire district, by law would provide services for the first year. After the first year, an election to be annexed or create a city fire department would be held. In the case of annexation, the levy rates for an annexed area would remain the same. If the citizens chose to have a city Fire Department, the rate (currently 2.00 for Fire & EMS) would offset the city tax cap of 3.60%.
8. What happens to the parks in the City of Silverdale? Currently, the parks and facilities in the Silverdale UGA are county property. After incorporation, these properties would remain in county ownership and responsibility. Likely, negotiations on the transference of these properties and facilities to the city would occur through an interlocal agreement.
9. Who will provide the utilities and will the rates increase? This is the decision of the City Council elected by the City of Silverdale citizens. With that said a majority of newly incorporated Washington cities continued to use established utilities rather than incurring the debt associated with start-ups. Kitsap County, Silverdale Water District, Cascade Natural Gas, and Puget Sound Energy would continue to provide sewer, water, electric and natural gas services, respectively.
10. Where would City Hall be located? There is no definite plan at this time. Because this decision involves expenditure of funds, this action would be a City Council decision.
11. Will my address be changed? Inside the Silverdale UGA, Bremerton, Poulsbo, Tracyton, and Silverdale zip codes are found. There are Silverdale addresses outside the Silverdale UGA. The U.S. Postal Service delineates mailing areas; however, by petitioning the U. S. Postal Service an address may be changed. What will change for the U. S. Postal Service is the type of service from rural route to city routes.
12. How long does the incorporation process take? Incorporation is a specific and painstaking process to ensure the citizens are protected as the Silverdale City Council assumes duties and responsibilities. The incorporation process takes approximately two years including an interim period. ”The city will be officially incorporated at a date from 180 to 360 days after the election on the question of incorporation, as specified in a resolution adopted by the city council.” (Washington Municipal Incorporation Guide)
13. How does incorporation affect Kitsap County? The structure of Kitsap County to provide local government services would be improved by relieving the County of the responsibility for most urban services in Silverdale. This frees up the County to focus on its primary role as a provider of regional and rural services.
14. What form of city government will there be? The City of Silverdale will be a code city with a Council–Manager form of government. According to Municipal Research and Services Center, “The most significant decision concerning the administration and operation of the proposed city that must be made by the initiators … is choosing the form of government….” A majority of recently incorporated Washington cities have chosen the professional Council-City Manager form of government. Also, of the 211 Washington cities, 191 are code cities. Poulsbo and Bainbridge are code cities.
15. How many members will be on the City Council? The commonly accepted standard is seven members, directly elected by the citizens of the City of Silverdale. The council candidates are voted on at the next special election date after the successful election on incorporation. The council selects a city manager. They also select a mayor from among council members. The mayor is the chairman of the council meetings and is the ceremonial head of the city.
16. How will incorporation affect the community? Silverdale will continue to be a vibrant community and commercial hub governed by leaders directly elected by the citizens of the City of Silverdale.