Council passes ‘ambitious’ budget with large focus on growth

The Port Orchard City Council approved its $189 million budget for 2023-24 Nov. 22.

There was no real debate over any part of the budget, as Councilman Jay Rosapepe said it looked really strong. “It’s a robust budget that can address a lot of city needs,” he said, “but also maintains our reserves.” There were no public comments, either.

The budget includes nearly $41 million in the capital budget that includes large transportation, water, storm and sewer projects. Just over $6 million will be budgeted for transportation maintenance and operations such as street lighting and road repairs. “There’s a lot of activity and projects going on,” finance director Noah Crocker said, “so this is a big, ambitious budget with lots of work involved in it.”

The budget also highlighted the reserve of $469,000 to purchase seven new SUVs for the police department. Adjustments were made by the council earlier in 2022 to help the department enter into an agreement with the Arizona Department of Administration to obtain the vehicles sooner than 2024.

The vote on the budget was preceded by a presentation on development activity, namely housing, within the city. Community Development director Nick Bond spotlighted over 20 housing projects in the city, which are anywhere from waiting to obtain building permits to completing phases of construction.

Mayor Rob Putaansuu said there is a lot of work to do, but the current and future growth reflected in Bond’s report is helping make that happen. “Fortunately, we’re seeing a lot of growth, which is bringing in revenue, which is enabling us to budget for and plan for a lot of projects here,” he said, “and hopefully we will be able to deliver on all these projects.”

The council also moved forward on one of the city’s bigger projects in the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway. The council voted to spend $780,000 to acquire the final overwater property the city deems necessary for completion of the path. The city is also providing funding for the relocation of the occupants of the home.