FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31. 2005
Contact: PJ Callahan, Board of County Commissioner's Office
County Commissioners Encourage BHA to Involve KCCHA
PORT ORCHARD, WA—Concern
about public oversight was one of the reasons that the Kitsap County
Commissioners have declined to endorse a proposal from Bremerton Housing
Authority (BHA) to purchase an apartment complex in Central Kitsap for
Westpark replacement housing.
In early October, BHA signed a purchase and sales agreement for a 210-unit
apartment complex in the Ridgetop neighborhood in Silverdale. Since state
law prevents BHA from buying or operating properties outside their
territorial boundaries without approval by the county, BHA requested that
the county commissioners approve the purchase.
“The citizens of Kitsap County have no
oversight over the Bremerton Housing Authority,” said Central Kitsap
Commissioner Patty Lent, explaining the board’s decision. “As county
commissioners, we are responsible and accountable to the citizens
countywide. If the BHA purchase had been allowed to go forward, we would not
have been able to address any citizen concerns that may have arisen.” Lent’s
district includes the Silverdale area, where the property is located.
In addition to the oversight issue, the
commissioners noted that under state law, there must be a “need” for BHA to
function outside its territorial boundaries.
“The Kitsap County Consolidated Housing
Authority is the agency that coordinates housing needs throughout Kitsap,
including the Silverdale area,” said Commissioner Chris Endresen.
In a letter to the BHA, the county
commissioners suggested that BHA involve the Kitsap County Consolidated
Housing Authority (KCCHA)—the body that is responsible for low-income
housing county-wide—in any agreement regarding relocation of low-income
housing outside of Bremerton.
All three of the county commissioners,
as well as the mayors of Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard and Poulsbo, sit on
the KCCHA board.
“We have oversight over KCCHA’s
activities, as well as quality control,” said Commissioner Jan Angel. “We
are hopeful BHA will work with KCCHA for the betterment of our citizens.