A Message from Kitsap County Elected Officials:
In times of crisis such as the outbreak of COVID-19, it is critically important for public agencies to communicate regularly and ensure that essential public services continue uninterrupted.
The County Commissioners, the cities of Bainbridge, Bremerton, Poulsbo, and Port Orchard, as well as the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribes, meet regularly as the governing board of the Kitsap Public Health District and Department of Emergency Management. Along with COVID-19 response specific communications, officials are using agency webpages to communicate valuable information and reinforce messages regarding public behavior to lessen opportunities for infection and share resources for individuals, families and businesses.
We want to take this opportunity to reinforce the Governor’s orders and recommendations of public health officials about proper hygiene and the need for social distancing. We are sympathetic that our parks represent a tempting alternative to staying indoors; however, using those spaces may not allow for the requisite social distancing. Please check for specific rules governing park use on the jurisdiction websites below.
County offices, city halls and tribal offices may not be open, but rest assured staff is working diligently to maintain services and play our role in the economic engine of Kitsap County. We remain committed as your elected officials to working together, sharing ideas, supporting each other, and maintaining readiness for when normal operations resume.
Kitsap Public Health District:
Kitsap County Coronavirus Resources and Information:
Kitsap County Department Operations and Online Options:
Poulsbo local volunteer HELP line: (360) 517 5037 for people to call for non-emergency, non-medical help in the Poulsbo area and to volunteer to provide help.
Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe
Washington State Coronavirus Response and Resources
Federal Response and Toolkit:
To respond to the economic impacts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Kitsap County Treasurer Meredith Green encourages property owners who are financially able to pay first half or full year property taxes early to fund essential services needed now and in the months to come. Your property taxes fund essential services in state and local government, including cities, counties, public health, schools, fire districts, ports, hospital and other districts.
Property tax payments that occur twice yearly fund state and local governments. Unlike the federal government which can print money and withholds taxes throughout the year, property taxes are the primary source of cash flow for our local governments. Without the cash flow from property taxes, some districts might be unable to meet their expense or debt obligations, which would also impact bond ratings.
Treasurer Green states, “We recognize that many families and businesses are struggling to make ends meet during the economic crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are asking what kind of assistance programs are available if taxpayers need help paying the real and personal property taxes due on April 30. The due date for the first half property taxes remains April 30 and we have been assured by mortgage escrow companies that they will pay the first half taxes by then. Kitsap County will temporarily extend the property tax deadline for residential and commercial taxpayers to May 31, 2020. The extension shall not apply to prior year delinquent taxes or intermediaries, including mortgage loan servicing companies. If taxpayers anticipate being unable to make their payment by May 31, please contact our office after April 13 at firstname.lastname@example.org when we may have a return to normal staffing in the office and have a payment plan program developed.”
To reduce the risk of virus transmission, Treasurer Green encourages electronic payments. A temporary reduction in the e-check fee to $0.50 has been negotiated, which is less than the cost of a stamp. Please keep our employees safe so that we may continue to serve you.
The County Treasurer serves as the bank of Kitsap County and the junior taxing districts and is considered an essential service. The office is closed to the public until further notice, although taxpayers may continue to transact business through the website, email, mail or phone calls. A skeleton crew is working in the office and other employees are working remotely.
Assessor Phil Cook has extended the deadline for filing Business Personal Property affidavits (for equipment used in businesses) from April 30 to May 31. Assessor Cook states “We realized that businesses may need to be focusing on higher priority issues and want to accommodate that need. If you need to contact us, please email us at email@example.com since staff in the Assessor’s office are working remotely.”
Due to the growing COVID-19 crisis, on March 25, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners suspended enforcement of the single-use plastic bag ordinance that went into effect January 1, 2020 for unincorporated Kitsap County.
Until further notice, grocers and other retailers may use any form of bag they choose including the previously prohibited film single-use plastic bags, and will not be required to charge an $0.08 pass-through fee for each bag. This suspension is due to concerns that reusable bags could be contaminated with COVID-19 and may spread the virus to grocer's staff, surfaces and patrons. This suspension does not prohibit reusable bags, but leaves it at the discretion of individual businesses.
This suspension was requested by the Northwest Grocers Association and Washington Food Industry Association, and strongly supported by the Kitsap Public Health District, as a method to minimize the spread of the virus to essential workers and businesses.
Similar actions were taken by the cities of Port Orchard and Bainbridge Island in response to the current crisis.
For additional information, please contact Eric Baker, Policy Manager in the Commissioners' Office, at (360) 337-4495 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last night Governor Inslee issued another clarification to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order. The Clarification Memo stated: “In general, commercial and residential construction is not authorized under the Proclamation because construction is not considered to be an essential activity.” Link to: Governor's Clarification Memo
EFFECTIVE TODAY, MARCH 26, 2020: ALL COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION MUST CEASE FOR THE 2-WEEK SHUTDOWN PERIOD. THIS CONCLUDES APRIL 8, 2020 UNLESS FURTHER REVISED BY THE STATE.
The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), an advocacy association for the building industry, has been in contact with the Governor’s office about the Clarification Memo. They have confirmed the intent is that all construction other than emergency repairs must cease. The earliest construction would be able to resume is April 8th, and is dependent upon the conclusion of the Governor’s Order.
Effective immediately, the Department of Community Development (DCD) will cancel any inspections scheduled for the next 2-weeks. We will suspend scheduling of inspections beyond the 2-week period until the Order is lifted. The only types of inspections that will be performed in the 2-week period are those associated with emergency repairs.
We recognize this is a setback to our customers and different guidance than the Department issued yesterday. As local government, we are beholden to state orders and mandates, and the Governor's Clarification Memo provides no choice for the Department but to suspend inspections.
Non-field Work Will Continue
In accordance with the Governor's Order to telework where possible, DCD will continue to accept and review prioritized permit submittals online. Starting next week, we will also be re-instituting staff consultations using virtual meetings. While we’ve had to temporarily suspend inspections, we are working to increase virtual services, so customers and projects are ready to move forward the moment the Governor's order concludes.
As a Department where many of us call Kitsap County home, we are in this together as one County and one community. Our role in Kitsap’s local economy and protection of quality of life is vital to the success of the communities in which we serve. The Department’s leadership and staff will continue to strive to provide the best services in these unprecedented times. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Jeff Rimack, CBO
Kitsap County community advisory group meetings for April are cancelled to protect the health of members and the public, and in observance of Governor Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. The advisory groups include the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council, Suquamish Citizens Advisory Committee, Central Kitsap Community Council and Manchester Citizens Advisory Committee.
Other county advisory groups have cancelled April meetings. Please visit their individual webpages for information at https://www.kitsapgov.com/BOC_p/Pages/Advisory-Boards-.aspx .
For more information, contact Rebecca Pirtle in the Kitsap County Commissioners' Office at email@example.com
Effective March 26, 2020, Kitsap County Sewer Utility is ceasing all in-person services according to new guidance from Governor Inslee on the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.
This includes inspections on commercial and residential construction projects, issuance of sewer permits, side sewer inspections, and side sewer saddle installations. The only types of inspections performed will be those associated with emergency repairs.
Work will resume on April 8, 2020, dependent on the conclusion of the Governor’s order.
Governor's Clarification Memo
Kitsap County Parks will temporarily close all county-managed parks, community buildings, active and passive recreation areas, and water-access areas for at least two weeks beginning at 5 p.m. today, March 25. The closure is in response to Governor Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.
All entrances with gates will be shut and locked at 5 p.m. tonight, and all on-site public services will be suspended. Essential staff will be on duty in each district for the safety and security of these parks and structures.
Updated information about Kitsap County Parks and these closures will be posted at www.kitsapgov.com/parks.
During this time, the Kitsap County Parks office will be closed to the public but can be reached at our temporary service number (360) 340-6661 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Parks staff will make every effort to respond to inquiries in a timely manner, however, a delayed response could be experienced due to limited staff availability.
County closures also extend to Kitsap County stormwater parks including:
To stay informed about closures and changes to Kitsap County services and resources, go to http://kcowa.us/online .
On Monday, Governor Inslee issued a Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order identifying certain businesses and entities deemed essential services that are to continue operations. The question that has been raised by many is what are essential businesses and who are essential workers?
The Governor provided a list of job types and industries that are considered essential. The following is an excerpt from the OTHER COMMUNITY-BASED GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS AND ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS section of that list:
"Essential Workforce Construction workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction) for all essential facilities, services and projects included in this document, and for residential construction related to emergency repairs and projects that ensure structural integrity. " (**Emphasis added)
What does this mean for DCD operations and my project?The work DCD does is considered essential to the continuity of County functions, our local economy, and other essential businesses identified in Governor Inslee's list. As a result, DCD will continue daily operations. Currently, approximately 80% of the Department is telecommuting, maintaining operations at home during these unprecedented times as a County, State, and nation. Because DCD has fully prepared telecommuters, the Department will continue to take in and review the full spectrum of permits in which we have jurisdiction for unincorporated Kitsap County. The transition to fully online permit application submittal has afforded DCD and those we serve the ability to continue business during this challenging time.
Please note that while we are accepting all permit applications, DCD will prioritize review and only issue permits for projects that are listed as an Essential Business (list linked), tied to new home construction, or emergency repair of an existing structure. This prioritization will be in place until such time as the Governor's order is lifted.
What about inspections?In conformance with Governor Inslee's Executive Orders, inspections in the field will be limited as follows:
Essential business included in the Governor's list will continue to receive inspection services.
Construction activities that will result in the construction of New Single-Family Residences will receive inspection services. This includes Site Development Activity Permits for residential short plats and plats.
Residential construction related to emergency repairs will continue to receive inspection services.
SUSPENDED: Residential inspections related to remodels, additions, upgrades, etc. that require an inspector to enter an occupied home are suspended. **Requests related to life safety concerns for these types of permits can be requested via the open line @ 360-337-5777 and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
A list of residential and commercial building types DCD will be performing inspections is later on in this document.
The restrictions for inspections of occupied homes is to meet the intent of the Governors Executive order, maintain social distancing as prescribed by the U.S. Center of Disease Control for inspectors and occupants of homes, and prevent the spread of COVID-19. A review of all permits issued by DCD shows that the above actions will affect approximately 28% of all permits currently issued. For the permits that are affected by the restriction, DCD will allow extensions and work with contractors to ensure prompt completion once the Stay Safe, Stay Home Order is lifted. DCD is implementing photo re-inspections and virtual inspections next week. This will allow us to offset some of the impacts customers will experience in the near term.
PLEASE NOTE: To minimize the risk to the public and our staff, we are requesting inspectors be allowed to conduct inspections alone. If you choose to be onsite, please be mindful of maintaining the social distance of at least six (6) feet. Our inspectors will be making judgment calls on a site-by-site basis as to whether they will enter a property. They have the discretion to not enter any situation that could place the inspector in an at-risk position.
Labor and Industries is currently not performing inspections during the Governor's two-week Stay Home, Stay Safe order. This will impact some inspections types as DCD cannot approve covering of electrical or finaling of a home without L&I approval. We have no control over, or a way around, this requirement**
What about permit extensions and reactivations? Any permit expiration or extensions needed as a result of COVID-19 work restrictions will be approved without charge.
What about public meetings (Planning Commission & Hearing Examiner)?Currently, we are prepared to proceed with Planning Commission and Hearing Examiner meetings for April. We have incorporated the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines into those meetings as a measure to minimize exposure to staff and the public. This plan, however, could change.
Last night the Governor issued an Emergency Order regarding the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), RCW 42.30, and DCD is working with legal counsel to determine the impact of that Emergency Order on our current plan for public meetings. Please expect a separate communication regarding public meetings once we have guidance from legal.
How long will this continue?That is the question on everyone's mind, and unfortunately, the answer in unknown. What DCD is doing at this point is pushing to create plans for sustained operations. We want to be positioned to continue to provide services to our clients if the Governor directs we must continue in this manner for an extended period.
Essential Building and Residential Projects ListThe list below is the types of projects identified as Essential in accordance with Governor Inslee’s Essential Workers list. DCD will be performing inspections for these projects, as outlined below.
Site Development Activity All Site Development Activity inspections in support of the above mentioned projects. Requests for projects not listed here that are related to life safety concerns can be requested by calling Kitsap1 at 360-337-5777 and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
In response to the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak, Kitsap County government has moved from face-to-face delivery of services to online services to protect the health and safety of staff and the public.
A new web page at http://kcowa.us/online provides information on county offices including new operating hours, online services and other information about operations.
“We’re leveraging technology to continue to provide public services,” said Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, chair of the Board of County Commissioners, “and we’re making every effort to support the local economy and keep our communities connected to the resources they need.”
Conditions and guidelines are changing every day so please check the web page frequently for updates or call Kitsap1 at 360.337.5777 before heading to the County Campus in Port Orchard or any of the other county facilities and offices. If you have business that must be conduced in-person, please contact the appropriate department to schedule an appointment before coming to the Courthouse, Administration building or other facilities.
To say that we live in interesting times seems like a vast understatement. None of us have lived through anything similar in our lifetimes and each moment seems to bring a new bit of information – or misinformation, as the case often seems to be.
We fully support the efforts of the dedicated public health officials who guide us during this COVID-19 outbreak, and extend our thanks and appreciation to medical professionals in all settings that have been watching over our affected family and friends.
County Commissioners are closely following local and national COVID-19 developments. We're watching what other adjoining counties are doing and evaluating practices that could be utilized here. In the last week, county departments have begun making operational shifts away from face-to-face, walk-up customer service by implementing innovative online interfaces.
A Kitsap County information line has been established to address residents' questions and concerns related to COVID-19. That number is 2-1-1. It is staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Updated information about the spread of COVID-19 in Kitsap County and many resources are available at the Kitsap Public Health District website at kitsappublichealth.org. The state Department of Health has also set up a Coronavirus Response website at coronavirus.wa.gov with the latest news statewide.
We are also thankful for the efforts of our own County staff. Their dedication and creativity in ensuring the County continues to provide quality public service is greatly appreciated. Permitting and inspecting new construction, recording real estate transactions, renewing vehicle registrations, preparing for elections, maintaining roads, sewer and stormwater systems and accepting property taxes are just some of the vital services our dedicated employees are performing while dealing with current COVID-19 challenges.
Many of our county services are available online. Though some of our departments have closed their walk-up service counters that doesn't mean we're not here for you. The technical tools we've put in place allow us to continue to serve the public and help keep our communities and economy moving forward. We encourage you to check out the county website at kitsapgov.com and contact services through phone or email. A new county webpage, linked to through our home page, is coming online this week to make it easier for the public to find newly enacted hours of operation for each department, contact information and links to online services.
Like you, our staff is impacted by the closures of schools, businesses, recreational facilities and the inability to visit friends and loved ones in healthcare facilities. Consequently, we strongly encourage that if you must visit a county office, please check the county's website first to see if certain services are available online or if an office's hours have changed. If you need to speak to a specific staff person, please call or make an appointment to ensure that the staff person is in the office and available to assist you. Similarly, our County courts have issued a temporary order regarding the timing and processing of cases in Superior and District courts. That order can be found here.
We will continue, with the invaluable assistance of our employees and partners, to provide essential county services while maintaining compliance with the directives from Governor Inslee, the Kitsap County Public Health District and the Centers for Disease Control.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Kitsap County.
Kitsap County Board of Commissioners
Charlotte Garrido, Chair
Edward E. Wolfe
The Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board meeting, scheduled for 5:30
p.m. this evening, March 11, at Harrison Medical Center, is CANCELLED to
respect the many people who are using an abundance of caution and avoiding public meetings and events due to concerns about COVID-19.
For more information on the Veterans Advisory Board, visit https://www.kitsapgov.com/hs/Pages/VAB-ADVISORY-BOARD.aspx .
Kitsap County's Department of Emergency Management (DEM) issued a Proclamation of Emergency March 8 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Board of County Commissioners adopted the proclamation this morning. As of March 8, there was one presumptive positive case of COVD-19 in Kitsap County (pending confirmation from the Washington State Department of Health).
"In coordination with our Department of Emergency Management and the Kitsap Public Health District, this proclamation allows us to further assess and prepare for this potentially significant health emergency," said Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, chair of the Board of Commissioners. "The proclamation is an important tool for our ongoing support of the citizens, agencies, public health partners, and first responders managing the current outbreak.""
The emergency proclamation authorizes DEM to address the threat to public health and safety that COVID-19 poses. This may include suspending regulations for purchasing and contracting in order to obtain essential supplies and services needed for first responders and medical professionals.
The County Commissioners and DEM are closely coordinating with our cities, the Kitsap Public Health District, Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Emergency Management Division to share the latest information and guidance for healthcare providers and the public regarding the identification and management of possible cases and prevention recommendation.
"Getting in front of this emergency and supporting our responders is essential," said Elizabeth Klute, Director of the County's Department of Emergency Management. By enacting this proclamation DEM, is able to collect resource needs and escalate resource requests to State Emergency Management for assistance.
It also streamlines the procurement process for equipment and resources for responders. "It's important that members of the public heed the guidance of the Kitsap Public Health District" Klute added.
For updates on COVID-19 in Kitsap County and to sign up to receive updates by email or text, go to https://kitsappublichealth.org/CommunityHealth/CoronaVirus.php.
The dedication ceremony planned for the Veterans Memorial, scheduled for 9 to 11 a.m. this Saturday, March 14 in the lobby of the Kitsap County Administration Building is CANCELLED.
For more information, contact George Geyer at email@example.com. To learn more about the Kitsap County Advisory Board, Veterans Assistance Program, Run to Tahoma and other resources and opportunities for local veterans, go to https://www.kitsapgov.com/hs/Pages/VAB-LANDING.aspx .
Kitsap County's Department of Public Works begins improvements on Washington Boulevard NE from NE 3rd Street to Central Avenue. The project was born out of the Kingston Complete Streets Report, published May 2016, which identified numerous projects in the village of Kingston. Complete Streets is a design approach that requires streets be planned, designed and operated, and maintained to facilitate safe, convenient, and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation.
This project includes construction of pedestrian sidewalks from SR 104 (NE 1st Street) to Central Ave NE and makes improvements to the existing pedestrian and bike path from NE Third Street to SR 104. Upgrades to the stormwater collection system and new street and pedestrian lighting are also part of the project.
Finally, a portion of Washington Blvd NE (from NE 1st Street to NE 2nd Street), and NE 2nd Street (from Washington Blvd NE to the alley between Washington Blvd and Ohio Ave NE) will be permanently closed to all non-emergency vehicles as part of this project. The closure begins Wednesday, February 26, 2020.
The permanent closure provides pedestrians a safe walking experience while enjoying the scenic water view. Emergency vehicles will always have access.
The 5-month project begins February 18, 2020 with the contractor mobilizing equipment on the project site. Construction is anticipated to be completed by early Summer, 2020. Access to businesses will remain open for duration of the project; however, motorists can expect traffic delays. Flaggers will assist motorists through the project area.
The work is being done by Pivetta Brothers Construction, Inc., under a $1,061,715.00 construction contract.
For more information contact Tim Beachy, Project Manager, at Kitsap1, 360.337.5777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the project go to http://kcowa.us/WaBlvd.
Between March 12 and March 20, invitations to participate in the 2020 Census will start arriving in households across the country. A Kitsap County Complete Count Committee was formed in 2019, in coordination with the U.S. Census 2020, made up of dozens of representatives from local agencies, non-profit and faith-based organizations, city, county and tribal government and legislators. The committee is led by Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder, Bainbridge Island City Councilman and Kitsap Community Foundation President Kol Medina and United Way of Kitsap County President Carl Borg III.
The Kitsap Complete Count committee seeks to coordinate and support community outreach about the census, especially to hard-to-count people which include those living without homes or in temporary accommodations, children under age 5, the elderly, and those for whom English is a second language. There is also a local website established to provide tools, resources and information about the 2020 Census at kitsap2020census.com .
"Kitsap County is unique in that we are a diverse community," said Leslie Daugs, Kitsap County 2020 Complete County Census Coordinator. "With this diversity, we need to make sure that everyone is counted in the upcoming 2020 Census. What's new this year is that people can respond to the census online. It is important to realize how the number of people who respond to the census helps determine – for the next 10 years – how tax dollars are distributed for roads, schools and services, and representation in the government. This amounts to $2,900 for every person counted so don't forget to complete the Census."
The U.S. Census Bureau's invitation will include instructions on how to respond to the census online or by phone. The census questionnaire has just nine questions and one must be completed for each individual residing in a household. A question about immigrant residence status is NOT included in the questionnaire. The Census Bureau protects the data collected and is bound by law to keep it strictly confidential.
"Response is important because statistics from the census are used in distributing where hundreds of billions in funding for school lunches, hospitals, roads and much more," said Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham. "The invitations will remind respondents to include everyone living in the household, whether they are related or not. This includes young children. Your response will impact communities for the next decade."
By April 1, the official census day, most households that have not yet responded will have received an invitation by mail. Reminder mailings will be sent to households that do not respond. Those who receive mail via post office boxes will not receive the invitation by mail but can access the questionnaire online, over the phone or with a census taker who will go in person to households that haven't responded by the end of April.
Once households receive invitations, please respond to the 2020 Census by using the provided Census ID. If a household is unable to enter the Census ID people can still respond, by providing an address. The Census ID is not required to complete the census. People can complete the census at any time online or by phone after March 16 and by April 1.
Below is a timeline of how and when the Census Bureau will invite households to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire:
A sample of the 2020 Census paper questionnaire and preview of the online questionnaire are available on the census website. The census questionnaire will also be available online and by phone in English and 12 additional languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese. To help ensure a complete count of everyone, the Census Bureau will also provide video language guides, print language guides and language glossaries in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, Braille, and Large Print.
The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated to state and local communities for the next 10 years.
For more information about the 2020 Census, contact Leslie Daugs, Kitsap County 2020 Complete Count Coordinator, at (360) 440-1961, email@example.com, or visit kitsap2020census.com or 2020census.gov.