OPINION: Former City Councilmember’s Rebuttal To The “Statement Against” Burien Annexation
Attention North Highline Annexation Voters: your Voters Pamphlet contains a steamy, smelly pile of bovine fecal matter about annexation to Burien. Here are some of the dung piles dropped by opponent Mark Ufkes:
Pile #1 — Mr. Ufkes does not live in the voting area – he is not affected by the annexation vote. [full disclosure: I, too, do not live in the voting area, but as a Burien resident will be affected by your vote.]
Pile #2 — The Westwood Village and White Center areas are not included in the voting area, but I’m sure you can find a particular home in N. Burien that is valued lower than a particular home in Westwood. So? Truth is: the homes in unincorporated North Shorewood, Salmon Creek and Boulevard Park (neighborhoods within the voting area) are similar to their long-time N. Burien neighbors’ homes.
Pile #3 — Mr. Ufkes has been a vocal critic of the North Highline Fire Department. That despite the huge satisfaction level of residents. The city of Burien does not provide fire services. All of Burien and North Highline are served by independent Fire Districts — you elect Commissioners who set policies and standards. You will continue to be served by Fire Commissioners you elect, and control taxes for fire services.
Pile #4 — Burien has no plans to hire more police officers AT THIS TIME because it’s not necessary. Burien and North Highline share police services provided by King County. That will continue after annexation. The size of Burien’s police force will always depend on need.
Pile #5 — Burien has no budget deficit — in the state of Washington, all governments are required by law to have balanced budgets; Burien always has. What Burien doesn’t have is debt – it has operated as a cash basis city.
Pile #6 — If Burien decides to build a new community center with a new tax, the law requires voters to approve any such new tax. There is no new tax on the horizon.
Pile #7 — The is no such thing as a Burien downtown fire department tax for Town Square. Town Square is a private development. No taxes have been or will be used for this private project. There is also no massive property tax giveaway to potential Town Square residents.
Pile #8 — There is no factual evidence that property values have any relationship to your address. Property values are simply the value of your property compared to similar properties in a similar neighborhood. Fire services are also not related to your property value — a mansion gets the same fire truck, the same emergency medical team, as does a modest bungalow. Voters set the level of taxes for fire services.
An 8-year former Burien City Councilmember, I live 4 blocks from the proposed annexation area. I’m anxious to re-unite with my neighbors under one government that promotes strong single family neighborhoods rather than the rampant multifamily projects favored by King County and Seattle. Vote ‘YES’ on annexation.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: We welcome all opinions, and publish pertinent ones at our discretion. We advise all residents in the North Highline area to read as much as they can about the upcoming Aug. 18th Annexation vote, and decide for themselves whether they want to become a part of Burien or not. As always, Readers are encouraged to either email us their thoughts, or Comment below…]