Burien City Council Expected To Take First Step Towards Annexation Tonight

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by Ralph Nichols

A potential annexation of North Highline comes before the city council tonight (Monday, June 20) as round two of bringing the unincorporated area into Burien gets underway.

Opponents of annexation, many representing downtown interests, may make their voices heard during public comment at the outset of the meeting.

Many of them also opposed annexation of “south” North Highline, and now claim council members and City Manager Mike Martin are trying to “fast-track” this process.

But several council members, including Mayor Joan McGilton and Gordon Shaw, have adamantly rejected allegations of back-room fast-tracking, noting the annexation issue has openly been on their radar for some time.

Martin told The B-Town Blog late last week that he will “ask the city council for general direction” at tonight’s meeting, and that he has already contracted with Berk and Associates for a $20,000 study of the financial impacts of a second annexation on Burien.

Berk also conducted annexation studies for Burien last time, “so they have a lot of information already gathered,” Martin noted.

“We’ve studied parts of this before. More importantly, we’ve studied a lot of this recently in a police study” nearing completion, which includes North Highline.

With much data already compiled, “I believe I can assemble the information the council needs … and expect to have the information for a decision to them by the first part of August,” he continued. “That’s my goal.”

Martin stressed that, when he makes his final report to city lawmakers, “if the numbers are not right, I’m not going to recommend annexation to the council.”

And Shaw, the strongest advocate of economic development on the council, has also declared unequivocally that if North Highline annexation – for which he has indicated support – doesn’t pencil out, then he won’t vote for it.

Cost of Additional Annexation
Among the objections raised by annexation foes is a claim that if Seattle can’t afford to absorb North Highline, then Burien, with its smaller budget, certainly can’t – and to do so would cost Burien several million dollars a year beyond state funding the city would get for annexation.

But Martin disagrees because comparing Burien to Seattle doesn’t compute. “We have an entirely different form of government in Burien than in Seattle,” Martin said. Seattle is a “full-service city,” while Burien has a “contract government.”

For example, while fire, water and sewer services are provided by city departments in Seattle, they are provided to Burien residents through fire, water and sewer districts with separate tax streams.

Burien is receiving $500,000 a year in state sales tax credits for 10 years to help pay for its annexation of previously unincorporated “south” North Highline.

Should Burien annex the unincorporated area, including White Center, the city will receive $5 million a year for 10 years from in-state sales tax credits.

The amount of state annexation assistance was substantially increased by the Legislature when it looked like Seattle would absorb North Highline.

Increased sales tax credits, however, were not made available exclusively to the city of Seattle, which earlier this year indicated it would not pursue annexation for at least a year, and would not interfere with an annexation action by Burien.

After city council members get the new Berk report and related information, “if they tell me ‘we’re not interested,’ then we’re done,” Martin told The B-Town Blog earlier.

Yet if the council chooses to move forward with annexation, there is no “fast track,” he added. First, the city would file a notice of intent with the King County Boundary Review Board.

“If the Boundary Review Board approves a potential annexation by Burien, “there would be a vote in the first half of 2012. That would be my goal,” Martin said.

Annexation would have to be approved by voters in the unincorporated area. If they voted to join Burien, the city would set a later date to make annexation official.

While city council members “will be making decisions shortly,” Martin said then, “the fact is that annexation can’t occur for some time.”

Financial, Police Annexation Updates
Burien council members already have received information in recent presentations that gives an initial indication of how the annexation of what is now North Burien is working out.

A partial-year review – April 1, 2010, when annexation became official, through Dec.31 – that was prepared by the city Finance Department showed revenue of $1.311 million in North Burien, including $250,000 in sales tax credits.

Burien received only six months in sales tax credits last year since annexation was not in effect for all of 2010.

City expenditures in North Burien totaled $1.134 million. Approximately $226,000 in one-time costs was not included in the ongoing costs.

Police Chief Scott Kimerer reported that while Burien’s population increased 44 percent with annexation, from 33,313 to 48,072, serious (Part I) crimes decreased city wide by 5 percent, and lesser (Part II) crimes decreased by 12 percent.

Dispatched calls increased by 28 percent – an increase of 4 percent in calls per officer – including a 28 percent increase in domestic violence cases.

Average police response times to calls decreased slightly in 2010.

The prosecution of domestic violence cases went up 79 percent, driving under the influence cases 44 percent, and criminal traffic cases 42 percent. Criminal non-traffic cases, except for domestic violence cases, declined by 8 percent.

The total of all misdemeanor criminal cases received by the city prosecutor increased 25 percent.

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5 Responses to “Burien City Council Expected To Take First Step Towards Annexation Tonight”
  1. Get a clue burien city council says:

    The 50 million the state is going to give is only going to cover 2/3 of just the 75 million infrastructure backlog that king county has delayed in white center!

    Why are you drooling over 50 million mike when the money is already spent?

    I love how mike Martin is acting like he isn’t sure what his position will be. He wants to annex it. He wants the 50 million. He wants a new library. And the numbers arent going to tell you anything different than what seattle’s did. The difference is they were looking for a reason not to annex and you are looking for a reason to annex.

  2. Get a clue burien city council says:

    And I got news for you mike. The bigger burien gets the more people will feel your position should be eliminated and replaced with a mayor or at the very least elected. Which means either way you’re put of a job. Be careful what you wish for you might just get it.

  3. Thom Grey says:

    Duh Dude Ralph and other Dude Bloggers,
    This report that you are quoting from the Police Chief doesn’t make sense with what is shown on the King County Sheriff’s report site.. Could you explain why the different numbers? Area X was annexed in April, 2010 and is in this count.

    Burien Police Activity Report

    Change 2009 2010- percent change
    Dispatched calls for service 10,507 13,680 30.2%
    Adult charges/arrests 1,037 1,421 37.0%
    Juvenile charges/arrests 234 166 – 29.1%
    Officers assaulted 2 5 150.0%
    Total gang-related incidents 262 425 62.2%
    Total domestic violence
    related incidents 403 531 31.8%
    Hate crimes/malicious
    harassment reports 1 3 200.0%

    Duh. Like whether someone is on contract or working for the city ,the citizens of Burien will have to pay their salaries and benefits in their total taxes. So the City might look like it isn’t paying out much money but the citizens will still be paying it in their levy dollars to maintain the area. So the fire department is in the fire district budget but Burien citizens are paying for it. And the Fire Dept. makes more money and benefits here than working for the City of Seattle. Dudes, that is why they showed up to almost every meeting about the first annexation/Area X because they didn’t want to be part of Seattle and get lower salaries, benefits and pensions. Never saw so many Firemen at public meetings as then-the chief included. He managed to really bilk the public on his raise and pension benefits. The tax levy rate in Burien is like 12.93 and the levy rate in Seattle is like 9.5+. So Burien citizens are paying a lot more for what they are getting. Area Y/White Center Dudes, your taxes will go up if you join Burien. Burien Dudes, you taxes will go up if you take on White Center/Area Y-no matter what funny money story Mike M. spins. Dudes we still have never seen a real budget break out report on the first annexation-Area X. Mike M. needs to show us the paper report based on real facts-not this contract lingo jazz to hide the real tax costs for the area. Boo! The King County Sheriff has not put out a 2009 and 2010 report on Crime in Area Y/White Center. Why not?

  4. TcB says:

    I’m gonna get hated on but I think the people of that area should be allowed to make a choice whether or not to join Burien and we should welcome them if they do. And yes, I don’t mind a little extra money out of pocket.

  5. jimmy p says:

    i think they should have option to annex too but they won’t if burien wants annex they annex look at this area they annex last year i live in this area and most around here did not want to be part of burien most of burien did not want us to be part of burien but here we are part of burien now and nothing can be done to change that at least some things have gotten better more cops patrol’s trying to cut down on the crime parks are a lot cleaner less drug use at parks no homeless guy living at arbor lake any more things are changing i wish the attitude of some of the cops would change since burien pd seems to treat anyone from the age 13 to 50 as a criminal no matter the situation but most cops anywhere are like that if the city hall that wants it they get it we could wast the money and time on voting but if burien wants its there still going to get it

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