LETTER: ‘Costs Too High’ For Burien To Keep Moving Toward Annexation
A Public hearing before the boundary review board is scheduled for January 9th and 10th.
Some issues to consider— include the budget reduction…$400,000 below last year with $100,000 allocated to annexation (b town blog 11/16):
Costs too high:
- Infrastructure support, capital improvements, human services, public safety concerns
- Items missing from budget
- State Sales tax credit in jeopardy
- Fire district costs (new aid car, retirement account service) plus previous agreement from 1st annexation
Violates the GMA:
1) RCW 36.70A.020(1) Encourage development in urban areas where adequate public facilities and services exist or can be provided in an efficient manner.
- Due to Burien’s lowering their budget by several hundred thousand dollars and cutting costs for police services, without the sales tax credit, Burien would be unable to provide adequate police services to the area providing they would have to increase their contract with King County to $3 million dollars.
- Fire district needs have not been budgeted into the Berk report as the need for a new aid car and servicing the retirement account wasn’t made apparent to the council until after completion of the Berk report. These items have not been budgeted and no public disclosure of documentation provided by the City showing how the city can budget these needs has been provided.
- Again, budget cuts have been made and there is no evidence revenue will increase enough in the future or be collected beyond projected revenues from the area Y to cover these newly discovered costs.
2) RCW 36.70A.020(12) Public facilities and services. Ensure that those public facilities and services necessary to support development shall be adequate to serve the development at the time the development is available for occupancy and use without decreasing current service levels below locally established minimum standards.
- For the above reasons, and the following indicate the established service levels cannot be maintained.
- Fire and police services may not be affordable for Burien and potentially will not remain at current levels.
- Street repair, surface water management, curbs, gutters represent 34 (Berk) to 77 (Seattle) million in infrastructure needs that have not been budgeted by the Berk report and are missing from the yearly budget of service needs.
- Human service needs, court costs, prosecution, jail, etc., in this area with a higher crime rate and statistics than present Burien needs have not been properly considered. There is a gap of 1.5 million between the Seattle report on annexation and the Berk report. Additionally with the recent Burien budget cut made to police services, it is indicated the level will drop rather than increase as needed.
- Without the sales tax credit there is no way Burien can afford to annex and even with the credit there are serious doubts.
- Service levels for parks have been understated in Berk and one park is missing from their analysis.
The City of Burien does not have the right to make future promises for levels of services that currently do not exist in the city, issues that are not currently in city master plans and it cannot propagandize why residents in Area Y should vote to join the City of Burien. Also, the city does not have the right to hire PR firms do any of underlined and highlighted above mentioned items. Meetings in Area Y must strictly be limited to be only informational in nature. Additionally, the Burien City manager does not have the authority to go to the Unincorporated North Highline Council and promise items and services to the citizens of Area Y that are not publicly known to the current citizens of Burien.
Citizens have a right to speak for or against the application for annexation on Area Y but are encouraged to keep their presentations to factual issues and the requirements of the application process. The repetitive comments that “we are just nice people in Area Y” may make some people feel good but are not relevant to this process. Citizens opposed to annexation should make their comments based to why annexation is not feasible based on service levels, income sources of the city, requirements for increased services that are needed in Area Y but seem to have no funding source, lack of funds to sustain Area Y in the future, future sustainability of the City of Burien should this annexation occur, issues with funding and sustainability of the special districts, history of the area for growth and development to generate income or special considerations for services based on the historic and current population needs of the area.
John and Linda Poitras
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