LETTER: ‘Why Annexation of White Center Should Not Be Put On Ballot’

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10 Reasons Why The Annexation of Area Y/White Center Should Not Be Put On The Ballot

1. The Sales Tax Credits from the state have not come through to support the annexation of this area. There is no money. And even if the monies came through they are still not enough to support Area Y annually. Area Y will cost in excess of $5 million dollars to support and Burien does not have that money. One of the major writers of the Draft Berk Report did not even show up to the Boundary Review Board to speak about his report because the report is economically non-defensible. Members of the Boundary Review Board openly commented that the math in the report did not add up. All that Mike Martin and the Burien Finance Director could mumble into the microphones was that this was only a guess report.  (Source: Boundary Review meeting minutes).

2. According to the Burien Comprehensive Plan, the City Council is not allowed to do anything thing that violates this plan. The Burien Comprehensive Plan clearly states that an election vote on the annexation of Area Y is not allowed until the City has a clear business plan for how the services and capital needs of the annexed area can be funded over time-for a period of 10 to 20 years. (Source: The Burien Comprehensive Plan, page 2-39). Burien has no business plan for the area.

3. The city promised that there would be an agreement between the fire districts before any further steps on annexation proceeded. Currently there is no agreement between these two districts and one of the districts has opposed the annexation because it will leave them millions of dollars short. This means increased taxes for the citizens of Burien to fund this shortfall of monies to the fire districts. Perhaps the fire district is too frightened to say too much about this because it is building a fire station. Perhaps it is afraid that by talking too much, it will make it next to impossible to get building permits from the city/City Manager to complete the fire station on time and within costs. (See the presentation at the November, 2011 City Council meeting by the Fire District).

4. There are not enough monies in the plan/report to adequately fund police services to the Area Y. Burien does not even have enough monies to fund police for the current city. That is why Mike Martin is going to try and get a new tax/levy on the ballot in August, 2012 of this year to fund his so called “Cops and Kids Initiative”. He does not have the adequate amount of money to fund the amount of police protection Burien currently needs and he has not correctly predicted the amount of money that will be needed for police service to Area Y. Each property owner in Burien would be required to pay more on their taxes ($200 per month or per year?) to fund this initiative to pay for police services that Burien cannot currently afford.

5. At the end of 10 years, Burien will not be able to support Area Y. It will have a budget shortfall in excess of $5 million dollars (Source: Draft Berk Report).

6. Area Y has at least $77 million dollars in infrastructure repairs-streets, storm water repairs, etc.-that Burien will inherit with the area and cannot afford to pay for. This amount of repairs and money needed has been confirmed by the King County Roads assessment for the Area Y. The citizens of Burien will be responsible for this debt and these repairs. Should annexation go through, in the first year alone, $5 million dollars will have to go immediately-as highest priority to Area Y. And, none of the annual $5 million of sales tax credits can be used to cover these costs. This means that Area X and the rest of the City will not get the repairs that they so desperately need.  (Source: King County Report on storm water problems in the county).

7. Burien does not have enough money to fund Human Services, Legal Services, Senior Services and Animal Control to Area Y. Someone will have to pay for these which will only be affordable through increased taxes to Burien residents. King County will not help Burien with these costs. (Source: Boundary Review Board hearings).

8. Property values have dropped drastically for both Burien and Area Y. Burien will take in less revenue to run the city in the next couple of years to run even the current city. (Source: 3/14/2012 presentation by Lloyd Hara/King County Assessor).

9. The Unincorporated North Highline Council (UNHAC) which regularly comes to speak at the Burien City Council Meeting and supports annexation does not represent the views of the majority of the people in Area Y. They represent the views of less than 1% of the people in Area Y. According to King County records, these representatives are elected to their positions by only 2 to 20 voters in the Area Y. So why is Mike Martin and the Burien City Council constantly catering to this small group? Jerry Robison claims to be the founding leader of this group (UNHAC).

10. 2000 Burien citizens signed a petition to not annex Area X to the City of Burien-more than voted in the elections for the UNHAC-and the City Council has ignored their voice. The local Burien media sources say that in their informal surveys on annexation, citizens of Burien oppose the annexation of Area Y by 2 to 1. Their readership is 50,000 to 75,000 readers per week.  Jerry Robison-Burien City Council member-supports this annexation because he has stated that he wants the annexation of Area Y to be his only, personal legacy as a council person to Burien. (Source: Burien City Council retreat, January, 2012). It appears he has absolutely no concern over the economics. He did not put on his campaign literature that he was for annexation because he was afraid that he would lose to his opponent-and he would have.

The Burien City Council needs to hear from you during their Monday night council meeting-March 19, 2012, 7:00 PM, Burien City Hall. Annexation of Area Y should not be put on the ballot. It makes no economic sense for the citizens of Burien or for the citizens of Area Y. It only strokes the ego of a few people who are politically ambitious or who are hoping to make some real estate profits. It has nothing whatsoever to do with schools or libraries. Both of those topics have been pumped up a red herring stories to try to scare people to support annexation. What happens to school and libraries will not be affected by annexing or not annexing Area Y. King County has confirmed that once that once the council votes on to be put on the ballot, it is a difficult process to be it off the ballot. Burien should not put the annexation of Area Y on the ballot.

– John and Linda Poitras

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22 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Why Annexation of White Center Should Not Be Put On Ballot’”
  1. Burienite says:

    I’d have to do more research into your conclusions, but much of your “facts” seem like supposition. Looks like you may have drawn your own conclussions on some of the data you cited.

    Regarding point #3, your are completely wrong. There is, and has been a long-standing relationship between the two fire districts (Burien and North Highline Fire Districts). Both departments have worked in concert together during EVERY phase of this entire annexation endeavor (first annexation and the potential future one). In fact, the North Highline Fire Dept. contracts WITH Fire District 2 (Burien) to provide adminstrative services for their fire department. What that means is that the Burien fire chief is also their chief.

    Further, both departments realize other consoldated services, such as training and fire marshall services. Additionally, both departments function (to a certain extent) from a operational standpoint–sharring resources across jurisdictional lines.

    And your assertion about the current fire station project is simply absurd. There is no nexus between the support or apposition of the fire districts to any annexation endeavor. The fire station project is currently being built. The permiting is done genious. I highly doubt that the fire department administration is “frightened” of the city of Burien. That’s just a weird assertion on your part. Very odd…..

    Sure, what happens affects the fire districts, but not to any degree you mention. If the remaining area was annexed tomorrow, the North Highline Fire Deparment would cease to exist and the entire area would be served by Fire District 2. Almost nothing would change. And, there would be no deficit (as you contend).

  2. J Lutz says:

    There is a lot of “factoids” in John and Lindas 10 reasons. A factoid is a statement that is not quite true but close enough to make the uninformed person believe they actually might know what they are talking about. Anybody that knows facts can pick apart almost every one one of their 10 points and show they are wrong. We have heard these “factoids” every time annexation has come up. I don’t know where John and Linda live but I would guess it is probably around the lake somewhere. (now there is my factoid).

    • TcB says:

      From a quick google, it seems that they live in Central Burien. Other possibles are that they have lived here since 2005 and may have moved here from Canada. Of course those are all just conjectures, but since it’s in print, it may as well be fact!

    • William Forest says:

      Lutz.. Here’s a FACT for you ..>>> Holding the annexation election in Mid-Summer, which is what your buddy Mike Martin proposes is an underhanded way of suppressing voter turnout.

      It would be MORE DEMOCRATIC to give the opportunity for as many people as possible to participate by holding the election in NOVEMBER. (For obvious reasons)

      Or do you have a problem with that logic too?

      • The problem with postponing until November is that the city promised County Executive Dow Constantine, County Council member Joe McDermott as well as the KCLS board (Burien Council memeber Lucy Krakowiak is a member) that Burien would resolve the annexation question as quickly as possible.

        One of the main concerns and points that the KCLS board had was that they had not seen movement on annexation.

        Postponing until November gives them the excuse they need to shut down the libraries. IF they are intent on shutting down the libraries I don’t feel Burien should give them the excuse they’re looking for.

        Joey Martinez

  3. mike says:

    I’d like to see BTB and WCB put up a poll on annexation. One for Burien residents, one for Area Y residents.

    • Ian Gunsul says:

      They did. But you could vote multiple times.

      • William Forest says:

        Speak for yourself Gunsul.
        The only reality based vote on how Burien feels about annexation was over 3000 signatures submitted to the council opposing it.

        Both Burien and Area Y would be way better off with Seattle doing the annexation especially from a policing viewpoint.

        Reducing crime is very high priority issue in both White Center and Burien.

        Seattle’s report on annexation includes adding 44 police but Burien is only going to provide 15! Do the math! Having an additional 30 police officers in the area with Seattle doing the annexation blows Burien’s offer out of the water.

        • Chris says:

          Keep in mind, that Seattle’s analysis of potential needs for any of the annexations was essentially a wish list. They also had suggested that the fire station off of 16 Ave SW/SW 112th was to get additional staffing as well. Further probing by Seattle city officials (from the executive and council side) found that the increase in staffing could only be accomplshed under OPTIMAL conditions and with city-wide subsidy. In essence, the predicted “needs” for increased police and fire staffing were “nice to haves” and not “need to haves.”

          • William Forest says:

            Where did you get that take on their analysis Chris..?

            Care to back that up with some REAL facts or is everything just supposition on your part requiring little research and a few moments on a keyboard?

        • PJ says:

          3000 of Burien’s 14,000 citizen’s at the time prior to the first annexation, doesn’t sound like a majority??? What does that tell you.

          • William Forest says:

            PJ what that tells me is that you can’t count or don’t understand that there is never 100% turnout.. If you actually care, then check out the voter participation totals for the last annexation vote>
            Enlighten yourself to the reality of how low that turn out was.. primarily because it was held in August when a lot of people are on vacation.

  4. Debi Wagner says:

    John and Linda have done a great job pointing out problems with annexation. Why anyone would question their conclusions after reading the same source information is beyond me considering each arrive at a deficit for Burien. As for the fire district, if the need is 1 to 2 million for adequate service and the revenue is only $500,000, there is a shortfall. If you want to claim the “factoids” are wrong, this would usually include corrected “facts” that have their sources cited. I don’t see this in any rebuttal here. Instead of seeing John & Linda’s concern as some kind of looney bigotry, why not view their analysis as pro-Burien economic vitality? As for defending the council decision to annex, they promised to wait until the tax credit is settled which is still on the chopping block during the extended legislative session. Why aren’t you cynics of the citizens of Burien going after the council for their hypocrisy?

  5. Rachael Levine says:

    Having been annexed to Burien already, I can understand why folks that I know in the rest
    of North Highline would like to be part of the greater Burien community that they have, indeed, already helped build.

  6. Tired of same stuff says:

    There is a lot of people who do not want to annex White Center – – Why don’t they stop whining and do something about it.

    They HAVE the RIGHT to get an initiative on the BALLOT to STOP it or just Shut up.

    Burien residents do have the right to initiative.

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