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