LETTER: ‘A Response to Ralph Nichols’ Story on Annexation Vote’
This letter is in response to The B-Town Blog posting done by Ralph Nichols: “City of Burien puts North Highline Annexation on the Nov. Ballot” (read that post here).
Mr. Nichols misses a few of the important points of what happened at that meeting. Mayor Brian Bennett did not really attend the meeting. He was home sick in bed. Strangely when the vote on annexation came up and Mike Martin knew that he was not going to get the votes to pass it, Brian Bennett arrived to the meeting just in time to vote on that one issue and then left. Could it be that Mike Martin called to get him out of bed to come in just for this vote?
Also had Jerry Robison done the honorable thing and disclosed his real relationship with the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council and recused himself, it would have failed.
The Council is clearly not together on what is perhaps one of the most financially important issues in the City’s history. Contrary to whatever Joan McGilton blathered on about, 13 reports that Burien and King County have paid for at tax payer expense on the annexation of Area Y/White Center, all say that in the long run Burien will be financially worse off for annexing this area.
Ms. McGilton did not attend the Boundary Review Board (BRB) meetings but if she had, she would have noticed that they seriously questioned the Berk Report on why it was coming in as a Draft and not Final report and that the figures in the report did not add up. When BRB asked the city’s financial manager for justification for inflation she replied they used “best guesses” which were proven wrong when property value trends were updated. The BRB did not say that it was a fine, detailed report as Ms. McGilton intimated. The BRB was also concerned enough about the lack of an agreement between the fire districts to write a special provision. They remarked publicly that they have never approved an annexation application with this type of condition. This required agreement has still not happened but if and when it does, the taxpayers of Burien will be stuck paying off millions to cover costs resulting from poor management practices of the North Highline Fire District.
Numerous times Lucy K. has asked to have demonstrated how the sales tax credits will be generated. Mike Martin has evaded this issue and never presented this to the public or the Council. The state still has not confirmed that this money will be there or guaranteed for the future.
Yes, citizens wanted the vote in November to demonstrate the best democratic process. Some might say that is settled and citizens should be pleased. But from the beginning of these serious discussions, the issues of financial sustainability and feasibility of this venture have yet to be resolved. The annexation of Area Y/White Center continues to be a fiscal gamble, especially in these uncertain economic times but council members McGilton, Clark and Robison still keep trying to sell it to the public as though it is the best thing for everyone. These council members have forgotten that their first responsibility is to the citizens of Burien.
– Debi Wagner
[Have something you’d like to share with our 50,000+ Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]