LETTER: At NHUAC Meeting, Mike Martin Made ‘Surprising Announcement’

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To the Editor, B-Town Blog

At the April 5, 2012 meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC), Mike Martin, Burien City Manager, made a surprising announcement that he and the City of Burien would be glad to answer questions about annexation to anyone who asked – see the article (and read an excerpt below):


Burien Annexation Update
In other action the North Highline council was told by Burien City Manager Mike Martin that the Burien City Council’s action seeking an election on whether the unincorporated area’s resident want to be annexed to Burien was “successful” but “contentious.”

That shifts the “ball into the court of the local community” and that the city “stuck to the facts and on the high ground” unlike some foes of the proposed annexation.

The city can’t campaign for the annexation or its approval, Martin said, but the city would share the information is has amassed and would answer questions abound the annexation during the campaign before the expected Nov. 6 election. (King County must actually schedule the election once Burien officially asks for it, which the council will do later in the summer.)

“I look forward to having a vote and looking (at annexation) through a rear-view mirror,” Martin said.

Answering a North Highline Council board member’s question, Martin said the earliest annexation (if approved in the vote) would be January, but he said various negotiations have to be worked out so he expect the real date for the area to join the city would be during the spring of 2013.

This is astounding because Mr. Martin has been unwilling to answer questions – which Burien citizens have asked – for months now at City Council meetings, at the Boundary Review Board meetings and in letters and comments to the local media.

Some of the questions and requests for information from citizens and Burien Council members include:

  1. Why the City of Burien only produced a Draft Report and not an updated report on annexation that included the new information on declining tax revenues for both Burien and Area Y-as this greatly affects the monies that will really be collected to fund Burien and Area Y/White Center?
  2. Lucy K. /Council person asked at several council meeting for a real math model demonstration of how the State Sales Tax Revenues will be generated to-in part -cover the revenue short falls of Area Y. Why was this model never shown to Lucy K. or Burien citizens? Five million dollars will not be collected every year from this annexation.
  3. Why hasn’t the City of Burien produced the interlocal agreement that is supposed to have been in place before this issue was to be voted on to be put on the ballot? This interlocal agreement is to cover the North Highline Fire Department revenue shortfall for the emergency services and vehicle, retirements and the section of the fire district that will not be annexed. Burien citizens and Council members have asked several times to see the agreement, how much money is involved and who will pay for it? There are millions of dollars involved in this issue.
  4. Where is the business Plan for Area Y – or for any part of Burien? Prior to annexation of Area Y being put up for a vote, the Burien Comprehensive Plan states that a business plan should be developed for the area. Even more interesting is that when citizens have asked to see the plan for Area X, none is ever provided to them either and the area has been annexed for over two years now. Why are there no plans or why are the plans being withheld from the public and the Council?
  5. Where is there an explanation of the services that will be lost to Area Y/White Center when it leaves King County and how will Burien fund those services? Some of those services include Senior Services, Youth Services, Legal Services, Job Support Services, Immigration Service Support, Elderly Housing Assistance, Parks and Rec. Services for some sites and the White Center Community Development Association (CDA). Burien citizens have asked for an explanation for how those services will be funded or will they just cease to exist in Area Y? King County will not be providing monies to continue these services-it’s broke.
  6. Where is the money going to come from for issues/services that The Berk Draft Report completely failed to mention, such as the 44 homeless living on the streets of White Center, Substance Treatment Services, Neighborhood Planning Support, some of the Parks missing from the Berk Draft Report, and water quality issues?
  7. What will happen if the annexation of Area Y passes and then the State faces still more budget cuts? Area Y costs millions more to run than it takes in annually. It will even cost more than what can be collected from the Sales Tax Revenues by millions. How will this short fall in funding be made up? When Area Y is annexed, the City of Burien must at least leave the services at the level they existed at prior to annexation. Who is going to pay for keeping the services at that level if Area Y does not bring in enough money?
  8. Why was there not a more accurate financial estimate of what it will cost Burien to inherit the infrastructure debt-streets, drainage, sidewalks, streetlights, parks and plantings, etc. in the Berk Draft Report? It now appears that the City of Burien had much of this data from King County and chose not to include it in its presentations on annexation.
  9. Why was the report on what it will cost to run police services to Area Y so different from what citizens are seeing now as the rationale for why monies are now needed for further police services in the proposal called Kids and Cops? The police need millions more to operate than was shown in the annexation presentations. This proposal has not even been voted on by the Council and it proposes a significant increase in Utility Tax Rates for all residents? And why will the citizens be funding human services from Kids and Cops if the projections on annexation were correct?
  10. Why have the citizens and the Council never seen the true figures on the cost of annexing Area X/Blvd. Park? What are the real costs? And how much have businesses in Area X seen their taxes increase since annexation?
  11. Who and what money source will cover the money short fall when the Sales Tax Revenues run out- in year 11-the city will be short many millions of dollars?
  12. Why wasn’t the issue of recusal opening discussed at the Council meeting prior to the vote on the annexation issue? Burien claims to have an open transparent government but the citizens never seem to get their questions answered-even ones asked at the Council meetings.

Mr. Martin does not have a good track record in the City of Burien or from other public agencies that he has worked for on delivering projects in at the costs he has estimated. Many of his projects have had significant cost overruns in the millions of dollars. It is the citizens that have ended up footing the bill for his math errors or bad guesses.

Both Burien citizens and the residents of Area Y should attend the information meetings that Mr. Martin and the City of Burien will be hosting – probably starting in May or June, 2012.

Perhaps then the citizens of Burien will get answers to the rest of the annexation story; answers that they could never get before, but will now be available to the residents of Area Y.

Best Regards,
John and Linda Poitras

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14 Responses to “LETTER: At NHUAC Meeting, Mike Martin Made ‘Surprising Announcement’”
  1. Kathy Reed says:

    Hmmm…..many of the things you ask about are like putting the cart before the horse. Many things have to fall into place and b worked out before all the answers can b given.

    • SD says:

      If # 4 is accurate, what’s your position on the City not having a business plan for Area X?

    • William Forest says:

      Do you mean>>

      Kind of like leaving the barn door open and hoping the livestock won’t run off?

      Or like buying a house before you know if you can finance the monthly payment.

  2. William Forest says:

    I see this as a pretty obvious indictment of the failure of the Burien City council to exercise their fiduciary responsibility to the residents of Burien.. Mr Martin has a lot to answer for and the majority on the council is either in collusion with him, oblivious to realty or has a personal stake in this that is advanced by Mr Martins annexation agenda.

    • Coverofnight says:

      I agree, William – your first sentence says it all. Surprise announcement my a##; I’ve heard this before….remember, “We have to pass the bill so we can know what’s in it.”..? What a lame, underhanded tactic to set this runaway train in motion, then put some sugar-coated spin on it to make it seem that they’re taking the “high ground”. How dare this man insult our intelligence and have a total disregard for the concerns of its tax-paying citizens.

      Even if we’re in the minority, we deserve a legitimate answer to every one of the EXCELLENT questions posed by John and Linda above. At the next Council meeting, we should have 12 different people each asking one of these questions – I’d bet Joey Moretaxes paycheck that we’d get 12 non-answers to become part of the public record.

      And then Martin has the stones to say, “…..That shifts the “ball into the court of the local community…”. Oh sure, now he’s dodged the taxpaying citizens of Burien and he can just sit back and let the voters of White Center decide. He’ll answer questions alright, with typical evasiveness – but I suspect he’ll be conveniently absent when someone looks to confront him.

      I’m amazed at how we continually get hosed by this Council, but I think I’m more amazed, no actually more discouraged, that there are so many supporters of these fools and they keep getting elected! It’s really scary because I’m surrounded by these morons….! Is this how it got started in Bell, California?

      • areyouserious says:

        Indeed. We are surrounded by fools. It should come as no surprise; they are having more children than anyone else. I haven’t a clue what the solution is, but one idea is to move away from the blue west coast. Don’t need the snide comments about how I should get out either or the typical don’t let the door….Trust me. I want it as much as you bleeding heart Washingtonians do.

  3. Bryan says:

    Burien needs to focus on its own problems before taking on the HUGE one of White Center.

  4. Ed Dacy says:

    I want to start out by saying only ion the moring of the Annexation vote did I make up my mind to support the annexation. One reason is the opponents facts just have not held up when examined. This letter to editor repeats a lot ot the false statements.

    My memory most of these have been address4ed in open Council meetings.

    There are to many false statements to address all fo them.

    I will just go into detail on a couple of them.. The cost of North Burien Annexation – this was addresses by staff during last years City Council race. The report showed that the actual cost to the City’ was less than projected. But some people because it did not give the answer they wanted rejected it.

    We all need to remember that the Berk studies over project expenses because it uses the accounting required by the state to determine if the city is qualifies for the Sales tax credit; not the actual increase costs to the city, as has been stated over and over again by the staff, i.e. a precentage of the City Manager and Department heads salaries are allocated to the areas in the Beck studies, but we pay their salaries no matter what.

    On the costs for North Highline to form their own City they would have costs already covered by Burien, the same City Manager and Deparrtmeent heads costs. These fixed costs are what makes the area not viable as a City.

    • mike says:

      Mr. Dacy,

      There has been so much said about the annexation, I think most people looking at it can’t make heads or tails out of it. If you (or anyone else) have FACTS to dispute what John and Linda Poitras are stating, please present them.


    …you can see how our area is overburdened with social services, not to mention the 17 percent KCHA sites in our area. Let’s shift to help businesses and property tax payers. Let’s move the WCCDA, DSHS, KCHA, homeless to South Park, City of Seattle, International District, etc. Spread the love and support of these communities.

  6. Bob Price says:

    In reading the comments of the people that are against annexation they complain that their questions have not nor are not being answered. Well most of the questions are asked at city council meetings during the public comment period. This time is allotted for people to make comments and is not intended for a question and answer period. In the past annexation of area X Burien officials spent many hours and time conducting meetings to address many of the issues of annexation both for the people being annexed and the Burien residents. I attended many of those meetings and I felt that they were conducted openly and with a lot of knowledge and answers. But most of the people that were against annexation did not want to hear most of the answers because they did not agree with their thinking. Everyone that’s against annexations of area X and Y to Burien States that Seattle is a better choice. Well I for one do not agree. I lived in Seattle for over 20 years before moving to White Center and I was very happy to get out of Seattle. Have these experts lived in Seattle? The Seattle city council meets down town in the day time which makes it difficult or impossible for the average ciiitzen to attend. The Burien city council meets in the evening at a time and place that most people can utilize. Yet people say they are sneaky and do not do things out in the open. But of course the people that complain the most are self appointed experts on all government subjects? Thank You.

    • William Forest says:


      Blah Blah Blah.. Wrong Bob >>> the Burien city council has public comment and they listen like its water off a ducks back.. They have already made up their minds on mostly every matter before them. Cronyism is the order of the day.. I have been attending these meetings for years.. and thats a fact.

      On the other hand your buddies in the NHUAC do have a question and answer type of meeting. Apparently that works for you because if the NHUAC had just a comment time period with no answers given you would be just as unhappy as we our with our city councils way of doing business.

      Apparently you are anointing yourself as a government expert but all you do is rant and NEVER address any of the facts or debate them not to mention the fact that you don’t even live in Burien.. So really you have little or no say at all in Buriens government.
      I include people like you among those I complain about because they are either clueless, appear to practice cronyism and do not by any stretch of the imagination in what is the best interests of the current CITY OF BURIEN’s residents.

      Oh yeah ..>>> Thank you

  7. Bob Price says:

    As usual Mr. Forest you turn around anything said to fit your narrow minded thinking. I have never said I am an expert on government but I have said that I can read, write and listen to what is being said. I also question things that are being said but I do tell the truth and it don’t cause me any heart burn that narrow minded people like you think you walk on water. Well let me tell you that you do. But you get the top of your head wet and that’s your problem.. Some people can look ahead and see some of the future problems and at least attempt to do something about them. Your city Council has done a great job in building Burien and moving forward in the past number of years. Now you chose to second guess them and feel you have the only answers. Well think about where Burien would be without the councils previous forward thinking. You voted out one of your better members of the council in Mr. Shaw and I’m confident that time will prove that to be a mistake. And you seem to think that its only the Burien residents that have any interest in the future of Burien. You seem to think that if North Highline is annexed that the people are just going to sit back and expect you and your narrow minded friends to take care of us. Well if annexation does take place we will be working just as hard if not harder to make Burien a better place to live. Good Luck

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