LETTER: Joey Martinez Shares More of His Thoughts on Annexation


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Annexation is a complex issue. It is an issue that has been slightly divisive for Burien. When looking at the question of annexation there are many issues that must all be separately evaluated and studied. At the same time each issue affects the other. The issues include, but are not limited to, Policing, Zoning and Permitting, Land control and use, Water, Sewer, Parks, Human Services, Storm Water Management, Roads, revenues and expenditures, Capital Improvement Projects, and individual voter strength.

We can’t look at the costs and associated risks to annexation without also talking about the costs and associated risks of not annexing. We can’t talk about the risks of increasing our Policing into North Highline and the associated costs without also talking about the continuing cuts to policing with an unincorporated North Highline OR Seattle Police Department in the area. We can’t talk about the risks and costs to the Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department without also discussing the costs of losing North Highline to Seattle Fire.

There are risks to a Burien annexation. There are risks to an unincorporated North Highline. There are risks to a Seattle annexation.

I, for one, prefer to control my own future to the best of my ability. This community incorporated for that very reason. With a Burien annexation of North Highline we own and can control our own destiny instead of allowing the County or Seattle to determine our path.

As it stands now our lack of regulatory power over Seattle City Light (I am employed by City Light) allowed the utility to deteriorate. Now City Light wants to catch up. The strategic plan to do this, as presented to our Council, is going to be pricey to those Burien Residents serviced by City Light. Our “representative” in the strategic plan was the City of Shoreline. I am not arguing that we move away from SCL, simply using that as an example of what happens when others control our future.

I don’t pretend to have the answers to every issue; however, I hope to keep sharing what I’ve looked at when I chose to support annexation.

– Joey Martinez

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Comments

12 Responses to “LETTER: Joey Martinez Shares More of His Thoughts on Annexation”
  1. Bob Price says:

    Great article Joey
    This is one of the things that I’ve said all along. If Burien does annex area Y then they will have control of an area that could be a big problem later in life. Now is about the only time that Burien will have that choice and it would be wise to take it when they can control it. It will have its problems both for Burien and the area Y people but i still think is the best thing for both parties and will be very good for all concerned in a long run. Its good that you are able to look ahead and see and try and correct problems that could mean trouble in the future. Thank You. Bob

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    • TcB says:

      Hear hear

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    • raquel davis says:

      Do you truly believe Burien is doing a good job within the current boundaries? One look at the crime stats and a drive or walk around the hood will show you that isn’t the case. And yes, I know crime is happening everywhere so save that argument.

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  2. john poitras says:

    I don’t understand why it is that people think that annexation will mean more control.. It COULD but with the record of the current city management which is all we have to go on its very doubtful that the kind of CONTROL we would like will necessarily be exercised .
    For example WHY did Burien not have a representative in the City Light plan..fully representing the residents.. (no excuses for Mr Martin now please)

    Why are the sidewalks and the lack of sidewalks in Burien not maintained to even a reasonable standard? They are not because I know because I have been taking pictures of those that are badly in need of repair and are in fact a hazard for pedestrians.. I will be hosting a web site soon where people can post pictures of sidewalk and roadways in need of maintenance.

    Also I attended the NHUAC meeting last night (did not see you there joey) where king county animal control gave a very impressive presentation of the many animal control services they provide. MUCH superior to what Burien currently provides… So in order to comply with the law Burien will have to provide equal services to the annexation area.. This probably means the end of the dysfunctional CARES and Burien will have to pony up and join the consortium of cities that contract with King County for animal control services.. Since Mr Martin only has a couple of weeks to make it happen in time to meet the July 1st contract which will run for 3 years it seems unlikely he will do so unless he moves now which is also unlikely since he has been unresponsive to residents complaints about the low level of animal control here in Burien.. If Burien contracts with King County AFTER the July 1st deadline then it will be MORE costly than if Burien joins the consortium now. These are just a couple of examples of the unknown costs that have not been shed light on that need attention in tandem with or before annexation becomes a reality.. I doubt that the residents of area Y will be happy to know their current animal control service will go away with annexation and they will be stuck with CARES also.

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  3. Lee Moyer says:

    Good article, Joey,
    It is complex and since many details can’t be pinned down, based on difficult projections one can select and argue either way but on the overall picture, annexation makes sense. I recall disasterous predictions of gloom and doom for area x that didn’t seem to pan out. Probably the biggest disaster or the Pure Burien Core Cartel was that I was made a citizen of Burien.

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  4. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    “Pure Burien Core Cartel” Best quote yet from the pro Annexation side next to martin’s quote that the city “stuck to the facts and on the high ground”.

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  5. SD says:

    Joey, I look forward to your comments and letters — and I appreciate where you’re coming from. What I’m not comfortable with is the urgency in annexing Area Y. Bob Price commented “now is about the only time that Burien will have that choice …..” From what I’ve read, Seattle is not currently interested in annexing area Y, so the City of Burien has some breathing room to evaluate whether the annexation of Area X will prove to be successful over time, as well as develop a business plan for Area Y based on current economic conditions. The rush to a vote feels like the City of Burien is gambling with its citizen’s destiny. The city council needs to make prudent, financial decisions for the citizens within the city’s current boundaries. An “unaffordable” expansion of the city’s boundaries will not be in the best interest of the citizens of Burien or the citizens of the potentially acquired Area Y – whether Burien has control or not.

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    • raquel davis says:

      Well said SD, well said.

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      • Debi Wagner says:

        Excellent letter SD. I just want to remind Joey that he was to provide counter point to the many items against annexation previously discussed on the blog. I said I would change my position if he could provide sufficient detail for his assertion “having looked at everything.” So far, a history overview and a rush to grab area Y when there is no real reason to do so are not sufficient reasons for the city of Burien to take on this financial risk. And no, Dr. McDreamy, you didn’t chase me off the blog with your vitriolent remarks.

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        • mike says:

          I agree with Debi.
          Joey, Please provide the detailed responses to these questions posed back in April and convince us all that annexation is a good thing.

          Area Y Mike

          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.

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  6. Joey Martinez says:

    Apologies to all. I am in some classes this weekend (break right now) so don’t have time to respond right now.

    This second letter is about what I’ve looked at and considered. Annexation should not be a 30 second decision and can’t be answered that quickly either. I’ll dig in more next week.

    Thanks,

    Joey Martinez

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