Taxes, Police Services Will Both Increase with N. Highline Annexation by Burien

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by Ralph Nichols

Taxes in North Highline will increase about $140 a year if voters there approve annexation by Burien in the November election – and residents of the now-unincorporated area will see a better police presence.

City Manager Mike Martin also said at the Aug. 23 community open house on the proposed annexation, held at the White Center Food Bank, that current zoning “will largely stay the same, at least for some period of time” if the unincorporated area becomes part of Burien.

Once again, a very small number of North Highline residents – only four – attended the informational meeting for the first time. More Burien residents who oppose annexation turned out.

Asked why so few of the people who would be affected by annexation come to these meetings, Barbara Dobkin, president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, told The B-Town Blog “a lot of people that I have talked to have already made up their minds.”

Another reason, Dobkin added, is that “a lot of people here are not used to being asked or given information. The county has never made a point of coming out to the community except on big issues that come before NHUAC.”

Burien Police Chief Scott Kimerer

After more than an hour during which Martin and Police Chief Scott Kimerer fielded questions, Martin summed up the annexation issue at this point: “It does take a big vision,” he said. “It does take a big decision.

“Vote up or down. It’s time to plan. It’s time to do it or not do it. Vote yes or no and let’s decide.”

Boulevard Park resident Butch Henderson, who was annexed in 2010, recalled that he had been opposed to joining Burien and wanted to become part of Seattle.

“I fought very hard not to be here, and I’m here,” Henderson said. “I lost and I’m glad.” Of the three options for North Highline, including going to Seattle or remaining in unincorporated King County, he added, “Burien is the best choice.”

Earlier, Kimerer said the 2010 annexation of the southern unincorporated area of North Highline was “seamless. We changed the decals on our cars. That was about it.”

Not only will the level of police service stay the same, he said “I would say it will be a little better” because Burien, which contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office for police services, will “have additional resources to draw from” while the county is cutting deputies.

Kimerer added that the White Center storefront sheriff’s office will stay open, and that “essentially six people who work just on gangs” will be available to the community.”

Asked “what’s the point?” he replied that “unincorporated areas were not intended to be urban in character. They were intended to be rural but they grew up.” Responding to the high level of local services they require, the state Growth Management Act required that they be annexed.

After the previous annexation, Martin explained, city zoning codes in the new part of Burien were put in “as close as possible to the [existing] King County zoning codes. We worked with the neighborhoods” to update them.

Click image to see map of proposed annexation area.

He said the city “did not make any sudden moves” affecting zoning then, and it will not make any if North Highline joins Burien. “We don’t go looking for violations unless it’s something we see that’s really, really egregious. We respond to code complaints but we’re not intrusive.”

One of the North Highline residents attending for the first time said “we’ve got to think about this and get annexed or they will destroy us … like they have Skyway. We’ve got to do something to save ourselves.”

Burien resident Chestine Edgar, an annexation opponent, challenged Martin, once on his estimate of the tax increase for North Highline residents and then on projected costs of unfunded capital improvements projects. But, Martin said, her claims were “absolutely untrue.”

The city’s next Annexation Informational Session will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13 at Beverly Park Elementary School’s cafeteria, located at 1201 S. 104th Street.

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14 Responses to “Taxes, Police Services Will Both Increase with N. Highline Annexation by Burien”
  1. Wisdom tells us that “without vision the people perish.” And vision is the first of seven improvement steps that will be necessary if our nation’s police are to improve. For insight and direction on this and other important police improvement issues, take a look at “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” ( in US and EU). And the blog at where other current police improvement issues are discussed. Good luck and may we all experience not just good but great policing! Great policing is accomplished by police who are well-trained and led, restrained in their use of force, honest, and courteous to every citizen.

  2. Mike says:

    Did Martin give details to refute your questions about capitol improvement funding shortfalls or higher increases in taxes? His responses of absolutly untrue or being small minded and mean spirited if you’re against annexation seem to be the norm. According to the WCN blog very very few people besides “annexation veterans” showed up and Martin deflected and refuted their statements instead of providing details. He said if annexation goes thru (God forbid) the parks likely would become city owned and later stated they never have enough money for parks. Great. Take on more when you know you can’t afford it. I guess at least he admitted it.

    Does anyone know of a citizens against annexation campaign or committee to contribute to?

    Area Y Mike

    • Coverofnight says:

      Area Y Mike: We need to inform the voters in White Center….Martin and this oppressive council have turned a deaf ear to the voices of the electorate and will pursue a selfish agenda at our (taxpayer) expense. The good people of White Center need to know what’s in store for them if they vote for annexation.

      There is still an opportunity to win this fight. I encourage you and every honest person to simply state the facts and the truth to the White Center voters at the White Center Blog. Don’t get caught up in the minutiae like Joey Moretaxes does – it’s simply their distraction tactics from the truth….we don’t need to step in that minutiae, let it remain in that vast wasteland that exists between Joey’s ears.

  3. jimmy says:

    hey “mike” really they don’t have money for parks then how did they clean up and put in new tables, benches and garbage cans for arbor lake,samon creek park, puget sound park and the other parks in the past annexxed area becuse these parks look 100% better then they did before they were anexxed ok i understand your not for annexing but you don’t need to post false info to try get your way who ever you are what ever side your on or how much money you have your bank account and before you post a reply please relize i don’t give a f%^$ what you have to say becuse all i see you posting is bs iam fricken tried of it its a wast of time same with most if not all that are not for the annexxed have continouslesly post unture things then go and use tactics like multable accounts ,fake posters to make seem like you have more supporrters so who knows what your next plan is i wondent be suprise if you say street will be fill with unicorns if we annexxed white center

    • John Poitras says:

      Obviously you did not attend the meeting Jimmy and you are a recurring vehement pro annexation propaganda pusher.
      Mike Martin CLEARLY stated that Burien would not have enough money for parks.. Obviously whatever moneys Burien has now will be consumed with the known expenses of annexation. Money for parks? Forget it.. Burien is currently running a deficit.. I was at the meeting and Mr Martin refused to say where the 2 million dollar shortfall to fund the fire dept in white center was going to come from. Also not discussed was how Area Y residents are going to feel about losing King County animal control services. Many of the Animal control services King County current provides to Area Y do not exist in Burien.

    • Mike says:

      “Jimmy” or whoever you are, I posted what Martin said. Realize I don’t give two sh&t$ about what you think either. I (along with the many “annexation veterans”) that actually go to the meetings can usually use what Martin says against him. I’ve always stuck to the same message, that the leadership is unwilling to support their agenda with facts. The deflecting and name calling is a bullying tactic. You don’t present any facts either “jimmy”. State some facts “jimmy”. There are plenty of unanswered questions. Like, where IS the money for the fire dept shortfall going to come from? Come on man!

      Area Y Mike

  4. Ghost of Maplewild says:


    At the last council meeting there was talk on cutting services for Burien parks. Lucy K. suggested cutting grounds-keeping. This is just the beginning.

    • Debi Wagner says:

      Mike and anyone who would like to help: The web site with information on the anti-annexation campaign committee and where to send contributions is:

      • mike says:


        Thank you for the web address. It has alot of good info that should be put out in the many languages that are spoken in Area Y. On the radio, WC Blog, WC News, on utility poles, stores…well you get the picture. I’d be happy to give out that info.


        If it is so easy to refute what Ms. Edgar stated at the meeting, why wont your fearless leader address it rather than just state it as “absolutely untrue”? I hope you get alot of cash from martin and his gang for coming on here and trying to stick up for them. He cant do it at the “pro” meetings so he must pay you a ton. Yes I did read your tutoral and your right no one refuted the way to get capitol improvements. We just cant afford and don’t want more taxes Joey. No refuting that Buddy!

        Cut the parks budget-Lucy K. Now there is someone on the right track. Cut costs instead of raise taxes. And yes she is against annexation. Wow. There’s another great idea!

        If Seattle has to have the fire union standards, then what kind of cut rate crap is burien going to give us for a fire department? Is Burien not going to fund the pension? Really Joey. Just hope to get by with those buildings? Just kicken the can down the road.

        How about we just keep what we have and you guys keep what you have:
        More taxes=no better services.
        CARES=you keep them. We have real animal control.
        Car tab fees=don’t want those.
        Higher utility fees=No one wants to pay for martins lost lawsuits that y’all are paying for in increased utility fees.
        martin has a terrible record at other municipalities for going way (and I mean WAY) over budget on capitol projects. Don’t need that over here. You keep paying for lawsuits, we’ll watch from here.
        No change in sheriff deputies. We can use yours if we need them. Why change?
        I’m running out of ink on my typewriter Joey. You know what I’m getting at.

        Come on Joey. It looks really bad when martin blows off constituents then you show up like clockwork to stick up for his lack of transparency and truthfulness on annexation at the meetings.

        Area Y Mike

        • Ghost of Maewild says:

          Great job Mike! Very well written. BTW I received the city of Burien newsletter tonight an it was 1/2 annexation propaganda. We the current citizens of Burien have paid for this and have had zero chance to vote. I also noticed that in the Spanish translation pages all of the annexation info was left out. I also know this was sent to White Center residents as well. Mr. Martin and council- How much did this cost?

          • Ghost of Maewild says:

            And also – Those overlay projects that the council approved some time back will never happen now. Martin scoured those out of the budget. Just one of the many services being cut so we can afford the proposed annexation area. They already cut animal control for a Cut Rate Animal Project. AKA C.R.A.P.

  5. Joey Martinez says:

    The Seattle fire shortfall numbers come from the Seattle report. That number Excludes the LEOFF 1 pension number for the “$2 million” as stated by Mr Poitras. That number is what Seattle Fire would need to spend to make the North Highline Fire stations up Seattle Fire Union standards including (but not limited to) increased staffing and gender separated quarters among other things Seattle Fire Union didn’t like.

    Should those buildings be replaced? Eventually, yes.At this time, I am hopeful that those buildings can make due for now.

    Parks – What Martin said was that there never is enough money for parks. I would personally love to double down on what we spend on parks BUT even then we still wouldn’t have a good enough of a parks system in my opinion. Parks are the soul of a community. They give families a place to go as well as give kids places to stay out of trouble (with recreation activities). Is it worth double what we currently spend? YES! Can we afford double? NO!

    Lucy K is an anti-annexation council member and is the one who brought up cutting parks. In my opinion, that’s kind of like stacking the deck and wondering why we get a losing hand.

    Capital Improvements- I gave a great tutoral (in a comment) earlier that many posting on here read (and didn’t refute). Are we so quick to forget those?

    CON – I Love you too!

    Joey Martinez

    • Joey Martinez says:

      Meant to say North Highline Fire STATION… as I believe only the Stations currently in North Highline would be transfered in a Seattle annexation.

      Joey Martinez

  6. Fred says:

    To Ralph-
    Ms. Edgar said that North Highline had $77million dollars in deferred Infrastructure maintenance costs and no money to cover these costs. Mike Martin said that he had never seen that number and she was wrong. That number came from the Berk Report on page 27 and the $ 77million dollars was from a study/report written by King County engineering. That is deferred costs so that means that the costs are going to continue to increase as Burien waits or puts them off further. That is a lot of costs for a 3.5 mile area/North Highline when you have no money to take care of it. Also the Burien’s estimate on how much taxes are going to have to increase for Area Y residents is way off. It is really about $400 dollars per year. Again Mr. Martin doesn’t know how to figure his own utility taxes-more funny money mis-information from the city staff.

    To Joey-
    The $2million dollar figure does not come from Seattle. It comes from the Fire Chief in Burien/Mr. Marrs. He gave the numbers at a city council meeting. One million is needed immediately for the 911 unit that will immediately be needed in North Highline.
    The other $1+ million comes from the too rich of pension plan that was allowed to the North Highline firefighters. Pays to listen and read to get the correct details and sources.

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