Annexation update: Clarification from the county
At least, that’s the purported source of this comment just posted this afternoon on our Monday night post in which we broke the news about the annexation-process deal between Burien, Seattle, and two fire districts. So we thought we’d give it its own post:
Members of the White Center and broader North Highline Communities:
We have observed the blog postings making interpretations of the proposed memorandum of understanding between King County, Burien, Seattle and Fire Districts 2 and 11 regarding proposed annexation boundaries for the cities of Seattle and Burien.
Questions and interpretations are being offered. The intent of this posting is to address both.
First, the MOU is a proposed memorandum of understanding between the cities of Burien, Seattle, King County, and Fire District 2 and Fire District 11. The MOU lays out general policy principles and specific activities that the parties agree to in support of transitioning North Highline from unincorporated to city status and to ensure fire and life safety services are not jeopardized by any annexation proposal by either city. This is not an “Interlocal Agreement” as defined by state law nor does it allow for “annexation by interlocal agreement.” The MOU is premised on each city filing their proposals before the Washington State Boundary Review Board and then, if approved by the BRB, the annexation question being put before the voters of North Highline for a decision.
THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THE MOU WAS TO RESOLVE THE ISSUES THAT WERE IDENTIFIED THROUGH THE BOUNDARY REVIEW BOARD PROCESS INITIATIED BY BURIEN THIS SUMMER:
• Fire and Life Safety Services Protected — In the event of annexation, Burien, Seattle, King County and the Fire Districts all agree to work collaboratively to maintain the level of fire and life safety services to North Highline communities and neighborhoods of North Burien, Arbor Heights and urban unincorporated areas of South Park.
• Agreement to Burien’s Proposed Annexation Boundary through minor adjustment — Many of the stated concerns with Burien’s proposed annexation boundary are resolved with a small adjustment that maintains Fire District 11’s Headquarters outside of the area to be proposed for annexation by the City of Burien.
• Agreement to coordinated phasing of Annexation Election Proposals for consideration by North Highline residents — The MOU recognizes that there is broad diversity of opinions and preferences in the North Highline communities regarding annexation to Seattle and Burien and acknowledges both cities represent reasonable governance alternatives. The MOU supports Burien’s proposal for annexation election for the southern portion of North Highline and Seattle’s proposal for an annexation election for the northern portion of North Highline.
• Agreement that both Seattle and Burien should have access to the same level of state funding if either city is able to move forward with annexation of White Center and the northern portion of Boulevard Park
— Both cities acknowledge that the cost of serving this area (“Area Y”) is greater than the cost of serving the southern area proposed for annexation to Burien (“Area X”). The MOU acknowledges this through the agreement to have all parties work collaboratively to amend the annexation state sales tax credit law so that both Burien and Seattle would have access to up to $5 million if either annex Area Y.
The aim of the proposed MOU is to remove the obstacles that stop both Burien and Seattle from making annexation proposals to the voters of North Highline. The mediated agreement presumes the decision to annex will rest in the hands of North Highline voters.
If you have questions or comments about the mediation agreement, please feel free to contact the King County Annexation Initiative at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. – King County Annexation Initiative
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