White Center annexation briefing @ Seattle City Council: Vote fall 2010, annex in early 2012?

(1:56 pm note – will continue to add more as the day goes on – just now adding the PPT from today’s briefing)

11:35 AM: Lots of information in the briefing that just wrapped up before the Seattle City Council – first formal briefing since it was revealed last week (we broke the story at WSB) that Seattle’s new Mayor Mike McGinn wants White Center annexation to go to a vote this fall.

Despite what information was presented, it wasn’t enough for councilmembers including Council President Richard Conlin, who concluded by saying – “We need to have a LOT more information,” particularly regarding what the annexation would really cost Seattle. And concern also was voiced regarding whether enough information is getting to the White Center residents who would vote – mayoral adviser Kenny Pittman acknowledged he had not spoken to the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council yet, but had received “e-mail over the weekend” and was going to be on their agenda in March (though their February meeting hasn’t happened yet). The timeline is a fast one – it was explained that the Seattle council needs to vote by early March on expressing an interest in putting annexation to White Center voters, even though a final vote on asking the county to put it on the ballot would not happen until August. Between now and that March 8 vote, Council President Conlin’s Regional Development and Sustainability Committee will discuss the issue on February 19, then vote March 2nd on indicating an interest in a vote – again, no strings attached. The big gap between March and August, it was explained, is to pursue the rest of the process, including going before the Boundary Review Board.

ADDED 11:53 AM: A lot of data points from the meeting: Seattle leaders say White Center would get a higher level of police and fire services if annexed, and say that any existing King County Sheriff’s and North Highline Fire District employees who would stand to lose their jobs because of annexation would be first in line, depending on seniority and qualifications, for jobs with Seattle Police and Fire. As for sidewalks – that’s one big question, the capital needs of the potential annexation area.

Interesting note relating to a discussion that’s been ongoing in comments here: Seattle says they’ve been told by Burien that though the Memorandum of Understanding wasn’t officially finalized by Seattle council members, Burien intends to honor it, and not pursue annexation of White Center – if Seattle hasn’t done it by then – until after 2011, per the terms of the agreement. Also, existing card rooms in the area to be annexed would be allowed to continue to operate, though no new ones would be approved, and the revenues Seattle is counting on the area generating, it was noted, depend on those businesses, among others.

The annexation area would NOT include the South Park Bridge – that would remain an unincorporated small sliver under terms of a different city-county agreement sometime back that apparently says that once the SP Bridge is replaced, then the city would consider annexing the area.

And White Center schools would remain in the Highline Public Schools district, until and unless Highline and Seattle decided otherwise (with approval required by the Puget Sound Educational Service District).

The ideal scenario that Pittman described would include the annexation – if approved by White Center voters this fall – NOT taking effect till early 2012, so that the city budget process could proceed with detailed information on how to handle the transition.

ADDED 1:56 PM: After the briefing, we asked for a copy of the PowerPoint that Christa Valles from Council Central Staff had shown – just received it and converted it to PDF; you can see it here. During today’s briefing, Valles repeatedly said she was recommending that the mayor’s office commit more resources to the process – both to get information to the council, and to the people directly affected by the potential annexation.

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16 Responses to “White Center annexation briefing @ Seattle City Council: Vote fall 2010, annex in early 2012?”

  1. All the area in white or only the White Center / Boulevard Park area shown here?

  2. So basically as of this meeting, The Mayor’s office still has the same info they presented in 2006. A 6 page document regarding services with only 5 pages of guesses of how much Seattle would be able to afford.
    According to the meeting how can Seattle offer an annexation with out this type of information to our community of exactly what they are going to provide.

    We need to know as well just like the SCC what the levels of services would be. I do not want to vote on guesses.

    Further more what exactly did Kenny P. mean in regards to the annexation would officially occur in 2012 allowing them to incorporate the costs into the budget in 2011. That’s backwards. Based on that meeting and lack of info, I would vote no until the City of Seattle has some concrete numbers of exactly the amounts of monies for services in writing it plans on providing.

    Lets not end up like many neighborhoods in Seattle with broken promises still broken half a century later. Let’s get it in writing before we vote.

  3. When Greenwood gets their sidewalks (I’m 40, and it hasn’t happened in my lifetime), then I might be interested in talking to Seattle. In the meantime, I’d rather go with Burien.

  4. Hey Verde, I posted this below on the west seattle blog because of some side walk issue and an entity nhauc. Are you with the group nhuac?

    What the hell does the entity NHUAC have to do with this article? I don’t see them mentioned or discussing side walks. Where are you people getting your info from so I can read about it, do you have a link George on this NHUAC and sidewalks?
    I looked up their web site and the only thing about sidewalks is how they contributed to the project with art work that is multi cultural coins imedded in the side walk on 16th Ave. SW downtown WC.

  5. Seattle has expressed a serious interest in annexing the north part of what we are. There are so many rumors of taxes, police response and crime rate, fire department response, parks and much more. It seems there are alot of opinions with no hard facts. Well today I spent a better part of the day finding a few to help you in how you may vote.

    Property Taxes

    Property Tax in North Highline (how we are now)

    Assessed Value = $215000

    Tax = $2896

    Property Tax in Burien

    Assessed Value = $212,000

    Tax = $2883

    Property Tax in Seattle

    Assesed Value = $214000

    Tax = $2138

    These numbers include total tax. Including levys, water, schools etc… You can find them by going to the king county parcel viewer website.

    Fire Protection

    Was not sure how to average this out so I researched what a standard response to a house fire would be in North Highline/Burien and what it would be in Seattle.

    North Highline

    4 Fire engines, 1 Command Unit and 1 Medic Unit


    5 Fire engines, 2 Ladder trucks, 2 Command units, 1 Medic Unit, 1 Aid Car, 1 Air truck, 1 Deputy chief, 1 Saftey chief, 1 Staff unit and 1 Fire investigator.

    You can find this out by calling each department respectively.

    It seems to me right now that you have more public saftey for less money if we go with Seattle. If anyone has more facts and numbers I would love to hear about them. I will look into some more departments for hard facts. Hope this helps.


  6. Hi George, Like all the info you submitted here. Do you have links to verify all of that?

  7. Whoa, your Seattle tax info has got to be off. You’re saying that ALL of Seattle’s excess levies are indeed factored in??? I’m going to raise the BS flag on this. When I moved from Seattle to a neighboring city, my tax went DOWN significantly. And when I looked into it, it was ALL of the excess levies that made the difference.

    Regarding emergency services, the responses is not an apples to apples comparison. Seattle’s response is overly robust for initial structure fires, whereas agencies elsewhere typically add special units (like medic units, aid units, air trucks, fire marshall, safety chief,etc) once a fire is CONFIRMED–whether on the way to the call or once they get on location of the emergency.

    There’s no right or wrong way, just a different way of service delivery. Further, Seattle’s financial model IS more expensive, because of the many special divisions within the department.

    Lastly, one thing everyone needs to consider, is the much higher utility rates Seattle citizens pay. Water and sewer are MUCH higher in Seattle. Trust me, I investigated this in great detail when I lived in West Seattle, and discovered that my sewer was actually treated by Southwest Suburban Sewer District, but that I was being billed by Seattle Public Utilites. Seattle essentially “marked-up” their costs–beyond what Southwest Suburban charged Seattle, to support their bloated government. It was totally ridiculous.

    I’m going to follow-up on the property tax thing, because something doesn’t seem right.

  8. Guest,
    Your input is sound and a great relief to what I’ve read so far. The property tax information I posted, came from the King County Parcel Viewer website. I found three parcels all within $3000 of eachother, meaning assessed value. Burien, North Highline and Seattle were all represented. I’m definately open to the facts, let me know when you have your numbers, still waiting on Mikels numbers.

    As far as the fire department goes, if it’s my house on fire? I want every resource on the way. I sure as hell don’t want to wait for a, “confirmation” for the rest of the troops to be on their way.

    Educate me,

  9. I am still waiting too for Seattle to provide me numbers. I’ve been asking Seattle for 4 years now to give me something in writing reagarding a budget for North Highline. Services are so important yet Seattle has nothing in writing about what they will pay for them or what they will provide. This leads me to believe that our area would get the very least.
    George, what numbers were you looking for, maybe I can help.

  10. A productive response with any facts or numbers from Burien in regards to how they would manage North Highline would be great Mikel.

  11. George, just go to Burien City website. They have an entire section on Annexation. The annexation section was developed so people like you and me could become educated, get the facts, and have it in writing!

  12. Mikel, I’ll definately take a look at it.
    Thx George

  13. The city of Seattle had 15 officers patrolling in West Seattle today. King County Sheriffs office had 8 officers. Those 8 had to cover North Highline unincorporated, Burien, and Skyway. Mikel still gonna check out that web site, but it still looks like I’m getting way more for less with Seattle.

  14. Do you think assessed property values will stay the same if we become part of Seattle? What’s to say the won’t spike up? My ma lives on Capitol Hill, in a house with vastly overinflated value – the property taxes are so high on that house that we didn’t even blink when we said “no, we don’t want it” when she asked if we wanted to take it over. The rates might be lower, but the assessments could easily jump up.

    As for the Sheriff, Burien contracts with them and assigns them based on the Burien budget, where right now we rely on what King County gives us. I think you need to do a three-way comparison there, not just Seattle vs. what we have now. What’s the coverage in Burien like? Additionally, look at the quality of service – I know the Sheriff is understaffed here, but damn do they work hard and go out of their way to do what they can. We’ve had nothing but good interactions with them. SPD – I can never tell if they give a crap, as most times they seem to not.

    I’m a native Seattlite, and if I had to vote right this second, I would rather go with Burien, even if the tax rates are a little higher. Burien has maintained – from what I can see and have experienced – a much better grasp of basic urban planning than Seattle has. And I am a fan of the smaller pond and having a louder voice. However, the evil mayor is out, and we have yet see what McGinn does, so I’m not 100% sold on anything just yet.

    All of the above = subjective opinion, not fact-based at all. Other than my ma’s extremely outrageous property taxes.

  15. Verde I’m not sure what’s subjective about numbers. You can read what you’d like into it, all I did was put out a little research and everyone of us can come to our own conclusions. What I don’t think is healthy is statements such as, “the evil mayor is out” Tell me why, not just a blind statement. I make no argument to the fact that our deputies are some fantastic, resourceful individuals who work very hard with the resources they have. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting more resources for improved saftey with lower tax. Our property values would have to jump unprecedented levels to make up for a $800 difference. Thanks for the input.

  16. BTW your mothers property value is the victim of development in the downtown corridor spanned over decades. Trying to compare property values between the downtown corridor and suburban Seattle isn’t rational.