Seattle council committee votes to delay annexation-vote decision till 2012
(Substituted in early evening – archived video of today’s meeting)
1:50 PM: At 2 pm, you’ll be able to click above and watch live Seattle Channel coverage of the Seattle City Council Regional Development and Sustainability Committee discussing items including North Highline annexation. (later note: the video you see above is now the recording of the meeting)
2:47 PM UPDATE: The resolution is now being discussed by the committee. Council President Richard Conlin says he personally feel there are a lot of opportunities and he would like to see it move forward. But he says other issues have come forward. And he reveals that the City of Tukwila has appealed a small part of the annexation area, requiring mediation. He thinks that there’s no way to handle that in time for a fall 2011 vote. He is proposing a substitute resolution. The resolution says the city will decide by February 2012 whether to call for an annexation election. In 2012, the resolution says, we will either decide to proceed or will withdraw this as a potential annexation area. He says he regrets that they are unable to proceed this fall.
Councilmember Jean Godden asks if that would violate the “memorandum of understanding” that they had with other parties including Burien. Mayoral staff member Kenny Pittman says that though the council didn’t approve that, in the spirit of the agreement, Seattle had basically dibs until the end of this year. So technically beginning in the start of 2012, Pittman says, Burien could declare they want to go after it themselves.
Councilmember Mike O’Brien says he’s disappointed they are not at a place today to be able to go ahead to give NH residents a chance to vote. He says he disagrees with what he heard in public comment, that White Center could be a “drain” on the city of Seattle; he feels it would be an asset. On the other hand, O’Brien said, if you want to look at it that way, any neighborhood could be a “drain” on a city, just because that’s the way it works.
Councilmember Godden says she shares the financial concerns that have led Mayor Mike McGinn to oppose proceeding with annexation, and notes that the financial picture got even worse when the state’s new revenue forecast came out last Thursday. “Waiting till next February isn’t going to give us an awful lot of new information,” she says, “I feel it is unfair to keep people in limbo. … I must say that shelving our decision is possibly the least ethical choice.” And yet, she says, “I feel terribly, terribly torn about this” because the financial outlooks regarding annexation effects have conflicted lately.
They vote; Conlin and O’Brien pass the delay-till-Feb. 2012 resolution, Godden votes no. The resolution goes to the full Council on March 28th.
ADDED 4:35 PM: We contacted Burien’s city manager Mike Martin for comment. He said he’s “seeking clarification” on how this affects the situation; he also says he did not have advance warning of the sudden Seattle move to delay rather than vote yay or nay. (We’ll see if this comes up for discussion at next Monday night’s Burien City Council meeting.)
ADDED 5:27 PM: Archived video of today’s meeting in its entirety, added in the video window atop this story.
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