(ADDED: Full Seattle Channel video of this afternoon’s meeting)
2:04 PM: Just before its morning meeting wrapped up today, Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess described the annexation resolution to be discussed this afternoon as a “placeholder” – to keep the state’s tax-credit support from expiring – not necessarily a declaration that they intend to carry it through. The afternoon meeting has just begun; it is starting with council discussion of other matters and then public comment – you can watch live online here.
2:13 PM: First up in the public-comment period is Amanda Kay Helmick from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (who also is running for Seattle City Council, though she is speaking in her role as WWRHAH chair rather than as a candidate). She is talking about her work on an updated neighborhood plan for the area and why annexation would make sense so that the planning does not address, for example, one side of Roxbury and not the other. The speaker after her, who said he lives in Burien, opposed annexation, saying Seattle can’t be trusted.
2:31 PM: Lost our connection to the stream but the last speaker was Barbara Dobkin, president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, which has historically supported annexation by Burien – you’ll recall that Seattle stepped aside to allow Burien to have an annexation election in 2012, but a majority of those who voted rejected the proposal, and after some leadership changes, Burien has so far declined to resume pursuing it. (We’ll be adding video of the hearing as soon as Seattle Channel turns it around.)
2:39 PM: The resolution is up now. Councilmember Burgess again describes it as a “placeholder” and talks about many issues that would have to be resolved before Seattle would wholeheartedly approve it – including financial help via a better state tax credit. He also notes that it’s not clear there’s majority support in the potential annexation area for joining Seattle. “There are multiple offramps on this road going forward,” he elaborates. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the only West Seattle resident on the council, says he supports “keeping the option open.” Councilmember Kshama Sawant says she thinks it’s reasonable for the city and county to ask the state to cover the extra cost of services if the area was annexed, but she says, ultimately the area consists of “human beings” with needs they deserve to have filled.
2:45 PM: Burgess clarifies that the annexation proposal would not change the school-district boundaries – this area, if Seattle annexed it, would remain part of Highline Public Schools. And shortly after that, the annexation resolution passed 8-0. Its text says that even if pursued avidly, an election wouldn’t be possible until 2016. We’ll keep close watch on the process as – if – it goes.