First of two Klahanie public hearings held
May 14, 2013
By Peter Clark
Citizens had their first opportunity to ask questions about the city’s approach toward a decision on the potential annexation of the Klahanie area.
The first of two public meetings was held May 8 for Nesbitt Planning Management Inc. representatives Tom Nesbitt and Cynthia Stuart to present the results of their study on the costs and benefits of a possible annexation. They also fielded questions from concerned citizens.
“This is basically a dollars-and-cents analysis of both the revenues that would accrue to the city and the cost,” Nesbitt said. “The balance of revenues and costs is the most important part.”
More than 30 people from Issaquah and the Klahanie region showed up to watch Nesbitt talk through an abbreviated slideshow of information he had given to the city Land & Shore Committee in the past several months. In a 30-minute presentation, he described the revenues the city could expect from taking on the 10,000 residents in the area as well as the costs associated with the inclusion.
Even with $6 million in one-time costs, amortized over time, he said that the city would benefit as the revenues outweighed the costs. Until the initial costs are covered, the benefit would depend on a state-offered sales tax offset, which could provide up to $600,000 annually.
Regarding taxes, Nesbitt said that there was a fair amount of impact as the residents would pick up the city’s levies and debt. However, due to decreases in property taxes, Klahanie-area residents stand to benefit, he said. Along with that, he said that residents in the potential annexation area would see substantial road maintenance, increased police services and a closer government representation.
“The decrease in the property tax is still more than the increase in utility tax,” Nesbitt said. “There is an estimated $383 decrease in taxes for the average Klahanian.”
Questions from the audience dealt with subjects including park maintenance and privately employed security. No one was critical of the data offered, but people wanted clarification on finer points like what Nesbitt meant by “substantial” improvements for roads and police coverage. All those who voiced an opinion spoke positively.
In the end, Stewart informed the audience that she and Nesbitt only meant to relay the data they had gathered and not offer a recommendation. She said that they had only briefed the one committee and had not yet gone before the whole council.
“You’re getting it ahead of them, actually,” she said. With the area in Issaquah’s PAA for more than 20 years, she said there was only so much data to be collected before a decision had to be finalized. “The question is: At what point does this get handled?”
The next public hearing is at 7 p.m. May 22 at Challenger Elementary School, 25200 S.E. Klahanie Blvd. Learn more about the possible annexation at issa-quahwa.gov/klahanie.