Timeliness of second Klahanie annexation meeting questioned

May 28, 2013

By Peter Clark

A second public meeting to present data collected in a potential Klahanie area annexation study was led May 22, bringing no new information to a larger audience.

While the last meeting was held in Issaquah, presenters Tom Nesbitt and Cynthia Stuart, from Nesbitt Planning and Management, brought their findings to Klahanie at Challenger Elementary School.

More than 60 people gathered in the school’s multipurpose room to watch a slideshow of the same numbers shown at the first public meeting and to the City Council.

Nesbitt delivered the same message to the audience, made up largely of Klahanie potential annexation area residents.

He detailed the large revenue bases, the large cost factors and the $6 million startup cost that the city would incur in the event of an annexation. He ended with the same findings, that homeowners in the Klahanie area could expect a tax decrease and the city of Issaquah would see increased revenue, provided it receives the state’s income tax credit for annexation.

Even before the presentation could begin, vocal members of the audience from the Klahanie PAA asked questions about the timeliness of the meeting. Many were questioning how the process had continued for so long without their knowledge of those proceedings. The questions surrounded the existence of a potential annexation area at all and the proximity to Sammamish as opposed to an annexation by Issaquah.

“Issaquah’s potential annexation area has been around for a long, long time,” Stuart said. “That is a function of the Growth Management Act.”

When the GMA was adopted statewide by the Legislature in 1990, existing incorporated cities were encouraged to swallow up those unincorporated parts to reduce the spread of sprawling development. Stuart also said cities have more opportunities for revenue in order to provide services than counties.

Nesbitt identified police as one of the largest costs for the city and Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum was available for questions on behalf of the department. He spoke about the dedication that the department has to serve the city and said it wanted to continue should an annexation take effect.

“We do take pride in proactive control of our community and getting face to face with our neighborhoods,” he said. “With the annexation, our commitment would be to maintain that level of service and not diminish it.”

In a private interview, he said that the department did not yet have any reservations regarding Nesbitt’s numbers and what changes it would have to make to adjust to 10,000 potential new residents. He also said planning is in a very preliminary stage, with much still to be determined.

“It is the most abstract cost,” Behrbaum said about the lack of certainty affiliated with the report’s projections on how the police department will adjust. “It also depends on how a city has been serviced previously. We’re customer-service based. If you want to see us face to face, then you will see us face to face.”

City Financial Director Diane Marcotte said that the next step for the discussion is for the administrative staff to prepare some legislation for the Land & Shore subcommittee to possibly refer to the full council. The result might be on the November ballot for Klahanie area residents to decide whether they wish to be annexed.

“It will be around June or July for the committees to review the information and make a recommendation to the council,” Marcotte said.

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4 Responses to “Timeliness of second Klahanie annexation meeting questioned”

  1. Smoley on May 29th, 2013 8:06 pm

    Why don’t the Issaquah residents get the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want to annex Klahanie?

  2. Scott Hamilton on May 30th, 2013 7:38 am

    Completely missing from this report is any reference of the challenges the public made of Issaquah representatives over the city’s plans to injected polluted storm water into the aquifer providing drinking water to Klahanie; or the city’s plan for a hostile takeover of part of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District.

    Issaquah stonewalled each and every question from the audience about these plans, refusing to answer any of them.

    As to timing, does anyone think there isn’t a connection between the city’s hostile takeover of the water district and this annexation? Although the city said at the previous annexation meeting May 8 there water service to Klahanie would not change, the city’s own documents–and backroom actions–demonstrate otherwise. The Issaquah Press hasn’t reported this deception.

  3. Gole Mastaneh on May 30th, 2013 6:08 pm

    The eventual annexation of Klahanie into Issaquah has been on record since before Klahanie’s inception in 1985. A community can ONLY annex into the city that holds their PAA (Potential Annexation Area). Since 1985, Issaquah has held Klahanie’s PAA. To annex into any another city is not an option at this time. For that to happen would require completely different procedures between King Co and Issaquah.

    Sometimes it can be a challenge to stay on topic during large meetings.There was no stonewalling from city officials.The purpose of the above meeting was to review the annexation study’s findings, again; not to field random questions about a perceived water controversy. However, attending a water meeting with water officials might yield the desired information.

    Over the years, community volunteers have gone door to door, distributed flyers and organized clubs, committees, website, facebook and email. The city of Issaquah has been transparent during the many, many public meetings, published minutes even going above and beyond by organizing a task force representing various parties. The annexation issues have been reported at length by the Issaquah Press and Reporter including letters to the editors from area residents. Both the Issaquah and King County websites have maps and historical information, including the hows and whys on the annexation process. WE are the government, ” . . . by the people, for the people.”

    If someone is feeling left out, it’s time for them to become engaged.

  4. IssyResident on May 30th, 2013 8:18 pm

    Right. Taxes will go down, revenue and services will go up. Uh huh. Just like Klahanie, Talus, and the Highlands had no traffic impact on existing residents. I’m really tired of city officials using the GMA as a reason to do bone-headed things.

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