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.