October 8, 2013
Klahanie belongs in Sammamish
The King County Boundary Review Board will meet Thursday to set the final geographic outline of the Klahanie annexation land whose fate will be decided in a February election. Voters will then decide to become part of the City of Issaquah — or not.
Sammamish is another option, just not on the ballot —yet.
We understand why some Klahanie residents want to join Issaquah. It’s about lower taxes. It’s about better police protection. It’s about the desire for better roads and parks. And for many, it’s an emotional connection to the city where they work, shop and play now.
But what’s in it for Issaquah? What do the current citizens gain from adding more than 25 percent to the city’s population?
A financial study says the annexation makes fiscal sense — after the half-dozen years it will take to recoup the initial $6 million expense — but people in the know are concerned that the expense side of the ledger was underestimated, and the revenue side a bit too rosy. Issaquah is counting on state tax incentives for the annexation to even pencil out.
“It’s really just about ego,” said the mayor of a nearby King County city. He says there is no political-power advantage to having a larger population.
Klahanie residents’ desire to leave unincorporated King County is understandable, but there is another choice.
The city of Sammamish wants you, where you’ll find taxes are even lower. Sammamish is flush with money. There is no utility tax, and no park and fire department bonds to be paid off. Sammamish is poised to improve roads, should Klahanie join the city. Sammamish knows how to manage a city of nothing but houses, cul-de sacs and strip malls, and still have money left over for amenities like its soon-to-be-built community center and pool.
Geographically, it makes sense, too. Sammamish already surrounds the Klahanie annexation area on three sides.
Klahanie residents will always shop in Issaquah and Issaquah will continue to reap the benefit of those sales — just as Sammamish residents do now.
With the Boundary Review Board’s sign-off on the annexation this week, it will be full speed ahead to the February vote. The neighborhood of 10,000 will not be left hanging any longer as two cities begin to court the voters.
Set emotion aside, Klahanie. It’s a decision that will last forever.