Residents bring questions, decisions to annexation open house

February 4, 2014

By Peter Clark

For Klahanie-area residents’ remaining questions, the city of Issaquah offered answers.

As the deadline approached for the Feb. 11 vote on whether people living in the potential annexation area would join Issaquah, city employees held an open house Feb. 1. Directors from most city departments came prepared with maps and answers to any questions residents could ask.

Department heads, police officers and Mayor Fred Butler headed into the middle of the annexation area and hosted the event at Klahanie’s Challenger Elementary School. Curious residents and the undecided showed up to ask questions in a session that lasted an afternoon.

“I think the fact so many people showed up is that they’re interested and they want to make an informed decision,” Butler said. “We are delighted that we can help them make an informed decision about what is best for them.”

The campaign for either side has picked up as the vote approaches. Signs flank the roads in the Klahanie area.

“People are still really confused about property taxes,” City Finance Director Diane Marcotte said. “That’s a hard message to spread.”

Residents who attended were on both sides of the figurative fence.

“I think we should incorporate,” resident Lisa Hopkins said. “It’s the best choice for Klahanie.”

The open house did not sway her toward her decision. She said she worked with the pro-annexation group to spread information about the city, including showing off the issue of Sunset magazine, in which Issaquah was named the Best ‘Burb in the west.

“I’ve been helping with the doorbelling,” Hopkins said. “And this is great. I’m getting a lot of information.”

Ken Dacey said he mostly settled on his vote, though has yet to mail in his ballot.

“I’m actually surprised at the number of city people that came out,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve learned anything new. I did a lot of research myself.”

He hinted he might vote against joining Issaquah.

“I kind of favor Sammamish, but I haven’t voted yet,” Dacey said.

His wife declined to give her name, because she had yet to decide.

“I’m more on the fence,” she said, adding that she enjoyed the open house. “Oh, this is definitely helpful.”

Mark Seely, founder of the anti-Issaquah annexation group Klahanie Choice, showed up to hand out flyers offering information why Sammamish would prove a better option. He said he was glad Issaquah held the open house and wanted residents to hear him out as well.

“I think there are good points on both sides,” Seely said.

Voters can return ballots by mail, postmarked by Feb. 11, or to the drop box at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

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