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April 8, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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April 8, 2011
 

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4 Friday, April 8, 2011 West Seattle Herald t Bit Edc I~hison Now that the city of Seattle has punted on annexing the remainder of North Highline, w'fll Burien grab the ball and quickly attempt to add White Center to the city? Burien City Manager Mike Mar- tin says there will be "no sudden moves" by the city on annexing the remaining unincorporated area. He said Burien has been focused on other things besides annexation, including blending the newly incor- porated southern portion of the old North Highline into Burien. The city has not even done a financial analysis on what it would cost Bur- ien to incorporate the White Center area, according to Martin. On March 28. the Seattle City Council voted to delay making a decision on annexation until Febru- ary 2012. The resolution said Seat- tie "is faced with significant finan- cial challenges and it is difficult for the city to commit to providing the appropriate level of services for the North Highline Annexation Area if the city proceeds with annexation at this time" Seattle lawmakers called for the mayor's office to verify its financial projections and issue an updated financial report by Dec. 31. The resolution also mentioned that the city of Tukwila wants to talk to Seattle about an overlapping potential annexation area. Dealing with the Tukwila issue may not have given Seattle enough time to hold a November election on the North Highline annexation, accord- ing to the resolution. Seattle council members also stated that if Burien chooses to ini- tiate an annexation election. Seattle would not object. Residents in the proposed annexation area would vote on whether they want to incor- porate into Burien. Burien voters would not vote on annexation. Martin said Burien and Seattle officials had a "gentleman's agree- ment" that Seattle would not block Burien's attempts to annex the southern part while Burien would not oppose Seattle's possible annexation Of the northern portion. Martin termed it a gentlemen's agreement because he said Burien officials signed the document but Seattle officials did not. When Martin reported the Seattle resolution vote to Burien council members at their regular council meeting, there were no questions Call today and put your best foot forward - 206.242.4477 1800 SW 152nd St. Burien, WA City of Burien North Highline Annexation Resolution 288, Eachzqbit A \ p ,IF SW 108 ST S 107ST Annexation Area \ \ S 136ST ~; 144ST City of Burien illustration The white area in the map is the northern portion of North Highline that either Burien or Seattle may annex in the future. The hatched area is the part that was annexed into Burien a year ago. or statements from the Burien law- makers. Martin said. "Don't read too much into" the silence from Burien lawmakers. He noted the Seattle council voted at 2 p.m. on the resolution and Martin reported on the vote at about 7:30 p.m. the same day. "They were just receiving fresh news" Martin said. "We were wait- ing for Seattle and being very cau- tious about it. "The council will tell staff what they want us to do." Some Burien council members have voiced support in the past for annexing the White Center area. Martin said staff has been focus- A weekly column showcas,ng your; Garage 5ales Bazaars &and Openings Fundraisers Special Events Seminars Demos Workshops 6uest Speakers Book 5ignings PersonalAppearances in-Store Events Product Launches Live Performances For Information, Call: 206-708-1378 ing on adding the newly incorpo- rated area into the city. The area was formally brought into Burien a year ago on April 1, 2010. Martin said the incorporation "'has gone remarkably well.'" Staff will present a report to the Burien council on the incorpora- tion later this month. Martin indicated he expects the report to show that the incorpora- tion has been revenue neutral. He acknowledged that a $550.000 per year sales tax cred- it from the state has substantially contributed to the rosy financial situation. Burien will receive the tax credit each year for ten years. Martin said the state's Growth Management Act called for urban unincorporated areas to be annexed into neighboring cities. He noted state officials see the tax credit as a matter of "good gov- ernance?" Martin said he doesn't expect the sales tax credit to be revoked despite the state's poor financial condition. He added that he expects the state will also honor a commit- ment to give a $5 million per year sales tax credit for ten years to the city that annexes the remainder of North Highline. Eric Mathison is the editor of the Highline Times. He can be reached at ericm @ robinsonnews.com. 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