LETTER: ‘Burien is Legally Not Supposed to be Out Promoting Annexation’
Burien held its first Outreach Meeting on Annexation at Glen Acres on Monday, May 14, 2012. Strangely, it was not open to the public to attend. City Council members were encouraged not to attend this event by Mr. Martin at the Council meeting of May 7th so it was peculiar to see Jerry Robison as one of the main speakers at the event. As Burien citizens have experienced for the last five years, the City Staff, City Manager and one Council person gave elusive answers to questions-answers that made no sense, were not based on factual data and didn’t financially add up.
At one point, Mr. Martin said something to the effect that he couldn’t even begin to tell them all the benefits of annexation such as having a solid and progressive city willing to work on Glen Acres and council who will listen to their concerns compared to King County. However, Mr. Marin was unable to correctly or consistently answer questions on these issues that the Glen Acres audience raised:
- Noise insulation from the airport noise generated by the Port – Mr. Martin said it was too late to help Glen Acres. Burien could have helped push for a noise wall, more buy outs of residents on 12th or nighttime curfews but neglected to do so during the last FAR 150 process recently completed. Mike did suggest talking to Rose Clark who he said has been doing a good job making sure the Port stick to their designated corridors which incidentally cross over Glen Acres.
- Animal control – Currently Area Y has King County Animal Control which is far superior to CARES-Burien’s animal control. However, Mr. Martin and Mr. Robison went on to claim that Burien’s model is the best. As usual, no comparative statistics, financial reports, spay/neuter programs or education programs could be shown for the Burien Mystery Animal Care Model known as CARES.
- A business model for Area Y – specifically the Top Hat Area. Once again Mr. Martin side-stepped the question and went on to talk about how great NERA was going to be when the car dealerships moved there. Burien does not have a business plan for Area Y, Area X or even the core City of Burien. The Berk Draft Report was never and still is not a business plan. The money Burien has received from the State for NERA are for a storm-water system management and not to move the auto dealerships. The Annexation of Area Y without a business plan for the area puts the City of Burien in violation of its own Comprehensive Plan.
- Infrastructure repairs – specifically the roads in Area Y-Mr. Martin went on to say the timing for annexation was now because of how bad the condition of the roads were in Area Y. However at the earlier Burien City Council meetings on annexation, Mr. Martin, Mr. Robison and Ms. Clark stated that the situation was not as bad up in Area Y as people were exaggerating it to be. According to the Berk Draft Report, Burien could inherit a $91+ million dollars debt from the infrastructure problems in Area Y with no way to pay for the repair of these problems. The Sales Tax Credits cannot be used to fund these repairs. So who is going to pay for these and where will the monies come from?
- Police Services – supposedly Area X got 12 new police officers. However, the budget displays the City of Burien showed at the last budget presentation on the costs of annexing Area X do not match the cost of the 12 new police officers. Someone’s math is definitely incorrect. And the cost of these police models does not add up for Area Y either. If it did, Burien would not have to be asking for an increase in utility taxes to add more new police. Mr. Martin managed to forget to include this tax increase number into his display when he talked about the new taxes that the residents of Area Y would be required to pay.
The fact that there is still no agreement between the Fire Stations to handle the mismanaged debt incurred by the North Highline Fire Station and the need for additional 911 services to service Area Y was not even mentioned by Mr.Martin or Mr. Robison. Someone will need to pay for these with increased taxes.
Burien is legally not supposed to be out promoting annexation to you at these outreach meetings. The City is supposed to only be providing you with the real facts. I strongly encourage the citizens of Area Y to ask for real facts, figures and answers to questions. Don’t accept wishy–washy off topic answers from Burien and its city officials. You could end up with something much worse and much more costly than King County. In fact, the handout at the meeting did admit the average homeowner will pay at least $180.00 more per year to be in Burien and the Berk Draft Report admitted that at the end of 11 years, Burien would be in serious financial problems if it annexed Area Y. That can only mean more taxes and/or less services for all of the area including Glen Acres.
– Debi Wagner
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