Taxes, Police Services Will Both Increase with N. Highline Annexation by Burien

by Ralph Nichols

Taxes in North Highline will increase about $140 a year if voters there approve annexation by Burien in the November election – and residents of the now-unincorporated area will see a better police presence.

City Manager Mike Martin also said at the Aug. 23 community open house on the proposed annexation, held at the White Center Food Bank, that current zoning “will largely stay the same, at least for some period of time” if the unincorporated area becomes part of Burien.

Once again, a very small number of North Highline residents – only four – attended the informational meeting for the first time. More Burien residents who oppose annexation turned out.

Asked why so few of the people who would be affected by annexation come to these meetings, Barbara Dobkin, president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, told The B-Town Blog “a lot of people that I have talked to have already made up their minds.”

Another reason, Dobkin added, is that “a lot of people here are not used to being asked or given information. The county has never made a point of coming out to the community except on big issues that come before NHUAC.”

Burien Police Chief Scott Kimerer

After more than an hour during which Martin and Police Chief Scott Kimerer fielded questions, Martin summed up the annexation issue at this point: “It does take a big vision,” he said. “It does take a big decision.

“Vote up or down. It’s time to plan. It’s time to do it or not do it. Vote yes or no and let’s decide.”

Boulevard Park resident Butch Henderson, who was annexed in 2010, recalled that he had been opposed to joining Burien and wanted to become part of Seattle.

“I fought very hard not to be here, and I’m here,” Henderson said. “I lost and I’m glad.” Of the three options for North Highline, including going to Seattle or remaining in unincorporated King County, he added, “Burien is the best choice.”

Earlier, Kimerer said the 2010 annexation of the southern unincorporated area of North Highline was “seamless. We changed the decals on our cars. That was about it.”

Not only will the level of police service stay the same, he said “I would say it will be a little better” because Burien, which contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office for police services, will “have additional resources to draw from” while the county is cutting deputies.

Kimerer added that the White Center storefront sheriff’s office will stay open, and that “essentially six people who work just on gangs” will be available to the community.”

Asked “what’s the point?” he replied that “unincorporated areas were not intended to be urban in character. They were intended to be rural but they grew up.” Responding to the high level of local services they require, the state Growth Management Act required that they be annexed.

After the previous annexation, Martin explained, city zoning codes in the new part of Burien were put in “as close as possible to the [existing] King County zoning codes. We worked with the neighborhoods” to update them.

Click image to see map of proposed annexation area.

He said the city “did not make any sudden moves” affecting zoning then, and it will not make any if North Highline joins Burien. “We don’t go looking for violations unless it’s something we see that’s really, really egregious. We respond to code complaints but we’re not intrusive.”

One of the North Highline residents attending for the first time said “we’ve got to think about this and get annexed or they will destroy us … like they have Skyway. We’ve got to do something to save ourselves.”

Burien resident Chestine Edgar, an annexation opponent, challenged Martin, once on his estimate of the tax increase for North Highline residents and then on projected costs of unfunded capital improvements projects. But, Martin said, her claims were “absolutely untrue.”

The city’s next Annexation Informational Session will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13 at Beverly Park Elementary School’s cafeteria, located at 1201 S. 104th Street.


14 Responses to “Taxes, Police Services Will Both Increase with N. Highline Annexation by Burien”

    …I support ANNEXATION and will cast a YES vote

  2. Brad T says:

    I will cast a firm NO VOTE! Smoke and mirrors and more lies! They are just dragging more people into the lie, you can say no big changes and we are non intrusive because thats what they are suppose to say. The reallity will be much different this is simply say whatever we want to hear and when the smoke clears it will be way to late. These knuckleheads will get replaced but the damage will be done by then. We are not stupid we understand you know you need to do this now or it will never happen. How the hell are all these open ended promises going to be met? Taxes taxes taxes you suckers voting yes feel so strongly about how this will affect nothing then agree in writing to pay my extra taxes and the drop in house value I will be stuck with!

    • Cover of Night says:

      Brad, I agree with you 100%…….we’ve seen these tactics before; remember “hope and change”?

      Vote NO on annexation!

  3. Fred says:

    To Ralph-
    Ms. Edgar said that North Highline had $77million dollars in deferred Infrastructure maintenance costs and no money to cover these costs. Mike Martin said that he had never seen that number and she was wrong. That number-the one Ms. Edgar stated- came from the Berk Report on page 27 and the $ 77million dollars was from a study/report written by King County engineering. Those are deferred costs so that means that the costs are going to continue to increase as Burien waits or puts them off further. That is a lot of costs for a 3.5 mile area/North Highline when you have no money to take care of it. Also the Burien’s estimate on how much taxes are going to have to increase for Area Y residents is way off. It is really about $400 dollars per year. Again Mr. Martin doesn’t know how to figure his own utility taxes-more funny money mis-information from the city staff. .

  4. Mike says:

    Attention Area Y Residents:

    Anyone that would like to keep Burien from raising our taxes and fees by over $400 a year in White Center and South Park: The web site with information on the anti-annexation campaign committee and where to send contributions is:

    Area Y Mike

  5. Margaret Ryan says:

    To Joey Martinez:

    Trying to get ahold for you. Could you please send your contact info to me?
    [email protected]

    Thank you

  6. Fred says:

    To Ralph-
    What I find even stranger about this study/ report that Mike Martin just gave-the subject of this blog article -is that its results don’t match up with the report Martin just gave in April,2012 of this year. In the April survey, only 57% of the citizens felt the city was headed in the right direction. Same survey contractor did the work on both surveys and there is a 9% spread difference. Try to explain that one away. Also annexation scored as one of the top 4 items that citizens were concerned about. Again it was one of those phony scoring/ranking out of 100% structured things. If Mike Martin had the money to run 2 surveys between Jan. and June of this year, why couldn’t he have run a real survey on how citizens felt about annexation? It is clear he didn’t really want to know.
    Shame on the Council for allowing him to get away with this. Martin’s surveys are like a bunch of cooked books

  7. Lilas Pastia says:

    The City of Burien allowed a homeowner to take down a small forest of trees next to the Fire Dept. in the Manhattan area. This is a crime. The city is also not supervising wtih inspections, the construction of this FD building.
    I don’t want to join a city that allows this kind of thing.

  8. Pat LeMoine says:

    Annexation is a bad idea, I’m voting NO. I found it fascinating that the meeting I went to 9 months back, about 80% of the audience where citizens of Burien warning the rest of us not to join and why. Have not talked to anyone happy about the last annexation, just people pissed off or just disgusted with Burien. For more check out youtube Annexation Bad Idea.


    …I do not want to be under the reign of Seattle. Look at the downgrade my neighborhood has taken: felons, transients, gangs. It is like Lord of the Flys….I have lived here over 30 years and I will vote to annex to Burien. Those who argue against just sound off with no facts to back it up or delve deeper into the root of causes; for example, the FIre Department is under KING COUNTY District, so the issue is that of King County, the same County that run amoks with all the Housing Authority, the same county that costs millions to change from a crown logo to MLK logo. As far as surveys, I wish there had been surveys on encroaching White Center Development Association’s power to push their agenda; surveys can be skewed, just look at the King County and Housing Authority when they bloat numbers to citizens. I support annexation, there is strength in numbers for a better Highline area.


    .oh by the way, see my point, “youtube” is listed as a source….

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