North Highline Residents Hear Details About Proposed Burien Annexation

Karen Freeman, a policy analyst with the King County Executive’s office, explains that the county can no longer afford to provide many services to urbanized unincorporated areas. Burien City Manager Mike Martin is seated at her right.

Story & Photos by Ralph Nichols

An overflow audience crowded into the meeting room at the North Highline Fire Department headquarters station Thursday evening (Oct. 4) to hear details about the proposed unincorporated area annexation by Burien.

The event presented by the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council was “not a debate,” council President Barbara Dobkin said at the outset.”People are here to give us the facts about the Burien annexation.”

State Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-34, said North Highline is “unique … with special needs,” which is why the Legislature in 2009 approved a $5 million annual sales tax credit for 10 years to help offset the initial costs of annexation if either Burien or Seattle annexes the area.

The Legislature did this “as a carrot to the cities.” But, Nelson noted, the state sales tax credit offer will expire on Jan. 1, 2015, if neither city annexes North Highline before then. “What [the Legislature] is attempting to do is to say it’s time to do something, it’s time to annex.”

Responding later to Burien resident Chestine Edgar, an annexation opponent who charged that the city can’t afford it and will end up broke, Burien City Manager Mike Martin asked, “Why in the world would we overestimate revenues” for the 10 years after annexation?

“It just doesn’t make sense. It would put us in jeopardy,” he said. “But there is nothing we can say to satisfy the conspiracy theorists.”

Earlier he said that “when it’s all said and done” North Highline residents will see their taxes and fees “increase about $140 a year – or less.”

Martin added that claims by annexation opponents of tax increases of $400 to $600 or more if North Highline becomes part of Burien are simply untrue.

King County Councilman Joe McDermott reads a letter to North Highline residents from King County Executive Dow Constantine encouraging them to vote for annexation by Burien on Nov. 6.

Here is the letter Constantine wrote (click image to see larger version, or download PDF here):


One Response to “North Highline Residents Hear Details About Proposed Burien Annexation”
  1. george says:

    disappointed in Dow for this letter. First time I haven’t agreed with him. But perhaps I figure I am not responsible for a huge budget…but still, always felt like he really understood our community and could see past the political stuff to see Burien is not a healthy option for WC.

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