This letter to the “Å“Fairwood Flyer“ appeared in the Renton Reporter on April 19, 2008.
On behalf of Renton, I’d like to address incorrect and misleading references to annexation in the March 2008 issue of the Fairwood Flyer that likely confused readers.
The Fairwood Greens HOA March report calls the Red Mill annexation petition a “Å“land grab” initiated by the City of Renton. The annexation petition was not initiated by Renton, but by private property owners. State law allows for different methods of annexation”â€including by voters, or by property owners, or by resolution of the City Council. For all annexation petitions, the City Council considers the petition and advances it to the Boundary Review Board, where decision making occurs. Our six-year Business Plan and policy is to maintain services to current residents while welcoming annexation areas that desire to become part of Renton. Both residents and property owners are part of that dialogue. Property owner petitions are the historic way that areas have annexed to the City, and property owners’ rights are not denied by this process.
Annexation is a governance option for the Fairwood area. Compared to the past, annexation is now more possible financially for cities to manage. Tax and fee revenues from an area are not usually enough to cover the costs to provide public services such as police, fire and emergency services, and parks. Through 2010, annexing cities can request a credit against the state sales tax to help support annexation costs. That funding is now helping to meet Benson Hill community annexation costs. After 2010, Renton will need to carefully consider whether annexing remaining areas is financially feasible.
A letter to the editor (“Å“Renton Taxes for Fairwood?”) erroneously states that with annexation, stormwater and animal license fees would be the same (when Renton rates are lower than King County’s), and incorrectly identifies building permit fees as taxes. All cities and King County charge permit processing fees (as would a new city), and Renton’s are lower than King County’s or other new cities that rely on permit fees to staff the building and planning function. Newly annexed residents pay taxes and fees in different forms and rates than they did before annexation. For example, utility taxes and Renton’s business license fee would be new to residents, but these are offset by generally lower city fees and property tax rates. King County and cities generate revenues differently, and the level of service residents receive is also different. Renton funds superior police response; innovative parks, recreation, and neighborhood programs; local streets; and other amenities”â€all for nearly the same total household tax investment. Renton neighborhoods preserve their residential quality of life while retail and industrial development are focused in urban centers and downtown.
There are a variety of viewpoints about the future for this area, and it is critically important for people to have accurate information. If you have questions about Renton services or taxes, ask us! You are welcome to contact the City if we can provide more information.
Mayor of Renton