APRIL 28, 1997
Citizens for Incorporation of Kenmore's logo.
by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
With potential city limits drawn up, petitions signed, and positive feedback from a feasibility study, backers of a Kenmore incorporation movement await the results of a meeting with the Washington State Boundary Review Board.
The Boundary Review Board (BRB) will meet May 14 at Inglemoor High School with Kenmore supporters, opponents, consultants, and local agencies and then make a recommendation to the King County Council on Kenmore's future. If the council approves incorporation, a vote would take place September 16.
Recently, Kenmore incorporation proponents received good news in the form of a financial feasibility study. The study (Analysis of the Feasibility of the Proposed City of Kenmore, Washington), prepared by Phillip K. Kushlan and Associates for the BRB, gave Kenmore good reviews for providing for itself and its citizens. Anticipating revenues and projecting operating costs for the first four years Kenmore is in business as a city, the study says, "The proposed City of Kenmore appears to be financially feasible given the assumptions contained in this report."
The Kenmore incorporation committee asked Kushlan and Associates to be conservative with their estimates of potential revenues and realistic with estimates of expected expenses. Potential revenue from the proposed Lakepointe Development, a retail, office, and residential park at the mouth of the Sammamish River, was not included in the feasibility projection.
The study says Kenmore is feasible on the basis of a "same cost/same service approach to revenues and expenses," levying necessary taxes and fees, and operating "with a lean level of core staff."
Dave Maehren, a resident of Kenmore since 1978 and captain at King County Police Precinct 2, said the study did more than say Kenmore could become a city. A capital improvement analysis showed there would be money for $1.5 million worth of capital improvements such as sidewalks, streets, and parks, according to Maehren. He said King County was currently spending $450,000 a year on Kenmore.
Maehren said the city would be able to maintain the same level of service that Kenmore now receives from the county but could increase the level of capital improvements. Keeping local money for local services was also one of Kenmore's concerns.
According to the study, property owners in the city would pay the same amount of taxes as they currently do. The county road tax of $1.73 per $1,000 of assessed value would be dropped and a $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed value city property tax would be added. The city would impose utility taxes on telephone, electricity, and natural gas services. Other tax rates such as schools, fire, library, hospital, 911, and parks and recreation would remain the same.
Kenmore's proposed boundaries as they now stand encompass slightly over six square miles and contain 17,000 residents, according to Maehren. Kenmore's boundary would begin along the eastern border of Lake Forest Park on the King/Snohomish County line south to the southern boundary of Saint Edward State Park, east to Juanita Drive, north along Juanita Drive to NE 143rd Street, and east along NE 145th Street to 92nd Avenue NE, north along the western boundary of Bothell to Bothell Way, west along Bothell Way and north on 84th Avenue NE to the King/Snohomish County line and west to Lake Forest Park. Maehren said that the future city of Kenmore is within the boundaries of the Northshore School District, Northshore Fire District, and Northshore Utility District.
Kenmore's current incorporation effort began in 1994 with the Government Strategies Committee. The committee identified three futures for Kenmore: annexation by Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, or Bothell; remaining an unincorporated area of King County; or becoming a city of its own. The committee recommended the latter.
Key issues for Kenmore residents are local representation and local service, according to Maehren. "Right now, we have one-third of one-thirteenth of a county councilmember. We're one-third of [County Councilmember] Maggi Fimia's district," Maehren said. With a city, there would be seven city councilmembers, he added. Maehren said he thought local residents were positive about incorporation.
"I think initially they're cautious because of taxes. But once they learn the facts and benefits, they seem to be positive," Maehren said.
Some residents outside of Kenmore's proposed boundaries have asked to be included. Maehren said that none in the incorporation committee were developers. "Nobody has anything to gain out of this besides what's best for Kenmore," Maehren said.
The BRB will hold its meeting May 14 at 7:30 pm in the cafeteria at Inglemoor High School, 15400 Simonds Road NE.
If incorporation is approved by the county council, an incorporation vote would take place in September. If that passes by a simple majority, primary elections for city councilmembers would occur in February 1998, election of a council would happen in April 1998, and Kenmore would incorporate in August, 1998.
The feasibility analysis will be available at area libraries. Comments can be sent to Citizens for Incorporation of Kenmore, Inc.; 6016 NE Bothell Way, Suite 207; Seattle, WA 98155.