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September 8, 1997

Local News

Kenmore voters will decide on cityhood

  by Andrew Walgamott
   KENMORE--In about a week, voters here may decide once and for all their future. Kenmore ballot casters will choose whether to incorporate the roughly six-square mile area at the mouth of the Sammamish River, or stay under the county's dominion.
   Cityhood proponents point to the Growth Management Act which designated Kenmore an urban area. Incorporations and annexations can only occur in urban areas. It's either become a city, or be annexed by Lake Forest Park, Bothell or Kirkland, backers say.
   Opponents say, hold on, why duplicate services we already enjoy with the county? Doing so, they argue would be "difficult and costly," according to their statement in the voter's pamphlet.
   Not so, say backers. A study conservatively anticipating revenues and projecting operating costs for the first four years Kenmore would be in business as a city said, "The proposed City of Kenmore appears to be financially feasible given the assumptions contained in this report."
   The study, done by Phillip Kushlan and Associates, found that in the "steady state" year of 2001, Kenmore would have revenues of $6.37 million, expenses of $4.72 million with $1.64 million that could be set aside for general improvements to the area.
   Those numbers actually reflect a drop in taxes from county to city control. Jan Allot, who serves as the de-facto runner, secretary, call-returning, faxing, water-girl for the Citizens for Incorporation committee, said that though she doesn't see much opposition to the proposal, "you can't assume it's in the bag."
   The committee has set up an information line for concerned citizens which keeps Jan busy returning phone calls. She said she isn't battling opposition so much as lack of information. One of the main concerns callers voice is whether or not they live in the proposed incorporation area.
   The King County Boundary Review Board set city lines around approximately 17,000 residents wholly served by the Northshore Fire District, Northshore Utility District and Northshore School District. The boundaries generally extend from the King/Snohomish County line south down 84th Ave. N.E to Bothell Way around a group of homes below road grade near the Sammamish, follows Bothell city limits to N.E. 145th St. to Juanita Dr. to 68th Ave. S.E. to the south end of St. Edwards Park around Lake Washington to Tracy Owen Station Park, west on Beach Dr. and north on 55th Ave. N.E. (if extended) to N.E. 193rd St. to 55th Ave. N.E. to the county line.
   If a simple majority of voters approve the incorporation next Tuesday, Kenmore would become a city between March and September of 1998. The city would have an elected council that appoints the city manager who would serve as the chief executive officer and administrative head of the government.
   For more information on Kenmore call 728-3924. Check out supporters webpage at http://kenmore.mpl.net.