Many Say Annexation Fine Idea -- Harbour Pointe Residents Testify Before State Board


The perfect marriage.

That is how more than half of last night's nearly 20 speakers addressing the state Boundary Review Board for Snohomish County described a proposal that calls for Mukilteo to annex Harbour Pointe, a planned residential and business community directly south of the city.

Annexation of the roughly 3.4-square-mile area would more than double the city geographically and add 4,779 residents to Mukilteo's population of 6,662. And the fast-growing area would include about 20,000 people by 2000.

``I enjoy the city, but I have some question about the level of service that can be provided in the future,'' said Mukilteo resident Mike Deller, adding that Harbour Pointe's wealthy tax base would pump revenue into the city. Harbour Pointe includes a 500-acre industrial area that has Honeywell as its anchor.

Meanwhile, several Mukilteo city officials and a group of Harbour Pointe residents said both areas would benefit from an annexation.

``We just feel basically that Mukilteo's going to be a good place to live - it's a win-win situation for us,'' said Harbour Pointe resident Gary McGuire, who circulated petitions in support of annexation last summer. He said the move would offer residents better police and fire protection than they're getting now under the county.

McGuire said more Harbour Pointe residents he talked to during the petition drive supported annexation to Mukilteo than they did a competing proposal by the Highland Bay Incorporation Committee to form a new city of more than 24,000 residents that would include Harbour Pointe.

But last night, Rick Jenness, who heads the incorporation effort, said he seriously questioned the fiscal impacts of an annexation - particularly if Mukilteo were required to contract with Snohomish County Fire District 1 to serve Harbour Pointe. A ``fatal flaw'' with the annexation proposal is that Harbour Pointe residents signed petitions in support of the plan before critical fiscal questions were answered, Jenness said.

Even though it would kill an incorporation effort, Jenness urged the review board to extend the southern boundary of the annexation to 148th Street Southwest if they would not reject the proposal all together. That way, he argued, residents just outside the city's proposed annexation area would not represent a small isolated patch of county.

A fiscal analysis of the annexation prepared for the city predicts the city will net at least $568,019 from the annexation in 1991 and net more than $1 million annually in subsequent years. City officials said Harbour Pointe residents would save about $183 per year on taxes on a $175,000 house if they were to leave the county for the city.

Jerry Osterman, city supervisor, said Mukilteo plans to add more personnel to its Police Department and add paid firefighters to its current volunteer force to serve Harbour Pointe. He said the city wants to build a new fire station in the annexation area and could not take over fire-protection service from Snohomish County Fire District 1 until January of 1993.

But John Dolan, director of Fire District 1, urged the board to reject the annexation until fire officials and city officials have had a chance to discuss how the city would adequately serve the area. He said county fire officials were skeptical of whether the city's fire force could handle the job - now handled by paid professionals with the benefit of mutual-aid agreements and paramedic service.

Karen Stewart, senior planner for the Snohomish County Planning Department, read a letter from the Snohomish County Council requesting that the review board continue the proposal until county and Mukilteo officials have had more time to work out such matters as how building permits would be processed during a transition.

After nearly four hours of testimony and questions, the review board continued the public hearing to next Wednesday, asking Mukilteo officials for more details, including additional information on fire and police agreements.

``I think there are a whole group of things that are unanswered,'' said Harold Fauska, a member of the review board.

He predicted a decision by the review board could be made as early as Wednesday.

Bonnie Collins, chief clerk for the review board, said the group must make a determination by about mid-January.