Marysville City Council favors annexation

By the end of the year, city officials hope to have an interlocal agreement with the county to annex Marysville’s urban growth area, shown here in green.  - Courtesy Photo
By the end of the year, city officials hope to have an interlocal agreement with the county to annex Marysville’s urban growth area, shown here in green.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

MARYSVILLE — As expected, City Council acted at its regular Sept. 22 meeting to formally approve opening negotiations with Snohomish County over the city’s wish to annex its urban growth area.

Prior to the Council session, Chief Administrative Officer Mary Swenson said administration officials have been talking informally with the county for months. But the administration hopes to have an annexation deal inked by the end of this year.

On the city’s side, Council members will have the final say.

According to Swenson, there are a number of issues on the table, but one key question revolves around who is responsible for potential improvements to 88th Street NE. Swenson said solving traffic issues on the roadway could cost up to $40 million.

“The city doesn’t feel we should be responsible for all of that when it’s a regional road,” she said.

Swenson noted Marysville is not the only city currently looking to expand its borders. Of course, if cities gain control of currently unincorporated areas, the county loses some of its responsibility to those areas. With that in mind, Swenson said, some county officials are worried about having to layoff county workers if every annexation under consideration eventually happens. Still, Swenson said the talks are proceeding well.

“I’m happy with the progress,” she said.

While the administration wants an annexation agreement completed by the end of 2008, Swenson is looking for that pact to take effect in the fall of 2009. She said that timetable gives the city plenty of opportunity to “ramp up,” readying itself for welcoming some 19,000 or so new residents.

Council only briefly took up the annexation issue at its Sept. 15 meeting, mostly because some materials and information weren’t readily available, according to Councilwoman Carmen Rasmussen. Still, she said there likely would be no objections to pursuing an agreement with the county.

The city hopes to annex its urban growth area partly to take advantage of a sales tax rebate offered by the state.

In the past, Marysville Finance Director Sandy Langdon has said the city could collect up to .2 percent of the Washington sales tax generated in both the existing city and in the annexed locations. But in order to collect the full .2 percent, the population of the annexed area must be at least 20,000.

Currently, the city estimates the population of its targeted urban growth area as over 19,000, but not reaching 20,000. If the population doesn’t hit the 20,000 mark, the city would collect only an additional .1 percent of sales taxes generated.

Rasmussen said the population question is a valid issue, but also said she doesn’t believe not being eligible for the full .2 percent in sales taxes will stop the city from moving forward with its plans.

“I don’t think anyone is considering not doing it at all,” she said.

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