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Fast-growing Marysville may get larger — City may soon annex area with 20,000 residents despite tough economy

According to a recent state study, Marysville has added more people than any Snohomish County community since the year 2000, and is about to get much bigger due to the proposed Central Marysville annexation, which will bring in a large, unincorporated residential area east of Smokey Point Boulevard, home to approximately 20,000 residents. The City Council and the Snohomish County Council will be meeting Monday, July 13 to consider the proposal.

Marysville's population has grown by 12,215 in the past nine years, a greater than 48 percent increase that has been in line with the City Council's standing that areas considered "urban growth" regions of Marysville needed to be within city limits. As part of an 11-piece annexation plan that is just wrapping up, this final addition would nearly double the city's population since 2000 and move Marysville into the top spot in the state for cities that have increased their size due to annexation.

"We service them with utilities, and we've been handling them all these years," said Mayor Dennis Kendall of the areas recently incorporated into the city. "We just felt it was time to do that ... and overall, we've been able to bring all of that in and still maintain the priority of service in public safety, public works, and those types of issues."

Kendall noted that the city did bring on additional police officers and added numbers to the street department, and that recent legislation will allow tax money to go toward that extra staffing.

"The timing is right," he said. "Legislature passed a bill about five years ago that allowed additional sales tax money for cities that were annexing 10,000 people, so with the use of that one-tenth of one percent of sales tax, it will allow us to be able to pay for the staff for the next 10 years for that particular area as our retail continues to grow."

Kendall, who attended a recent open house discussing the annexation, said that the community was, on the whole, in support of the measure, which would go into effect with the approval of an interlocal agreement between the county and the city of Marysville.

"It was very positive, people have been asking us for years to do this," said Kendall, who noted that just six or eight of the 150 attendees expressed some concern. "This particular section we're bringing in is all houses. There are a couple of small businesses, but it's a part of the community that has been around for a lot of years."

Another significant part of the process is that the Central Marysville Annexation would push the city's population over 50,000, which will help the city to provide additional services to its citizens.

"In the case of block grants, once a city's population goes over 50,000, those dollars go directly to the city instead of going through the county," Kendall explained. "There are some other services that we'll be able to provide such as affordable housing that we haven't been quite as able to since we were competing with everybody else."

Fortunately, Marysville is already well-equipped to maintain high educational standards in the face of a booming population.

Marysville-Pilchuck High School, which contains five separate campuses, is the largest prep school in the state, enrolling over 2,500 students, and a new high school, Marysville-Getchell, is set to open in the fall of 2010. Grove Elementary, enrolling 425, just opened last fall.

"The two new schools approved by the voters in 2006, Grove Elementary and Marysville Getchell, have alleviated the overcrowding issue," Superintendent Larry Nyland said. "Both projects are ahead of schedule and under-budget."

Nyland noted that Marysville's student-to-teacher ratio of 25-1 is comparable to other districts across the state, and that he feels that lower enrollments of recent years have coincided with demographics, specifically that some neighborhoods seem to have more young families with pre-school age children, and other locales sell to middle-aged adults without kids.

"The changes in the economy make it difficult to predict the future," said Marysville School District Superintendent Larry Nyland. "We are seeing fewer sign-ups for all-day kindergarten, and private schools may see a similar decline with some of those students coming back to public schools."

With a large residential population on the horizon, Mayor Kendall hopes that all of Marysville's annexation work will help to drive businesses to the "Strawberry City" and, in turn, revive the local economy.

"I'm very positive that this is turning around," said Kendall. "We'll be out of this, I can't say when, but I know that we will be here and provide the quality of life and best service that we possibly can for our citizens."

The joint meeting of Marysville City Council and Snohomish County County regarding the annexation will be held Monday, July 13, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Marysville City Council Chambers located on the second floor of City Hall at 1049 State Avenue. The city will host an open house from 4-6 p.m. to answer questions regarding the proposed annexation interlocal.

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