Seattle's News Elixir

As we predicted they would last week, the city council voted 8-1 today---with only Jean Godden dissenting---to put off a decision on whether to ask residents of North Highline and White Center, currently in unincorporated King County, if they want to join Seattle until February 2012.

As we also predicted, city council member Nick Licata proposed (and the council adopted) an amendment clarifying that the resolution putting off the council's decision "is not intended to block or obstruct the city of Burien from pursuing annexation ... should the city of Burien decide to do so" before the Seattle council revisits the question of annexation.

Godden, who was also the lone "no" vote in committee, said that although she considered "the North Highline area to be a prize and I wholeheartedly support keeping our options open regarding annexation, unfortunately I think right at this time Seattle cannot afford to annex the area without severely compromising existing city services."

"It's wrong to keep the residents of North Highline in limbo ... simply because we cannot make up our minds," Godden added.

However, most council members were reassured by the language encouraging the city of Burien to move forward with its own annexation ballot measure if it chooses to do so.

"Even though I personally think there's an opportunity here, I think we're taking into account the challenges that we face in the future," council president Richard Conlin said. By next year, Conlin said, "we will have heard from at least the state and how they've solved their financial problems and whether they've solved them on our backs."

Prior to the council's vote, a dozen or so White Center and North Highline residents spoke in favor of annexation by Seattle and against annexation by Burien. And even if Burien does put an annexation measure on the ballot, as council member Bruce Harrell pointed out, "it's not a slam dunk that this would even pass."

Earlier this year, Mayor Mike McGinn said he supported putting an annexation measure on the ballot in November; we have a call out to the mayor's office to see if he has any reaction to today's vote.
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