Governor signs bill that removes costly requirement for annexation census in Kirkland
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
May 16, 2011 · Updated 2:38 PM
Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill that will save the City of Kirkland more than $200,000 on annexation by allowing the recent Census data to be substituted for a new Census survey for cities that will annex this year. The old law would have required cities, like Kirkland, to conduct a brand new Census to determine things like population, within one month of the annexation.
“This bill is a practical, good government bill that will save taxpayers an estimated $225,000 dollars,” said Kirkland City Councilman Bob Sternoff, who came up with the idea of the legislation.
The savings is good news for the cities grappling with annexation costs and a sluggish economy. The Kirkland City Council passed annexation in 2009 and the three neighborhoods to the north of the city, Juanita, Finn Hill and Kingsgate will officially become a part of the city on June 1.
The bill, which was sponsored by State Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) and State Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland), allows cities conducting annexations one year from the release of the last federal census to use that information, even though it is not completely accurate.
“Senate Bill 5505 eliminates the need for the City of Kirkland to conduct a costly and redundant census of population for the North Juanita, Finn Hill and Kingsgate neighborhoods being annexed to Kirkland,” said Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride. “Kirkland successfully supported its position that the 2010 Census data would suffice.”
The bill allows the city to determine the annexation population by utilizing the decennial census figures and updating those based on development activity occurring between April 1, 2010 and June 1, 2011. Decennial census data is available for census blocks, the boundaries of which correspond very closely to the annexation boundaries.
“... the population estimate for the annexation area will be based on the last census and updated by the same data that is used in every other population estimate,” said Penny Sweet, Deputy Mayor.
Councilwoman Doreen Marchione thanked both Hill and Springer for championing the bill and stated, “In these times of reduced city revenues, these funds would be much better used to provide direct services to Kirkland citizens.”Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.