Category Archives: Annexations

McCormick Annexation Money Matters

For anyone who may have missed last night’s meeting between McCormick Woods residents and city of Port Orchard officials, I will tack on at the end of this post a “Property Tax and Franchise Comparison” prepared by the city treasurer that answers the question:

What’ll it cost me?: Basically it’s a wash. City calculations based on 2008 numbers, show that the owner of a $350,000 home who as a county resident currently pays a total of $3,805.46 in taxes and fees would pay a total of $3,798.55 as a resident of Port Orchard. This does not include a storm water utility fee to be introduced in 2009 (approximately $90 annually).

McWoods residents in Port Orchard would pay a city property tax, which goes into the general fund and the city road fund, in addition to their county property tax, but they would no longer have to pay into the county road fund. And McCormick Woods residents would no longer pay the 50 percent sewer surcharge they now do as part of unincorporated Kitsap County, saving each household an average of $300 per year. (“Who would pay for that loss of revenue?” city resident Genevieve Hall asked me this morning. My notes from the meeting show the difference would be distributed among all city residents as a 10 percent increase in sewer fees.)

Will my property taxes go up?: In a word, no, at least not as a result of the annexation, according to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery. “We look as the whole urban growth area as one for our valuation purposes,” Avery said. Besides that, Avery pointed out, assessed values are trending downward at this time.

Will the city pay for streetlights?: (McWoods residents currently pay for their own streetlights in their dues.) The city would pay for any streetlights on public roads within McCormick Woods and The Ridge. Residents who live on private roads will continue to pay for streetlights.

Will properties in McWoods be rezoned, and therefore subject to a possible tax increase, as a result of updates in the city’s comprehensive plan?: Because McWoods is a planned development, no rezoning of properties within the annexation boundaries is expected or planned, Mayor Lary Coppola said.

How is the city doing financially?: Port Orchard has a long history of fiscal conservatism. Only within the last few years have they started including return envelopes with their utility bills, and city hall visitors must pay a penny a sheet for toilet paper if they have to use the restroom. (I made up the toilet paper thing, but it would be very much in the old PO spirit.) While the city expects 8 percent less in sales tax revenue in 2009 as a result of the economic downturn, it is also expecting to annex a considerable amount of commercial property, including Fred Meyer, which could offset the loss. The city’s budget is tight, and they will balance it by making adjustments, but they are in better shape than most of their neighbors (except Poulsbo), reported John Clauson, who chairs the finance committee.

So what’s in it for Port Orchard?: City officials have said the annexation, while it would provide increased property tax revenue and a small amount of sales tax revenue, would financially be “a wash” for the city. Six additional staff members would be needed to provide services to the area. As a larger jurisdiction, however, the city would be better eligible for state and federal grants and other funding, Coppola said.

Aside from any financial incentives, city officials say, they want McCormick Woods as part of the city because they see them as an asset. Coppola, last night, noted that with its many retirees, McWoods represents a new pool of potential representatives on the city’s volunteer boards or as elected officials. Somebody out there could even replace him, Coppola joked. He added that unincorporated McWoods is a small fish in a big pond (he didn’t exactly put it that way). As part of the city, however, they would be a big fish in a smaller pond and have better representation in their local government.

If this annexation fails, would Port Orchard try again by initiating an annexation itself? This could happen in theory. One method of annexation allows a city to initiate an annexation; then residents in the area to be annexed must vote on it. Would Port Orchard actually do this? probably not, said John Clauson. “Why would we fund an election if you’ve just told us no?” he said. If you choose not to, we’ll shake your hands and we’ll still be your neighbors.”

Here’s the line item financial comparison.

Speaking of South Kitsap: Week in Review

Note 7/14: Lary Coppola informed me that the links on this post don’t work. So I’m reposting them. As we/I get used to this new system, please let me know of any glitches. Thanks, Chris

Yes, I’m talking about last week. The blog was in transition, and it was an interesting week – testy testimony, teed off officials and a nod to Port Orchard in Seattle Magazine. I thought I’d better play catch up.

July 8

Bremerton and Port Orchard recognized by Seattle Magazine (scroll down to July 8 entry; Bremerton blog in transition; thanks)

Yes, it’s true. Intrepid Bremerton reporter Andy Binion made this post on the Bremerton Beat blog. The magazine noted Bremerton among “best up and coming” neighborhoods. Port Orchard came in at #9 among the “top 10 best neighborhoods.” Miracle #1: that it happened at all. Miracle #2: that PO got props from a Bremerton beat reporter. Thanks Andy.

July 8

Port Orchard Council chooses roundabouts for Tremont Street project over protest from some citizens and safety officials.

July 10

Port Orchard officials vie for a piece of the SKIA pie.

July 11

Habitat for Humanity is set to build a neighborhood of affordable homes in Port Orchard.

McWoods Annexation: More Questions to be Answered

Update 4/4: My bad.

I jumped to conclusions about Lary and James’ absence from the meeting. Lary e-mailed me the reason this morning. CTH

Lary says:
James and I weren’t “confused” about when and where the meeting was
today. I told Dick Davis I had a KRCC new board member orientation from
10:30 until 12, and would be there after that, but would, send James.
Dick sent me a note saying Jan’s schedule prevented her from being at
the noon lunch and the meeting had been rescheduled to 2 p.m. No one let
either James or I know that Jan’s schedule had changed again and the
noon meeting was back on.

I ended up being stuck in a meeting with “First Mike” and James Lee from
the state Veteran’s Affairs Dept. that ran until after 2 because they
were late arriving, but sent James, who was there promptly at 2 — just
as we were told to be. Confused? Not us 🙂

*********Original Post**************

I was at a meeting today of the McCormick Woods annexation committee and county officials, including South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel and Special Projects Manager Eric Baker. Since the issue was a proposed annexation of McCormick Woods by the City of Port Orchard, Mayor Lary Coppola and City Development Planner James Weaver were supposed to be there, but they apparently got mixed up about the place and time.

Baker explained that the county is conducting a comprehensive analysis of the impact of annexations of urban growth areas throughout the county on the county’s A) revenue B) expenditures. Obviously the impact of annexation (or incorporation) of an area like Silverdale would have a greater impact that the proposed McCormick Woods annexation. But the annexation committee today submitted a preliminary petition for annexation to the City of Port Orchard, essentially turning up the heat on the city council, which has 60 days to respond.

Many questions remain to be answered.

Continue reading

McCormick Woods Annexation Meeting set for Jan. 10

Dick Davis, a former South Kitsap School District bond booster, and other McCormick Woods residents have taken the first steps toward a possible annexation with the City of Port Orchard. The group has formed committees to handle tasks involved, namely setting the boundaries of the areas to be annexed and collecting signatures petitioning the city to consider the annexation.

To get the ball rolling, 10 percent of property owners within the designated area would need to sing the preliminary petition. The petition would be reviewed by county and city staff before moving to the City Council for action. To finalize the annexation, 75 percent of property owners must approve it in a separate petition. An annexation would take an estimated six to nine months, City Attorney Greg Jacoby said.

Areas eligible for annexation include McCormick Woods and two new developments, The Ridge and The Rutherford, as well as McCormick West, an area yet to be developed.

The annexation group has scheduled a public meeting for 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Clubhouse at McCormick Woods. According to Davis, the meeting will bring folks up to date on the annexation boundary effort and the petition drive progress. Anyone so inclined can sign the preliminary petition that night.

The City of Port Orchard recently sent a mailing to residents of the area eligible for annexation with a lengthy Q&A from the first public annexation meeting Nov. 15. In case you missed it, I’m pasting a copy below.

Once you’ve had a chance to read the fine print, so to speak, let me know what you think about the proposed annexation and if your mind changed as a result of reading the city’s information.

Continue reading

McCormick Woods Annexation Q&A

At the meeting Thursday on a possible annexation of McCormick Woods into the City of Port Orchard, there were far more questions and answers than I had room to address in the story. In addition, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel weighed in after the meeting, speaking from a state convention of county commissioners. I’ll try to cover some of that territory below. I will not address too much territory covered in an earlier article advancing the meeting.

First: here’s a pdf copy of the map that the City of Port Orchard displayed at the meeting. It’s hard to see the details in this rendition, but it’s a start. Here’s the map:
Download file

Second, a clarification: In the Kitsap Sun article today on a possible McCormick Woods annexation to the City of Port Orchard, Dick Davis is indirectly quoted as saying McCormick Woods has 1,581 registered voters. That is the number in Precinct 281, and “The Woods” represents about 65-70 percent of that precinct. Davis’ estimate, based on his involvement in the school bond issue, is that McCormick Woods has about 900-1000 registered voters. Davis, who does not represent the homeowners’ association, was making the point the McWoods, if annexed, would represent a significant percentage of the the city’s voters and therefore has the potential to influence the future of the city. The city currently has 3,391 registered voters, according to Davis.

OK here we go. If you’ve got questions, answers or more information, jump in.

What’s the history on McCormick Woods and the City of Port Orchard?
Jan Angel, a former realtor, said that as far back as she can remember, it’s been the assumption that McCormick Woods would go with the City of Port Orchard.
According to PO Mayor Kim Abel, a group of citizens showed interest in annexation about 10 years ago, but complications related to the county’s compliance with the Growth Management Act stalled the process.
Angel said that another attempt was made at the start of her first term 6 years ago. Residents, who initiated the annexation talk, were concerned over the surcharge on non-city residents imposed by the city after the developer transferred the sewer line to the city. Financially there was no significant advantage or disadvantage to McCormick Woods residents. There was no contiguous boundary with PO at the time, meaning McWoods was not eligible for annexation. The citizens let the issue drop, Angel said.

Why is McCormick Woods now eligible to annex?
If you look at the map, you’ll see a small piece of the urban growth area on Glenwood Road that is contiguous to the McCormick Woods/ULID # 6 UGA. Now that that area has annexed to PO, it makes the rest of the McCormick Woods Urban Village UGA eligible, including The Ridge, a new development under construction, and McCormick West, yet to be built.

Would McCormick Woods zoning change if annexation takes place?
McWoods is currently zoned urban-low. According to City Attorney Greg Jacoby, in annexations, UGAs come in at the “most similar” zoning. A change of zoning would be a separate process. According to Linda Niebanck, former head of McCormick Woods Land Co., who is still a member of the McCormick Woods Homeowners Association, it would also be a lengthy and likely tortuous process. City Planner JoAnne Long-Woods said that to change the density of already developed areas would require a consensus of all property owners. “Spot” zoning is discouraged by the state’s Growth Management Act.

Does the city have an impact fee?
Not currently.

Would McCormick Woods residents continue to pay a sewer surcharge?
As city residents, no; the surcharge would be dropped. There’s some historical disgruntlement here on the part of McWoods residents, according to Homeowners Association vice president Ray McGovern. The developer built the sewer, a move facilitated by the county, but then sold it to the city, which imposes a surcharge on non-city residents and has since the 1960s. The residents, who weren’t given a say, made their case to the city council, but “We got as much satisfaction arguing with the council as I would arguing with a wall,” McGovern said.
So if residents are gun-shy about annexation, this issue is probably part of their thought process.

Would residents be better off or worse off financially after annexation?
It’s close to a wash. For example, the owner of a $382,900 home, for example, would pay $230 less per year in property taxes and utilities.

What about storm water and roads?
The city would be responsible for maintaining storm water systems and roads.

What does the city stand to gain in an annexation?
The city treasurer, Kris Tompkins, ran numbers on the changes in revenue that would take place if McWoods joined the city. According to her calculations, the increased revenue would allow the city to hire an additional 6 staff members, including two police officers. This would likely not happen immediately, although the two officers are a first priority. The increased staffing is what the city sees as necessary to handle the increased population.
In future years, the increased revenue would be used for improvements to roads and infrastructure necessitated by growth.
Tompkins said that annexation would provide a number increased revenue streams in addition to property taxes and utilities. Some of these include B&O taxes, building fees, land use fees, state shared revenues and other miscellaneous sources of income.

Finalization of annexation requires approval by owners of 75 percent of the land in whatever boundaries are defined to be annexed. And the boundaries are up to the citizens who organize the petition to annex. One audience member at the meeting was concerned that McCormick Land Company would have a dominant interest due to the amount of land it owns.
The developer in fact is GEM 1 LLC, which is made up of McCormick Woods and Granite Land Co. of California.
Skrobut said he would neither force annexation down people’s throats nor stand in their way. He said there are some fine detail legal issues to work out about agreements made between the developer and the county.

How will annexation affect crimes in the City of Port Orchard?
One audience member was concerned about the assaults etc. reported by City Police. Chief Al Townsend acknowledged that the city, with at least one rowdy establishment downtown, does have a high crime rate (he mentioned “10th” not making it clear if it’s 10th in the state or what). Townsend said that annexation would not all of a sudden cause crime to migrate up the hill. He did say statistically that the city’s crime rate would go down if McWoods annexed, as it’s a relatively low crime area.
“If you come into the area, we’re going to drop off the list, and that’s a good thing,” said Townsend.
It appears this would be another incentive for the city to welcome a McWoods annexation.

One audience member asked if the McWoods parks and trail system would suddenly become fair game for any city resident. Kim Abel said, no, they belong to the homeowners association. She said the county would retain an easement to its park land through the McWoods trails.
McGovern pointed out that the trails are not gated or guarded, “and even the people in Port Orchard look remarkably like us so it’s hard to tell.”

I asked about the potential financial implications to city residents of the county’s intention of develop Bethel Corridor. The county has proposed a number of funding models, some of which include the county incurring debt, some of which don’t. Currently, they’re proposing a “transportation benefit district,” which includes McWoods UGA and would be funded by either a property tax hike or a license plate fee hike, both subject to voter approval. Angie Silva of the county pointed this out at the meeting. But I’ve got an e-mail into Eric Baker, who’s in charge of the Bethel Corridor project. What I’d like to know is, what if the county goes back to a model in which it shoulders some of the debt for the $43.4 million project? When the city annexes the area, it would take over any debt associated with it, and that would inevitably be paid by citizens, at least as I read it.

Where do the county commissioners stand on a possible McCormick Woods annexation?
Jan Angel and Josh Brown have both told me that a McWoods annexation would be in keeping with tenets of the state’s Growth Management Act. (I’ve talked about Bremerton’s interest in the area — or apparent lack thereof — in both articles).
Brown said that, compared to the Central Kitsap and Silverdale UGA’s, revenue from McCormick Woods is relatively insignificant, essentially small potatoes. Jan Angel would support the annexation, but, she said, “small potatoes add up.”
The Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, with representatives from county and city governments, has been working on a comprehensive analysis of urban growth areas, according to Will Maupin, Bremerton City Council president and KRCC rep. The analysis will cover where UGAs should logically annex and the financial impact on cities and the county.

Where does the McWoods Homeowners Association stand on annexation?
The association is forbidden in its bylaws to take a position on the issue. They were just hosting the meeting.

What happens next?
Residents who are interested in pursuing annexation and helping to organize a petition drive, should call the homeowners association at (360) 895-3800.
The city is also supposed to be neutral on this, but Kim Abel said they would serve in an advisory capacity. Contact the city at (360) 876-4407.

McCormick Woods Annexation: What do you think?

Just a quick entry here to check in with those of you who attended last night’s informational meeting on a possible McCormick Woods annexation to the City of Port Orchard.

The story will publish over the weekend. And I post a more detailed entry later.

So what did you think? Does it sound like a good deal? Did the discussion raise any red flags? What questions remain unanswered?

Incidentally, after Michelle reminded me of the Kitsap Business Journal article in which Bremerton City Councilman Will Maupin came off sounding like the city is interested in annexing that part of McCormick Woods that abuts on Bremerton boundaries, I called him. Maupin said that the council and the mayor had discussed the possibility but that they are “not aggressively pursuing” an annexation at this time. Ultimately, said Maupin, as everyone has said, it’s up to the residents to decide where they would like to annex.