Rep. Larry Springer idea could slash Kirkland annexation costs

Counting the people who will be added to the City of Kirkland by the June 1 annexation of the Juanita, Finn Hill and Kingsgate areas will cost Kirkland taxpayers an estimated $225,000. But much of that money could be saved if the Legislature listens to Rep. Larry Springer and allows the count to be based on the new federal census.

“Why not use the data generated by the federal government to help with that count?,” asked Springer (D-Kirkland). “At a time when cities are struggling just to maintain current levels of service within their jurisdictions, to take on added responsibilities is very difficult.”

Springer served as the Mayor of Kirkland from 2000 to 2003.

An estimated 33,000 people will be annexed to Kirkland on June 1, but state law requires a specific—and expensive—process for counting residents in annexed areas. The counts are used to share state revenues from the gas tax, liquor profits and other sources.

House Bill 1336 would reduce duplicate counts and taxpayer costs when recent federal census numbers are available.

Kirkland City Manager Kurt Triplett told a Jan. 26 hearing of the House Local Government Committee that the Springer bill would significantly reduce taxpayer costs estimated at $225,000. He noted that the state already uses census data for population counts that do not involve annexations.

“We enthusiastically support this bill,” Triplett said. “It will save us money, it will save us time and we think it will be just as accurate.”

Other cities lined up to support Springer’s idea for cutting the taxpayer costs of annexation counts.

“It’s good government,” said Burien City Manager Mike Martin. “It’s common sense,”

Martin noted that it cost Burien more than $82,000 to count just 14,332 people for an annexation last April.