I went to the West Hill Community Meeting on July 20, 2010 to learn about it and I was glad I went.
For the most part, I was impressed with the information that was presented and I felt this was a great way to understand the issue of annexation. Before the meeting, I thought that those of us in Lakeridge seem to be the last ones to hear about these things, though I am now under the impression that a lot people in the area have not been informed.
The City of Renton representatives spoke about a lot of the procedural steps that have been taken and about 'scenarios' that they have been 'studying' but then explained the bottom line issues of annexation. What I heard was that the City of Renton is responding to a petition that was created by 10% of the 'West Hill' population requesting annexation because that is what the laws mandate the City to do. I also heard that the City can not afford to provide necessary services to West Hill with current tax structure. So what they will do is close down one fire station and reduce the two engines and an aid car at the Skyway Firestation to one engine and three fireman. And they will not commit to keeping the law enforcement storefront open, in fact , it was stated that the whole of Renton would be redistricted and they do not know what that will look like.
The Title of the event was Annexation Forum. There were speakers for and against the issue and it was all very civil except for one individual that embarrassed the Proponent side with his loud voice and ill-tempered approach to sharing information. He was not a scheduled speaker and it showed. He was negatively provocative and was not available for questions.
I went to this meeting to learn about the Annexation issues and what I left with was a feeling that this proposal will fail.
There is no net benefit to the citizens of the area that could be explained. In fact, it appeared that, in fact, emergency services will be reduced and their is a gap in funding for necessary services and that a tax increase will be forthcoming. There was a lot of talk about economic development but no real differences between what the King County approach will be versus what the City of Renton approach will be.
It is apparent that there is no VISION in annexing the West Hill by Renton just city employees going through legal steps because a petition was signed by at least 10% of the population.
As far as I can tell there is no benefit for West Hill to be annexed .
As Gertrude Stein once said, "There is no there there".