The Renton City Council Monday night on a 4-3 vote decided to continue with an upcoming election on the West Hill Annexation.
Councilmen Randy Corman and Don Persson and councilwoman Marcie Palmer opposed the Nov. 6 election.
Persson wanted the public vote delayed indefinitely. "Not that I don't want to take (West Hill) in, but it's not the time when the city is facing a deficit itself," he said during council discussion.
Oppenents were concerned that West Hill has seen a 20% decline in assessed property -- the main funding source for city services.
The West Hill Annexation Area is a pocket of unincorporated King County that sits between the cities of Renton, Tukwila and Seattle. It includes the neighborhoods of Skyway, Bryn Mawr, Campbell Hill, Panorama, Skycrest, Hill Top and Lakeridge. The area has a population of approximately 15,000 and is roughly 12% the size of Renton.
Mayor Denis Law and City Attorney Larry Warren have been looking at language regarding when the city would be required to take over the West Hill voters approve the annexation in November. The language, legal experts said, is ambiguous regarding how quickly the city would have to assume control of the new area.
The mayor, a former resident of West Hill has always wanted to see this area annexed to the city -- but not at a cost to Renton's overall financial health.
"The area has to provide for itself," Law said Monday. "We are not going to pull police units from the Highlands or downtown to cover the West Hill."
Currently the King County Sheriffs Office operates the police services and King County Fire District 20 operates the fire and medical services. Other programs such as parks and recreation, neighborhood program, planning and land use, street maintenance and economic development are handed by King County government.
There will be no change for the schools (Renton School District), Utilities (Skyway Water and Sewer and Renton), and Library (King County Library System).