I continue to be neutral about Fairwood’s future governance. This journal entry that I wrote over three years ago is still applicable today. My council colleagues have expressed neutrality as well.
The future governance of Fairwood is in the hands of Fairwood’s residents.
There have been two annexation petitions submitted to the city of Renton for consideration, and we placed both of these petitions in abeyance until the Fairwood incorporation decision was voted on. One of these petitions is a “property petition” submitted by property owners holding much of the central business district in Fairwood (called the Red Mill petition), and the other petition is from a percentage of registered voters and calls for a vote by the overall Fairwood Community to consider annexation of the entire community (approximately 25,000 people) to Renton.
We are going to act slowly and openly as we lay out next steps for consideration of any annexation of Fairwood property.
Next Monday the Mayor will present the council with his recommendation for how to proceed with these two petitions. We will then most likely refer this recommendation into a future Committee of the Whole meeting, to be reviewed probably in early December. Residents of Fairwood and Renton will have a chance to review the Mayor’s recommendation, watch the council deliberate on it, and make their comments during the audience comment portions of City Council Meetings. They can also send us written comments on the Mayor’s proposal after it is unveiled on Monday night, if not earlier.
Among the issues the Mayor and staff are considering is how to handle the two petitions in a way that is as fair as possible, makes the most sense to the most people, and minimizes the strain on the Fairwood Community after they have just weathered a divisive campaign season.
We will have a process and expected election schedule defined by the end of December, but any election would likely not occur until late in 2010. This would give Fairwood residents a break, and allow time for all the pros and cons of annexation to be determined and reviewed by the community.
We’ll know more next week.
And of course I’m maintaining neutrality. I encourage you again to read my earlier blog on this if you have not read it already Here is the link again.
Here is a sample of pro and con letters on this topic:
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 3:02:40 PM
Subject: The next step
Monday, November 9, 2009
Dear City of Renton leadership,
As a resident of the community of Woodside, east of Fairwood just off Petrovitsky, we have just endured the second attempt of a few folks living in Fairwood to make us all into the City of Fairwood. The effort has failed. I’m sure they have some sort of contingency plan to delay any efforts to annex the area into the City of Renton. But I would encourage you to begin as soon as possible the work necessary to bring us into the Renton by annexation. We all spoke loudly with our votes, so now let’s get going. Please reply with an overview of your plans on this subject. Thank you.
Almost a Resident
City of Renton
Posted by Letters Editor
Once again The Times offers an opinion in ignorance, this time about the Renton and Fairwood issue [“Renton and Fairwood: It’s time to get hitched,” Opinion, editorial, Nov. 11].
Regardless of the fact that studies performed by finance experts have suggested Fairwood is feasible, The Times offers Renton as some proverbial paradise. As Renton knows all too well, and as the studies showed, Fairwood is a tax exporter and thus we have more than ample funds to provide and improve our basic services.
However, becoming a new city is a scary thing, and voters apparently desire the seemingly easy path of annexation rather than the best long-term path of incorporation.
The Landing was cited as evidence of a transformed Renton, while the editorial failed to mention the high vacancy rates there, and Renton’s $8 million budget deficit.
So how will Fairwood’s services improve? Sadly, the editorial simply overlooks the reality of our situation — not a surprise, as we’re far-flung from Seattle.
Renton is salivating at the prospect of acquiring Fairwood, solely for the tax surplus we generate. Fairwood will become another forgotten, rundown Renton neighborhood while the city mismanages our tax surplus on failed projects.
— Tom Edwards, Fairwood
And Here is a Renton Reporter article with further background on this topic.