LAKE STEVENS — Lake Stevens is about to grow by two-thirds.
A plan to add more than 10,000 people to Lake Stevens — swelling its population from 14,553 to 24,614 — appeared headed to victory in mail-in votes in first returns Tuesday.
The measure was leading 717 to 524 in early returns, roughly 58 percent to 42 percent. A simple majority determines the outcome.
“For the citizens to come out and vote on this issue, it’s a big deal. We wanted to listen to them,” Mayor Vern Little said. “Now we want to listen to them on what they need.”
The neighborhoods lie south of Frontier Village and between the lake, Highway 204 and extend south of 20th Street SE. The 9-square-mile unincorporated Snohomish County area is home to 10,061 people.
City officials decided earlier this year to put the annexation up for a vote. The reason the city wanted to add that many people at once is because the state is offering a tax rebate to cities for every 10,000 people added at one time. That offer expires next year.
The city will look to convert some of area to commercial land to improve the city’s tax base, but also will seek to manage development more strictly than has Snohomish County, Little said.
“We will have the ability to set in place what we really need to be a city,” he said.
The city has plans to add 13 police officers to its current total of 27, and is considering hiring more public works personnel, Little said.
Officials plan to meet at 8 a.m. today to discuss that and other issues related to the annexation, the mayor said.
In 2005, the city had a population of 7,185. The city then doubled in size with three annexations from 2006 to 2008. When this annexation becomes effective Dec. 31, the city will have grown by more than 300 percent in four years.