MARYSVILLE – The Snohomish County city known for its aggressive annexation strategy is dragging its feet on absorbing one annexation because it is more than it bargained for.
The A.R.T.-Wicklow annexation is a peninsula of county land that juts south into city limits. It grew from 90 acres, as proposed by the city, to 404 acres after the Snohomish County Boundary Review Board expanded the border.
In doing so, 88th Street NE was thrown into the mix. The major east-west arterial is badly in need of repairs and widening, city officials said.
Before approving the annexation, the city is trying to strike a cost-sharing deal with the county. Improvements are expected to cost $33 million.
Without a deal, city officials fear Marysville taxpayers could get saddled with the entire road-repair bill.
“If we don’t come to an agreement now, and we annex that property, the county won’t participate in the construction costs,” Marysville city administrator Mary Swenson said.
Swenson and Mayor Dennis Kendall have met with County Executive Aaron Reardon.
Reardon said he’s made reaching an agreement a priority and has asked his staff to work out the details as soon as possible.
“We want to partner with our cities to make sure annexations can be completed in timely manner,” he said.
Typically, he said, deals are struck incrementally as big projects proceed.
In this case, the city and the county stand to benefit from a compressed negotiation, Reardon said.
The city would be able to move forward with the annexation and the county would save money on the overall project cost, he said.
Ironing out the details may prove challenging, said Steven Thomsen, the county’s public works director.
“Marysville wants to pay half. That’s premature and overly simplified,” he said. “But we’re more than willing to sit down and talk about reasonable shares of the project.”
Marysville is willing to pay its fair share, city public works director Paul Roberts said.
The city and county are close to a deal to split costs for a $50,000 report on fixing the street.
Swenson said she hopes an deal to fix the street can be struck by the end of July.
If a deal can’t be worked out, Marysville may have to scale back the annexation to exclude 88th Street NE or put it on hold even longer, she said.
That doesn’t sit well with residents in the proposed annexation area.
People there started work 20 months ago, collecting property owners’ signatures to join Marysville.
They want local police and lower utility rates.
About 20 people showed up at Monday’s City Council meeting to urge action.
“Why is it taking so long?” Karl Kotter asked.
Several of the city’s other annexations have moved quickly through the complicated government process, community development director Gloria Hiroshima said.
“It’s not unusual to have annexations take a year-and-a-half, two years,” she said. “That’s probably the norm.”
Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.