The City of Pasco has recently been informed by Pasco citizens of some misleading and false information that the proponents of the so-called "de-annexation" petition have been using to garner signatures in their effort. The City offers the following in response and invites any interested resident to view the "Cost and Comparison" matrix, which has been developed and reviewed by a citizens committee, at www.pasco-wa.gov/annexation.
CLAIM: "City will establish Local Improvement Districts (LIDs) to install sewer lines, street lights, sidewalks, curbs, fire hydrants, roads, etc. - whether or not you use them. Developers usually force this over adjacent homeowners' objections."
"LID improvements can cost a homeowner over $25,000 and the city will put a lean [sic] on the property if not paid."
RESPONSE: The city does not require street lights, curbs or sidewalks in the west Pasco residential area and developers cannot force those improvements to be installed in your neighborhood.
Most LIDs are initiated by property owners. The City Council does not establish an LID if a majority of property owners (based on assessment cost) object. The history of LIDs in the west Pasco area shows that the $25,000 cost claim is greatly exaggerated. Since 1995 there have been 12 LIDs formed in the area. Of them, 11 were for residential neighborhoods and all 11 included only sewer improvements (no street lights, curbs or sidewalks). All assessments were done on a per lot basis with the range of assessments per lot from $5,000 to $8,010.
CLAIM: "Expect additional Municipal Taxes like Storm Sewer Drain Fees, increased Fire and Ambulance Fees, taxes on garbage, electricity, cable, etc."
RESPONSE: Seventy percent of "donut hole" properties utilize city water and septic tanks; the owner of a median value home ($212,900) would see virtually no change in total taxes and fees versus the County. For a complete comparison of City and County taxes and fees, see the 2012 Fees and Taxes Comparison posted on the city's website at: www.pasco-wa.gov/annexation.
CLAIM: "Code Enforcement Officers have already been canvassing Area 2. Pasco has already hired another code enforcement officer."
RESPONSE: No "canvassing" by Code Enforcement Officers has taken place in Area 2. Since the area was annexed, (January 1, 2013) Pasco Code Enforcement Officers have responded to 3 complaints, all filed by residents. Pasco employed 4 Code Enforcement Officers until 2010 when a vacant position was deleted from the budget to reduce expenditures. The City Council, based on subsequent surveys of residents, restored the fourth position for the 2013 budget year.
CLAIM: "Any complaints will define your animals or pets as a nuisance. Licenses are required. Animals can be impounded and possibly euthanized."
RESPONSE: No animal is automatically labeled a "nuisance" solely based on a complaint. Complaints are investigated to determine validity and followed up according to the law. Licenses are only required for dogs over 7 months. Licenses help owners recover stray or impounded animals. Euthanization is a last resort for completely abandoned or dangerous animals.
CLAIM: "Stringent Regulations limit livestock and pets, controls weeds and grass, limits/control parking and vehicles, requires permits on simple home repairs and property improvements."
RESPONSE: City and County regulations on livestock are identical with the one exception that the total number of rabbits, ducks or chickens one may keep in the City is limited to 40. Residents are invited to review the full content of the Municipal Code online at www.pasco-wa.gov/code.
CLAIM: "Some water wells will require capping."
RESPONSE: Neither the City nor the County has jurisdiction over water wells. Wells are regulated by the Health Department and the Department of Ecology, regardless of annexation status.
CLAIM: "City Council did not follow zoning [sic] commission R-S-20 recommendations in annexed Area 2."
"City rezoned some county land to commercial and higher density (apartments) without a public meeting."
RESPONSE: The zoning plan recommended by the Planning Commission and approved by the City Council was completed after at least two public meetings and one public hearing. The plan eliminated all "higher density" (apartments) zoning previously approved by the County and designated all lands within Annexation Area 2 "R-S-20" (half-acre residential lots) except the small commercial area on Court Street previously approved by the County.
About two dozen people attended the Planning Commission hearing. The Tri-City Herald reported the next day that 8 people testified during the hearing; no one voiced opposition to the zoning plan.