STB Real Estate Sponsor Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest’s Open House – set for this Sunday, Oct. 26 – is a completely updated large 5 bedroom in Gregory Heights!

It’s got hardwood floors on the main level and new carpeting on the lower level.

The kitchen and baths have been elegantly remodeled and all rooms newly painted.

Spacious rec room opens out to the serene fenced back yard.

Bonus room available for crafts, projects, gear… whatever you need.

Close to Gregory Heights community pool.

This home is move in ready, the work has all been done!

Here are some pics (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):

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Here are the details:

WHAT: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Open House

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 26, from 1:30 – 4 :30 p.m.

WHERE: 1938 SW 166th Street, Burien, WA 98166

INFO:

  • List Price: $425,000
  • MLS Number: 700749
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 1.75
  • Year Built: 1955
  • Approximate House SqFt: 2,060
  • Approximate Lot SqFt: 7,920

Site Features:

  • Dble Pane/Strm Windw
  • Fenced-Partially
  • Gas Available
  • Outbuildings

Marketing remarks:

Completely updated large 5 bedroom in Gregory Heights!

Hardwood floors on the main level, new carpeting on the lower level.

Kitchen and baths have been elegantly remodeled and all rooms newly painted. Spacious rec room opens out to the serene fenced back yard.

Bonus room available for crafts, projects, gear… whatever you need.

Close to Gregory Heights community pool.

This home is move in ready, the work has all been done!

Click here to see the full, detailed listing.

Click here to view all of Berkshire Hathaway’s Open Houses.

The SeaTac City Council will continue its discussion on the upcoming 2015-2016 biennial budget in a workshop open to the public scheduled this coming Monday, Oct. 27, from 2 – 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers at 4800 South 188th Street.

The session will focus on budget items either unresolved or not covered in the first workshop held earlier in the month.

Items to be covered will include the City’s draft 2015-2020 Capital Budget, continued discussion of potential cuts and continued deliberation on a potential utility tax.

Also under discussion will be a plan to bring a variety of City fees, many of which not been raised since 1999, more closely into alignment with comparable cities in the region. Potential changes to the fee structure could include an increase in permits related to construction, public works, land use, as well as to the City’s current annual $35 flat fee business license.

The City Council is currently considering comprehensive measures to narrow its projected budget gap of $5.5 million through 2016 and $14 million through 2018, and will consider taking action on the proposed Utility Tax at the Regular Council Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 28th at 6:30 pm. Public comment is welcome at this time.

Information about the City’s draft budgets can be found at: http://www.ci.seatac.wa.us/financialreports

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Legislation linking an important segment of the ‘Lake to Sound Trail’ that will connect the cities of Renton, Tukwila, Burien and SeaTac, before ending in Des Moines, received unanimous approval by the Metropolitan King County Council on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

The legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, was approved by the Council at its Oct. 20 meeting. It authorizes an agreement between King County and the City of SeaTac and the City of Burien to design and build a trail along Des Moines Memorial Drive that will connect both cities. The trail between the two cities will be part of the Lake to Sound Trail, a 16.9-mile pedestrian and cycling trail.

“This completes one of the missing links in the project between Burien and SeaTac,” said Dave Upthegrove. “I am excited to see us continue to build out this important regional trail system in South King County.”

King County will design and construct the trail while SeaTac and Burien will own and maintain the trail. King County Parks Levy funds, plus a $1.46 million federal grant, will pay for construction.

“The Lake to Sound Trail will be a wonderful regional and local recreational asset, and a great example of partnership across jurisdictional and community lines,” Burien Mayor Lucy Krakowiak said.

In March of 2015, construction will start in Burien at 176th Street and Normandy Road and move north along Des Moines Memorial Drive to 156th Street in SeaTac. The entire project will be completed in February of 2016.

“As a city focused on being a healthy community, SeaTac is excited about bringing this major regional trail through our city,” said Mayor Mia Gregerson. “With the proximity to Light Rail and major bus routes, we see it as a prime opportunity to bring more people on bikes and on foot through our community to see all we have to offer as well as a great new asset for our residents.”

When complete, the Lake-to-Sound Trail will run from Renton through Tukwila, Burien, SeaTac, and eventually connect to the Des Moines Creek Trail. It will connect South King County with the regional trail system, offering new opportunities for residents to commute, recreate, and access major light rail stations and transit hubs.

Here are some maps showing the trail’s local pathways:

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by Jack Mayne

The sudden and surprising proposal by the SeaTac City Council to impose a 6 percent utility tax on a variety of public utility district serving city customers is illegal under Washington state law, says a memo from sewer and water districts.

The memo was authored by the Highline Water District, the Valley View Sewer District, and King County Water Districts 20 and 125 and delivered this week to SeaTac Mayor Mia Gregerson and SeaTac Councilmembers.

The memo said that the city legally can levy a utility tax up to a maximum of 6 percent on private utilities that provide electricity, natural gas, steam energy and telephone service within SeaTac. But state law “does not authorize the city to impose a tax on the revenues of public utilities … .”

The memo said the sewer and water districts were established to provide services to “almost all of SeaTac’s 28,000 citizens,” but it’s also to about 70,000 customers “within seven cities and the county” and who are not SeaTac residents.

“If SeaTac enacts a tax on the districts, the districts will consider all of their options relative to the tax, including filing a lawsuit to obtain an order that the tax is unlawful,” the memo concluded.

The districts also said they were not informed of a possible tax and an opportunity to discuss it with the city in advance of its appearance on a Council study session agenda.

Pam Fernald

Councilmember Pam Fernald has asked that the city meet with the districts and asked for a public hearing on the utility tax issue, but was not supported by others on the Council.

She told The SeaTac Blog on Tuesday that she still wanted a meeting with the districts and the city.

“I don’t understand why the city did not reach out to the utilities in the beginning,” Fernald said. “Now, among other things, this has just fostered mistrust with our public partners.”

Money needs understood
The water and sewer district’s memo said they “understand the city’s need for stable, long term funding sources to provide city services, and we also understand the fiscal challenges cities face today in uncertain economic times.”

But the districts pointed to a 1984 Washington Supreme Court decision that said “one municipality cannot tax another municipality without express statutory authority” so cities “have not attempted to tax municipal utilities providing service within their boundaries.”

The memo noted a quote from SeaTac City Manager Todd Cutts was right when he “stated that 48 of the 51 cities in Washington sized from 15,000 to 75,000 impose a utility tax,” but the cities only impose the tax on private utilities.

But the memo to the city said, “none of those 48 cities impose a utility tax on municipalities operating within the boundaries of those cities.”

The districts said there are many reasons for not imposing a utility tax, “both legal and practical.”

Either the city should tax only private utilities or “simply do not tax the revenues of municipal utilities operating within the city’s limits.”

No warning from SeaTac
The districts asked, why didn’t the city warn us of the tax proposal?

“The districts have a good working relationship based on collaboration and transparency.”

But even so, the first word the districts got was “reviewing the city’s web site on Oct. 14.”

If there had been notice “we would have shared our concerns with the city, instead of providing input on the eve of the Council’s consideration of adopting the tax.”

Some of those concerns are, the district’s memo said, the fact the proposed tax is that “the definition of ‘gross income’ is not clear … and is probably void for vagueness.”

Then there are “burdensome and cumulative impacts” of the tax. Those include having to figure out and install computer software that can differentiate between residents living inside the city, thus taxable, and those outside.

A big concern, the memo said, was that the districts “have never been taxed by any city in which they operate … especially given the multiple jurisdictions in which they operate.”

“Again, Highline operates in seven cities, and if all of those cities tax Highline, it will be difficult to track, allocate and pay the tax to the appropriate city.”

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect different opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at editor@seatacblog.com.]

by Earl Gipson

In a packed room on September 30, I and fellow constituents all eagerly awaited for some substance from the two 33rd District candidates (Mia Gregerson and Jeanette Burrage). I am a Registered Democrat, however, currently there is a very bad taste in my mouth.

My summary/opinion Candidate opening statements:

Jeanette Burrage background communicated: A Former state legislator, Degree in BA, former Superior Court judge (5 years) and current City of Des Moines Council member.

Mia Gregerson’s background both known and communicated: Oozed into retiree SeaTac Council Seat (no one knew the Council Member was retiring until filing date) unopposed in 2007. Spent 7 times opponent in re-election bid in 2011 only to win by 28 votes financed by SEIU and their associates. In her opening statement she also highlighted her adoption as a Taiwan refugee by Air Force parents (looking for that sympathy vote). This is also highlighted in the mailings that I have seen. Don’t care if you’re from Mars if you do the job.

Panel Questions Candidates about giving up their Council Seats if Elected to Legislature

Ms. Burrage clearly stated she would give up her seat on the Council and has maintained that since she filed for legislative office.

Ms. Gregerson, in the debate, stated she hasn’t made up her mind but previously stated she would not give up her Council Seat (and un-elected Mayoral position) in a previous interview with the SeaTacBlog. It is apparently whatever she can get away with and holding 2 elected offices simultaneously should not even be allowed. That includes her current APPOINTMENT to the legislature. Personally, I would not like to have her in either office and I have made no secret of that (in Public Comment at Council Meetings and in emails-Public Record).

Further she stated she wants to limit Public Records Requests even though that wasn’t even the question asked by the panel. I guess I could see that. That was how she got caught (and fined) for violating campaign laws. More on that later.

Panel Question on Education

Both agreed on revenue re-distribution to the education system/s. No specific plan detailed and recycled rhetoric/clichés was all I heard. Gregerson switched the answer to talk about a transportation package. That wasn’t the question asked by the panel either.

Debate: Audience Question on Voter Fraud

Gregerson: Not an issue
Burrage: Evaluate as necessary

An aside on Voter Fraud in SeaTac

In 2013 SeaTac voter registration jumped by 1820 in 6 months prior to the vote on the $15 an hour wage (Prop #1). This was a 20 percent increase. SeaTac voter registration has dropped every year since 2003 until 2013. The measure passed by 247 votes with the pro side (unions) spending ~ 2 million and the “late to the game” opposition spending ~ 1 million. A state record for spending per vote.

Were the NEW voters even legally eligible?

In addition the initial petition had more than 1/3 of the signatures thrown out to begin with and barely squeaked by on less than 20 qualified signatures.

There is NO effective way to challenge voter eligibility in King County and across the state. It is the “honor system” and a check box on when you get a driver’s license or do it on-line. It will not be questioned. Want to challenge a voter’s eligibility? Good luck.

Voter fraud may not be a nation wide problem but any logical person can sure surmise by the numbers it is one in SeaTac and Ms. Gregerson has and will be one of its greatest beneficiaries if it continues. Any wonder she thinks this is not a priority?

Back to the Debate: My Question About Limiting Public Record Requests

When asked by myself what records she would limit since she was caught violating campaign laws by a Public Records Request she ignored my reference and said only those that were harassing. Were the ones that found her out harassing?

Ms. Burrage stated the laws regarding Public Records Requests do not need to be changed.

History: Follow the Money

In 2011, others, and myself could not figure out why the unions would buy three of our SeaTac City Council members (Gregerson, Ladenburg, and Bush) by outspending the opponents 6 and 7 to 1 in the election. More money was poured into these 2011 candidates than all other elections combined since the City was incorporated in 1990.

We now know why. It was the union pre-planned push for the $15 an hour raise (and much more than that) in vulnerable/corrupt SeaTac and it would have passed (4-3) by Council vote alone had Council Member Bush not refused to be bought and forced it to the ballot instead. Council Member Tony Anderson (un-elected Mayor at the time and Teamsters 117 member) was already on board. Gregerson saying, in the debate, this was a Citizen’s initiative and not influenced by the bought Council is disingenuous at best and an out right lie most likely.

Now we have Gregerson outspending her opponent 3 to 1 (same union backers) and it’s the only way she will win if SeaTac history tells us anything.

Ignore those expensive mailings and look at facts

This vote/election goes to character and there is one that is clearly lacking by words, deeds, and documentation. If you haven’t figured out which one I am talking about yet go back to watching TV.

We need your help to stop the corruption

Everything I say and write is backed up by documentation, public record, and references but time/space is limited for this column to include everything that has been gathered over the years. Please contribute in the comments with your own references and stop this before it gets worse by advancing someone who is ill qualified and dishonest in their core. This may be your last chance once she is entrenched (if not already) and we are simply out of time.

From our sister site The Waterland Blog comes news that a recreational pot store is opening in Des Moines this week.

This will be the only retail marijuana store between Seattle and Tacoma.

Read the full story, which includes photos of the business, here.

From our sister site The Waterland Blog comes this take on the Seahawks sudden and surprising trade of Percy Harvin on Friday, Oct. 17:

Yeah, the ‘Hawks are big news. Expectations are high, and everyone’s paying attention… including the national media. But every week it seems like there’s some key issue that’s getting glossed over–some topic that, for one reason or another, is being avoided. It’s the elephant in the locker room, if you will, and gosh darn if I’ll let that ride…

Why did the Seahawks trade Harvin?

Well, let’s talk about that…

Read Greg Wright’s full story here.

STB Real Estate Sponsor Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest’s Open House – set for both this Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19 – is the first re-sale in Westwood Ridge of a 3-bedroom, 2.75 bath home!

Just like new, this two-story home offers plenty of natural light with nine-foot ceilings throughout.

The main floor living space is an expansive open area that encompasses a designer kitchen, dining room and great room.

The Master bedroom is complete with a 5-piece master bath.

This home has 2.75 baths and a three-car garage, as well as Lot A Beach Rights to the Cove in Normandy Park!

Located in Westwood Ridge – a new 16-home development – this home has a large lot and fenced back yard, and is located minutes to downtown.

Here are some pics (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):

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Here are the details:

WHAT: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Open House

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19 from 1 – 4 p.m.

WHERE: 486 S. 187th Lane, Burien, WA 98148

INFO:

  • List Price: $542,500
  • MLS Number: 690841
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2.75
  • Year Built: 2014
  • Approximate House SqFt: 2,910
  • Approximate Lot SqFt: 7,138

Site Features:

  • Bath Off Master
  • Dble Pane/Strm Windw
  • Dining Room
  • Loft
  • Vaulted Ceilings
  • Pantry
  • Walk-in Closet

Marketing remarks:

First Resale in Westwood Ridge! Just like new!

This home offers plenty of natural light & nine-foot ceilings throughout.

This two-story home has 2.75 baths,a three-car garage. The main floor living space is an expansive open are that encompasses a designer kitchen, dining room & great room.

Master bedroom is complete w/ a 5-piece master bath.Lot A Beach Rights to the Cove – Puget Sound!

Located in Westwood Ridge (New 16 home development) Large lot & fenced back yard & located minutes to downtown.

Click here to see the full, detailed listing.

Click here to view all of Berkshire Hathaway’s Open Houses.

by Jack Mayne

A parade of surprised and unhappy water and sewer districts lashed out against a proposed 6 percent utility tax that would help balance the SeaTac city biennial budget that would take effect in January 2015.

All of those who appeared at the Tuesday afternoon SeaTac City Council study session bemoaned the fact that none of them had any warning that the tax could be given final approval at the Council session on Oct. 28.

The city did not give any of the businesses any warning, person after person said during the public comment part at the beginning of the informal study session. Most found out only on Friday (Oct. 10) when the meeting agenda was issued by the city.

Many large companies doing business in SeaTac were apparently not told either, including Comcast, Puget Power, Seattle City Light and others.

At the end of the regular Council session Tuesday evening, Councilmember Pam Frenald said she wanted a public hearing on the utility tax proposal and also an ad hoc citizens committee be formed to probe what city services the city could cut to help balance the city budget.

Potential 42 percent tax hike
Dana Dick, general manager of the Valley View Sewer District, said the city tax would mean its customers will face an 11 percent increase in rates, 6 percent for SeaTac and a 5 percent increase in services by King County. Dick said some people can’t pay the current bill and the King County increase, plus the city tax will “make it harder for them to keep their heads above water.”

The tax would be on all utility services, Dick said

“Consider that the tax will also levy a 6 percent increase on rates for electricity, natural gas, solid waste, surface water management, water, telephone and cable TV and you could potentially hitting residents with a combined 42 percent tax increase,” Dick said.

“Just because it is legal to collect a utility tax does not make it fair to city residents and it does not make it the right thing to do. I urge you vote against imposing this additional unfair tax burden.

Another against the tax was Jerry Thornton Sr., president of Water District 125.

“This afternoon (Tuesday, Oct. 14), our board became aware, not officially, but via the grapevine, that the City Council was to consider a 6 percent excise tax on the sewer and water districts serving your municipality at a study session, followed by a vote on Oct. 28th.

He said there were a “number of questions must be addressed. For instance, what portion of the district’s revenue would the tax be imposed upon, how would the tax be implemented, what are the implications to the city, to the individual water and sewer districts, our ratepayers who are also your constituents.

Thornton said his water district is requesting a meeting “in the very near future of officials and of appropriate city staff be held to discuss the questions noted as well as others that might arise.”

Fixed income woes
Roger Kadeg told the Council he was retired due to medical problems and is living on a fixed income, and does all he can to save money.

“This tax amount to about $400 a year or thereabout for most individuals and it is one of the most regressive taxes available. Everybody has to have utilities. $400 to me is about equivalent of about $4,000 to those of you who live around Angle Lake, to put it into context.”

He said his expected $400 cost amounts to “a winter’s heating, to over a month’s food.”

Has Council broken trust?
In addition, Kadeg said, “escalation is built in because as the utility bills go up, the tax goes up. Furthermore, there is no directive as to where this money is going. There has been no indication as to how this money is to be spent.” He noted that the city has not had to impose the tax for 15 years. “Why now? What’s happened? Have you broken the trust that we voted to put this city into place for?”

“Please, respectfully, table this issue in consideration of us who are on a fixed income. Please consider tabling this tax and figure out some other way to manage as you predecessors have for 15 years.”

Matt Everett, general manager of the Highline Water District, said his district opposed the tax “wholeheartedly” because they “question the legal authority of this utility tax.” He said the Highline Water District has been in operation for 68 years and has never been taxed by municipalities

“Why now?”

He noted there are a lot of people in the community who “have a hard enough job paying the bills they already have.”

The Highline Water District has been working hard to cut costs and that they plan not to have a rate increase this year. Everett said it would cost money to hire computer programmers to refashion the district’s bill to add the tax as a line item.

“That is money that is going to have to be paid for by the ratepayers,” he said.

No warning of increase
The tax was not told in advance to any of the districts involved, Everett said.

“We found out about it by happenstance” when the Council study session agenda was published last Friday.

“We thought we had a good working relationship with the city staff. It is quite disappointing that we did not have the respect of the city to even hear about this,” Everett said.

He urged the Council to talk with his district before it is put on the agenda for final passage on Oct. 27.

John Thompson, a commissioner for Water District 125, said he wondered if SeaTac City staff “who don’t live in SeaTac” dreamed up the 6 percent utility tax.

Pastor Kurt D. Wolfe of McMicken Heights Baptist Church said when men attending his church heard about the new tax, they didn’t like it at all.

“I’d strongly recommend that this isn’t acted upon.” He said he would serve on a group to come up with suggestions to cut the city budget or reduce unnecessary expenses.

People ‘really struggling’
Ken J. Kase, manager of the Midway Sewer District, said his not-for-profit district sees a lot of people “who are really struggling to get by.” He said his district’s rates are purposefully lower than other districts “because we know people are struggling and this is not the time to increase the cost of living.” Because they are a nonprofit district the tax would be directly passed to the customers and added it would cost money, paid by customers, to integrate the tax to the billing system.

A citizen noted that no one knew about the tax was coming and “it behooves the Council to revisit how a tax of this size and nature could “have so little notice to the public.”

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect different opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at editor@seatacblog.com.]

by Earl Gipson

Dear SeaTac Citizens and businesses,

You are about to get shafted to the tune of ~ 300 dollars a year (to a homeowner and the skies the limit for a SeaTac business). There may be nothing you can do about except throw this Majority Council out by recall or by vote next year, put in fiscal controls, and repeal what it appears they are about to pass.

In the Study Session yesterday, out of the blue, the Council and staff proposed a NEW 6 percent Utility (water, sewer, electricity, and cable) tax on all of us to raise $2.7 million. This the maximum allowed by law and the Citizens don’t get a vote. No one knew about this till last Friday (in the Council Packet), not even the Utility Companies that will have to collect it. The Utilities spoke at the Study Session as well (finding out through the grapevine) and gave the impression they are as angry as the Citizens and angry as you are about to be when you finish reading this. “We thought we had a good relationship with the City.”

This will be voted on at the Council Meeting on the 28th and I strongly suggest you and fellow Citizens/businesses be there to let the Council and Staff what you think. If this proposed “down our throats” tax ramming doesn’t fill the Council chambers I don’t know what will.

We got here by the union bought and paid for (remember all the pretty fliers) Majority Council’s shear arrogance and the inability to manage budgets, salaries, and staff size and oh let me count the ways.

The Excuses Abound But Where Did Our Money Go?
City Manager Cutts stated all the other cities around SeaTac have a Utility tax and is a major part of their budget. That’s true Mr. Cutts but they also don’t have $5 million in parking taxes (exceeds any utility tax), millions in construction taxes (think rental car facility, new concourse, light rail stations), and a 700K annual revenue producer (SeaTac Center) we bought for $10 million in 2009 with the third runway mitigation money (Port ILA). That money has never been repaid and the revenue disappears in the dark hole we call the General Fund.

What City Manager reorganized/consolidated City departments and wound up with MORE employees? Who pushed the Kent RFA down our throats knowing it would cost $2 million at least in the first year alone and give our firefighters (now Kent’s) a big fat raise?

Some Council Members blamed it all on Tim Eyman and the Recession. Bull. They knew this was coming and were unable to live within their means and Tim Eyman’s cap on property taxes has been around for years. They also waited for the last possible moment to limit any Citizen input/discussion.

Denial of Public Hearing
As a final insult to injury the Majority Council denied Council Member Fernald’s request for a Public Hear or creating a Citizen’s Task Force to address cuts in the City budget since the Council and City Manager are apparently inept. DENIED!

And un-elected Mayor Gregerson is running for the Legislature!? Just think of the damage she can do on a state level when she has no clue about the finances of our humble burb. More to come on that story and other delusions of grandeur.

Hope to see you all at City Hall on the 28th.