Does McCormick Woods want to be annexed?

Port Orchard could extend its arm eastward in the future as city officials and residents of McCormick Woods talk about possible annexation, moving closer to an action some McCormick residents asked for almost 10 years ago.

City officials are set to meet with McCormick Woods residents on Nov. 15 to answer questions and get feedback on the possibility of annexation.

After that, the decision is up to those living in the area.

Annexing the community that lies down Old Clifton Road was previously impossible, because city borders did not reach the property. But with a number of recent annexations spreading westward from Port Orchard, annexation is now in the realm of possible, Port Orchard could grow by 1,930 residents, or 23 percent growth of the current 8,350-person population.

City officials approached the McCormick Woods board to see if residents were interested in revisiting the conversation started years before.

“It’s time to reset the table to see if it makes sense at this time,” Mayor Kim Abel said.

If residents wanted to annex into the city, they would need to gather a petition representing 10 percent of the land and give it to the City Council. After council approval, the area would need to seek 75 percent of approval from those living in the area.

What such an annexation could mean for residents and the city is still unclear. City Council members and candidates for open seats on this month’s ballot have discussed annexation as a means to gain more revenue in the area, but residential does not provide the same kind of revenue as commercial property.

The city will initially lose money on the annexation. Residents pay 50 percent more for utilities provided by the city because they lie outside of the municipal boundaries. After annexation, those rates would go down.

Additionally, the city must provide funds to the county on a sliding scale for the loss of revenue.

City Treasurer Kris Tompkins explained that the city would provide the county 75 percent of the lost funds the first year, 50 percent the second and so on.

“In the beginning, it decreases the revenue that comes in for the first few years,” Tompkins said.

In the long run, however, the city could gain revenue from an area with property values ranging from $300,000 to $1 million.

Additionally, the city projected that it would need another six full-time employees to serve the area, which includes two police officers.

For residents of McCormick Woods, their utilities may go down, but a few other fees would increase. The area could receive better services from public entities, said Linda Niebank, president of the McCormick Woods Association’s board of directors.

“In theory, services would be better because the county staff has such a huge area to cover,” Niebank said.

All of this also depends on how much of McCormick Woods will annex in to Port Orchard.

Abel dismissed the idea that Bremerton and Port Orchard were both vying to annex the area, explaining that the city approached the area following up on interest from residents in previous years.

“This is completely the property owners’ decision,” she said. “It is not the city of Port Orchard or the city of Bremerton’s decision. It really was because McCormick has talked to us in the past.”

Niebank confirmed the residents’ interest, noting that she’s found annexation petitions and inquiries from 1998 and earlier.

The city will meet with McCormick residents Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the McCormick Woods Clubhouse.

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