Annex drive nears $190 million

The ongoing effort to annex McCormick Woods into the Port Orchard city limits took a weather break last month but is still on track for completion by April 1, according to its organizers.

“We’re doing quite well,” said Annexation Committee Chair Dick Davis. “We’re not getting any major resistance, and we’re signing up new people.”

A meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Jan. 14 at the McCormick Woods Clubhouse, at which time the next steps will be discussed.

The petition drive, which began Oct. 1 and has six months to be completed, needs support from property owners adding up to 75 percent of the community’s assessed value.

This is estimated at $328 million, requiring property owners representing $246 million to commit to the idea.

Davis said that people who have not shown their support are not informed about the issue.

“When asking people to sign a petition,” he said, “you can always tell if they have been to any of the meetings, or not.”

As of Wednesday, financial commitments adding up to about $190 million were received, according to Davis. This represents about 75 percent of the total goal and more than half of the residents.

Davis said several of the corporate property owners have not shown their support. Although Davis said these entities “are welcome to jump in any time they want,” the effort has been targeted toward individual landowners.

“We want to make sure this is a residential-driven effort,” Davis said. “We would like the support of the larger property owners, but we think we can do without them. I perfectly understand if they want to hold back, just to see which way the wind blows.”

McCormick Woods Land Co. President Doug Skrobut said that his organization, which owns about 12 percent of the land, is close to throwing in its support for annexation.

However, he echoed Davis’ preference that the action originate from the homeowners rather than from a corporate source.

“We didn’t support this from the beginning because we didn’t want people to think the impetus came from us,” Skrobut said. “We thought the initial support should come from the residents.”

Skrobut estimated its holdings at around $35 million, which would put the total just $20 million short of the goal.

Supporters of the measure intend to gather more signatures than needed, just in case some are disqualified.

“There were several issues that needed to be resolved,” Skrobut said, “including whether the county could provide the same level of service as the city, what improvements need to be made and how they will be paid for.”

Skrobut said that his group wasn’t looking for a better deal from the city, only assurances that the same level of service would continue.

The snow delayed the petition-gathering process, but also started a discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of being part of the city when weather events occur.

In an Annexation Newsletter this week, Davis was quoted as saying, “It serves no purpose to ... assess blame for the seeming lack of response by the county, just as it would be a leap of faith to think the city would have done better. We just don’t have solid evidence, just opinions.”

While no one can predict the weather or a municipality’s ability to provide adequate response, Port Orchard Public Works Director Mark Dorsey said that if McCormick Woods were to annex by next winter, the city would purchase another large snowplow-equipped truck to take up the slack.

Davis advised McCormick Woods residents to fully engage with the city to coordinate activities. “

This can be done as soon as annexation is a reality so we need to continue to work toward making annexation happen,” he said. “My sense of things is that we can create a great working relationship that will benefit us all in the future.”

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