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Mayor Lewis brings City Council up to date on possible Pacific annexation
At a special meeting Friday at City Hall, Mayor Pete Lewis offered council members the latest on Auburn's potential annexation of the City of Pacific and explained a letter of intent to annex.
Six out-of-town members of the Auburn City Council — Bill Peloza, John Partridge, John Holman, Wayne Osborne, Nancy Backus and Largo Wales — listened in by teleconference. Only Rich Wagner was present.
At its most recent meeting, the Pacific City Council passed a resolution to dissolve the City, but it has until Dec. 28 of this year to withdraw the resolution. Barring that, Pacific voters would decide the question in February.
Lewis used the meeting to bring council members up to speed before their 7:30 p.m. Monday meeting, at which time City directors will report on the consequences of annexation. Council members are not expected to take action as no ordinance or resolution of annexation will come forward.
Pacific Mayor Cy Sun has fired many key personnel since taking office in January, leaving the City at mid-year without a single department head. That caused the City's private insurance carrier to consider dropping its coverage. Without insurance, employees and officials could be personally liable for City actions.
And despite the recent hiring for several key vacancies — including city clerk, finance director and community services director — the issue of disincorporation is still on Pacific's table.
Pacific's insurance carrier will notify it sometime after Dec. 10 if it is going to continue coverage past Dec. 31.
Lewis said Auburn has not taken an official position on annexation yet, but both cities will have to do what the law requires. That is, both have to draft an ordinance and a resolution requesting annexation to Auburn. The law also demands a public meeting in one of the cities.
"One of the priorities for the City of Auburn is that this cannot, in any way, cost the City of Auburn money. Having worked so hard on the budget," Lewis reminded council members, "there is no room to spare for additional costs, and we cannot afford to have any."
Lewis added that there is no information yet available about the costs.
Lewis said he had reached out to King County and the state of Washington, notifying both governments that Auburn would need additional resources if it were to consider annexation.
Auburn has also presented an agreement to the Pacific offering managerial assistance, but only, Lewis said, as called upon.
"Frankly, I'm doing everything I can to try to keep the City of Pacific whole, in existence," Lewis said. "Auburn is doing everything it can to assist its neighbor. I very much want to see the City of Pacific remain whole and very successful."
Pacific has approached other cities, including Sumner, asking them to consider annexation.