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Pacific residents sound off, council confronts possible annexation to Auburn
Pacific residents had an opportunity to voice their opinions about possible annexation to Auburn at a special City Council meeting Monday.
Citizens packed the city gymnasium, where the council conducted a workshop and public hearing on a proposed resolution asking neighboring Auburn to annex troubled Pacific, which could lose its insurance coverage come Jan. 1.
Although the vote on the resolution was pushed back to next Monday's regular council meeting, council members and controversial Mayor Cy Sun got an earful from residents, most of whom opposed annexation.
"I'm against the annexation," Tom Halseth told the council. "I want the City of Pacific to remain to be the City of Pacific and I'm proud to be here."
The council was quick to explain to citizens that the possibility of annexation was just that – a possibility.
"One of the main reasons we brought this annexation forward, out of all our options, is we won't have insurance after Dec. 31," Council President Leanne Guier said.
She explained that the City needs to get the ball rolling on the process, just in case the City was unable to secure either new insurance, or an extension on its existing policy.
Without insurance the city services, including police, would halt rather than expose employees to liability.
Guier explained that even if the City passes a resolution approving the annexation, it can be cancelled if the City finds out before Dec. 31 that it will be able to continue to operate with insurance.
Pacific residents also can overturn annexation with a petition signed by owners of more than 60 percent of the property in the city.
The City has also put disincorporation on the table as a possible option.
"Annexation is certainly not Plan A or Plan B, maybe Plan C," Councilmember Joshua Putnam said.
The vote on the resolution was put on hold until next Monday so more information on the effects on water, roads and public safety can be gathered.
Also on Monday, the Auburn City Council approved a non-binding letter of intent for annexation of Pacific. The letter will be sent to King and Pierce counties and to the state.
Pacific's neighbor to the south, Sumner, also passed a resolution expressing the City's desire to annex the Pierce County portion of Pacific. The two communities share funding on several road construction projects.
Mayor walks out
Sun tried to address the audience but after Guier told him he was out of order and several audience members heckled him, the mayor walked out.
Sun did say he was against annexation.