Annexation is a simple concept, but a complex issue. The following information is to help explain in general what annexation is, why and how it is accomplished, and what benefits there are.
What Is Annexation?
Annexation is the process by which a municipality, such as the City of Bremerton, extends its boundary to include neighboring urban growth areas (UGAs). Washington State mandates how annexation is handled to protect the rights of citizens and to keep the process a democratic one (RCW Ch. 35.13).
Facts & Benefits
When you join the City of Bremerton, you gain access to a number of valuable, high quality benefits for about what you pay now to live in unincorporated Kitsap County. The following is a list of those benefits and links to web sites that can provide more information.
- Fire Protection & Emergency Medical Response: The Bremerton Fire Department has approximately 30 firefighters/paramedics and 3 fire stations. Due to the central location of all three stations, the BFD’s response time is approximately 5-minutes.
Though there may be an existing agreement for the BFD to serve the UGA as we can respond quicker, your taxes are paying for the other Fire Department providers (example: Rocky Point UGA property owners pays taxes/levies to the South Kitsap Fire District, though you will be served by the BFD in case of an emergency).
- Police Protection: The Bremerton Police Department has 55 sworn and trained officers using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Their average response time for the three highest priority calls is 5-minutes or faster.
- Refuse & Recycling Collection: The City's weekly service includes one curbside collection of household garbage. The low monthly fee of $15 also covers one curbside collection of recyclables.
- Street Maintenance: Upon annexation, the City of Bremerton assumes responsibility for repair, sweeping and maintenance of all paved public streets. Street name and traffic regulation signs also will be maintained and/or installed where appropriate.
- Participation In City Elections & Decisions: Joining the City of Bremerton gives you a voice in decisions and issues that are governed by the City of Bremerton, many of which impact the entire area.
- Zoning: Upon annexation, the City establishes zoning comparable to its County zoning designation.
- School Districts: Your school district does not change when you join the City of Bremerton.
Why Annexation is Important
In general, cities annex land to allow for the long-term planning necessary to accommodate growth and to facilitate the planning and budgeting of infrastructure, such as roads and parks. Annexing developed land brings property tax revenue to Bremerton and reduces some services that are provided by Kitsap County. In Bremerton, annexation is considered to be a continual process.
Annexation Is Critical To the Long-Term Health of Our Community
- The City and suburb are linked: - No line on a map can separate our region. We need to recognize that we are truly one community, and the economic and social issues of Bremerton affect everybody in this area.
- Properly Planned Growth: Annexation of undeveloped land where growth will occur allows the City to properly plan the area and provide adequate roads, parks, and open space.
- Allows high-level services & more resources for residents at low cost: Year-in, year-out, Bremerton's Mayor and Council have placed the highest priority on funding direct services to residents and businesses. As the largest City provider of municipal services in the county, the City offers enhanced levels of service - including police, fire and trash collection - in an efficient, low-cost manner.
How the City Benefits from Annexation
Aside from an increased tax base, the City benefits by being able to control its fate - by being able to influence the type and quality of development that occurs and by being able to maintain that quality.
City property tax, which is very small portion of your total property tax bill, is not a significant revenue source for the city. Annexing residential areas provides the City with additional state shared revenue and this funding generally covers the cost of providing services to the newly annexed areas.
The Annexation Process
Annexation is a democratic process - the majority rules. State law (specifically RCW 35.13) dictates a process requiring signatures from property owners of more than 60% of the assessed valuation in the area.
The City of Bremerton will attempt to meet individually or in small groups in an annexation area to answer annexation questions and ask them if they would like to sign a petition in favor of annexation. If the required signatures are gathered, the City Council will vote to adopt an ordinance officially annexing the area into the City of Bremerton.