Wenatchee Mayor Sours On Annexations With County
Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz says the city will no longer accept paperwork from any party wanting their property annexed into the city.
Kuntz repeatedly expressed frustration at a meeting this week with Chelan County Commissioners over the county's handling of negotiations over recent petitions for annexation.
Among other things, he said the county broke an agreement with the city for both sides to be neutral when one annexation went before a review board.
"We sort of felt like the county wasn't neutral last time, that they were actually against it, because your prosecutor wrote a brief that she was against it," said Kuntz.
The review board then decided to hold up the annexation.
Kuntz now says the city will no longer take a lead role in annexation requests, but will instead refer the matter to the county.
The specific request was for property owned JAB Investors LLC, which is located in what's classified as an urban growth area.
Kuntz also expressed frustration over another recent annexation request that barely passed the review board 3-2, after he thought it would be unanimous.
The body in question is the new Chelan County Boundary Review Board, which was formed last summer.
Commissioner Bob Bugert later on in the meeting told Kuntz the two annexation cases he brought up carried usual baggage, and said the review board would run much more smoothly as time went along and it gained more experience.
Kuntz said simple annexations of property valued under $2 million could be done through an interlocal agreement, a process that the state legalized in 2020.
In the meeting with commissioners, he specified that the county would have to handle the paperwork before it would be considered by the city.
Kuntz said city staff has been spending way too much time handling paperwork, up to 80 hours, for annexation requests that fall by the wayside because they don't get the support of the county.
"Everything in life has got a cost benefit to it, right?" said Kuntz. "That's the accountant in me. The benefits don't come close to what the costs to do the deal are. So, we're out."