Loss of services inevitable unless tax base grows in Black Diamond | Letter
October 4, 2012 · Updated 9:14 AM
The city of Black Diamond is at risk of having diminished police and fire protection.
There is no escaping the reality that the 24-hour police and fire protection our citizens have grown to expect and demand costs money. Our city is near broke and potentially facing the reality of having to decrease police services and layoff public safety officers in order to balance its budget.
During this down economy, revenue from building permits is the only thing that has allowed the city to maintain services.
Unless Black Diamond grows to broaden and diversify its tax base, current residents will have to pay more out-of-pocket just to preserve existing police and fire service levels.
Whether we welcome or resist growth, there is no escaping it. The State has designated by law (RCW 36.70A.010) that King County and its cities – which includes Black Diamond – as an urban growth area. What we can do is make sure that our city develops thoughtfully, and not piecemeal.
The Yarrow Bay development is a 20 to 30 year plan that will ensure that our community will grow responsibly and respectfully. The homes will be built in stages, at an estimated 120 to 150 homes a year. The commercial/business space within the plan will mean family-wage jobs in our city, ensuring that many residents won’t have to commute outside for employment.
And a total 2,437 acres, of which 1,237 would be maintained as working forest in perpetuity, is reserved for open space.
I understand that many have apprehensions about growth. But the fact is, our community has already experienced growth and has become much stronger as a result of it.
More than 15 years ago, some Black Diamond residents worried that the addition of the 129 homes in the Morgan Creek housing development and another 89 homes in Lawson Hill Estates would damage the city’s character.
More than 14 years ago, many residents feared that that the annexation of the Lake Sawyer neighborhood would lead to a disjointed community. But as we have grown to understand, growth has made our community stronger and more vibrant.