The burden of Vancouver residents who live outside city limits

My dear fellow residents of unincorporated Clark County within the Vancouver Urban Growth Area,

I apologize for taking so long to write, but I have some news I think you should know. I did not attend a March 14 work session on urban services because I was ankle-deep in stormwater, trying to finish a story you should read so when the county raises your $33 annual stormwater fee you’ll know why.

As part of an effort to solve a structural deficit, the county did an analysis of how much it costs to provide urban services to us, services that they would not have to worry about if we were in a city.

It’s not good, my fellow residents. We are a burden.

Yes, we pay taxes. But not enough. The county has to spend an additional $2.2 million on us; revenues are distributed with the belief that cities, not counties, should provide urban services.

We are unique statewide, and that’s not a compliment. No other county manages such a large urban area. We are 140,000 people strong. If we formed our own city we’d be the fifth-largest in the state, behind Vancouver and ahead of Bellevue.

So what can the county do? Don’t waste your breath with talk about how we don’t want to be annexed by Vancouver. The truth is, Vancouver wouldn’t take us because we aren’t worth it. We have too many homes and not enough businesses.

Commissioners said they did not want to decrease the level of service, so you can keep flushing your toilet and taking showers.

One idea was targeting “hot spots” (cough, The Value Motel, cough) and trying to work with them so they would not be just a drag on resources.

Commissioners ordered staffers to do more analysis and report back.

I’ll keep you posted.


Stephanie, resident of Lakeshore

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