The map above shows the newly annexed southwest area of Lake Stevens.
The biggest change for folks in the southwest area of Lake Stevens is the presence of Lake Stevens police cars. Former county residents are even flagging officers down to tell them thank-you as they do their patrols.
“Our officers have been getting a lot of positive feedback,” Lake Stevens Police Chief Randy Celori said. “Call loads have increased; however, we have additional personnel to handle them. It’s been working out very well.”
Lake Stevens police have even taken over the Fairweather Point substation across the street from Albertsons, which gives them a continual presence within the newly annexed area.
“The Fairweather station has been made into a satellite substation to be able to communicate with the main station,” Lake Stevens City Administrator Jan Berg said.
Because over 10,000 people have joined the city, Lake Stevens Police will be hiring 12 new officers.
“We have already hired three officers and anticipate hiring two more in a couple of weeks,” Celori said.
That will bring the total to 34 officers and two police support officers.
“The two police support officers will handle walk-in complaints, dog bites and minor incidents where they won’t have to come into contact with suspects,” celori explained.
City Hall will be adding three new staff members to their public works department and may add other staff in the future. For now, they are waiting to see just exactly what will be needed.
“I haven’t put any of it in motion yet,” Berg said. “I won’t until I make sure there is a real need.”
Before the annexation became final on Dec. 31, 2009, Mayor Vern Little sent a letter to new residents welcoming them into the city and letting them know that by joining the city their voice will be heard.
“We are here local and we will be able to deal with the issues that are important to Lake Stevens and not have to make sure that it always meets the needs of the entire County,” Little said. “Police and public works service and our planning department are here to help. Local people with local issues can be addressed much faster. Our priority is their priority.”
City staff has encouraged all of those who own pets to get them licensed in the city. This will be free of charge for the first 60 days after annexation.
Also, a census has been taking place to ensure that the State and Federal government have an accurate count of how many homes are in the city limits.
“The State of Washington requires that we conduct a census of all housing units as part of the annexation process,” the letter stated.
New residents will continue to keep their 98205 zip code until July of 2010 at which time the United States Postal Service will notify residents of the change.
The city continues to receive calls on a regular basis, many of which are asking for speed limit changes.
“We are taking things one day at a time,” Berg explains. “We have a sub-committee to review speed limit changes; we do have a process for that.”
The city will continue to work with the county in regards to the surface water which will stay in the county’s charge for a while. The county is working in partnership with the city.
“They are looking for direction from us as to what we would like to do this year,” Berg said.
The southwest annexation has made Lake Stevens the fifth largest city in Snohomish County, but having gone through two previous annexations, city staff is experienced and efficient.
“I’m really impressed with our staff. They dig in and do what they need to do,” Berg said. “It’s not been a panic––it’s been a celebration.”