The looming invisible city, which Ken addresses well here.

Here’s the money graph:

Lacey City Manager Greg Cuoio told the group that the City of Lacey comprises 38,000 people in 16 square miles. The urban areas around Lacey hold 30,000 people in their 16 square miles. Cuoio said the general fund budget for Lacey is $38 million. If it were to annex the urban areas surrounding the city, it would receive only $10 million in tax revenue.

“That’s a deficit of about $28 million dollars a year,” Cuoio said. In addition he added, “it would take between a half billion and a billion dollars, to bring those areas up to city standards.”

Makes you wonder why Thurston County is having such money problems and Lacey isn’t, huh? Well, it likely isn’t better management, but just better annexing. Lacey has tons of shopping and very few actual residents. If it were to bring in the residential areas to the southeast, it would bankrupt the city.

But, as Ken points out, Lacey is already using the non-city residential areas to place city owned parks, senior centers and community spaces. Maybe they should just suck it up and start annexing their shadow city.