As the city of Havre’s annexation battle with Hill County enters its second year of waiting to get into a courtroom, Havre City Council continues to make slow, small progress in expanding city limits.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, members unanimously decided to take the first steps in annexing three more properties on the south end of town, at the owners’ request.
The resolution announced the city’s intention to annex the properties of Korb Development, for its Southview Subdivision south of Northern Montana Hospital; Stuart McIntosh, for part of his tractor-laden property that has new plumbing; and Stephen and Marlyne Reinke, who are looking to join their backyard with the property they currently live on which is in city limits.
The resolution established a public hearing on the annexation of those properties for Feb. 6 at 6:30 p. m., just before the next council meeting.
This will be the second round of annexations the city has looked into since the county and property owners filed a lawsuit against the city in 2010, when the city tried to annex land out to Walmart.
Council member Andrew Brekke spoke after Tuesday’s meeting about the status of that case, which has spent the past 18 months in a cup game of shuffling judges, court districts and attorneys.
Brekke said the lawyers on both sides, including Kris Hansen’s replacement as a main player for the county after her departure less than two months ago, were each reviewing each other’s findings and materials.
The last time a hearing had actually been scheduled, according to Brekke, it was set for April of this year, though he had heard from one of the city’s attorneys that it would not be surprising to see that one pushed back as well.
The hearing for the simple annexations now being considered, will allow an opportunity for the public to share their thoughts, and particularly their objections. This opportunity was apparently not taken in the past month following the city’s last announcement of intentions, to add a lighting district around Steve McLain’s Rolling Hills subdivision.
The announcement of intention was made last month. Havre City Clerk Lowell Swenson said they heard from not one of the three property owners in the area being considered.
The council approved the new district in a unanimous vote on Tuesday.