After years of controversy, Havre City Council and people suing the city have agreed to get a fresh start in the annexation process.
The city wants to annex areas adjacent to the city that are already receiving city services. Among the affected areas are Holiday Village Mall, Kmart and Walmart.
Generally, the plan to annex has been favored by city residents, who believe that those outside the city limits have not been paying their fair share for city services.
Businesses outside the city have been suspicious of the annexation process, and Hill County officials fear they will lose revenue when annexation takes place and the tax money goes to the city instead of the courthouse.
Those who sued the city contend that the city made mistakes during the long and cumbersome annexation process. Maybe that’s so, but there is no sense in pointing fingers now.
What’s important going forward is that the city move ahead with annexation as soon as possible.
Extending the city limits would, in the long run, be beneficial to the residents and businesses in the present city limits and those in the outlying areas, even if some businesses may not immediately see the advantages.
The city must now begin the lengthy process of paperwork, public hearings and more paperwork. Those who sued promised in the out-of-court settlement that they would not try to block the city’s advances in this matter. We hope others in the affected area will see the sense in not delaying the whole matter.
Enough time has been spent already. The city needs additional funds to fix the potholes, pave the streets and provide police and firefighter services to its residents.
And the city should make a commitment to annex property as city services are extended. Part of the problem today is that annexation was put on the back burner way too long.