Havre City Council has taken the first step in annexing more land into the city.
Council voted to annex many separate sections of land of varying sizes around the city limits. The largest and most notable section being annexed is the area past the northwestern limit of Havre, on U.S. Highway 2. Once annexed, Holiday Village Mall will be within city limits. This section stretches as far west as AmericInn. Some of the businesses and buildings that will eventually be annexed into the city are the Border Patrol Station, Pacific Steel and Hill County Electric Cooperative, as well as many residences.
The city clerk will give the businesses and residents notice of the change, and a hearing will be held Sept. 16 at City Hall.
The businesses that fall within the sections the city plans to annex will experience a change in the way they are taxed, though members of City Council were unsure of the magnitude of the change. The businesses already pay the city for utilities such as water and gas, but once annexed, they will also be paying city services such as road repair.
The specifics of the changes in taxes will be addressed in the Sept. 16 meeting. The businesses within the new limits would not experience any sort of change in taxes until 2014.
Andrew Brekke, the 4th Ward alderman, is one of the major players pushing for extending the city limits.
“Eventually, the city will go as far as Walmart,” Brekke said. “It’s not fair to other businesses in the city to have to pay different taxes than Havre businesses just out of city limits.”
The city will also be annexing sections past the northeastern, western, southern and central limits of the city.
While annexation has been a heated issue in the past, involving heated political debates and court action, no one from the public spoke at Monday night’s council meeting, and there was no debate by council.
City Council also voted in favor of taking total control of the Havre-Hill County Library. Currently, the the city of Havre and Hill County co-own the library.
Council members said there will be no visible change to the library and it will keep the name Havre-Hill County Library.
The major changes will be in who takes care of the library employees’ worker’s compensation and insurance. The city will be taking full responsibility for these.