Council tries to address annexation complaints
September 20, 2013
Havre City Council held a special public hearing to address the clerical error made in notices of annexation sent to those who own property that falls within the proposed new city limits.
The notice sent reported City Council would meet Thursday, when in fact it was scheduled to meet Monday. Council announced after the Monday meeting it would hold another public hearing about annexation Thursday after receiving complaints about the error.
Several concerned parties from in and out of the annexation areas showed up at the hearing to voice their opinions and concerns.
The main concerns interested parties had were the differences in the amount of taxes they would pay when they made the switch from Hill County to Havre and exactly how they would benefit from making the switch.
Several property owners wanted to know exactly what the rise in taxes would be, but City Clerk Doug Kaercher said there was no way to figure out exactly what the change would be because the taxes would vary from property to property and were too complex due to taxes imposed by both Hill County and Havre.
Mark and Arlene Chvilicek were concerned with the benefits they would be offered by being annexed into the city. They said they did not want city water because they had their own well.
Council members reminded them they were already receiving benefits from the city due to their property’s proximity to city lines.
Jason Holden, an attorney from Great Falls, spoke for his clients, CP Properties and Security National, which owns Holiday Village Mall.
Holden brought up questions about law enforcement in the annexed area, citing the expansion of Have Police Department’s patrol area causing problems.
“We’ve met with the police department and commissioners,” Mayor Tim Solomon said. “They say it’s not a problem.”
Holden asked City Council to postpone their vote for the annexation until he and his clients could sit down and work out exactly what the changes will bring to the property owners.
“On behalf of my clients, we want to implore the city to sit down with us and talk to us about specifics,” Holden said.
Council members accepted making special time to meet with the attorney and property owners and address any concerns but refused to postpone the vote.