City Council is unable to move on with the annexation of the area west of Havre which includes Holiday Village Mall and AmericInn due to a petition signed by property owners.
“We’ve been working with the group with the petition,” Mayor Tim Solomon said at Monday’s council meeting. “It’s disappointing we can’t move forward.”
The ordinance that would extend the boundaries of the city was reluctantly shot down by negative votes from everyone but Ward 1 councilperson Jerry Veis and Ward 3 councilperson Robert Kaftan, in order to avoid possible legal complications with the complaining parties.
“This is the best legal strategy we can take,” Brekke said.
Brekke said the council would have to wait a year after the complaint before they can file for annexation again. He said the City Council was unsure of when that year begins; whether it would be measured from Monday or from the original submission of the petition would have to be decided by attorneys.
“We have legal tools we could use (to pursue annexation),” Brekke said. “It’s absolutely going to happen; I’d say a year to the date.”
Brekke said an option City Council has is to go through every detail of the complainants’ petition and try to address it, but they might not be able to address all of them. An example he gave is that of the extended area police would have to cover.
A complaint in the petition is that the police force is not strong enough to cover the new area of the city.
“This is an opinion,” Brekke said.
Brian Barrows, Ward 2 councilperson, proposed the idea of discontinuing city services to those outside the city who are within the annexation area. Solomon said they were talking to their attorneys to figure out their options.
“It’s not fair to people in the city, and we’ll see this through,” Brekke said.
City Council unanimously passed a request for a sign at 9th Avenue and Bullhook Drive and voted in favor of giving Bear Paw Development Corp. $6,000 to pursue an additional Brownfields Assessment Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to Bear Paw’s website, a Brownfields site is a “property where its expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”
The sign City Council approved will read, “Rolling Hills.”