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Paynesville Press - October 12, 2005

City, township reach orderly annexation agreement

By Michael Jacobson

The city of Paynesville and Paynesville Township have agreed on a new orderly annexation agreement that identifies around 1,100 acres for possible annexation.

The Joint Resolution for Orderly Annexation was approved by the township board at their meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, and by the city council on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

The agreement still needs to be approved by the state and recorded by the county.

Orderly annexation identifies property that might have need for city services (sewer and water, which the township cannot provide) and thus a need for annexation.

The city and township originally approved an orderly annexation agreement in 2000, but all the property identified in that agreement has now been annexed to the city. The new agreement, with some small language changes, is very similar to that previous agreement, said city administrator Steve Helget, but it identifies new properties where annexation may be needed.

annexation map The orderly annexation agreement identifies properties in the following township sections for possible annexation: Section 3, Section 8, Section 10, Section 15, Section 16, Section 17, Section 18, and Section 21. (See map for details.)

A new orderly annexation agreement identifies possible areas for future annexation from the township to the city.

In all, about 1,100 acres are identified for possible annexation, including nearly 300 acres already owned by the city for its lagoon system.

The process for annexation would remain like the current practice: owner request to the township board; township board approval; and finally city council approval.

Annexation, according to the agreement, must be requested by the property owner, a key protection for the township against unnecessary annexation. (If there are multiple property owners within a parcel, then 51 percent of the property owners must request annexation.)

Annexation requests must include requests for municipal sewer or municipal water services. (Property owners face hook-up charges from the city for sewer and water.)

Once the annexation request is taken to the township board and approved, it is forwarded to the city, which must determine if city services are available within two years.

This is because the agreement contains a clause reimbursing the township for the property value annexed to the city over five years. In the first year after annexation, the township would receive 90 percent of the base tax (that is, the tax at the time of annexation) for the property. In the second year, the township would receive 70 percent; in the third, 50 percent; in the fourth, 30 percent; and in the fifth, 10 percent.

Should city services not be extended to the annexed property after two years, this rate (70 percent) would be frozen until city services are provided to the property. That means if the property is not developed within two years, the reimbursement rate to the township would be kept at 70 percent. This, again, is meant to deter unnecessary annexation by discouraging annexation where the need for city services is not immediate.

Furthermore, the agreement states that the city "shall not initiate nor promote a property owner petition seeking annexation of any property" not identified for possible annexation in this agreement.

The agreement, on the other hand, does recognize that areas not currently identified might become candidates for annexation, as circumstances change. Specifically, the agreement notes that changes to Highway 23 will affect future annexation needs.

Property not included in this agreement could also be annexed if requested by the property owner, who has a need for city services. This would require a separate agreement, but for years the city and township have modeled all annexations on this basic agreement, including the 90 percent, 70 percent, etc., split of tax revenues.

Unlike the previous annexation agreement, which ran out of land to be annexed, a new provision was added to the new agreement to review the document yearly and to add additional property for possible annexation where appropriate.

When approving this agreement, the city council noted that the new airport has already been annexed to the city and does not need to be included in this agreement. City staff was to revise the map, to omit the property for the new airport, and resubmit it to the township attorney to revise the property descriptions. Then the agreement will be sent to the state for approval and to the county for recording.

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