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Posted 6/09/09 (Tue)
Velva City Commissioners met with property owners last Thursday, June 4, concerning the proposed annexation of their land into the city. According to city officials, the meeting was to allow the property owners to address concerns before the formal protest hearing on June 15. The commission is trying to annex all property that falls within the city’s levee system.
On hand were several private land owners, along with Cory Schmaltz, manager of Farmers Union Oil, and Bruce Carlson and Randy Hauck of Verendrye Electric Cooperative. VEC’s main offices would part of the annexation, as would property now owned by F.U. Oil, which plans to build a new facility along Highway 52 West.
“My first question is why now?” said Schmaltz. “The dike’s been out there how many years? My second question is, if we want to do this in a friendly way, what’s in it for us?”
Commission Scott Blotter replied that due to FEMA’s changing rules and the need to recertify the dikes, the commission believes there needs to be some local changes.
“The dikes are the city’s responsibility, and its an ongoing expense,” Blotter said. “We think that should be shared by everyone who benefits from it.”
Commissioner Paul Thomas concurred, and added it was also a revenue issue, saying if F.U. Oil moves outside city limits, the loss of sales tax revenue would be a “big blow” to the community.
“My standpoint is we need to access revenue,” Thomas continued. “As for what’s in it for you, Farmers Union is a major business in this community, and those sales tax dollars help build this community.”