City discusses annexation issues

3/04/10 (Thu)

The Velva City Commission met in special session last Thursday to further discuss the annexation proposal and get a report on the Main Street project.
The commission has approached annexing the property west of Velva that falls within the dike system. The commissioners feel that since the city is responsible for the certification and maintenance of the levees, any property receiving that flood protection should be part of the city proper. Annexing the property would make Verendrye Electric Cooperative a part of the city, and would also bring in the land recently purchased by Farmers Union Oil.
Both VEC and FU registered protests to the annexation, saying the move really had no benefits for their businesses. As the discussion continued, the business managers noted sewer service out to the area would be desirable, as would additional lighting and perhaps a turning lane for the proposed new C-Store.
At last Thursday’s meeting, the commissioners had new estimates from Ackerman-Estvold Engineering that encompassed all those features. The original estimates for a gravity sewer for the annexed property was around $250,000. The addition of a turning lane, lighting, and a lift station take the new estimate up to approximately $480,000.
With the new numbers in hand, several commissioners became more skeptical of the city’s ability to pay for a sewer extension to the annexed property.
“This all started because if we get charged with certifying the dike, then everyone within the dike needs to contribute,” said Commissioner Tom Bodine. “The question now is do we proceed without adding the sewer?”
Commissioner Paul Thomas pointed out that VEC officials agreed to contribute to the cost of the dike certification without being annexed to the city.
“That’s a good thing,” he said. “But I was concerned about the potential development of Cenex out there and the loss of the city sales tax. But we don’t know if that will be one year or five years.”