Annexation talks continue
At Monday’s regular meeting of the Velva City Commission, annexation talks between the city, Farmers Union Oil and Verendrye Electric continued.
Following a special commission meeting last week, this week’s regular meeting brought F.U. Manager Cory Schmaltz and VEC General Manager Bruce Carlson to the table, along with Randy Hauck, VEC Member Services Manager and head of the Velva Community Development Corporation.
Schmaltz said he felt F.U. would be willing to help out with the dike certification, following the assistance offered by VEC. He went on to discuss the company’s planned project along Highway 52 west.
“It’s going to be up to a three million dollar project, and that’s the C-Store alone,” he said. “We’re hoping to start some movement out there this summer.”
In response to a question from the commissioners, City Tax Assessor Ivan Canavello said the actual property value would come in about 25 percent less than construction costs on the new site.
Carlson wanted to make it clear that VEC’s protest wasn’t against the annexation itself, but to annexation without any benefit to the cooperative. He also didn’t want to set the tax proceeds aside for eventual sewer service to the proposed annexed properties.
“I don’t think we should cubby hole the money. Sooner or later we’re going to have to cover this bond issue,” he said. “We don’t want to wait ten years for sewer, we’re going to need it sooner than that. We don’t care about lights or a turning lane or any of that. We just want sewer.”
Commissioner Paul Thomas, who broached delaying the project at the earlier meeting, said the commission didn’t plan to wait ten years.
“We just wanted to wait for bonding until Cenex is up and running out there,” he said.
Commissioner Tom Bodine added they just wanted to make sure the city can pay for the project without raising property taxes on Velva residents. He asked how VEC would feel about forming a sewer district in the new annexation, essentially putting the debt on the beneficiaries.
“Again, we’re not opposed to annexation,” Carlson said. “But we’re growing, and we’re going to need more employees, and we’re going to need sewer – our Nodak system just isn’t going to cut it.”
Schmaltz concurred, saying F.U. isn’t against the annexation, but there needs to be benefits.