Area resident reacts to annexation article
As a resident of the subdivision in Compton Township, I would like to comment on the recent article on annexation. To answer and to raise some questions.
This subdivision is platted as Evergreen Estates. There are approximately 60 acres. Twenty-six are owned by one family. There are 25 homes and two triplex apartments in Evergreen Estates. The City borders us on three sides because in 1996 the City purchased 26.5 acres west of Evergreen Estates. They paid $25,500 for this property. $962 per acre was a premium price at that time. Why? What did the City want with a red willow covered horse pasture? Since the City has owned it, nothing has been done there. What was/is their plan for this property? And what funds did they use to make this purchase? Who authorized this purchase?
Councilman Pierce said residents of the subdivision already benefit in many ways from their proximity to the city. I agree we do, but do the 35 residents of the West Brook subdivision? Or the 30 residents of Pine View Acres? The 17 in Shady Acres subdivision? The 12 in East Haven subdivision? Or even the three residents in North Gate Estates? How about all of the residents living in Bluffton and those in between? Do not all of these residents benefit in many ways by their proximity to Wadena?
Also Councilman Pierce, what did you mean by, "They're getting services ... but they're not paying." Councilman Pierce, I am very offended by the implication of that statement. And I need an explanation as to what services you feel I'm receiving that I am not paying for. Yes, I am taking this personally. Can you explain what "services" that we in Evergreen Estates receive that the residents of the West Brook, East Haven, Shady Acres, North Gate Estates or Pine View Acres subdivisions don't? All of which are in very close proximity to the City of Wadena, two are adjacent, one borders the City limits on three sides. And all would receive services from the City Fire and Police Departments if needed. Do you feel the same about them?
Evergreen Estates gets fire protection from the City Fire Dept., and Compton Township pays the City $13,000 per year for that fire protection.
The City Police Department could and would respond to any emergencies in Evergreen Estates if necessary. As they would for any properties in close proximity to Wadena. And wouldn't you want them to? Non emergencies are handled by the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department.
The City does supply the electrical service to Evergreen Estates. It was here when I got here. And we have no other option. We pay the same rate as any other city electric customers.
If annexed, the city wouldn't guarantee city water or sewer service. That's okay, my well water tests cleaner and tastes better than the city's. And I replaced my septic system in 2012.
The City wouldn't gain any more utility customers unless they extend the water and or sewer lines to the properties within Evergreen Estates, whose residents do not need and may not want.
If they did extend them, we would be assessed 20 percent of the cost and 80 percent would be paid by the rest of the city property owners. As well as any other city funded improvements. Paving streets, street lights, storm sewers, etc.
The City would increase its tax base. And our property taxes would definitely increase.
I would not assume the city road crew would do a better job of maintaining our streets. I have no complaints now. Mr. Swenson may be referring to 11th Street. This is the boundary line. What Mr. Swenson knows, that the rest of you may not, is that the city put a two-inch layer of asphalt on this street years ago. Why did the city do this? There are no houses on the City's side of this street. They did this without permission from the Township or a maintenance agreement with the Township. They have since told the Township that it should be maintaining it since it is their street. The Township does not have equipment to maintain asphalt. And this quarter-mile is the only asphalt that the Township would be maintaining; it isn't practical for them to have this equipment. So the Township has been paying the City for the patching material and the city has provided labor and equipment. This has been a contentious issue between the City and the Township for some time and consequently this street is in poor condition. And may be the reason that Mr. Schmidt is not opposed to annexation, he may just be tired of the pot hole riddled street in front of his house and may think that annexation into the City is the solution to getting it fixed.
Mayor Wolden, why do you persist on annexation of Evergreen Estates? Why none of the others? This was attempted years ago. The majority did not want it then. I don't think that has changed. But if the neglect of the asphalt the City put on 11th Street continues, you may sway some into believing that this would be good for them. Mr. Mayor, Council members or anyone reading this that have questions or comments can feel free to call me at (218) 640-2307.
David G. Mertens is an realtor in the Wadena area.