Opinions mixed on SL annexation discussion

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

One Storm Lake resident summed up his thoughts about annexation standing near the table offering cookies and coffee for those attending last night's annexation open house.

"At least I get a cookie out of annexation," he said, expressing his concerns about increased taxes and utility costs.

The City of Storm Lake held the open house to provide information to concerned homeowners as well as to gather input from the citizens of Storm Lake and citizens in the proposed annexation areas.

There were citizens expressing both sides of annexation at the meeting, from support to opposition.

Many of those present were wondering two things: How will annexation affect taxes and what the benefits are of being annexed.

"We certainly want feedback from citizens of the community and citizens in the outlying areas being considered for annexation," Mayor Jon Kruse said.

He said the city had wanted to "pack the house" last night, which was well underway after the first hour of the meeting.

"We hope to have some opposed and hope some in favor of annexation, also," Kruse said at the meeting.

Throughout the meeting response was varied, Kruse noted.

"There's some people dead set against annexation and some people not opposed," he said. "There's a lot of questions as people are in the process of working through it."

Taxes were a big concern for many of the property owners in the proposed annexation areas. Examples of the tax impact of annexation were provided at the meeting.

Before annexation a $30,000 home would be taxed $627, after annexation of proposed areas, the taxes would be $843. For a $60,000 home, taxes before annexation would be $1,375 and $1,848 after annexation. A $90,000 home would have taxes of $2,124 before annexation and $2,853 after annexation. The values of the homes are based on the value after the rollback.

Information was also provided concerning agricultural land. For 20 acres of land, with an assumed value of $18,000 after the rollback, taxes would be $449 before annexation and $453 after annexation.

The city and its annexation consultant, Yaggy, Colby and Associates of Mason City, will use the opinions gathered in its future planning. Although the initial study pinpoints 11 possible areas for annexation, Kruse said those can be changed or redrawn depending on the response received from the public

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