County unhappy with city over land annexation decisionStark County commissioners are upset Dickinson officials decided to annex 325 acres north of the city without formally informing them.
Stark County commissioners are upset Dickinson officials decided to annex 325 acres north of the city without formally informing them.
The city addressed the County Commission about the move for the first time during a Tuesday meeting and the city has no plans to reverse its October decision.
“People come up to me, and I’m sure the other commissioners, and say ‘how can you let the city do this to us?’” Commissioner Ken Zander said. “This County Commission had no participation in this process. We have nothing to gain, only to lose.”
City Administrator Shawn Kessel said city officials talked with some county commissioners individually on the issue.
However, he agreed the issue should have been discussed with the commission as a whole sooner and apologized.
“I probably should’ve been here about a month ago,” Kessel said. “We’ve tripped in this case. We haven’t done annexation in a great many years — decades actually — so I’m not saying we did it well, but we hope to do it better in the future.”
City officials have said the county has no say in whether annexation occurs, but the city did not act as a “good neighbor” during the process, Zander said.
“I think we can make some ripples in the water for you,” Zander said. “In the future when it comes up, we might put a stink about it. … Let’s just hope that we don’t go down this road again.”
Commissioner Jay Elkin said the lack of notice didn’t give the county time to plan or budget.
Kessel said the annexation was needed for city growth.
“I believe that we’re going to grow at a much quicker pace next year and the year after than we have already,” he said. “We’ve sold almost all of our land within the city limits. We don’t have any industrial land left within our city limits, so in order for us to grow, it has to be outside our city limits.”
Gary Kostelecky, Dickinson Rural Fire Department Board member, also wishes the city would have hammered out details with the department sooner.
“It’s unfortunate that it worked out this way,” he said.
The annexation would take away about $4,400 of county funding for the rural fire department, Kessel said.
“We want to make them whole, so to speak,” Kessel said. “We wanted to provide them with that $4,400, that’s our intent. We hope that they’ll continue to respond to the annexation area, especially that on the north side.”
The city will rely on the rural fire for the annexation area until infrastructure such as hydrants are in place, which may be by next year, he added.
“They’re going to be providing the services after the annexation and I don’t think $4,000 is going to cut it,” Zander said. “Our rural fire department already provides a lot of services for the city, like rescue and things like that, that you’re not providing.”
The city is still negotiating with the rural fire department, Kessel said.
Bill Gion is human resource manager and financial officer for Wyoming Casing Services, Inc., which is in the annexation area.
“This has been a really unprofessional process,” Gion said at the meeting. “I mean it could have been handled so much better and I think it’s nothing short of a land grab.”