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City Commission approves annexation

About 325 acres north of Dickinson will become part of the city in February after the City Commission approved annexing the area during a meeting at City Hall Monday evening.

Annex
Press Photo by Lisa Anne Call Mark and Mary Grove, owners of MGM Rural Sanitation, LLC, address the Dickinson City Commission about annexation concerns during a meeting at City Hall Monday evening.

About 325 acres north of Dickinson will become part of the city in February after the City Commission approved annexing the area during a meeting at City Hall Monday evening.

Of the landmass represented in the proposed annexation area, at least 75 percent of it had to be approved for annexation to occur.

"Through our calculations we show that we received 44.34 acres in opposition, 240.941 with no reply, with the total of 15.5 percent of the area in opposition of the annexation," said City Engineer Shawn Soehren.

Amid a packed room, several spoke in opposition.

Mark and Mary Grove, owners of MGM Rural Sanitation, LLC, a solid waste pickup service, face loss of commercial and residential business with the passage of annexation.

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Once the land falls under city jurisdiction, so will trash collection.

"With annexation it is not our goal to close businesses," said Mayor Dennis Johnson. "Our goal is to have the city grow in an orderly, fine manner."

Bill Gion, human resource manager for Wyoming Casing Service, Inc., said the company feels the annexation was very calculated and strategic.

"We don't feel that just because you can do this, you should do it," Gion said.

Questions as to whether or not all businesses were contacted about the annexation lingered.

Soehren said to the best of his knowledge, a letter was sent to each property owner within the annexation area.

"I do know when we went up and met we did find that there were several buildings that were leased and the owners weren't on site and so the letters probably were not sent to the buildings located in town," Soehren said. "They were sent to the owners, some of which are out of state ... so the local businesses probably wouldn't have seen the letters."

City Attorney Matt Kolling said individuals entitled to notice are the record title holders, which may not necessarily have been the building tenants.

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Certified mail is not required by law, Kolling said.

Sen. George Nodland, R-Dickinson, said while he is aware the city "followed the letter of the law," he is concerned with how the process was conducted and asked the city to slow down.

"I really have a concern with your procedure," Nodland said. "I'm more concerned with your ethical maneuvering and the courtesy of working with the people. You want those people to be part of the city of Dickinson and yet you're starting out on the wrong foot."

However, those looking to develop have experienced loss of business prospects due to delays.

Walt Smith of Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, who was representing a developer of a 163-acre development, the North Industries addition, said any further delays could cause loss of tenants looking to move into the area.

Officials say the annexation lines were drawn the way they were to plan for future growth.

"The law is written in such a way that a small minority can control that land so the city may never have this opportunity again unless there's another whole big chunk of land that is contiguous to that that would come into the city," Johnson said.

The annexation will become official in February in which police and fire response services will be immediate, according to an e-mail from City Public Information Officer Bill Fahlsing.

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It could take eight to nine months to design and construct infrastructure, but users won't pay for those services until they are built, according to Fahlsing's email.

Smith said plans are already in the works to provide infrastructure in the proposed area in a much faster timeframe.

Some tax mills will be dropped and the first payment on new tax rates would be due in 2012, according to Fahlsing's email.

Dickinson Police Department Chief Chuck Rummel said the department will take over law enforcement services Feb. 1.

"The transition will be as seamless as possible," Rummel said.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
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