Annexation Issues In Williston | VideoEvan Kruegel | 10/11/2012
"When we get a fire call, it`s very difficult to see whose in charge, which department actually gets the call. Part of that is that the city has leap-frogged with these annexations. They`ve gone from city to county to city to county and so on down the ladder," said city commissioner Tate Cymbaluk.
This was caused by some property owners wanting to be annexed into the city, and some choosing to remain in the county. There`s a common conception that taxes inside the city are much higher, but that isn`t always the case.
"There`s this view out there that I`m going to pay more in taxes and it`s going to cost me more to be in the city, but if you factor in what you pay for garbage and water and all those other things that you pay for independently that the city would provide. You actually come out ahead if your property value is less than $275,000," Said Finance Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl.
Even though property taxes are higher inside the city, water rates in the county significantly trump those of city residents.
"We`ve done the analysis, and the break even point is if you have property that`s valued at $275,000 or less. It actually costs you less money in taxes to be in the city between taxes and water rates. If it`s over $275,000 you`ll probably pay a little bit more in property tax," said Bekkedahl.
As property values in the area continue to grow, finding homes valued at less than that $275,000 mark is becoming much more uncommon. It`s a battle the city will have to face with county landowners in the near future, as large gaps between annexed city areas simply aren`t sustainable long term.
"As the city grows and communication between the city and county continue the city will end up taking those lands in making it one continuous tract of land, which will provide hopefully a more consistent service to the people that live out in those areas," said Cymbaluk.
Officials think major changes to city limits could happen within six to 12 months.