City-Henrietta talks on track
The Park Rapids City/Henrietta Township Growth Management Task Force studied a new map Thursday night. The map showed, in shades from red to pink to green, areas in the township most likely to grow in the next 15 years. "Hot" growth is expected s...
The Park Rapids City/Henrietta Township Growth Management Task Force studied a new map Thursday night.
The map showed, in shades from red to pink to green, areas in the township most likely to grow in the next 15 years.
"Hot" growth is expected several blocks north and south of Highway 34 and east of the city limits. But the map also showed growth will proceed east along both sides of the highway past CSAH 4.
Mayor Ted Godfrey said he believes commercial development will come along Highway 34 much quicker than people think, but the majority seemed reluctant to extend the boundaries even as far as Co. Rd. 107.
Moderator Cliff Tweedale of the Headwaters Regional Development Commission reminded the task force the township and city have come a long way in agreeing to do joint planning and to provide utilities before property is annexed.
Changing jurisdiction provides balance for this "three-legged stool," he said.
Once again, he asked participants to think about the benefits of an agreement. The list included: the ability to work collectively on other issues, establishing a predictable tax base, avoiding having a business play one against the other, saving money on attorneys to fight each other and being able to provide services when people need them.
"There are pretty big incentives to agree and work at it," commented township supervisor Sharon Koskela.
At last month's meeting, Tweedale brought a map showing property values and the percentage they represented of the township as a whole. The information helped put some perspective on how the township can avoid the perception that its tax base will erode once a section or sections are annexed.
Since the township is growing, annexation can be accomplished over a period of time and tax rates can be compressed, Tweedale explained, an agreement can be constructed so that taxpayers will scarcely notice the change.
Discussed as examples were bringing areas into the city at five-, 10- and 15-year intervals. Orderly annexation means property taxes are split. For example, the first year, 20 percent goes to the city, 80 percent to the township. The second year, 40 percent goes to the city, 60 percent to the township and so on until at the end of the five-year period, 100 percent of the taxes goes to the city.
The bottom line, Tweedale said, is that the township needs to have enough tax base to provide the services residents need.
Tweedale acknowledged it could be mid to late summer before all the details are ironed out. First, there will need to be public meetings and attorneys will need time to review agreements.
City planner Mike Strodtman asked if it would be possible to carve out an area that could be annexed much sooner.
"We can't stop all progress until this is completed," added council member Clyde Zirkle.
"I can see if you have a developer, it can be frustrating for the developer and for you," said township supervisor Ryan Leckner, offering to see if there's a different way the city and township can work together to address more immediate demands.
Tweedale said the key will be for the city and township to talk to each other and avoid making unilateral decisions, regardless of the pressures that may be involved.
"The world doesn't stop for us," he agreed.
He suggested that before the meeting the participants should think about the timing of joint planning and zoning and whether or not it should include the building code the city now has in place.
Without one, Strodtman said, developers may rush to build structures that don't meet code, which can create headaches for the city when the property the structures are on is annexed.
At the next meeting April 19, Tweedale will provide a new map that reflects the areas that may be seen as those to be annexed within the next 15 years.