Home Opinion Editorials NO INCENTIVES FOR ANNEXATION
NO INCENTIVES FOR ANNEXATION
The idea of offering special tax incentives to people who live outside the city limit but within the urban growth boundary makes us wonder what the city leaders are thinking.
The suggestion was made by La Grande Community Development Director Mike Hyde in a May 1 report to the city council. Hyde is quoted as saying, "It is very unlikely that a majority of those in the urban growth area will vote for annexation unless the city offers some type of incentive.''
Under a proposed plan to take in new residents through annexation, those being annexed would pay only 20 percent of the city property tax the first year and would have that percentage increased each year for five years in 20 percent increments.
What a deal! How do the rest of us who live in La Grande get unannexed so we can benefit from this kind of thinking?
The people who live outside of La Grande get a tremendous amount of city resources without paying the full cost. Yes, they have to pay extra for water and sewer, but what about free library services and swimming services or fire protection through interagency cooperative agreements?
It doesn't TAKE much to figure out why people outside the city limits don't want to be annexed. Those people have access to paved streets and other benefits. They don't have to worry about paying for new sidewalks or a city police department. And if they need ambulance service from the city fire department, they'll get it.
They can count on garbage service and recycling. So how do the rest of us get
The city found it tough going to try to do large-scale annexations. Some of those homeowners said no and fought the city to a standstill all the way to the state Court of Appeals.
So THE CITY HAS decided to attack the problem of growth via annexation by offering a tax phase-in. The city should be charging non-residents full cost. That means charging them for every city service that the rest of the city's residents are paying in property taxes. There is no reason why the rest of us should have to carry our neighbors who have chosen to live outside of the city limits. That's great for them but not for us.
If the city moves in this proposed direction, it should realize that future bond issues that might be valuable for the community could be in jeopardy if taxpayers become alienated. We hope wiser heads prevail and that no one will get a free ride, even a graduated free ride.