It’s been 17 years since an annexation agreement was signed for the neighborhood of Shadyridge Court, located just south of Grand Forks.
Now, as the Jan. 1, 2014 annexation date looms, its residents are petitioning City Council to delay it. City staff members say a council vote won’t grant residents their request.
According to City Attorney Howard Swanson, the council had the power to approve the agreement, but, under state law, it does not have the authority to delay the annexation date.
This conclusion has Shadyridge Court resident and local judge Lawrence Jahnke, along with his neighbors, considering whether or not to ask the city to request an opinion from the North Dakota attorney general on the matter.
Council members expressed concern that the opinion could open a can of worms that may have the neighborhood retroactively paying 17 years of city property taxes.
“It would be devastating,” Council President Hal Gershman said of the potential tax bill.
The state law that could make the scenario a reality isn’t interpreted the same way by Jahnke. As written, he believes it only applies to county taxes, which the neighborhood has been paying.
“We have not been omitted from the tax rolls of the county,” he said. “The law doesn’t address city taxes.”
No action was taken at Monday night’s finance committee meeting where council members met with city staff and neighborhood residents to discuss the matter. The groups will meet again for discussion in two weeks.
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