Extension of City Utilities

Tonight the City Commission will again consider the extension of City utility services to property outside the City limits. I don't really take too much issue with this proposal, other than a few points.

First, while the proposed ordinance will require landowners to agree to payments in lieu of taxes, (See C.3), that is a different statement than saying that a landowner has already agreed to do so. If City staff wants to push this thing through, so be it. Don't be misleading, though.

Second, City staff has responded to some of the objections raised by opponents. Since I do not believe this ordinance is such a bad idea, I have not dug into the City's response. If you have a problem with the ordinance, have at it.

Finally, I still have a problem with the notion that City services will be extended without annexation in undefined "uniquely exceptional circumstances." In my opinion, this places waaaay too much discretion in the hands of City officials. When there is discretion involved, that raises the ability to dole out 'favors' to one's preferred projects. No one doubts that City staff will propose extension of utilities for SME's coal plant. I wonder, though, if a different developer will have such an easy time without first having gained the City Manager's ear? These "uniquely exceptional circumstances" should be defined in the ordinance.

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