Utilities for the Coal Plant

The City Commission will consider on September 4, 2007 (Public Hearing 3), Ordinance 2972, which will amend Title 13, Chapter 2, Section 070(C) of the City Code.

Despite what anyone says, the primary driver behind this amendment is the City's desire (and SME's need) that the City of Great Falls provide utility service to the coal plant. This is not exactly unusual and, when applied to the coal plant, does not really leave me asking too many questions.

I do wonder, though, what other developers will be entitled to the City's beneficence in utility extension. It will, according to our City Manager, be limited to situations that are "uniquely exceptional." The Ordinance doesn't help either, simply stating that the City "may" extend services in "uniquely exceptional circumstances."

Without criteria to guide us, future determinations will simply beg the question. In other words, the determinations will be made subjectively and arbitrarily.

A couple other thoughts. Look at criteria 13 of the Ordinance. "All parties agree the cost of such an extension of utility services shall be borne by the owners of the property to be served." In the case of SME, this means the City taxpayers will pay 25% of the cost of extending City utility service to the coal plant (even though we are only projected to own, at best, 15% of the plant).

Also look at criteria 14: "Upon annexation, all parties agree that Title 17, OCCGF, Land Development must be met inclusive of signage, parking, landscaping, lighting." Obviously, the City will not and cannot annex land and then stop the existing use at the time of annexation. Therefore, what this is really saying is that when the City annexes the property, the land will be zoned to be in conformity with the existing use. This will necessarily affect and impact the future zoning of any surrounding land that is annexed.

Therefore, the County needs to be extra vigilant in considering SME's zoning application.


Anonymous said...

Ask the Fire Chief how he plans on providing fire protection to the power plant?


Anonymous said...

Uh...the 350k upgrade in taking over the animal shelter???

GeeGuy said...

That's the Police Chief, not the Fire Chief.

Anonymous said...

Right, that's my point...

Maybe the 350k should be spent by the fire chief and the Humane Society should have been left alone.

Anonymous said...

The rubber stamp will slam down again regardless of comments, facts or protest.

Face it, until we seat three new commission members, this juggernaut will roll over us without regard.

Anonymous said...

At the commission meeting Tuesday.
Public comment informed the elected officials that Mr. Lawton has already signed agreements that predated the Ord. To Extend Services Without Annexation.

The Ord. was tabled - but will agreements stand. And how can Lawton jump the gun before the passing of the Ord.? Stuart was told by our Mayor to "Stand Down!" for using the words "double talk from Mr. Lawton." Maybe the Mayor should order him to "Sit, Do Not Sign!"