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IF city council debates on annexation policy

By Christina Jensen
Published On: Jul 08 2013 10:49:10 PM CDT

The Idaho Falls City Council discussed an important issue Monday that could attract more business to town.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

The Idaho Falls City Council discussed an important issue Monday afternoon that could attract more business to town.

The purpose of the meeting was to talk about a proposed development outside city limits requesting sewer service from the city. Another purpose of the meeting was to see if council members wanted to change their current policy on annexation. Right now the council will only serve utilities to properties within city limits.

The proposed car dealership will be built on West Sunnyside Road and South Berlin Road. Public Works Director Chris Frederickson said the city has built sewer lines under Sunnyside Road to service properties nearby. He said that investment is why the council needs to think about their decision.

"The question is, where is the fairness in that? If you get the utilities without the annexation you have the benefits of being in the city without actually paying city taxes," Frederickson said.

City Council Member Mike Lehto said if the council decides to annex the property into the city, there will be benefits.

"There is the immediate property tax revenue benefit, but certainly it would signal growth in the area and perhaps jump start other developments in that area," Lehto said.

One obstacle council members face is agreeing on their policy.

"If we have a policy that the council agrees with and is implemented, we'll make these types of requests much quicker," said Frederickson.

During the meeting, the council brought up fees properties would have to pay when included in city limits. One council member worried the city could face lawsuits because of those fees. Frederickson said that is why the Public Works Department and the Legal Department need time to take a look at the request.

The city should have a decision in the next couple of weeks.

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