Wednesday, May 19, 2010

City of Havre and Hill County get to go to Court

The Corrector has just learned that yet another lawsuit has been filed in district court against the City of Havre and Hill County. This suit was filed on Monday by several property owners (Dave Clausen, Pat Newton, CP Properties and the Holiday Village Mall) that were recently annexed into the City of Havre. The suit claims that the City of Havre failed to follow the legal steps required by State law regarding annexation, such as public hearings, signed petitions requesting annexation, filing of pertinent documents and thus the annexation in its present form should be ignored.

The complaint against Hill County asks that they stop cooperating with the City to implement the annexation plan as it puts the county in violation of the law by complying with the city’s demands. This complaint sounds strangely like what Commissioner Anderson and the county has been claiming all along. You may recall that the county continually claimed they would lose in excess of $200,000 if this annexation went through and they would have to lay off employees. We wonder if the county is advising the plaintiffs in this action while simultaneously “falling on the sword” so to speak to divert attention from their participation. It would appear on first blush that the county’s fingerprints are all over this action and it is yet another back-handed extension of the current city-county fight.

Also filed with this suit was a request for a restraining order against both the city and county to temporarily stop the annexation process while the suit is heard in court. This move, if accepted by the judge, would technically stop any potential increases in property taxes on the affected properties. With the first taxes coming out soon, didn’t the Assessor’s office already make the change from County to City or what’s been holding that up?

Interestingly to us, this suit was filed at the courthouse on Monday and yet Mayor Tim failed to mention it at Monday night’s council meeting. Nor do any of the council people appear to even be aware that a suit has been filed. Are we being kept in the dark for a reason? We have also been told that Mayor Tim is claiming to be upset as he “has been bending over backwards” to get along with his buddies at the county. Why are we the citizens never made aware of what is going on with our government entities? It would appear to us that the only things the city council ever does is to handle requests like drinking in the park, raising the pool fees by 25 cents, and whether or not to allow a closure of a street for dances. Didn’t we elect them to represent us and to provide some oversight as to how our city government is operated?

Back on annexation, another thought occurred to us as we; if these properties are not annexed, won’t we lose our ability to collect the $80,000 for tourism advertising from the TBID assessment recently approved by the council? Or what about the $20,000 budget that the Chamber of Commerce was told they would get from the bed tax to promote Havre because they now had enough motels within city limits?

This City-County battle is akin to the old Hatfield-McCoy feud except we are so inbred that we no longer know who is who so we just shoot everyone. Our readers better call your city and county officials and ask them why they aren't even aware of what is happening themselves.

The Corrector will be back with further information after we further research the facts. Oh and lest we forget, with so many people talking about this suit around town, where is the Havre Daily News? Isn’t this a major news story? We would think so.


  1. Had the proper steps been takin this would not have been a problem. Backwoods backwards.

  2. Does anyone think the county commissioners promoted this suit to get back at the city? It would stand to reason as they would not lose their tax revenue to the city if annexation was stopped.

    If so, is that ethical?

    Where is the Mayor in all these proceedings?

  3. And what happened to the citys suit against the county about the swimming pool?

  4. So you think the City did something wrong Shawn? I remember reading about this in the paper and these same people have been against this from the beginning. It seems to me there are just a few people in this community who don't want to pay their share of taxes and are going to the court to ask for a tax break. Let's not forget who some of these people are? CP Properties are the people who are involved in the new border patrol headquarters if I recall from the paper a few months back. Its Dave CLausen and Tom Patrick. If they get a tax break, I should get one too!

  5. Well i think that some of these people may have bought these properties knowing they werent part of the city. I would probably be upset too. Thats money out of their pockets. Superman just look who our mayor is. No better than the last guy. When does he have the time to be our mayor when he takes care of the fairgrounds all day? Does he not also bartend part time as well? Solomon the part time mayor. What a joke. The proper steps were not takin in this matter and now these people are paying for it.

  6. I knew as soon as I read this last night that someone would come on and bash either Clausen or Patrick because they have more property than most people. You don’t think they both pay their fair share Noam? I am guessing that they pay property taxes exceeding 6 figures – how much do you pay?

    Also these guys developed a new property like the motel and border patrol building that not only increased the property tax base substantially but also provided jobs for more people.

    Why is it we are always quick to beat up anyone that has done well in business? Why does who they are make any difference in this lawsuit?

    I agree with Hillbilly and Shawn that we are a small town backwards thinking hellhole

  7. And..............I thought we were only going to beat up public officials on here and quit cutting down private individuals?

  8. I don't think this city-county fued is over by any means. I am definetly voting for someone other than anderson.

    Why weren't any of our councilmen informed of this? Who actually runs the city? The mayor? Svenson? Public Works? I think you should include the city and county along with the schoolboard in your TOP SECRET category

  9. HDC said: "Interestingly to us, this suit was filed at the courthouse on Monday and yet Mayor Tim failed to mention it at Monday night’s council meeting."

    Just because the suit was filed Monday does not mean it was served on the parties. In fact, I would be quite surprised it if had been served that soon.

    As such, why would the mayor comment on it? That is what counsel does after being properly served. Further, the proper avenue for "comment" would be in the actual answer filed with the court.

  10. Well Superman, in this case I think who the people are behind this really matters, don't you? I never claimed they don't pay property taxes I am claiming that they are asking the court for a tax break. Shouldn't you and I have the same opportunity? For me this one comes down to whether or not you want to be part of the community or not. And Shawn you're right I think these guys did build outside of town on purpose, but the problem with that is they wanted City water and sewer. These utilities belong to the City. I used to have property in Bozeman and the City of Bozeman has the same policy that I understand the City of Havre has, if you want water and sewer you sign a waiver of protest to annexation and you are brought in. Where Havre went wrong as I understand it was they never actually followed through with bringing the properties in and then Brekke, Schend and Rice pushed to do them all at one time. That probably was biting off more than they could chew, but so be it. I do think it is funny though that Havre always has to fight the establishment on everything! I like the Hatfield and McCoy analogy too, thanks Corrector for writing about this, the Havre Daily Snooze can't even investigate a huge lawsuit, wow!

  11. Surely I have it on good authority from folks at the Courthouse that the County was served Monday afternoon and the City was served shortly thereafter.

    I understand where you're coming from on the answer in court, but when you sue a public body, or two public bodies in this case the public should be made aware of the this as soon as possible.

    I called a councilman yesterday (Wednesday) and he said he just learned about it late the day before and it wasn't from Tim!

    As a taxpayer I think we are owed a little eartime, after the Schoolboard fiasco with the Super and now this, I am sick and tired of the public officials not discussing this stuff honestly and openly. I don't care about the details you can keep those between you and your counsel, but level with us please. Are "we" paying for this? Yes we are!!!

    As for the who it is that is sueing I do think it is interesting and I seem to recall a lot of defending from me and others on this blog when the School Board took a big you know what on Clausen. Well maybe I should have rethought that one. I understand why he's doing this, but you can't claim the community argument and the taxpayer one too one day when your bidding a job and then throw away the very same community when you are asked to join it the next. That's tough to swallow for me.

  12. railroader said: "but when you sue a public body, or two public bodies in this case the public should be made aware of the this as soon as possible."

    I don't disagree with you at all. But the reality of the situation is that other than a "Yes, we are being sued" comment the public is not going to be advised of anything other than what is in the actual filings and certainly not by the mayor or other county/city officials (if the attorneys have their way that is).

  13. Did everyone want City sewer and water like someone here commented?

    The zoning board will force you to hook onto sewer and water if a line runs within 500 ft of your property even if you want to use a well and septic