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.