Northwest Boise annexation looms

sberg@idahostatesman.comJuly 14, 2014 

— In the early 2000s, the city of Boise began pushing its sewer lines westward toward the 600-plus acres roughly between Roe Street, State Street, Horseshoe Bend Road and Hill Road.

Over time, owners hooked their homes up to the city sewer lines. Today, about three-quarters of the lots are on city sewer, but they lie outside Boise’s boundaries.

Monday, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the forced annexation of about 500 acres in that 600-acre patch of ground. About 2,000 people live there, and they’re not in favor of annexation.

That’s because people who live inside city limits pay city taxes on top of county taxes. Boise Zoning Administrator Scott Spjute estimated city taxes would increase property taxes by about 35 percent. A home valued at $150,000 would incur about an additional $360 per year in taxes.

Karen Danley, who lives with her husband on West Hill Road, said annexation would be especially costly for her family, whose home isn’t connected to Boise’s sewer system. First, she said, the family would have to pay thousands for a sewer hook-up. The Danleys would also begin paying sewer fees to the city — a charge they don’t pay now because they have a functioning septic system. Third, they would pay the increase in property taxes.

Boise officials who back annexation say it’s a way to make sure people outside city limits are paying for city assets they use, such as parks. The city is developing parks in the area, including Magnolia Park and Optimist Youth Sports Complex.

Before annexation can occur, state law requires consent from the owners of half the acreage in question. In this case, about 54 percent of the land is owned by people who have city sewer connections. Those people have already given their consent, even though they may not want their land annexed, Spjute said.

Before 2008, a connection to city sewer was considered implied consent to annexation. After 2008, state law required landowners’ signatures on written consent forms. The city requires those signatures as part of any deal to hook up a new sewer connection.

At least 23 people who live in the area proposed for annexation spoke at Monday’s hearing, and all of them were against it. They used words like “coercion” and “strong-arm” to describe the city’s approach to drawing its limits around them.

Kim Strouse, who spoke on the residents’ behalf, suggested Boise is trying to get this annexation done before the state Legislature changes the law to make forced annexations more difficult.

“We are content with our police and fire protection, parks and library services,” Strouse said. “If we had wanted to live in city limits we would have purchased our homes within the city.

Terri Stanfield had stronger words for the commission.

“I don’t want anything to do with Boise city,” she said. “I don’t want any of their services.”

Sometime in the near future — probably in September, Spjute said — the City Council will vote on the proposed annexation. If approved, the extension of city borders would likely occur late this year, Spjute said.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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