There's about 100 people in the crowd as the Boise City Council opens a public hearing on an unpopular proposal to annex some 600 acres between State Street, Horseshoe Bend Road, Hill Road and Gary Lane.
Public testimony has begun. I'll run a sampling of the comments here:
The woman representing the group of people opposed to annexation is repeating complaints from earlier city hearings. She says annexation will only make life worse and more expensive because of city taxes. Also echoing previous hearings, she says people suspect the city has been using sewer lines in the area as a tool to coerce people into consenting to annexation.
The city's end goal, many suspect, is to get more tax money. City Council members deny that charge.
One man suggested a compromise: a smaller annexation that would affect only the densest neighborhoods.
Another man said he feels like he's just wasting his time coming down to City Hall to let his voice be heard, presumably because he believes council members' minds are already made up to annex.
A man who said he manages a mobile home park said annexation would bring no tangible benefit to the people who live there. On the contrary, it would devalue the property because he'll have to raise rent to cover additional property taxes levied by the city.
Another common complaint has been that people believe Boise forcing annexation on them is a violation of America's founding principles of democracy.
One weird coincidence: Crews are working on seismic upgrades to City Hall right now, and Mayor David Bieter just let everyone know that the work might cause fire alarms to go off.
That's not an excuse to disrupt the hearing, he said. A few people chuckled, but not too loudly.
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