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Proposed annexation could help Atwater grow

ATWATER - For the first time in 30 years the geographical boundaries of Atwater could be growing.

At their meeting Wednesday the Atwater City Council accepted a petition from Allen Latham from Spicer Homes Inc. to annex two parcels of land -- totaling 16.5 acres -- to the southern edge of town. Latham intends to plat the land for residential development.

The council action starts the process of annexation, which must also include approval from Gennessee Township and the state.

The council was excited about the potential for extending the city limits. The last time new land was annexed into the city was sometime in the 1970s, said Mayor Bruce Baker.

Because of the limited expansion of land there are few residential lots left to build on. At most, Baker said there are currently about a dozen empty lots in town.

None of the existing city council members have ever gone through the process of annexing land.

"We've never done this before," said Councilman Dale Tagtow.

Latham told the council he would not build the homes, but would sell the lots for development. He estimated the land would be divided into about a dozen lots. He said he intended to meet with Gennessee Township next to get its approval.

In his petition, Latham said annexing the land and increasing the residential development would be good for both the town and township,

Latham also has the option to purchase additional land in the area that is currently not being considered for annexation.

An open house celebration is scheduled for Wednesday for the community to see the town's new ambulance and fire truck, but Fire Chief Gerald Schwartz told the council the fire truck may be a no-show.

He said work on the new pumper truck is advancing quickly but the Wyoming, Minn., company may not have the vehicle completed in time for the community christening.

Schwartz said the new ambulance, which was delivered May 25, will be at the open house. He said the ambulance is state-of-the-art and "very user friendly and very patient friendly."

The council agreed to sell their old ambulance to the city of Maynard.

In other action the council:

- Heard a report from Larry Wepplo from Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing on the 2005 audit. He said the city's fund balance was decreased because of planned capital expenditures, including the purchase of an ambulance and fire truck and street and utility projects. He said local government continues to make up a significant portion of the town's total revenue. In 2005 it made up 48 percent of the total revenue, up from 45 percent in 2004.

- Was informed that the Atwater Liquor store sold alcohol to a minor during a recent compliance check. The council agreed to send a letter to the owner regarding the offense. Subsequent offenses will result in a fine.

- Reviewed a proposed ordinance dealing with the use of paintball guns, BB guns, pellet guns, soft pellet guns and sling shots in the city limits. If approved, firing the guns would not be allowed on public property. Permission from property owners would be required for discharge on private land.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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