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Orderly annexation agreement reached between Atwater, Gennessee Township

ATWATER -- An orderly annexation plan between the city of Atwater and Gennessee Township is being developed, with the potential to bring 100 acres of township land into the city limits.

The action was started when Alan Latham, from Spicer Homes Inc., requested that 16 acres of land he owns be annexed into the city for residential development.

On Tuesday the township and city officials met to discuss options for annexing Latham's property, as well as other land on the south side of Atwater.

On Wednesday, during the Atwater City Council meeting, more details of the proposed plan were ironed out, said Atwater City Clerk Goldie Smith. Mayor Bruce Baker said a "mutual agreement" has been reached for annexing the property. The first step will be to complete the paperwork for the Latham land. The next step, he said, is to write letters to the half-dozen residents in another area that the township is also willing to have annexed.

Baker said the additional land won't be annexed at this time if the residents don't want to be brought into the city limits. Those residents "won't be forced" to be annexed, said Baker. If they are annexed, they would be provided with police and fire service from the city and have the option of hooking up to city water and sewer services.

As part of the agreement, the township will retain the property taxes until the annexed land is platted and provided with utilities.

It had been about 30 years since Atwater has annexed new land into the city limits. Baker said it has been a good learning experience for the council to go through the process now. He said the township was very easy to work with. "If that's all the pain there is to it ... it worked out very well," said Baker.

In other action the council:

- Was informed that the new fire truck was sent back to the Wyoming, Minn., company for mechanical "tweaking." Baker said the company acknowledged there were problems with the truck and agreed to pay to have the vehicle sent back and repaired.

- Set an assessment hearing for 7 p.m. Sept. 7 for street improvements in the Tall Pines I and II addition. Businesses will be charged $15,519, individual lots $7,759.59 and corner lots $8,535.55. The city is considering placing the assessments on a 10-year payment plan.

- Agreed to review the city ordinance to determine who is responsible for removing trees that have Dutch Elm disease.

- Authorized new fences at the softball and Little League ball fields.

- Agreed to seek bids for an accounting firm.

Carolyn Lange

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

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