There will be a handful of upcoming meetings to discuss annexation of land into the City of Sioux Falls. One elected official wants to make sure the process involves the people.

Policy will be set by the Annexation Task Force, but will be subject to citizen input. Councilor Theresa Stehly feels the need to go the extra mile in order to get information to the areas affected.

“I had requested that the city send out notification to these areas around town that would be affected by that and was told that (the city) couldn’t afford to do that. I am putting together at my own expense a flier that will have the information for the dates of the task force and also contact information for the City Council.” You can access the flier here.

Stehly will plan on going into a handful of the areas that the city has plans to annex. On the east side she will visit the Split Rock area, Pine Lake Hills and Cactus Heights plus Skyline Heights in northern Sioux Falls near the I-29 and I-90 interchange.

Personal investment aside, Stehly knows that pales in comparison to what homeowners could be eventually asked to pay for annexation.

“Some people have been hearing that it could be $30,000, $40,000 or $60,000 that would be assessed on their property. The city would give them a 20 or 30-year term (loan) at 4.9% interest being tacked onto that. For some of these property owners that could put them out of their homes.”

The highest annexation estimated costs for homeowners are mostly focused in the Prairie Meadows development near 41st Street and Ellis Road.

To some degree Stehly is also concerned about the timing of the meetings which are all planned to be in the afternoon.

“(All the meetings are) at the Downtown Library and people are going to have to pay into a parking meter to come to the meetings. If they stay too long, they’ll come out and find a $10 ticket on their car. I don’t think any city resident should have to pay to do city business if it’s affecting their home or private entity.”

An explanation of what the meetings are designed to accomplish from the city's perspective comes from a press release.

The task force includes three City Council members as well as four members of the community who are potentially impacted by proposed annexations. City employees from Planning, Project Management, Engineering, the City Attorney’s Office, and Finance will provide information and be resources for the task force members. The task force will convene for five sessions with a goal of developing recommendations that will provide a consistent way forward for future annexations. The public is welcome to attend.

The task force will be given information on the many state laws regarding annexations, some historical information to illustrate how annexations have occurred in the past, an update on the current Engineering Design Standards, and discuss the financial impact of an annexation on both the property owner and the City, along with other topics. The group will then make recommendations regarding how to move forward with annexations in the future.

Tuesday April 11 is when the first meeting is scheduled with subsequent gatherings on April 25, May 9 and May 23. All of these sessions are to begin at 2:00 PM. The fifth meeting date will be set by the task force.

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