Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 12, 1999

City waiting on annexation issue

By Luis Puga

The City of Winsted will have to wait for Litfin Lumber to be annexed into the city, but not as long as originally thought.

The city council met with Jack Littfin and the Winsted Township Board Tuesday to discuss the annexation of Littfin Lumber into the city.

Littfin has requested the annexation so that he can get sewer and water services, as he had problems with his septic system in the past.

In the past, the township board has not contested annexation. The process allows it to sign a waiver to forgo the right to a 90-day waiting period. In this case, the board refused to sign the waiver and was invited to the meeting to discuss the issue.

Board Chairman Hubert Haekenkamp explained that the township has seen much of its tax base go to the city in the past.

He explained while the township was not singling out Littfin, but since it is the last of the township's industries and due to the current farm prices township residents are dealing with, the board would like to see a better deal made for the turnover of taxes.

Township Board Supervisor Mike Laxen also added that the township was concerned over the comprehensive plan that Winsted is working on and how such a plan might affect Winsted Township's tax base.

The State of Minnesota has a formula set up for the turnover of taxes in which every year a percentage of tax is deleted from the township and added to the city. That exchange of taxes is negotiable.

Littfin disagreed that he was not being singled out.

"I've been the biggest taxpayer for 35 years, and this is the appreciation I get," he said. He added that it has been difficult to get services of any kind, such as road grading, from the township, and feels the city will do more for his business.

One option available to Littfin and the city was an emergency annexation. However, Reeves explained that such annexations are typically reserved for complete septic tank failures, and Littfin doesn't qualify for such a measure.

City Clerk Betty Zachmann added, "Any time an annexation is approved by the municipal board after August 1 of any particular year, which is this year, the city does not receive any tax dollars for that property until the year 2001." This means that the township will get 100 percent of the taxes next year.

Mayor Floyd Sneer added that provision made him feel that he did not want to make any additional deals with the township.

The township board, in its regular meeting, decided that it would waive the time period, but not until after the first of August so it could get the extra year of taxes. The townships next meeting will be on Aug. 12.

During the city council meeting, Littfin also asked the council not to negotiaite with the board, saying that he could wait. The only worry expressed by the council and Littfin was that the water and sewer hook-ups be in place before the coming winter season.

Littfin felt it could be accomplished and the council passed a motion to indicate it would not negotiate with the township.

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