Silver Bay residents petition to detach
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Joanne Johnson and councilors Dustin Goutermont,Carlene Perfetto, Steve Marolt and Dave Gustafson adopted a resolution to proclaim Monday, Sept. 16, American Legion Day in Silver Bay. The proclamation acknowledges the contributions of the organization on the 94th anniversary of its charter.
In weeks to come, the Silver Bay City Council will be drafting its response to a group of residents who have proposed a detachment of their property from the municipality of Silver Bay. David Drown, who owns a home in the subdivision in question, said that the reason for the move is that he and his neighbors’ property taxes constitute approximately two percent of the city’s tax base, yet some city services including utilities like sewer and water are unavailable to them. Drown said that a majority of his neighbors have signed a petition in support of an effort to detach and he believes they have a strong case should the city contest the move.
According to Minnesota statute, the petition must list the petitioners’ reasons for requesting detachment and the properties involved must be rural in character, and not developed or intended for urban residential, commercial or industrial purposes. Drown said that the properties are, in effect, an island of residential lots surrounded by undeveloped property, state park and forest land, so development by the city or private owners is unlikely. He added that it’s equally unlikely that city services will be brought to his area. Should Drown and his neighbors succeed in detaching from the City of Silver Bay, they would become part of Beaver Bay Township. Both the city and the township will be asked to return a decision, taking a neutral position or declaring themselves for or against the move. A decision against Drown and his neighbors’ petition could bring the matter to arbitration where it would be decided by an administrative judge.
Mayor Joann Johnson said that the council would not make an immediate decision on the matter but that the city attorney would review the proposal. On Tuesday, City Administrator Lana Fralich said: “Detachment isn’t common or something our community has faced before so at this point we are just reviewing the information provided to us.”
City administration has been busy developing an estimate of how much savings will result from Minnesota’s newly-enacted sales tax exemptions for municipalities. Exemptions are for some, not all, purchases, but the legislation requires cities to generate the estimate to show taxpayers how the law benefits their communities in dollars and cents. Fralich said that the city’s savings figure was based on applying provisions of the new law to purchases made in 2012.
Of approximately $494,124.70 in expenditures, the city’s savings would be $31,786.05. The council approved the figures, which will be presented to the community at a public meeting.
The council passed a motion approving the receipt of $13, 757 in state aid for maintenance and operation of the community’s airport for 2014-15 It also approved an agreement with the DNR for the repair of a pump house at the marina. The work has been delayed, according to Fralich, because the DNR has had difficulty finding a contractor. Under the terms of the agreement, the city would arrange for the needed work and the DNR would provide reimbursement. The last bid for the repairs was just over $2,834 , but Fralich said she would confirm that figure.
“It just makes sense for us to get this done this year,” she said.