BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve annexation of pieces of property in the Groveland area at Worthen Road and Highway 26 over the objections of representatives of the Groveland Water and Sewer District (GWSD).
City Attorney Garrett Sandow was asked if the city meets all of the requirements to approve the annexation, and Sandow said it does meet the requirements. The pieces include property owned by Rodanna Katseanes, Idaho Power, and the Idaho Department of Transportation, with the move involving the Katseanes property bringing opposition as it is within GWSD boundaries.
In a letter to the council dated Oct. 4, GWSD board member Lyle Yancey said the city did not obtain the owner signature for the Katseanes property consent form, nor did it provide documentation related to the signature of a representative for Katseanes so the document requesting to be annexed did not appear to be valid. Yancey said the city has breached an agreement with GWSD in offering “enticements” related to the Katseanes consent document.
The letter states that the city made an offering of two free water connections and one free sewer connection, and the city does not have authority to make the offerings in the GWSD boundaries, calling it a breach of contract with a GWSD Memorandum of Understanding signed by former Mayor Paul Loomis June 16, 2015, saying in part, “the city will not offer, extend, or negotiate to offer water lines to any real property situated within the boundaries of the district.”
“Where it’s a consensual annexation ... I do think it meets (the) requirements,” Sandow said.
The applications were listed under Class A annexation, by owners’ consent for properties adjacent to the city.
In an August Planning and Zoning hearing on the matter, Sandow addressed the legality of signature consent to annex, saying part of the consent form requires the signature to attest to the fact they have authority to put that signature on.
“It’s the same type of attestation that happens on warranty deeds,” Sandow said. “I don’t have an issue with that, it’s sworn by a notary that the person has authority to sign.”
Mayor Marc Carroll noted that the public hearing was held by the P&Z board and there would not be a public hearing before the council, but he gave GWSD Board Chairman Marc Pange an opportunity to speak before the council.
Pange said there were some questions about the content of the Katseanes annexation. He said water connections were promised, but the city has no jurisdiction with water connections to that property.
“It’s within our water and sewer district. the portion of the consent to annexation contains a promise by the city that is in defiance of our contract with the city,” Pange said.
Sandow said the city cannot extend any lines but the contract doesn’t prohibit the city from waiving its portion of fees. He said the agreement with Katseanes waived the city’s portion of fees.
“We didn’t promise any water and sewer connections, only to waive the city’s fees,” he said. “The annexation doesn’t affect GWSD, they have their services they provide and that will not change with the annexation.”
Pange was given one more opportunity to speak again.
“I’m not quite sure if Mr. Sandow understands,” Pange said. “He’s correct about being able to waive connection fees for sewer connections but there is no jurisdiction for water connections which were part of that consent to annex, you’re promising two water connections. A portion of the consent to annexation has to be either pulled out and (Katseanes’) representative needs to re-sign it or it needs to be heavily edited to delete the portion about water connections. There are no shared water connections with the city and GWSD. All of those properties are within our district and we’re the only water provider for properties within our district.”