By Jennifer Grimes
Triplicate staff writer
After months of paper shuffling and meetings, the Crescent City Harbor District has agreed to move forward on annexation to Crescent City.
At Tuesday nights Harbor commission meeting, the move was approved on a three to two vote.
It can only better us when we work together as a community, said harbor commissioner Monty Gonsalves during the pre-vote discussion.
During that discussion, commissioners Chris Van Hook, Sandy Crockett and Gonsalves seemed anxious to get the ball rolling and have all the necessary steps completed as soon as possible.
Taking a more leery approach, commissioners Beverly Noll and Bonnie Williams indicated they wanted to slow the pace.
Id like to see another workshop on how it all works before we go forward on this, Noll said.
Still confused on how the county and city will divide taxes and other revenue, Noll said she would prefer to wait on carrying through with the annexation process.
And Williams had some pointed questions for Crescent City Manager Dave Wells, who was at the meeting to provide a status report.
Why do you want to annex? How does it benefit the city? Williams asked.
Wells said increasing the population and economic base of the area served by the city would make Crescent City eligible for more grants and federal and state funds.
Harbor residents will benefit in several ways, according to Wells.
Water rates for those with hook-ups in the harbor district will go down by 29 percent. Van Hook said this could save the harbor thousands of dollars because the water bill for the treatment plant will decrease by that much.
Harbor business and property owners will also save on property assessment for fire protection.
At present, the Crescent Fire Protection District, which serves areas outside of the city, charges a yearly fee to property owners based on their property taxes and how hard it would be to extinguish a fire there.
Dale Long, owner of Fashion Blacksmith, said he pays between $400 and $500 a year for that fire protection. The city would not charge anything, according to Wells.
Williams said she still wondered if going ahead with annexation now, would be successful.
How long can we count on this? You just got a new council and you will have another one in a couple of years, she said.
Wells responded that the council cannot reverse annexation just by passing an ordinance. He said a series of public hearings would have to be held and a series of formal steps would have to be taken.
In past discussions about annexation procedures, the harbor commissioners expressed concern that commercial fishermen would be charged the citys business licensing fees, which arent required now. The commissioners were also concerned the harbors recreational vehicle park would be charged an extra tax currently charged to parks inside the city.
To ease those concerns, the city council directed Wells to prepare amendments that excuse operators of non-retail selling, commercial fishing boats from paying the business licensing fee; and to excuse the harbors R.V. park from the extra tax.
Though the harbor and city have agreed to merge, there are still several steps in the process to complete.
All the background is done for most of the steps, Wells said, but 16 items are still on the to-do list.
Next up is for the newly-elected city council to consider the annexation application at their Dec. 4 meeting.