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City says “no” to providing services outside city limits

Posted 4/14/10 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

With housing within the Watford City city limits at a short supply, should the city extend its sewer services outside the current city limits to serve three proposed developments? Or would it be in the city’s interest to annex outlying property into the city limits and then provide those services? Those were the questions facing the Watford City City Council during its April 5 regular meeting.
During Monday night’s meeting, while the council was all in favor of seeing additional housing units being built, they were concerned that merely extending service outside the city limits would tax existing facilities and not bring any economic gain to the city.
“I visited with Ward Koeser, Williston’s mayor, on how they handle such requests,” stated Councilman Brent Sanford. “He stated that Williston does not extend city services outside the city limits, because once they have city sewer and water, the people receiving the service see no need to become part of the city.”
Sanford also questioned who would be responsible for the ultimate maintenance of the sewer lines.
“There is not much redress to the city once the services are provided,” stated Wyatt Voll, city attorney.
While Lowel Cutshaw, city engineer, indicated that Greg Dougherty and Simonson Construction would be receptive to be annexed into the city so that they could receive city services, Cutshaw noted that annexing property isn’t necessarily easy or quick.
“I need to be able to move quickly on my proposal to provide housing,” stated Dougherty, who is proposing to develop an industrial park west of Watford City with commercial and up to 90 mobile homes. “The biggest hurdle that I have moving forward is that I need to be able to hook up to sewer services.”
According to Dougherty, he would be willing to make all of the improvements at his own expense if he was allowed to pump into the city’s sewer lines.
But even if the city would allow the new developments to use the city’s sewer system, Councilman Bruce Erickson was skeptical if the current lagoon system could handle the additional sewage.
“We are talking about a lot of trailers if these three developments occur,” stated Erickson. “We had odor problems with our current lagoon system last year, so I can only imagine the problems we could have with more sewage.”
While the council ended up taking no action on the three requests for sewer service, the council did agree to hire an engineering firm to check into the capacity of the city’s sewer and lagoon systems.
In a non-related issue, the city council approved placing the issue of changing the city’s water source on the June ballot.
In other business, the city council:
• Approved a Conditional Use Permit submitted by Mark Thorland to operate a home occupation to provide accounting services located at 416 3rd St. NE, Lot 10 Blk 1-S 1 Ft Lot 11, Holm Addition.
• Approved a Zone Variance Application submitted by Dennis Bingeman for a rear yard setback variance of 12 feet from the required 25 foot rear yard setback and a variance of 15 feet from the north side setback requirement of 30 feet for the purpose of constructing a shop/garage located at 308 7th St. NE.
• Took no action on a Conditional Use Permit submitted by Craig Nelson for the purpose of allowing temporary workforce housing located at SW 1/4 of Section 17, T150 N, R98W.
• Approved an agreement between the City of Watford City and the Williston Vector Control which would allow the City of Watford City to contract with the Williston Vector Control for aerial application services.
• Heard a report from Laurie Best on the creation of a community garden project.
• Received an update from A.J. Mock, NW Director of Region 1 Senior Citizen Program, on the proposed Transit Storage Facility to be built in Watford City.
• Approved to pay 50 percent or up to $90,000 towards the construction of a new restroom/shower facility at the Tourist Park.
• Approved a $10,000 Roughrider Fund grant for K&J Properties for improvements to their offices and a $4,000 Roughrider Fund grant to Front Porch Floral to assist with the remodeling of their business.
• Approved $700 to purchase kennels to temporarily house pets impounded by the Watford City Police Department.
• Approved the renewal of a $400,000 CD at First International Bank & Trust.
• Approved a resolution to Quit Claim the property located at lot numbers 8 through 24, Blk 4, Cherry Creek Addition from the City of Watford City to the Watford City Housing Authority.
• Approved having MDU install wood light poles with cobra heads on 4th Ave. NE east from the Good Shepherd Home to the easterly end of the bike path.
• Approved the Lawn Maintenance Contracts with Dale Wagner for lawn maintenance services at City Hall and the Long X Visitor Center for 2010.
• Approved the second reading of an ordinance repealing portions of the city ordinance dealing with alcohol sales.
• Approved a raffle permit application for the Watford City Baseball Boosters.
• Approved gaming site authorizations from July 1, 2010 to June June 30, 2011 for the American Legion Post 29 gaming at the American Legion Club; D & M’s Office, Inc. and Watford City Bar, Inc.; and the Watford City FOE #3543 gaming at the McKenzie County Fairgrounds.
• Approved a step increase for Peni Peterson effective April 16, 2010.
• Approved setting May 1, 2010 as “Red, White & Blue Day” and to have Mayor Pelton sign the Loyalty Day Proclamation dated April 5, 2010.
• Approved hiring Advanced Engineering for $22,500 for engineering work on a paving, chip sealing and sidewalk replacement project.
• Approved executing a proxy voting for Shawn Kessel as the city representative at the ND Insurance Reserve Fund annual meeting.
• Was informed that the Board of Equalization Meeting will at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 in the Heritage Room.
• Met with John Dunlap to discuss the status of his title opinion for the replat of Lot 1, Blk 1, Creekside Addition. The council approved a motion to approve the quit claim deed to vacate the alley for Cascade Homes, contingent on the proper procedures being followed to vacate the south 19.87 feet of the 5th Ave., SE right-of-way adjacent to Lot 1, Blk 1, Creekside Addition.
The next meeting of the Watford City City Council will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 3.