City of Hood River pursues May Drive annexation plan

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

March 22, 2006

The Hood River City Council pulled six properties out of a contested annexation on Monday to appease citizens.

“I think the council heard the concerns of those people who voiced an objection about coming into the city. We hope they are happy with this decision,” said Bob Francis, city manager.

The elected body decided at the special meeting March 20 to incorporate 33 instead of 38.46 acres in and around the Willow Ponds subdivision to the south of May Drive. At noon today the second and final reading will be given to the ordinance making that annexation official. The city anticipates gaining about $52,859 more in annual revenue by folding the property into its jurisdiction. In addition, a one-time income of $205,859 could be generated by system development charges and water and sewer hookups. Officials also expect the city to gain about $75,293 yearly from water service and franchise fees.

However, even if citizens are pleased by the city’s action, the Special Districts Coalition is not.

Mark Beam, manager of Ice Fountain, said meetings will be held by his agency and the coalition this week to determine the next course of action. He declined further comment until Ice Fountain, Farmers Irrigation District and West Side Fire District have made a decision.

At a late February council meeting, Beam registered several protests about the annexation. He disagreed that it would cost the city only $87,000 to purchase Ice Fountain’s infrastructure in that vicinity. He also said the city would have to shoulder a portion of the 12 years remaining on a $3.8 million bond repayment for installation of the water system.

Beam asserted that the city had breached its contract with the coalition by creating a duplication of services. He believed the city was trying to circumvent raising the ire of Rocky Ridge residents by not attempting to annex those lands — at least until they were surrounded. But, he said the end reult was that Ice Fountain would still have to serve that area and residents would be forced to pay for two water lines.

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