Duluth to Rice Lake: Let's Talk About Annexation

Posted at: 11/13/2013 4:41 PM | Updated at: 11/13/2013 5:59 PM

On Tuesday evening, the Chief Administrative Officer for the city of Duluth made a presentation at the Rice Lake town hall. He said that the city would like to discuss the possibility of an annexation of a portion of the township.

"This came about when we were looking at utilities, and how some of them are being expanded into the township. We started looking at tax rates and utility rates. And in a unique situation, we found that township tax rates are higher than Duluth's," Montgomery said.

He also explained that the mayor's push to increase the population to 90,000 is a factor. And the fact that Duluth has fallen to fourth largest in the state. Montgomery said that if we regain the third spot, it means more clout and funding at the legislature.

The city is interested in the southern portion of the township. Montgomery said it's basically Rice Lake Road to Jean Duluth, and the Martin Road to W. Tischer, boundary wise.

The chairman of the board of supervisors in Rice Lake said that this might be a tough sell for the residents.

"It's an emotional issue. People live in townships for a reason, they feel they have a voice in township government. Some of us have roots here from when the immigrants came," John Werner said.

The supervisors voted to have a consulting firm study the city's numbers. That information will be distributed to the township residents.

"There will be an advisory referendum. It's non-binding, but we'll know what people's input is," Werner added.

Other factors need to be considered as well, and both sides acknowledge that. For example, what would happen with the fire hall, or the people who aren't in the proposed area of annexation.

The initial number crunching won't likely be done until after January 1st.

The city also worked with Midway Township on an annexation agreement with them.

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