MISSOULA – Missoula County commissioners say their hands are tied in helping critics of a Missoula City Council plan to annex a massive portion of land west of the city.
Missoula city leaders voted Monday to annex roughly 3,200 acres of land including Missoula International Airport, the Missoula Industrial Park and Canyon Creek Village.
After nearly all public comments opposed to this annexation, Missoula City Council still decided to move forward with taking land from the county. Missoula County leaders say they have no power in this decision.
“Counties in Montana do not have a direct say over whether municipality wants to do an annexation,” Missoula Count Commissioner Dave Stohmaier said.
“There are specific criteria by which incorporated towns or cities can annex property and when they decide to meet those criteria,” he added. “Counties really don’t have much of a say – we absolutely do not have veto power.”
Strohmaier added the best hope is continuity of services delivered to residents impacted by the annex. He added the County will lose roughly $100,000-to-$200,000 in tax revenue.
“It’s not a huge amount,” Strohmaier said. “It’s certainly not insignificant, so we need to make that up elsewhere in terms of how we are going to continue funding countywide programs and deliver services.
Strohmeier says the annexation decision was expected and that it’s been looming for quite a while.
He added although the county has no formal input on annexation, “one advantage of the annex is it creates continuity in growth planning since that is the area the city is growing into, using city services, so putting it under city jurisdiction at some point in time does have merit.”