MISSOULA – The plans to annex several thousand acres west of Missoula are moving forward.
The Missoula City Council voted in favor 10-to-1 — with one abstention — to annex more than 3,000 acres of land including Missoula International Airport, the Missoula Industrial Park and Canyon Creek Village on Monday.
The annexation idea took root in August and there have been ongoing discussions since that time, including 11 formal meetings about the proposal.
Several concerns had been voiced over the annexation plan.
DeSmet School leaders expressed concerns at a meeting last month about conflicts between zoning for limited and industrial zoning, saying it would hurt future growth of affordable homes.
Meanwhile, with the expansion of the city’s boundaries, law enforcement and fire agencies have raised concerns to the city council about staffing challenges.
Finally, properties in the annexed area will now see about a 20% increase in property taxes.
Those backing the city’s annexation plan pointed to the positives of the annexation plan.
City leaders have said the annexation is a good thing with estimates an additional one million dollars in tax dollars annually.
City leaders also added they are looking ahead to the future and they say this is inevitable with big growth towards the west.
Despite the pros, a majority of public comments were not in favor of this annex with one resident bringing up the point of failed zoning in this area in the past.
“The businesses didn’t move in and fill these spaces. To steal a phrase from mean girls “fetch didn’t happen. They didn’t move in.”
“I think if you had something to offer us – maybe you could change our mind. But, when I mention – I don’t think you’re going to buy any more fire trucks, I don’t think you’re going to hire any more police officers, I don’t think there is going to be another plow truck added on. “I think this is a money grab from the city of Missoula,” another opponent of the plan told the council.
City leaders say they will address some of these other major concerns at a later time but are still moving forward with annexation plans.