Washington City Council members have approved guidelines for providing city services to areas proposed for annexation in the future.
The standards for street maintenance and improvements, sanitary sewer service, water service and fire protection, and refuse collection were discussed at Monday night’s council meeting.
The council’s decisions will be used to begin formulating an annexation plan of intent to present to citizens, City Administrator Jim Briggs said at the end of the discussion.
Exact boundaries of areas to be annexed have not been established but will be determined before the plan of intent is presented at public hearings in the future, Briggs said.
Likewise, no date has been set for an annexation election although a tentative date of August 2014 has been discussed.
The city is looking to propose annexing some areas in phases rather than attempt to take in large areas to the west, south and east as originally proposed more than a year ago.
Fees for Water, Sewer Connections
The council agreed Monday to ask the board of public works to review and address the issue of water and sewer connection fees. Water connection fees have not been increased since 1992 and sewer fees since 1996.
The city’s plan is to extend water and sewer service within three years of the election to areas that are approved for annexation.
Current connection fees are based on the size of service lines and are $250 for a three-quarter-inch line and $350 for a 1-inch line.
If there is a petition from homeowners or the city determines there is a need, sewers will be extended and the cost assessed to property owners based on city codes and state statutes in place at the time the system is extended, according to a report to the council.
If the Meadowlake Farms subdivision is annexed, the city would take over operation and maintenance of the sewage system, including gravity and force mains and the packages treatment plant, immediately after the homeowners transfer ownership to the city. Homeowners would continue to be responsible for individual lateral discharge lines and grinder pumps.
It was suggested that the city initiate a fee of $1 to $2 a month per home to cover the cost of repairing or replacing grinder pumps, however, that would require a vote of the people, it was explained.
Immediately after annexation, the city will assume responsibility and maintenance of streets that are dedicated to the city that have a minimum 40-foot-wide easements and 16-foot-wide paved surfaces. Property owners will be responsible for driveway culverts.
The city also will assume maintenance of all public roadways now maintained by the Washington Special Road District within future annexed areas.
Roads with rock surfaces and those less than 16 feet wide must be brought up to city standards at the time for the city to take over maintenance. Property owners can petition the council to improve streets but they would be assessed a portion of the cost.
Property owners would not be required to install curbs and gutters on streets that don’t have them, but they could petition the city to install them and would be assessed a percentage of the cost, it was explained.
By ordinance all city residents are required to utilize the city’s refuse collection services. However, a state law prohibits the city from offering local refuse service for two years after annexation. The city is required to notify private service providers two years prior to beginning service.