Williston City Limits Set to Expand by Over 50 Percent | VideoEvan Kruegel | 12/4/2012
"When we put it all together, it comes out to about 4,950 acres", Said Williston Mayor Ward Koeser.
That amount of land would increase the total size of the city from 12 and a half square miles, to just over 20 square miles.
"In some cases we wish we could have done this 3 or 4 years ago, because you have these little strip-annexations where people had to be annexed to do a development, and now that will be gone, so this will give us room to grow for a number of years”, Said Koeser.
The strip-annexations Koeser speaks of are areas well outside main city limits that are in city jurisdiction, most notable the bakken industrial park. These annexations force a jump from city land to county land, and then back to city, placing a strain on emergency personnel in the area.
"Right now there`s some confusion in some areas on whose responsible for a particular road, this will clear that all up"
The annexations would also create more of a square-shaped city, allowing infrastructure additions like water and sewer to be accurately placed. City water rates are much lower than the township rates, but property taxes are much higher in the city.
“We`ve done the analysis, and the break even point is if you have property valued at about 275,000 dollars or less, it will cost you less money in taxes and water to be in the city. If it`s over 275,000, you`ll probably pay a little bit more in property tax”, Said Finance Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl.
School districts would remain the same, as they are set by the state, and anyone annexed into the city would be grand-fathered in, allowing farmers to keep horses or other livestock usually banned within city limits. The plan has been in the works for quite some time, and barring significant objections, it could come to fruition within half a year.