Meridian City Council discussed freezing all annexations for several weeks, just days following the introduction of Senate Bill 1108, a property tax bill.
However, small infill developments or an annexation under five acres would be exempt from the pause. Ultimately, the council has decided to let people continue to apply, schedule hearings, and move projects forward the best they can.
Meridian City Council President Treg Bernt spoke to the council about the letter the City of Meridian sent the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee that opposed the bill. Other leaders and mayors from around the Treasure Valley also opposed SB 1108.
“Senate Bill 1108 will substantially impact our service levels and limit our ability to keep up with growth needs,” he said. “Meridian has done well by proactively saving before we spend for critical services and large-scale projects. This type of planning has allowed us to remain a debt-free city.”
Mayor Robert Simison pointed out that when the city approves annexation, they are forming a contract with the property owner. A contract that says they will get service provided to them.
“If funding changes, and we are not able to provide the services at these levels or those levels that are future residents expect,” he said. “Is it even fair to enter into the agreements for annexation? Our residents have said that growth should pay for growth, not that growth should pay 75% of their costs and let the existing taxpayers pick up the rest of the cost. I believe if enacted, ultimately, this bill will require the city to look at growth differently. As certain types of development traditionally don’t have as much impact on our services.”
The council was looking to provide direction to staff and the development community.
Later in the meeting, council heard a presentation on the 128-acre development Prescott Ridge, on the south side of W. Chinden Boulevard and East of McDermott. The project includes a medical campus, over 300 houses, apartment units and several amenities.
But because of the uncertainty surrounding SB 1108 council unanimously voted to delay a vote on the project until April 13. Or when they have more clarity on the city’s tax collections and the bill.