Whitefish plan for annexation is unfair

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My name is Ben Cavin. I live in the Houston Lakeshore Tract, formerly part of the famous Whitefish doughnut whose zoning case was ultimately resolved against the city of Whitefish by the Montana Supreme Court.

The city of Whitefish in a resolution dated Sept 18, 2017, now indicates it intends to “consider” annexing me to the city along with 48 other properties. In my case alone, if annexed, I will have to pay approximately another $2,000 per year in taxes and the city will receive an additional $5,000 per year revenue and for what?

So what does the city have to do to get all this additional revenue? It has to have a “plan” (which I understand they have had for years) and the city doesn’t even ever have to implement this “plan.” And as far as we residents know, the city has no plans to ever implement their “plan” — which “plan” they have not provided to me and my 48 neighbors. Grossly unfair!

The Montana Code itself recognizes the unfairness of this situation. See Montana Code Sections 7-2-4702 & 4703, which among many other important things, say:

“current annexation laws … are in many cases discriminatory…”

Obviously, a violation of “equal protection under the law” under the U.S. Constitution.

Since the Montana Code itself recognizes there is unfairness in its own terms, the Montana Legislature clearly needs to get the Code corrected — not just identify there is a dichotomy in their own law.

To be clear, the city relies on Code 7-2-4506 which says all the city needs is a “plan.”

As chairman of Houston Lakeshore Tract Owners Against Annexation I have recently interviewed many of my neighbors. Not one supports annexation. What I find is that annexation will bring severe enmity against the city by many of those neighbors.

Thus annexing my neighbors and me is patently unfair, and I hope this letter helps Whitefish reconsider its position.

Benton C. Cavin, Whitefish, chairman, Houston Lakeshore Tract Owners Against Annexation.

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