At a meeting held last Tuesday at the Neepawa Public Library there was one message heard loud and clear by the RM of Langford's council and administration – their ratepayers do not want Neepawa's annexation of 3.78 sections of current Langford property to occur.
“We wanted to gauge the opinion of our ratepayers,” Langford CAO Allison Bardsley explained. “It was an excellent meeting and... we received a clear response.”
That clear response was annexation opposition by Langford ratepayers.
Just over 100 people were at the meeting, 62 of whom owned land in the area currently being proposed for annexation by the Town of Neepawa.
Of those, 83 in attendance signed opinion sheets on whether they were in favour of the annexation. The response was overwhelmingly direct.
“Of the people in attendance who signed opinion sheets, 100 per cent
objected,” Bardsley noted.
The RM of Langford's council was already openly opposed to the proposed annexation. Following the meeting and feedback received, the council will continue with that opinion.
The annexation issue arose following the RM of Langford's announcement that it plans to amalgamate with the RM of North Cypress.
The Town of Neepawa noted in public notices that it felt Langford should have amalgamated with Neepawa, as it would be in both's best interests. Langford disagreed with that belief, pointing out several issues with that type of amalgamation, including the fact the Town and RM councils regularly deal with very different issues.
Resultantly, the Town of Neepawa decided to propose the annexation of 2.78 sections of land west of Neepawa, currently under Langford's jurisdiction. They've since added another section of land, around Lake Irwin, to the proposed annexation area.
Neepawa has cited its reasons for doing so as securing land for the community's future growth. Langford has referred to the tactic as a form of political “intimidation”.
The RM of Langford is comprised of 210.58 sections, and the area proposed for annexation would take up 3.78 acres of that – about 1.8 per cent of its total land area.
However, the proposed annexation area's total assessment is valued at about $10.4 million, equivalent to 18.77 per cent of Langford's total assessment of about $55.4 million.
A release from the RM noted, if the proposed annexation is passed, those owning land in that area would see an estimated increase in municipal taxes of about 70 per cent as a result of coming under Neepawa's jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, those in Langford would see a resultant increase of about 20 per cent in their municipal taxes as a result of the tax base lost through that property.
The press release also noted that, “Neepawa has a large amount of undeveloped and unserviced land within its current town limits” for potential growth opportunities.
The annexation process can take anywhere from one year, to several years, if there is significant opposition. The proposed annexation could also be denied.
The annexation process goes through the Municipal Board.
The land being considered under the proposed annexation of 3.78 sections in Langford is:
-18.77% of Langford's total assessment
-1.8% of Langford's total area
-Assessed at about $10.4 million
-Equal in size to 75% of Neepawa's total area
“Of the people in attendance who signed opinion sheets, 100 per cent objected.” - Langford CAO Allison Bardsley