Annexation Task Force Meets

Many residents are against annexing into the city of Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Many who live on the outskirts of Sioux Falls left a public meeting angry Tuesday.

They’re finding out changes could be coming to their neighborhoods, whether they agree with them or not.

The city is looking to absorb nearly 60 small areas that are on the edge of city limits.

This means neighborhoods like Split Rock Heights, Prairie Meadows and Pine Lake Hills may soon be required to have sidewalks and tap into the city’s water and sewage systems.

Hundreds packed into the downtown library for the city’s first annexation task force meeting where city officials broke down the reasons for potential annexation.

“We need a comprehensive plan and we need to think forward and we need to adjust so that the city grows bigger and better rather than just bigger,” says Danny Brown the assistant city attorney.

But not everyone is on board.

“I think the system stinks,” says Paul Klein, who lives in Split Rock Heights. “We live in a nice neighborhood and they want to take it over.”

“I don’t need anything more,” adds Phil Surr of Skyline Heights. “I don’t need sidewalks, and I’ve got the running water already that I pay for.”

Many residents say they’re against annexation.

One big reason comes down to keeping the integrity of their neighborhood.

“We have very private non through roads and I think we’re hoping to preserve the private quiet roads,” says Brian Downs who lives in Pine Lake Hills.

Another is the increase in taxes annexation could bring.

“They’re just doing this to get more money in their pocket and away from us,” says Klein.

But Councilor Rex Rolfing says those dollars are vital to provide city services.

“The main thing that it always comes down to is dollars,” says Rolfing. “Who’s going to pay for the infrastructure? I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t want curb and gutter, nice streets, sewer, water and street lights, but nobody wants to pay for it.”

He says all of the areas up for annexation are either fully or three fourths surrounded by city boundaries, so they should comply with the properties around them.

“People are walking through your neighborhood because the city has grown up around you, and now they’re having to walk in a ditch or in a street and traffic is going by,” says Rolfing. “We’re looking at a pretty big public safety issue at that point, so that’s why we look at those.”

The task force was created to make recommendations on where and how annexations should take place based on the input they gather from these meetings.

If the city wants to go through a city-initiated annexation, they would first have to conduct an extensive survey proving why it is needed.

The decision then would be up to city council.

The city says homeowners can also file a petition to start the process of annexing their neighborhood.

That option could give residents more time to comply with city ordinances.

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