The Roads End Water District is asking to meet with the Lincoln City City Council to arrange continued water service to the area just beyond the northern city limits. A number of Roads End residents have been struggling to derail the city’s annexation plans that have been gaining substantial momentum of late; the city said to be close to getting enough signatures from property owners to make the annexation complete. Lincoln City City Councilors and the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners have both cited many reasons that the Roads End area should annex into Lincoln City in that it’s a thoroughly urbanized area and already enjoys urban services in terms of defacto police protection, library, community center, tourism promotion and others, all heavily subsidized by Lincoln City taxpayers. But many Roads End residents say there is little truth in any of those claims and that Lincoln City is trying to gobble up Roads End to fleece them for higher property taxes.
The story goes back to the 1970’s when Roads End needed to replace a faltering water supply. When Lincoln City saved them by providing water, the then residents and the water district they formed promised the city they’d annex in…eventually. Well, thirty years later they’re still getting water from the city, admittedly at twice the rate city residents pay, but still no annexation.
City Manager David Hawker says under state law, Lincoln City is under no legal obligation to provide water service to the Roads End area and that the city is legally empowered to shut off their water. That’s what the city has threatened to do on several occasions if the Roads End area refuses to join the city.
The letter from the Roads End Water District (which has no water supply nor any delivery system in place) Monday evening called on the city council to meet with them to arrange continued water service. The city council is sending a letter back to the water district saying that City Manager David Hawker and Mayor Dick Anderson would be happy to meet with water district board members to see what they have to say. But Hawker, Anderson and the rest of the council stated that they have every intention to proceed with the annexation process. They claim it’s something that is decades overdue.
If enough Roads End property owners take the city up on annexation in return for not having their water shut off, the annexation would be automatic. However, when asked whether he thought that a group of Roads End residents might try to stop the annexation through the courts, Mayor Anderson said, “I hope not, but it wouldn’t surprise me. ” Hawker has said in the past that the city is on extremely solid legal footing in pushing for the annexation and that provisions in state law clearly authorize such actions when urban areas (within urban growth boundaries) are asked to annex in.
Meanwhile the city council passed a resolution Monday night that lays out what would happen to Roads End’s water status after they are annexed into the city. Responding to rumors that Roads End residents would become second class water customers, and have their water cut off during droughts or other supply emergencies, the council declared that the Roads End area would be treated the same as any other Lincoln City water customer. No more, no less. Hawker says that Roads End users would receive the same quality water service, but at half the price since they would be joining the Lincoln City family of water customers and as regular city taxpayers. After annexation, although Roads End residents would see their water bills cut in half, their property taxes would rise substantially.