Lincoln City sending out more 60 day notices to Roads End residents on water shut offs if annexation approval fails
The battle between Lincoln City City Hall and a number of Roads End residents continues, but it appears to be just barely visible on the radar, giving outside observers pause to wonder what else is going on below the surface.
The recently re-formed Roads End Water District Board asked for a meeting between themselves and city manager Dave Hawker and Mayor Dick Anderson. They said it was urgent. At this week’s meeting of the Lincoln City City Council Hawker and Mayor Anderson reported to the public that they met with the Roads End Board. They said the meeting was “cordial and that the board wanted to talk about water.” Hawker said by the end of the meeting, nothing had changed. A number of weeks ago a board member was heard to say that the water board was considering asking the city to sell them water since the city already serves the entire Roads End area. Again, Hawker and Mayor Anderson didn’t get into the details of what was said at the meeting other than to say, they discussed water, adding that a request was made by Mayor Anderson that the board put their concerns in writing. Anderson said he’s heard nothing from them.
Hawker then announced to the council that he sent out 31 more 60 day notices to Roads End property owners last week, and that there will be an average of 20 a week sent out over the next few weeks. Hawker has hinted that they’re close to getting enough signed documents, by enough property owners, to make the annexation a done deal in the near future.
It is an expectation by many that whenever the city attempts to file the annexation action, there will be a lawsuit filed by some Roads End residents seeking to stop it. Hawker and several city councils have maintained that Roads End receives city services at a county tax rate which is unfair to Lincoln City residents who pay a city rate. Over the years of “back and forth” on the issue it’s been claimed that the city extended water service into the Roads End area years ago when it was determined that the area’s wells were giving out. To begin receiving water from Lincoln City, then Roads End “leaders” made it clear that the area would eventually have to annex into the city because without city water their properties would become uninhabitable. On that promise, the city extended millions of dollars in water improvements into Roads End. But lately, a number of Roads End residents have become bound and determined to fight annexation. Hawker says state law gives Lincoln City full authority to cut water off to Roads End if it comes to that.
Hawker and various city councils have contended that although Roads End residents pay twice as much for water as their counterparts within the city, two times the water bill still doesn’t cover all the costs of providing high quality water to Roads End. Hawker also points out that Roads End residents receive frequent Lincoln City Police protection when emergency calls come in and a sheriff’s deputy or Oregon State Police officer are not readily available. Hawker also contends that hundreds of thousands of dollars of tourism promotion advertising by Lincoln City also benefits Roads End because of the huge portion of the Vacation Rental Dwellings that make up the Roads End area. And that Roads End residents have full access to the city community center, parks, recreation programs and other city amenities and yet are not paying for them.
Hawker also points out that the Lincoln County Commission, which is in charge of providing what services they can to Roads End, have already gone on record as encouraging Roads End residents to annex into Lincoln City. The commissioners said because the county cannot afford to provide consistent urban level services that Roads End residents need, especially law enforcement, annexation is the preferred alternative.
Many Roads End residents say annexation would dramatically increase their property taxes to unjustifiable levels. They claim their impact to the cost of Lincoln City services is not great enough to justify annexation. The state approved urban growth boundary shows Roads End clearly within it, and thereby considered, by state law, to eventually become part of Lincoln City.
The 60 day letters continue to go out. Hawker says they all state that the city intends to annex Roads End and that property owners face permanent water cutoff unless they sign a letter to agree to be annexed voluntarily into the city.