Glenwood City council tables annexation referendum, sets meeting with Vista Sand
Glenwood City residents expecting to debate the merits of an annexation referendum with their city council left Monday night's meeting disappointed and empty-handed.
An agenda item calling for discussion and possible action on consideration of holding a referendum regarding the possible annexation request of the Teigen/Crosby property barely saw the light of day. Mayor John Larson began the discussion by stating he thought any discussion of a referendum would be premature at this point since the city has not held any discussions with Vista Sand regarding a mine, and no petition for annexation has been presented to the council.
He continued to say the newly passed non-metallic mining ordinance was a necessary tool for negotiating with the mining company should such discussions take place. Council member Dave Graese agreed suggesting that any discussion of a referendum should be postponed until such time as the city is presented with an actual request for annexation.
Council member Ben DeGross questioned why wouldn't the council consider holding a referendum now to get the citizens' opinions on the issue and possibly save the city all that time and energy negotiating something the citizens would not ultimately approve.
Council member Crystal Booth suggested that the council take preemptive action and consider a motion asking for a nonbinding referendum should a petition for annexation be received by the council. The council would take no action on such a petition until a referendum could be held.
DeGross initially seconded the motion then rescinded his second. Booth's motion failed. DeGross defended his actions saying the council has had zero discussions about a mine or a referendum. He added however, "I don't just want this to go away."
He then proposed a seven-month moratorium on the issue delaying any referendum or vote until next April.
Larson responded to the suggestion of a moratorium saying, "Well I really doubt and I would be very surprised if in two weeks we had something finalized and by next month we had an annexation proposal on the table."
With that, Larson and the board then tabled any further discussion of a referendum indefinitely.
Attorney Anders Helquist speaking on behalf of Vista Sand, said, "Vista has diligently pursued workable options with the community for over 14 months and we look forward to a long-term cooperative relationship with the city and greater community. The City did a thorough job enacting an ordinance to address local concerns. The city can now exercise local control to address the city and residents specific needs and concerns. Vista is committed to being a community partner in the Glenwood area that provides long-term jobs in a safe and environmentally sound manner and we hope that opportunity become realized in the near future."
Despite Larson's skepticism, according to City Clerk Shari Rosenow a meeting between Vista Sand and the City Council has been scheduled for Sept. 16, although a start time and agenda were not available.