Friday, May 26, 2006

Voters OK merger of water and sewer

Carey City Council to review proposal

Express Staff Writer

Residents living in the Carey Water and Sewer District voted yes by a 63-to-31 vote Tuesday, May 23, to have the separately run taxing district merge with the city of Carey.

The issue now must go before the Carey City Council and Mayor Rick Baird during a public meeting for final consideration and possible approval.

"There's still some procedures that have to be met," Baird said Thursday, referencing recently passed Idaho state law that guides such mergers.

The Idaho Legislature approved the legislation allowing such mergers to take place in 2005. The legislation allows a water and sewer district to transfer its assets and liabilities to a city under specific guidelines.

The next step is for the Carey City Council to schedule the merger issue for discussion at one of their next monthly meetings, Baird said. That will most likely fall on the council's June 20 meeting, he said.

Baird said both he and the council thought residents of the district would think the merger was in their best interests. "We thought they would think it was a good idea," he said.

For supporters of the merger, the basic issue of whether to combine the two separate entities essentially came down to a matter of cost and time efficiency.

Unlike most municipalities, the Carey city government and the Carey Water and Sewer District both have their own engineers and attorneys at an extra cost to taxpayers within their own jurisdictions.

Supporters of the merger have also stated that the change will come as a benefit to developers who now must go before both the water and sewer district and the Carey City Council when they're proposing a particular development project.

If the merger is ultimately approved by the city, the boundaries of the smaller water and sewer district won't be changed or enlarged to match the Carey city limits.

Anyone whose property is located within the Carey city limits but is outside of the water and sewer district boundaries who wishes to become a part of the district will have to apply for annexation into the district.

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