Opinion: Merger concerns, water under bridge

For several years the majority of Hassan residents attending town meetings (annual and otherwise) have been against an early annexation, which involved no independent due-diligence to understand how residents would really be affected. Because certain board members insisted on the early annexation regardless of the resident impact, the annexation was pushed forward. They did not care or did not know local taxes in Rogers were going to be higher by 50 to 80 percent than in Hassan. These supervisors only heard that taxes would be nearly the same at the time of annexation and any TIF expirations would result in significant property tax reductions to Rogers’ residents.
Of course, neither is true. Questionable decisions on what projects to allocate funding have caused Rogers to be near the top per capita property taxes in the state of Minnesota. Near the most egregious expense is a police department that chews up nearly 40 percent of the city budget. It is good to be protected but there are cheaper ways to handle this budget item.
The bottom line for me is — excluding economic concerns — I have no reason to be against annexation with Rogers and at this point would vote to complete the transaction as currently outlined and leave the economic concerns for another day. — Jim Kelley, Hassan Township (Editor’s note: Kelley is a Hassan Township supervisor.)

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