BLACKFOOT – When it comes to taxes and annexation points of view are generally polarized, either one is in favor or against with little to no middle ground. Blackfoot's treasurer Holly Powell presented information on Tuesday that could pose serious implications that may affect future growth plans for Blackfoot.
With House Bill 154 attempting to make changes as to how state sales tax distributions are allocated, if the desired changes listed in the legislation are approved in both the House and the Senate, then Blackfoot risks losing upward of $100,000 in state tax revenue. Furthermore, alongside this proposed bill, the state passed a law allowing items sold on the internet to be taxed in Idaho, allowing for new avenues of funds to be employed. With these changes, even with more tax revenue coming into the state, Blackfoot risks losing important funds to cities growing at faster rates.
Adding to the difficulty of Blackfoot's future growth is House Bill 25, which passed both the House and Senate with zero nay votes. House Bill 25 amends the existing laws to provide requirement regarding the annexation of certain agricultural land. Specifically, any piece of land, five acres or larger, will require written affirmation of intent to participate in the city even if the property is surrounded by land already annexed. The saying third time is the charm rang true here, as it took three different iterations of the bill before the House and Senate reached agreement on the literature.
Senator Steve Bair, Representatives Neil Anderson, and Julianne Young all voted in favor of House Bill 25, changing how annexation processes will be handled going forward.
In the bill, it explicitly states that annexation needs to be in-line with the city's comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan is to be a guide for deciding future annexations, zones, and plans for areas that are anticipated to see exponential growth. The plan involves the future land use map, which is descriptive, however, not regulatory, according to Kurt Hibbert, city planning and zoning coordinator.