Brainerd City Council member Gary Scheeler can't think of a reason why people wouldn't want to be annexed into the city of Brainerd.
Responding to a story in Tuesday's Dispatch in which residents in what was Unorganized Territory were upset over being annexed recently, Scheeler disagreed with those residents' reasons for not being in the city, especially that their taxes will be higher.
"When they say, 'Why should they (be annexed)?' I say, 'Why shouldn't they (be annexed),'" said Scheeler, pointing to what he sees as little difference between Crow Wing County taxes and Brainerd's rural service agreement, which allows for lower taxes until services are provided. "Taxes are such a minute part of it."
On March 1, 1,000 acres that used to be part of Unorganized Territory officially became part of Brainerd.
Better building codes, more city employees to work with the residents and a better insurance rating for residents within the city are some of the benefits of being annexed, Scheeler said.
"Insuring homes with first class insurance will definitely save more money" than might be lost with an increase in taxes, he said. He also said that with Brainerd's growth and expanding tax base the city's taxes are going down.
Scheeler said he is also worried about people thinking that if they fight the city, they won't be annexed. He said a lot of annexation will be happening, especially around Gilbert and Rice lakes -- areas he said the city will be annexing soon.
The 1,000 acres in Unorganized Territory was just the start because a portion of it was being contested between Brainerd and Baxter.
"I don't want a lot of negativity on this issue. I think there will be a lot of annexation that will be occurring," he said. "I'm worried about people thinking, 'If you put up a big stink we'll (Brainerd) go around you.'
"Everybody in the (Brainerd) comprehensive plan -- in a one- or two-mile radius -- could be annexed," Scheeler said. "Nobody is immune."
Scheeler said he speaks from experience, having annexed his land in east Brainerd into the city. He said, "I was the very first person that started annexation and if I saw one flaw in it I wouldn't have done it."
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