Minnesota Planning officials will arrive in Brainerd on Monday to open their case in the annexation dispute between Brainerd and Baxter.
The meeting will be at 9 a.m. at the County Social Services Building in meeting room 1.
Christine Scotillo, executive director of Municipal Boundary Adjustments for Minnesota Planning, will open the hearing record for both Brainerd's and Baxter's cases. Minnesota Planning will have one year in which to make a decision.
At the meeting Scotillo will read jurisdiction documents into the record and ask the parties involved to identify themselves.
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The formal portion of the meeting will only take about 20 minutes, Scotillo said, but she will also be on hand to answer questions.
Although Minnesota Planning has stepped in, Scotillo said the hearing will be continued indefinitely until the middle of July to allow Baxter and Brainerd their allotted time to see if an agreement or impasse is reached.
"There will be no evidence or testimony taken (at Monday's meeting)," she said. "They're given the opportunity to come to an agreement."
That opportunity is part of a mandate from Dean Barkley, director of Minnesota Planning. By statute, Baxter and Brainerd have to meet three times to see if a compromise can be reached in the contested cases.
At issue are 1,835 acres Brainerd wants to annex and 560 acres Baxter wants to annex in Unorganized Territory. Both cities sent resolutions for those parcels of land, which overlap each other, to Minnesota Planning in May.
If Brainerd and Baxter don't come to an agreement by mid-July, Minnesota Planning will assign an arbitrator -- from either within Minnesota Planning or an outside party -- to decide where the boundary between both cities will be located.
The arbitrator will look at 14 annexation factors and decision standards to determine which city best provides services to the contested area or if the area would be better off not being part of either city. Though Baxter's and Brainerd's cases may be heard together, separate decisions will be made for each.
The arbitrator can make any number of decisions concerning the cases. The arbitrator could approve or deny either city's petition, divide the contested area between the cities or leave the contested area out of both cities.
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