Did Ankeny Act in an Unethical Manner in the Otter Creek & Cattle Co./ Kim Reuter Co. Annexation?

Recently conditional transitional tax benefits were verbally offered by city staff to two property owners in the annexation area, first to Donald L. Thomas Jr. and later to Edna M. Todd. The benefits were not offered in written form and were not offered at the same time to all parties involved in the annexation.  No mention of council approval of these benefits can be found in city council minutes posted on the City of Ankeny website. It is unknown if these benefits were offered to all parties or petitioners involved in the annexation. Iowa code clearly indicates that transitional tax benefits are to be authorized by city council. The inconsistent, undocumented and untimely offering of transitional tax benefits that were conditional on signing of a voluntary petition have tainted the annexation process.


Prior Law

The city council could be selective in determining which properties to exempt from city taxes in an annexation area during the transition period.

New Provisions

If the city council elects to provide an exemption from city taxes in an annexation area, all property in the annexed area must receive the exemption during the transition period.

Sections Amended

Section 5 of House File 2794 amends section 368.11, subsection 3, paragraph m, Code Supplement 2005.

Effective DateJuly 1, 2006.
06 HF 2794-D

It seems as though the legislature was attempting to prevent coercive methods from being used in annexation proceedings when it recently amended Iowa law to prevent the granting of conditional transitional tax benefits.

There appears to be no record of council approval of the offering of transitional tax benefits. City of Ankeny officials appear to have acted in an unethical and unprofessional manner. Donald L. Thomas Jr. stated to Edna Todd that he felt coerced into signing a petition for voluntary annexation due to the threat of having to pay a large lump sum special assessment, which he could not afford. Iowa law was recently changed to prevent the coercive use of conditional tax benefits during the annexation process.

Here of some questions the should respond to:

a) Did the city council approve the offering of transitional tax benefits for the annexation or did staff proceed without approval? Where is evidence of approval by council?

b) Why were the non-conditional tax benefits not offered in writing?

c) Why were the non-conditional tax benefits offered first to Donald Thomas? Later they were offered to Edna Todd less than a week before the final vote by council on annexation.

d) Why were the transitional tax benefits initially offered (the first offer made by city staff) to Donald Thomas conditional on Donald Thomas signing a petition? This is not allowed according to Iowa law.

e) Were all parties or petitioners of the annexation offered the non-conditional transitional tax benefits? Without written offers how can this be determined?

f)  Why were additional benefits (hookup fees) only offered if the voluntary petition was signed. Iowa code only grants offering of transitional tax benefits. What section of code authorizes the granting of other conditional benefits based on petition status during an annexation proceeding?

Finally, the City of Ankeny did not even have ordinances in force for the class of airport that currently exists on the Todd’s Flying Service Inc. property at the time of annexation. Why did the city annex a class of property without having any zoning ordinances that applied to the property.  At best, this is an example of poor city planning.  If the city passes a new ordinance that is more restrictive later, the airport might have to close down. This will deprive the area of a much needed resource. Todd’s Flying Service Inc. performs a much needed service to Polk county area farmers. Todd’s Flying Service sprayed 62,000 acres in 2006.

Email Carl Metzger at cmetzger@ci.ankeny.ia.us

City Hall
410 W 1st St
Ankeny, IA 50023
(515) 965-6407 fax: (515) 965-6412