Annexation of Walmart would help lower lighting cost
Allowing Walmart into the Willows Lighting and Landscaping Assessment District could mean lower payments for Birch Street Village property owners.
The Willows City Council has started the process to annex the parcel on W. Wood Street that has five new street lights and the new Airport Road traffic signal, which resulted from Walmart expanding its store to a super center.
The city shares half the cost to maintain the lights and traffic signal with Caltrans, said City Manager Steve Holsinger, but Walmart, not the city, maintains the small portion of landscaping within the public right-of-way.
The proceedings to annex the property are typically spread out over three City Council meetings, but Birch Street Village homeowners will have the ultimate say — under Proposition 218 — if they want Walmart in the assessment district to help pay for the costs of maintenance.
"I hope the voters say yes," Holsinger said. "If they vote no, they will have to pay for and maintain them."
The city estimates total revenue collected from new Zone B will be about $4,500. The city collects $7,150 from Zone A, the Birch Street Village.
The money raised is used to repair, remove or replace lights or any other allowable maintenance in the two zones.
"No matter how big a road we get, something is always going to get hit," said Willows City Councilman Jim Yoder.
The City Council recently accepted the engineer's report authorizing the annexation and levying of assessment.
The city proposes to levy $210.32 in taxes from the 34 property owners in the district in 2012-2013, down from $258 last year.
The next step, Holsinger said, will be to schedule a public meeting - not a City Council meeting — and a public protest hearing, before setting a date for ballots to be mailed.
The ballot, asking property owners if they want Walmart annexed into the district, will be a yes or no question, Holsinger said.