Mandan News

Letter to the Editor: Feeling forced into something unwanted and unneeded

Our grandfather gave this land to our father. Our father split the land and gave some to each of us, and now we are the third generation of Zachmeiers to live here and we want to stay.
We are self-sufficient, hardworking people. We’ve lived at our home on this prairie for more than 50 years. We planted every one of our trees by hand as there weren’t any trees on the land.
We have our own septic system and drainage field which we paid to have put in and have paid to maintain and pump when needed.
We compare prices and pick the garbage company and pay for our own trash to be hauled. We have an original well for water and chose not to hook up to rural or city water.
We granted easements allowing the refinery pipeline to go through our land.
We are extremely satisfied with Morton County services, including the rural fire and sheriff’s departments.
Now that we are enjoying the fruits of our hard work, the city of Mandan wants to take it away from us.
We are retired and on fixed incomes and our disabled son lives with us. We don’tdrive fancy new cars or live in brand-new homes. With rising prices and high health and dental costs, we don’t have extra money for family outings — how do you expect us to pay special assessments and 25 percent more in annual property taxes?
Our property is “plotted” land — not “lotted” land. It was never surveyed to have streets. We paid to build and maintain our own roads.
It took 50 years to get where we are with no help from the city or county. We paid as we could afford it: a lesson you people should think seriously about.
We chose and love country living. We enjoy the wildlife, especially the pheasants and deer. The administrative judge who ruled against annexation a few years ago saw that we are a retirement area and that the quality of life and wildlife would be adversely impacted if our lands were annexed.
I feel the city has no right to force us into something we don’t need and want. We already are residents of the county and pay our fair share for roads, bridges, schools and emergency services. There is nothing we need from the city of Mandan as we have been 100 percent self-sufficient for the past 50 years. But now after a second failed attempt, the Mandan city commissioners are trying everything they can to annex our property and take every last penny we have.
It seems like the city of Mandan hands out two-year tax exemptions like free passes and then expects the local property owners to foot the bill again and again. Shame on you. You are servants of the people, not lord of all.
– ED AND JANICE ZACHMEIER, Mandan