At the May 22nd City Council meeting, the decision was made to eliminate the special benefits annexation “tool” that had been in effect since 1999. According to staff the purpose of the Exceptional Benefits document was to provide general guidance to an applicant and the community about what City Council might consider as exceptional benefits to the community when considering an annexation application.
A majority of those serving on Council now, however, said the Exception Benefit document had been used as a rationale to avoid annexations. Council member Gabe Santos said that he believed it had given Longmont a negative reputation as an anti-growth town. Council member Bonnie Finley said it was elitist. Only Sarah Levison supported the continued use of the tool in evaluating annexations and she argued in favor of revising it. In the end the Council voted 6-1 with Levison dissenting to discontinue the use of the Exceptional Benefit document, a decision that may seem unimportant but in reality illustrates a philosophical shift brought on by a Council that now has a majority of members that are pro-business and economic growth.