Expansion into Wilson Township has been the talk around Winona City Hall for years, and annexation of Homer Township might be up next. Western parts of Homer Township are marked for annexation in city plans for growth, and the city has already made an initial investment in pipes to serve the area.
The city is planning for the possible acquisition of neighborhoods such as Valley View Estates in Pleasant Valley, where the Wilson-Homer line runs right through the neighborhood. The Wilson segments of those neighborhoods are part of the 2005 Orderly Annexation Agreement between the city and Wilson Township, though Wilson landowners there have not requested annexation yet. Existing city sewer and water lines serve nearby areas of Wilson Township. City staff said that annexation is a possibility and that the water and sewer lines already built in that area were designed to serve those parts of Homer, as well.
If residents request annexation, there are limited grounds on which the township could protest. A relatively simple City Council decision could make it all happen.
Both the city and Homer Township said there have been no talks of annexation at this point.
In general, residents do not support annexation, said Homer Township Supervisor Ted Haaland, but "if there is an area that's bisected [by the township line] and part of it is annexed, my guess is that other residents might be inclined to go along with that."
Township Supervisor Bruce Harem also thought Homer residents were averse to annexation. "We are content," he said.
Owners of large parcels of agricultural land, on the other hand, might be willing to join the city, Haaland speculated.
"There is a push by certain parties to get out of the township business," Haaland continued. "I think that would be real loss. Township government is really the most elemental, grass roots government that we have in the state. So I would be disinclined to see annexation spreading out beyond where it is now."