(WASHINGTON) - The Washington City Council, at its Monday meeting, voted six to one in favor of annexing 1,234 acres east of the city to support and control orderly, long-term growth there and capture the tax base from development along the I-69 corridor.
The Washington Times Herald reports that Councilman Blake Chambers cast the lone "no" vote and he declined to comment on his vote because he says there may be a remonstrance.
An annexation ordinance was introduced and fiscal plan approved July 23, effected property owners notified, and a public hearing held Oct. 8. Many of those property owners have been opposed to the annexation and made their thoughts known at the public hearing.
Those concerns include loss of privacy, encroachment on their properties and higher taxes.
Mayor Joe Wellman contends the benefits outweigh any costs or inconveniences to the annexed residents. Some of those benefits are lower electricity rates and homeowners insurance, full-time police and fire protection, garbage collection, road maintenance, improved sewer and water lines, as well as paved streets and streetlights if the residents so choose.
Wellman says the annexation could become effective in mid- to late February. However, before any steps can be taken to move forward with it, there is a 90-day remonstrance period during which the property owners may band together and file a lawsuit to stop the annexation.
Prior to the vote, an amendment to the annexation ordinance was approved that removed farm- and woodlands in the southeast corner of the original proposed area. Wellman explained the ground is not accessible by road and could not be developed. The remaining 1,234 acres includes all commercially zoned properties and the U.S. 50 and I-69 corridors.
Councilman Eric Bassler says he's been vocal about the city being unprepared for I-69. He said he believed not approving the annexation would only add to that.
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