Of about 170 Washington residents who have turned in their annexation survey from the city, 60 percent are in favor of taking the annexation issue to voters, according to Jim Briggs, city administrator.
The city council discussed the annexation study, as well as holding a workshop on the proposed annexation of land west of the city limits.
The survey, which was sent with residential utility bills, asks the question: “Should the city council proceed with submitting the annexation plan to the voters of Washington?”
There are spaces to check “yes” or “no” to that question as well as a space for comments. A map of the city with the proposed annexation areas also was included.
The survey can be returned to city hall at 405 Jefferson St. or it can be dropped off at the library or placed in the drop box at the library entrance.
The number turned in only accounts for a small part of those sent out.
About 5,700 surveys were sent out Nov. 15. Residents were asked to complete and return them by Saturday, Dec. 15.
The annexation area west of the Washington city limits includes a large tract of ground north of Westlink Industrial Drive and south of West Main Street, a small parcel along the south side of Bluff Road just west of Heidmann Industrial Park and pockets of property north of Highway 100 surrounded by land that’s in the city limits as well as Highway 100 right of way along stretches outside the city limits.
Darren Lamb, director of economic development, noted that there was nothing new to introduce. In October, the council removed Betsy Lane from the map.
During the meeting, Connie Groff, councilwoman, asked what the benefits of annexation are for residents of Washington.
Briggs highlighted benefits of annexation.
“The city of Washington provides an enormous amount of services that people outside of the city limits get to use at no additional cost.”
Briggs said that the city has no control on services and can’t plan for how development will occur outside city limits.
“If a city isn’t growing, it’s usually dying. (Annexation) provides the city the ability to plan growth and development,” he said.
Briggs also reminded people that annexation does not mean that farmers can’t continue to farm or use their property in the same manner they were before annexation.
Groff brought up a small parcel to be considered for inclusion in the map to make the area contiguous. The parcel is part of right of way that the state purchased for improvements to Highway KK at Highway 100.
Council members also brought up the issue of selling fireworks and shooting firearms on land that was previously outside the city limits, but would be within city limits if the annexation plan were passed.
An ordinance will be drafted to allow the shooting of firearms, with certain restrictions. The council also agreed to check into what could be done about selling fireworks seasonally within city limits since they are not allowed to be discharged in city limits.
“There are municipalities throughout the state that allow the sale of fireworks within their city limits. For Washington not to allow it, and inconvenience those entrepreneurs from attempting to turn a dime on a product that is sold 100 feet from the city limits, I think is kind of goofy,” said Tim Brinker, councilman. “To be more open-minded, I don’t think would hurt or be detrimental to the community.”
In October, council members agreed to discuss each annexation area separately.
The committee will discuss the east area Jan. 28, 2013; and the south area Feb. 25, 2013. There will be no discussion in December.