The Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee on Monday became the latest group to support the city’s annexation plan which will go to voters in August.
After remarking that annexation is “critical” to future transportation improvements in Washington, Ray Frankenberg II, committee member, made the motion to endorse the city’s plan.
The committee unanimously approved the motion.
The vote came after Mayor Sandy Lucy gave a presentation on the plan of intent which has been shown to various groups and organizations in an effort to generate support.
“Now, we need you to be ambassadors for the annexation plan,” Lucy told committee members.
“This is a manageable, modest plan,” Lucy said, noting that it involves taking in less than 500 acres and that the city can easily provide services to those areas.
The transportation group is the latest organization to voice support for the plan.
Other groups that previously endorsed annexation are the Washington Fire Department, the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Civic Industrial Corporation and the 353 Washington Redevelopment Corporation.
Lucy said signs encouraging citizens to vote in favor of the plan will be going up this week.
While the city can’t use tax dollars to promote the issue, private funds have been secured for the campaign, she said.
Lucy told the group Monday that there still are misconceptions about the scope of the plan.
For example, she said she’s heard people say they think that the plan reaches all the way out to the east to take in property owned by the Washington School District at Highway 100 and St. John’s Road, which is not true.
In fact, the eastern area proposed for annexation is about 35 acres and includes a portion of South Point Road right of way and several lots along the west side of the road.
Washington city voters will actually vote on eight distinct areas when they go to the polls Aug. 5.
There will be five separate ballots for the west area, which covers approximately 131 acres in separate parcels and tracts along Highway 100 and Westlink Industrial Drive.
There are two separate ballots for the east area and a single ballot for the south area which covers approximately 294 acres south of Route 100, west of Highway A and east of Pottery Road.
Voters living in the annexation areas will only vote on their specific area.
Bernie Hillermann, committee member, said he feels that voting on eight separate areas will be confusing for city voters.
“There will be maps at the polling places, but you’re right, it will be an education thing,” Lucy replied.
By law, if each annexation area receives a simple majority vote, the annexation is approved. If, however, a measure passes in the city but fails in the annexation area, the city must hold a second election.
In the second election, the votes are combined and a two-thirds majority is needed for annexation to pass.
Lucy has said that she’s willing to make the presentation to any group that’s interested and that she plans to keep talking up the need for annexation to prepare for future growth that lies ahead.
She also said that there is a fairness component to the plan because city taxpayers now subsidize many of the services that citizens in the outlying area enjoy like the parks system and fire protection.
The presentation includes a comparison of the average tax payments people pay for fire protection. In Washington, that average annual amount is $111. Residents just outside the city can join the Washington Rural Fire Association which charges annual dues of $40.
But the resources of the Washington Fire Department are employed to fight fires in the rural association area.