The city of Washington, through its planning and zoning commission, is deeply engrossed in an annexation study. Members of the commission and other municipal officials are making progress on a plan that reflects what areas should be part of the city and what is practical in extending services in a reasonable time frame.

There never is complete agreement on annexation plans. It is impossible to please everybody. But for orderly growth annexation is necessary. Opponents often label any annexation as a land grab to enhance the city’s taxes, but too often they miss the point of the many advantages of being in a municipality. The one point often missed is that being in an incorporated area, property values increase because of the services available. Washington provides excellent services at reasonable rates.

The fire and police protection available is unmatched over a wide area. Living near the hospital and the availability of other medical services in the city is a major plus. The same can be said of educational opportunities. Our recreational facilities are outstanding. Water and sewer services are excellent. Washington is a shopping center. The advantages go on and on.

Now we know these living conditions also are available to residents just outside the city, but some of the services where they reside do not match what is in the incorporated limits.

Nonresidents have told us if they were living in Washington some of the services they now pay for would be cheaper.

If Washington is to grow and prosper, there must be space available for developments — residential, commercial and industrial. Usually, a developer wants municipal services. They want to be in the city.

The planning and zoning commission is going about its study in a careful, even cautious manner. The members are considering all factors. What is lacking is strong populur interest for this undertaking. The need must be emphasized. And, yes, strong leadership is a must.

Residents and nonresidents must realize annexation is important to the future of the city, property values, both in and out of the corporate limits, and the general well-being of the immediate Washington area.