The city of Washington is being deliberate in its annexation approach. The Planning and Zoning Commission is performing due diligence in its study and arriving at recommendations.
Annexation is never an easy process and it requires foresight and consideration of property owners’ concerns. An attempt is being made to answer questions and to provide reasons for conclusions reached. The public and property owners are being given their day in public meetings and hearings to come.
The main reason for a city to propose annexation is to provide for orderly growth in the future. It must, in a reasonable time, be prepared to provide municipal services. That is one of the chief considerations. It is part of the planning process.
There are many advantages of being in an incorporated community. In most instances, it enhances property values because of what a city has to offer. Of major value is protection by the municipal police force and fire department. Some of these services already are available in the areas to be annexed, such as fire protection, but other areas generally aren’t served as well as in a city. Insurance rates can be less because of municipal services. A city zoning code offers more protection than what the county has, and that can be a property value enhancer. Superior water, sewer and refuse collection services generally are better and cheaper in a city than in an unincorporated area.
There usually is some opposition because of city property taxes. In the long run, because of the value added by being in a city, taxes are offset by that gain. That’s difficult for some people to accept, but it’s true in most cases.
Annexation can be emotional. That’s understood. All the city can do is to be forthright in its dealings with property owners and to try to reason with opponents, who also should treat city officials with an open mind.
Annexation is especially important to Washington. It’s been years since the city has added to its limits in a major annexation. The city has fallen behind in this respect and there is a shortfall in land available for development to serve growth. Developers usually want to be in the municipal limits.
The city of Washington has excellent services at affordable costs. If the big picture is brought into focus, there are more advantages to being annexed than to remain in an unincorporated area.