It’s troubling to witness what is going on in the annexation planning process in Washington. Citizens are wondering if the plan that has been proposed will ever reach the ballot stage. And if it does, what will be left of the plan as it continues to be downsized?
The Planning and Zoning Commission did its job in studying and preparing the proposed plan. It spent months working on the plan and overall it’s a good plan — practical, not a land grab but a commonsense approach to a serious issue the city has. That issue is the city needs to extend its boundaries for its future well-being and it can’t wait on voluntary annexation.
Washington is years behind in annexation. If the city stands still with its present boundaries, healthy growth will be stymied. Take a look to the south. Union wisely extended its city limits to the east. The developments that have occurred with that annexation are impressive. Union has been able to extend municipal services to its newly annexed areas. The Union city fathers had the foresight to look to the future. The expansion that has occurred is due to that area being in the municipal limits.
Developers want municipal services. That includes residential, commercial and industrial.
Lacking in Washington is leadership in this issue. Also lacking is a positive attitude with a view to the future. To look at annexation as just another tax increase and therefor is wrong is narrow-mindedness and not representing people in the city. We have city officials who recognize the need. We have elected city officials who aren’t seeing the big picture and are ignoring the future. They need to represent the people who elected them and not residents or property owners who have land outside the city.
The Washington School District’s land to the east should be annexed. The school board should be out front in seeking annexation because eventually the district is going to build on that land. To be influenced by a single property owner, or several, near that property, is not meeting a major responsibility all elected board members have.
The community needs to come together on annexation. It’s in the best interests of people in the long run. We don’t want to become stagnant. We do a lot of things right in Washington. The city is known for its civic leadership. The city has been progressive. Annexation is one of the most important issues before the city. Understanding the importance of this issue is necessary if we are going to continue to move forward. The warning signs are there of stagnation because of negativism.