To The Editor:
Several weeks ago I wrote to the editor and indicated that as a new resident in one of the proposed annexation areas, I approached the annexation issue with an open mind. I detailed a number of concerns I had with the plan of intent but that I could be swayed by a compelling argument. Unfortunately, at this point, I have not heard the argument that would influence me to vote for the annexation.
In the lead editorial of the July 2, 2014, Washington Missourian (“What is the Reason for Opposition?”), the editor asked the reasons for opposition.
First and foremost, this annexation represents an increasing interference in the lives of residents that we have been accustomed to think of as our domain. We built and paid for our own streets, our own sewer system, and contracted for our own water supply system. We are quite happy with those amenities and do not see any measurable improvement to be gained by having the city take them over. Police protection is provided by Franklin County and fire protection is provided by a mutual aid agreement between the city fire department and the rural fire district. Again, these are sufficient to our needs.
Second, we will be required to pay significantly higher taxes and fees to acquire those same services from the city. The editor opines that “the taxes would be small for most of the property owners” and his point may be correct, as far as it goes.
However, the point he misses is that every taxing authority from the federal level to the local level thinks the same thing. How many times have you heard the argument that “we are only asking the citizens to pay a little more?” The problem is how they define “a little bit more” and which “citizens” are expected to pay it. For President Obama, it is everyone making more than $250,000; for the state of Missouri, it’s everyone paying three-fourths of a cent increase in sales tax to support transportation; for the city of Washington, it is anyone living in the unincorporated areas whether they are living on fixed incomes or not! What you have here is a lack of understanding, by politicians at all levels, that the American people are fed up with being nickel and dimed to death for more and more taxes to pay for more and bigger government that is increasingly incapable of delivering on the promises that the politicians make (think health care). So for me, it’s all about the taxes!
But the thing that really pushed this new resident over the edge of this issue is the way the city, in an effort to gain influence with city voters, has polarized the discussion by implying that I am a “freeloader” because I have the audacity to shop in the city and go to church in the city. There are several arguments you might have made to positively influence me, Washington. Freeloader isn’t one of them!
And finally, whether you choose to call it “forced” annexation or “involuntary” annexation, the end result is still the same. One hundred fifty years ago “involuntary” servitude was the “politically correct” phrase for slavery.