Commission will decide on annexation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2000

County commissioners likely will approve four Upper Township landowners’ requests for annexation into Ironton.

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

County commissioners likely will approve four Upper Township landowners’ requests for annexation into Ironton.

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"We will not delay the decision," commission president Bruce Trent said Tuesday night at a meeting with those involved in the Storms Creek annexation.

"If it’s not on the agenda for this Thursday, then I anticipate it will be on the agenda for next Thursday," Trent said.

The meeting brought township trustees, city leaders, residents and a housing developer together to resolve differences in opinion about the annexation proposal’s effects.

Because the county has final say in the proposal, commissioners wanted input and wanted to prompt a dialogue between the city and trustees, Trent said.

Trustees object to the annexation because Upper Township will lose a projected $2,900 in property tax revenue when Arthur Howard Winer and Associates builds a 50-unit, income-based family housing complex in part of the 101-acre area.

That development plan prompted the annexation request because developers need utilities.

"Our need is to have water by June and sewer by September," Arthur Winer said.

Those utilities must be in place so the development qualifies for tax credits and other funding, he said.

"Sewer is without question the driving force," Winer said, adding that the city is the only entity that can provide it.

Two other landowners favor the annexation, and city leaders want to consolidate Ironton’s borders on that side of U.S. 52.

The city’s border loops around three sides of the Lawrence Street property, making it like an island, Mayor Bob Cleary said.

"Annexation would make our package complete," Cleary said.

Trustee Jerry Rowe said the township was never against annexation.

"We’re against losing our revenue," Rowe said. "If I wasn’t against that I wouldn’t be doing my job as a trustee. Whatever you vote, I’m sure it will be the right decision."

Commissioners asked the city about extending services without annexation or compensating the township.

The city has never offered sewer service outside its limits, and has only offered water to a handful of customers outside the limits, Cleary said.

The county will use information for the meeting to make its decision, but the information points toward approval, Trent said.

The immediate loss to the township is $100, while future tax revenue loss is perhaps unknown, Trent said.

The development cannot proceed without sewer, which the city can provide, and the township the future development residents, even though it won’t be as much as if the project stayed in township hands, he said.

"We would certainly like to see this benefit all parties, but a decision will have to be made," Trent said. "What will happen is if the commission does not approve it, the courts will."

The annexation request meets meets the five tests of state law, he added.

It’s sad that the township will lose future revenue but annexation will be for the good of the community, said resident Rich Donohue, who also spoke for trustees at the meeting.

Commissioners and Winer also encouraged the city and township trustees to use the meeting as a way to build a "dialogue" for dealing with future annexation proposals.