The Washington City Council voted six to one Tuesday night to approve the annexation of more than 1,200 acres on the east side of town near the Interstate 69 interchange and the U.S. 50 Corridor.
Supporters say the annexation will provide the city with additional taxes from business and residential areas that develop along I-69.
Councilman Jim Greene, who voted in favor of the ordinance, says he thinks those in the annexed area will benefit because the city will now provide a police force, fire protection, and utility work.
“I think in the long run, they will see that it is going to benefit them as much as it will the city,” he says. “We’re not trying to do anything to hurt our citizens; we are just trying to improve for them because if anything breaks down, we are there to help.”
City officials say they do not have any intention to raise utility or tax rates because of the annexation.
Councilman Blake Chambers, who voted against the ordinance, says the affected residents have 60 days to appeal the council’s decision or file a lawsuit, although he refused to comment further.
“I just don’t think it is appropriate under the circumstances given the fact that there may be a lawsuit,” he says. “I’m not saying there is or there isn’t, that will be up to the affected land owners, but until I know that, I need to keep my reasons to myself.”
The annexation will likely take effect early next year. The city will have one year to begin providing services such as police, fire and garbage pickup. It has three years to provide other services that will require capital, such as putting in sewer or water lines and paving roads.