Your Opinion: Seeking clarity on annexation

Dear Editor:

The ballot for Nov. 7 includes a vote on an annexation — Meadows by the Club. A couple of years ago, I decided it best to vote “no” on all annexation unless I have a legitimately strong reason to vote otherwise. I refuse to vote for annexation if a resident or business owner in the area does not give their approval.

That is the case with this annexation as well. Page 3 of the Plan of Intent (POI) says the owner of the Hampton Inn and Comfort Suite hotels is in agreement with this proposed annexation. Yet, a representative for the hotel owner spoke at the Feb. 6 City Council meeting expressing disapproval of this issue. An owner/manager of the JC Mattress Factory also spoke at this meeting, expressing disapproval.

As I seek out reasons to say, “yes”, I find the POI offers several other opportunities for further clarity. For example, is there actually land for economic development available? I understand all the land is actually in use — residential, two hotels, JC Mattress Factory, a quarry, a turtle farm and land under a trust whose use is yet to be determined. Please see pages 3, 14, and 15.

On page three, the POI speaks much about the differences in building, plumbing, electrical, and fire codes as well as zoning — or lack thereof. The theme seems to be residents will benefit from following the city’s codes and zoning. I am certain safety is of major concern with each building that is erected within the county.

What the POI doesn’t talk about — and apparently isn’t required according to Missouri statutes — is the additional revenue this annexation will generate. Residential property tax changes are approximated on page 14.

Sales taxes and lodging taxes are not mentioned. Many have speculated this is the reason for the proposed annexation. I understand clearly why they say this. Increasing revenue takes pressure off when planning the JC budget.

Of course, the long talked about conference center may appear a little sooner when the taxing revenue flow is increased.

I have until Aug. 7 to find a reason to approve this. Clarity may be beneficial.

In the meantime, I know there are many JC staff employees who have dedicated a lot of time and energy to this project.

Please know I appreciate your hard work and dedication. Thank you.

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