• 61°

Mayor seeks board’s ideas on future annexation

MONTICELLO – Town aldermen were asked Tuesday to startconsidering whether Monticello should begin annexation proceduresin the near future to help town growth and industrialrecruitment.

“I just want you to begin thinking about it,” said Mayor DavidNichols. “Annexation is not always the most popular thing butsometimes it’s necessary.”

Nichols said he would like to begin annexation procedures around2010 to bring the town’s population over the 2,000 mark. With morethan 2,000 people, the town would change status to become a city,he said.

City status would brings many economic benefits, Nichols said.The town could qualify for more grants and it would receive moremoney from grants based on population size, such as annualDepartment of Homeland Security allocations. City size is also animportant recruiting tool for retail establishments and industrialprospects.

Which areas outside the city limits would be included in theproposed annexation was not discussed.

Nichols admitted the annexation might prove unpopular with somecounty residents. When the town was attempting an annexation a fewyears ago to bring the Highway 84 Bypass inside the city limits,some people living in the area objected.

“We ended up getting a little opposition getting the people in,so we just took in the land,” he said.

Census information, however, shows the town is losingpopulation. Following the last census, the town’s populationdropped from more than 1,900 residents to more than 1,700residents.

Several aldermen voiced their concerns that the census was notaccurate.

“I’m convinced we have more than 2,000 people inside the citynow,” said District Two Alderman Steve Moreman.

Regardless, Nichols said, it is the census that is relied uponfor statistical information and it shows the town below the 2,000residents needed for city designation.

The mayor also cautioned the board that annexation is a lengthyprocess and would likely take years to complete.

He said the last annexation, even after the opposition wasremoved, took 2.5 years to complete.