Check Pros, Cons On Annexation

Annexation of areas outside municipal limits traditionally has been a way for towns and cities to grow not just in population but also in revenue. But with new income comes new responsibilities, meaning some annexations become burdens to municipal taxpayers.

Moundsville officials are right to include the issue in their proposal for a new city comprehensive plan, the first since 1972.

With assistance from the West Virginia University College of Law, Moundsville officials have been working on the new plan for some time. It is to be finalized after a public meeting scheduled for 5 p.m., May 14, in City Council chambers.

Municipalities are required by the state to have comprehensive plans, which in essence are blueprints for the future. The plans must be updated periodically.

Moundsville’s proposed new plan addresses many concerns, ranging from improving sidewalks and streets to making the community more attractive for children.

A key issue is annexation, and city leaders are addressing it prudently. Instead of focusing on specific areas to annex, the plan calls for careful consideration of costs and benefits of annexation.

For any area under consideration, there are many pros and cons. For example, state and federal grant programs often provide more funding to communities with higher populations. Property taxes are another potential gain.

At the same time, issues ranging from the need for police patrols to the cost of street maintenance must be weighed.

By writing a requirement that such factors be considered carefully into their comprehensive plan, Moundsville officials are doing an enormous service for city leaders and taxpayers in the future.