Legislation may affect annexation

Those involved in the fight against annexation around the city of Elkins are not the only ones in the fight.

Those living around Morgantown have been in the fight since last year. Leading that fight is former Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla. Manilla assists in heading up an organization call FAIR (Forced Annexation Isn’t Right).

With the help of some state legislators, a bill was presented. The bill would eliminate the minor boundaries adjustment option for municipalities to annex property. Known as SB 209, the bill would require boundary adjustment to consent to the action.

In other words, the people in that location must consent completely, if one votes against it, the municipality cannot go through with the annexation.

The bill passed through the House and Senate. Two of those votes for passage came from House of Delegates members from Randolph and Pocahontas counties, Bill Hartman and Cody Thompson. The bill awaits Gov. Justice’s signature.

You ask, is this fair? Of course.

In a letter to the editor to this newspaper a few weeks ago, Roger Ware quoted a famous patriot from the Revolutionary War days, Patrick Henry. “Taxation without representation is tyranny!”

What say do the people of Harrison Avenue or Wilson Lane have in the matter? Another annexation consideration is North Randolph Avenue. What say do they have in the matter?

The answer to both questions is … none!

Their choice would be the Randolph County Commission. They didn’t ask to be taxed. They are in a location by their choosing.

Reportedly Frontier Communications may declare bankruptcy. Frontier uses IBEX as their telemarketing firm. IBEX is located in the old Reidbord Brothers Factory at the end of Wilson Lane. Frontier will have to make cuts in their reorganization to right their ship. If the city of Elkins gets the annexation, Frontier and IBEX may choose to leave the area. IBEX could merge with their division in Beckley. At one time, IBEX employed anywhere from 50 to 75 people in Elkins.

This would be a loss to the community. And if they move, how hard will it be to get someone into that building? Other businesses within this area may move or just plain go out of business.

I cannot see how annexation can improve the economy of a town or city.

What it does mean, though, is more taxes and probably higher taxes. And how much can a town the size of Elkins stand?

Clark Martin



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