Cole County residents discuss benefits of annexation

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JEFFERSON CITY - Property owners in Cole County are seeking voluntary annexation into Jefferson City. Some of the residents weighed in on the importance of the annexation. 

The Meadows by the Club subdivision  - located along Highway 50 East is almost entirely in Jefferson City, but two streets are outside the city limits. Pinehurst Court resident Don Ferguson is close to Jefferson City, but not close enough.

"The city limits from here is about three houses away," Ferguson said. 

Residents on both Willow Lake and Pinehurst Courts signed a petition to become a part of Jefferson City. They say they want the benefits of living in the city. 

"Trash pickup," Pinehurst Court resident Paula Carter said. "That's one of the differences. We pay a little more than the people in the city."

According to Jefferson City's Republic Waste Services, those who live in the city limits pay between $13 and $16 a month - depending on bin size. Those who live outside of the city pay at least $20.

The Cole County residents also pay about two times more for sewage than those residing in the city according to the Jefferson City Finance Department.

Ferguson said the emergency services would be the biggest benefit for better continuity. 

"When an emergency call comes in, the city and the county then have to coordinate who needs to make the response," Willow Lake resident Kathi Harness said. "I think there's always a little bit of time involved in that coordination of the response time. I think it would just be clearer and less confusion if we are a part of the city."

Harness said she would save a total of about $100 a year if the streets are annexed into the city limits. The $100 saving is not the only benefit for Harness. 

"I want to be in the city because I'd like to participate in the selection of our mayor and city council," Harness said. "I consider myself living in the city - so if I do, i want to be able to participate."

This is not the first time the area has tried to seek annexation. In 2012, the city reviewed a similar initiative except it encompassed a larger area and failed.

"There were a lot of other properties involved like commercial properties across the highway and a couple of hotels," Harness said.

Fall 2015, the 6 households on Willow Lake Court petitioned for a voluntary annexation which failed as well. 

"The city contacted us and asked us if we would be willing to wait and try to do a broader number of the homes," Harness said.

The Cole County area includes 18 villas and seven single family homes. According to Harness, 18 villa homeowners and only one of the single family homes chose to participate in the petition.

 Harness said she is optimistic that both streets will finally be approved by the city council.

"I don't expect there to be any opposition because everybody has signed the petition voluntarily, so i think by the end of the year both cul-de-sacs will then be annexed and be a part of the city, Harness said."

 The Jefferson City Council will decide if the area will be annexed into the city on December 6.